Hard Time Choosing Between Two Itineraries

Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:05 AM
  #1  
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Hard Time Choosing Between Two Itineraries

My wife and I are planning a Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity in June 1014, and are having a really difficult time deciding between two equally appealing itineraries with comparable prices. One begins in Venice and visits Adriatic ports in Croatia -- Dubrovnik and Split -- and Montenegro, plus Sicily and Malta. The other sails from Rome and overnights in Istanbul and visits Athens and the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini. As I write this, I'm realizing there's probably no objective way for anyone to offer anything definitive in the way of advice, since preferences are totally subjective. But are there any thoughts? The Adriatic but no Istanbul or Greek islands? Or Istanbul and Greek islands, but no Adriatic? What do do, what to do?
SmokyDuck is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:59 AM
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What ships?
jacketwatch is online now  
Dec 3rd, 2013, 10:23 AM
  #3  
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The cruise from Venice is on Celebrity Silhouette. From Rome, it's on the Celebrity Reflection.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 12:16 PM
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That being said as they are both Solstice class ships my choice clearly would be the one out of Rome as I think these ports have better attractions. We have been to all these ports and loved them especially Istanbul and as you have an overnight there you will have time to see a lot of it. Most of the major attractions are in the Sultanahmet area so it's compact enough to see a lot in one day. You can also get much history in Athens and Rome and I suggest going there a few days early to see it and give yourselves a few days to adjust to jet lag.

Santorini and Mykonos are not as port intensive so you can relax a bit here. Seems to be a no brainier to me as to which one to choose though others may differ.

Cheers, Larry.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 12:24 PM
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We been on a couple of similar cruises.

Venice is nice for departing on a cruise if you can go a couple of days early and really see Venice.
Same for Rome, beginning or end.

Dubrovnik is lovely for a day on a cruise. You could always stay longer, but a day is fine.

Corfu made a great cruise stop.

Athens: you won't see a lot of the city, but worth a cruise day because you can easily visit the major archeological site: Parthenon, etc. and have a nice lunch.

Ephesus on a cruise is great because it is not so easy on other trips to Turkey, and one day is fine for it.

A day and a half in Istanbul is simply not enough time. It is a good way to begin or end a cruise if you can add days at beginning or end.

The same, IMHO, is true of Rome.

I liked seeing them, but Mykonos and Santorini are busy and crowded for cruise days and I think you do not get a great feeling for them that way.

Have been to Sicily and probably would not want only a quick stop in Catania.

Naples is ok. Just know that with all the Amalfi Coast has to offer, you will be able to visit only one or two places briefly - possibly trip down the coast to Positano, trip to Capri, or tour Pompeii.

Did you think about the cruise that begins in Venice and ends in Istanbul? If you can find the time and could add two days at the beginning to Venice and three at the end for Istanbul, it would be fantastic. Five or six more in Turkey would be even better. You can go to Cappadocia. That is another week, though, sometimes hard to do.

Haven't been to the other stops. Hope others chime in.
Hope some of the comments help a bit.
Sassafrass is online now  
Dec 3rd, 2013, 12:29 PM
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Sort of sorry I contradicted Larry, aka Jacket, about Istanbul. I value his opinions a lot. He is so well traveled and has tons of cruise experience. In the end, you will enjoy either trip. I will say, Ephesus is amazing and Istanbul one of my all time favorite cities.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 12:36 PM
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No problems Sass. It's good.

If Ephesus is one of the stops all the more reason to choose that one.

BTW I just had a torn knee meniscus repair yesterday so I'm chillin for a while.

Getting back to the subject you are correct in that it will be crowded in June. Our stop was in Oct. so crowds were down and weather was better too.

Cheers, Larry
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 01:19 PM
  #8  
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Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I don't know yet which we'll choose, but you've given us lots to think about. The Adriatic cruise stops at nine ports in ten days ... pretty busy. The other has three days just cruising in addition to Istanbul, Ephesus and the Greek islands ... that might be more leisurely. But whadda I know??
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Jacket, how long will you be "chillin?" Will you be on crutches? It sounds serious. With your knowledge of medicine though, I hope you know best how to handle the pain. Are you looking at cruises? You should recoup on a cruise in the Caribbean. Then, it does not matter if you never get off the ship.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 04:15 PM
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Should be a month.

No crutches but lots of limping, like Chester from Gunsmoke. .

We have a wedding in April in Clearwater FL. And booked a cruise out of Tampa the day after.

We just spent a month away in India and Bangkok. Unfortunately Sue picked up a GI bug in India and it hit her in BKK necessitating a 5 day hospitalization there. She is fine thank God but my turn now. As for pain it's ore but that's meds R 4.

SD: that sounds like a busy itinerary but it's up to you. Have a great cruise!
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 11:59 PM
  #11  
 
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My 2 cents worth ... Rome and overnights in Istanbul and visits Athens and the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

Alternative: Do both!
Eschew is offline  
Dec 4th, 2013, 11:34 AM
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We've been to most of the places on the two itineraries. Venice is great. The port for Rome is not; otherwise, Istanbul and the Greek Islands are places that I would most want to return to. A short stop in Sicily is not very interesting, and Split is not very interesting.
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Dec 4th, 2013, 02:04 PM
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Thanks, all. We've decided on the Rome-Athens-Mykonos-Santorini-Istanbul cruise from Rome. We appreciate all the input.

Jacketwatch, we're usually in Clearwater in April, too ... my family lives in the area and we really enjoy the Marriott resort on Sand Key.
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Dec 4th, 2013, 02:19 PM
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Smoky Duck's wife here. Thanks to all for their comments and guidance. You all seem much more knowledgeable about European cruise travel than we are, so hoping to tap your collective thoughts on the best way to get the best pricing on our cruise. We have utilized cruisecompete.com and got some good bids. We were planning to take the best bid we received from a travel agent who responded to our bid request but wondered if you might have other recommendations or information we should consider before we go with that bid and send a deposit.

Do you think there Is anything we should specify regarding stateroom location preferences, or locations that are undesirable and to be avoided? We are not familiar with this cruise ship, having never sailed with Celebrity before.

One last question - in your experience do you find it worth the extra cost to book the Concierge level?

Thanks again everyone!
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Dec 4th, 2013, 02:40 PM
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Well we did concierge once and never again. The champagne was of low quality, the nuts were stale, the binoculars out of a Cracker Jack box and the canapés just fair.

Look up a deck plan and be sure to get a cabin not too close to the elevators and one with other cabins above and below you. You don't want to be under or over a lounge, dance area, etc. We always opt for a balcony and for one amidships to minimize motion sensation.

I use a TA and get some discount though not as much as cruise compete will offer but I prefer the personalized service.

I also recommend insurance and not from the cruise company. You can try www.insuremytrip.com. For our last trip I used Allianz as it was offered by the UAL website and I'm so glad as my wife had to be hospitalized in Bangkok. This ins. paid the bill a d she is fine, thank God.

Last yr. thru insuremytrip I purchased a policy which ended up reimbursing additional airfare we had to buy as our return was delayed beyond the point we could tolerate by super storm Sandy.

Hope this helps! Larry
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Dec 4th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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Reme: Rome port itself is terrible, but pre and post at Rome is great.

Leslie: If you are getting quotes from a TA plus cruisecomplete, you are doing the right thing on price checking. If all things being equal (or even just a touch more pricy), I would still go with a local TA to support your local community.

We have never booked the Concierge class as we have never needed what the extra will provide. You will like the ship, and the food. Actually, I'll take it back. It all depends on what cruise ships you have been on. This is a step up from RCCL, Carnival and NCL, and probably similar level to Princess and HAL

Larry's been on Celebrity more than us. My DW didn't like Celebrity as much after one poor experience. If you have specific questions, just ask.
Eschew is offline  
Dec 4th, 2013, 03:12 PM
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Thanks, Larry and Eschew. We really appreciate your replies to my questions and concerns.

Re the food on Celebrity - we are Foodies and so the cuisine is very important to us. If we had the means, I think we would go with Oceania or Crystal just so we could get a more personal experience and higher quality food, but unfortunately our budget won't allow that. We have friends (also Foodies) who have traveled on Celebrity, and told us the food was very good. Our dining experience while cruising the Caribbean was disappointing at worst, mediocre at best. We cruised with Norwegian Caribbean and Princess - but that was back in the 1980's and perhaps these lines offer better food nowadays.

We do plan to get trip insurance and are glad to hear, Larry, that your having gotten insurance helped you when your wife was ill while traveling, also happy to hear that she is doing well now.

Anything else that I haven't mentioned, that you might want to mention, would be welcome!! You guys are all great!!

Leslie
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Dec 4th, 2013, 05:11 PM
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FWIW and keeping in mind that food seems to be the most subjective area of criticism our X cruise on the Equinox which is also a Solstice class ship had the best food of any ship we've ever been on including the much smaller Tahitian Princess.

You can also consider the speciality restaurants though there will be a surcharge. However given how much you save vs.one of the luxury lines the actual cost is minimal.

BTW the Solstice class ships get outstanding ratings for ships of their size or class. I personally thought the Equinox was the nicest ship we've been on and thanks for mentioning my wife. We had been in India B4 BKK where she picked up and horrible gi bug. All well now.
jacketwatch is online now  
Dec 5th, 2013, 02:17 PM
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We took the cruise out of Rome on the Celebrity Reflection this past May; we loved it. We booked AquaClass, I don't believe the cabin was any larger in size, the extra amenities were nice but the key advantage was access to the Blu dining room for breakfast and dinner.

The weather was gorgeous so we spent a lot of time on our balcony on at sea days but also skipped Santorini and Athens as we'd already spent several days in each.

In addition to Blu, we could also eat in the main dining room, which was fine but reminded me a bit of being on the banquet circuit which I had enough of with work. Blu is much smaller and serves somewhat lighter food than the main dining room. We also had dinner once in the Tuscan Grill and once in Mirano and some pleasant lunches in the self-service restaurant.

Are you familiar with www.cruisecritic.com? You'll find detailed posts on the Reflection cabins, dining rooms, shore excursions, etc.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Dec 5th, 2013, 03:03 PM
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Leslie: We don't call ourselves foodies but we love food and we have frequented many restaurants. From places that charges $5 a plate, food cart, to expensive digs that charges $100+ per plate. We are very adventurous with food and will try everything, including exotic (plus shocking and unusual) food. And this is very important: good food does not need to expensive. We love food that is full of natural flavors and the right flavor bland.

Norwegian is not in the same class as Celebrity although they and their fans and some TA will try to convince you that they are better. NCL is inconsistent and mediocre at best.

Food on Princess is better than average, doesn't jump out but doesn't disappoint. Princess' specialty restaurant is very good.

You will find that the food on Celebrity is decent, slightly better than Princess but they are not as good as they used to comparing to 3 or 4 years ago. They lost their corporate chef. They changed the menu somewhat. There were some cost cutting (lower grade ingredients etc.), but most people will not notice the subtle changes unless you are in the business.

You will enjoy their main dining room food but you will definitely enjoy the specialty restaurants. Trust me, it's worth the extra $$ they charge. But be aware, the portions are generous and you will pack on pounds.

Just remember that in the main dining room, they are feeding hundreds of people all at once. So, it would be like a convention center banquet setting. The specialty restaurants would be more like a regular restaurant setting. Reservations are required and you can book on line before your cruise.

Hint: Main dining room menus is on a rotation. They know well ahead what the menu items are. On your first night, ask to see all the menus on future dates. Pick the day where they have a "weak menu" and book your reservation for the specialty restaurant. Or you can check menu board in the morning and see what's offered, if there is nothing that you like, book the specialty restaurant right away.

One thing to watch out for, they do special things with food from time to time, don't miss those. That's when you will come across special items that are not available on a normal basis. Example: carved whole roasted pig, filleting whole smoke salmon etc.

Good luck and enjoy your cruise!
Eschew is offline  

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