Mediterranean cruise

Old Dec 5th, 2010, 11:12 AM
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Mediterranean cruise

Believe it or not, my husband has never been to Europe. So, we've been considering a Mediterranean cruise, so he can get a sampling of places. He really wants to see Venice, & there seems to be only one cruise itinerary w/ an overnight in Venice, that also encompasses other places we want to see. It's 12-night on Carnival, and leaves at the end of May.
I have taken Carnival before, to the Caribbean, & they had a great itinerary-but the ship itself-food, services, etc- wasn't of the best. Although, my girlfriend & I had a great time.
I've travelled Norwegian 2x, once w/ my girlfriend & once w/ hubby, & both times had a great time. I think it's my favorite-not the best food, Royal Caribbean was. But Norwegian had the most fun staff & they really engaged w/ the passengers & we met a load of people.
Unfortunately, Norwegian doesn't have the itinerary we want.
Royal Caribbean has a good one - but it's more expensive, & frankly, we can do w/out those elaborate costume parades & shows. I'm from MYC-I can go to broadway whenever I want. Plus, the staff stayed completely separate from the passengers. We just found that although it was a prettier ship w/ better food, etc., it just wasn't as warm.

OK, so all of this is by way of asking: anyone experience any of these Med cruises & what was your experience. I've been told that Carnival European trips are a little 'higher' lever.
Any advice?
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Old Dec 5th, 2010, 12:51 PM
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We just did a cruise on Princess that began in Venice and ended in Rome. It was twelve days and included Dubrovnik, several Greek Islands, Athens and Ephesus Turkey. Don't know if that would be your interest, but it was a nice ship, good food, excellent staff. We really like Princess and had a great time. However, we have been to Europe several times and took this cruise for the archeological sites and just seeing a few new places.

I love cruises, but honestly don't think I would take a cruise as an introduction to Europe. I think your DH would get a nice cruise experience, but not any sort of real taste for Europe.

One thing I think you really miss on a cruise like that is not having evenings in the places you are visiting. It is so wonderful to wander in Rome or some little town in Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast on a warm evening, hearing music, smelling food, sitting in a restaurant or cafe with local people. It is also lovely to wake up in a place like Paris or Florence, look through your window at some amazing sights, perhaps hears bells ringing, and go out for a coffee and early morning walk through a local market, etc. In Venice, there is nothing like waking up to a view of the Grand canal and seeing all the boats bringing produce to the restaurants.

The cruise is a cruise experience and works wonderfully in some places, but it is not enough of a European experience to even get a taste for Europe. Just my opinion.
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Old Dec 5th, 2010, 05:57 PM
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I actually really enjoy Med cruises. We've done 2 - Crystal and Azamara, and both were great. I liked the fact that you could visit a city for a day or two, and then determine what you want to go back to. I enjoyed Venice, for a day or two, but we really fell in love with some of the other places. I'm not sure what your budget is, but I think whatever one you chose, you and your husband will enjoy it. I'd go over to Cruise Critic and get some reviews on the specific cruise you're interested in.....
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Old Dec 5th, 2010, 06:12 PM
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My husband and I just returned on Nov 12 from a Med cruise, on Princess cruise lines. It sounds very much like the itinerary Sassafras speaks of---We found it great for a taste of Europe, and I usually always choose a cruise for the itinerary and not the ship, or food etc. You can do add on days in Rome and extend your time at final destination which seems to be Venice. You can get a hotel, there and stay and addtional 2 nights that is what we did. I would go for it if the itinerary suits you. We have been on many Caribbean cruises, but truly avoid Carnival but on a Med. cruise I would chance it--different atmosphere totally, and you are busy everyday.
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Old Dec 5th, 2010, 08:21 PM
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Debi-Crystal & Azamara seem rather pricey.
Diann-our only concern re: Princess is that I've heard it caters to an older, more sedate crowd. Even though peo take kids, it's still a quieter more sedate experience. We enjoy a bit more liveliness & nightlife.
Sass - I get what you mean. But since there are soooo many places he wants to go & see, we couldn;'t decide, so we thought this might give him an overview & then know better where we'd like to return for more time. Plus, we can add a couple of days on either end.

Anyone else want to weigh in?
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Old Dec 5th, 2010, 09:09 PM
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I am older and kind of sedate, I guess, and it does seem there are a lot of older cruisers on Princess. However, I think that is partly because of the timing and destinations. On a Caribbean cruise on Princess, there were a lot more young people, young families and honeymooners. There seems to be younger people in Summer and on shorter cruises. That being said, Princess has great night clubs, dances, etc.: activites that go on far into the night. The med cruise was so intense with long days of hiking and sightseeing, I was too tired to stay up past mid-night, but the ship was fairly "shaking" with bands playing and people dancing when I went to bed.
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Old Dec 6th, 2010, 11:39 AM
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I have to totally agree with Sassafrass on this one. Trust me lojoblais, you will be so busy touring in the day time, that once you see the shows, at night I think you will be ready to hit the sack. We were up sometimes at 6 a.m. for a a.m. tours or 7 and had to eat breakfast first. Your main reason will be to tour and see the various sites in the day time and I believe nightlife will take a back seat in priority. Granted Caribbean cruises, you might beach it in the day time, but this Med. cruise is very different. This Princess cruise was my first Princess cruise so I cannot compare to a princess Caribbean---My favorite is Royal Caribbean to he honest but it had to many days at sea on the med. itineray. Well have fun whatever you decide.
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Old Dec 6th, 2010, 04:11 PM
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We've been on Mediterrean cruises with Holland America and have enjoyed them. They have several that overnight in Venice. Venice is a great place for starting a cruise. You usually arrive and are embarked by early PM which leaves plenty of time to look around, which is easy to do on your own in Venice. And you have most of the day that you sail.
HAL like any other line I have sailed has its problems, but not enough to prevent a good trip. The oft mentioned old folks reputation is ill founded. You won't find a lot of big time partying, but it is not only the ancient that avoid a drunken brawl.
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Old Dec 6th, 2010, 05:57 PM
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I do realize that we'll be up & touring all day. But we're the type that will come back to the boat & sleep for 2 hrs before going into the evening. So, then we're up & want stuff to do. But I appreciate everyone weighing in.
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 04:08 PM
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We went on the Carnival Freedom 12 night Mediterranean cruise early Sept about 3 yrs ago and loved it.Very busy but it gave us a taste of the different countries and an idea of where we would return to visit on land. The ship was nice,great food, entertainment etc and we had John Heald as cruise director, what a riot he was! Since it was so busy we were up by 6 am and ready for bed by 10 pm. Since it was our first time in Europe we booked with Carnival excursions at all ports and for us it was the way to go- hasslefree, being looked after all the way. Would I do it again- yes but a different iteniery. I know a couple that are hooked on Med cruises and once in port grab a cab and take off themselves. We deliberately choose Sept 8 to avoid the overly crowded summer season with the families.It was announced that the cruise just before us had 700+ kids and ours had 28, at which an applause broke out in the crowd. It was still busy in Europe but not elbow to elbow crazy, weather beautiful, and the age group of pax averaged 35- 50's.
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Old Dec 8th, 2010, 09:34 PM
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Thanks foggy! We plan to go in May, I think, so it should be right before the hoards since many kids are not out of school yet. I'll check which ship it would most likely be.
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 07:50 AM
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Would you consider a river cruise? We cruised the Danube in October, and I'll never get on a big ship again. We stopped in Budapest, Vienna, Melk, Nuremberg, etc., and it was wonderful. We now know what areas we'd like to return to to see more. We were on AMA Waterways' Amacello; the food was fabulous (wine was included with dinner), the staff great. 148 passengers, 40 of whom were crew.
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 10:10 AM
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I def would consider a river cruise at some point, but for this first trip hubby really wants to see more of the mediterranean area--Venice, Rome, Positano, etc.
Also, I don't know what line they travelled, but my friend's parents took a river cruise similar to the one you did, & they said they got really, really bored because there were no activities or things to do on the ship--& these folks are in their 70's! So, I'm thinking it THEY were bored ... was there anything for you to do while on the ship?
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Old Dec 9th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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We are signed up for a Princess cruise next May- it leaves from Barcelona on May 16 and cruises to Monte Carlo, Istanbul, Greek Isles,Rome, Florence, Naples, and ends in Venice- we will spend a few extra days at the beginning and end in each of those ports. We have taken two other Princess cruises and loved them both- to Alaska and Australia, New Zealand. It is a great way to get a taste of the ports and enjoy the cruising, and the best thing of all is that you have a nice room and all your things to come back to each night without hauling your luggage around and trying to find hotels, restaurants, etc. We are soooo looking forward to our time in the Mediterranean. Good luck with your decision.
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 04:00 AM
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No, you won't find gambling, shows, shopping, etc., on a river boat cruise, and that's why we chose it. There was music (all kinds) every evening after dinner (the evening we were in Vienna we attended a concert in the city). A good portion of every day was spent in the various cities/towns, with superb guides. Time on the boat was relaxing. Every stateroom had TV, internet, etc., and the commentary by the cruise director when cruising was excellent... I was never bored.
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Old Dec 11th, 2010, 11:00 AM
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Yes, Meme, one of the big draws of the cruise is not having to haul luggage, pack & un pack -- in our younger yrs, we took many, many driving vacations all over the US. In & out of one motel after another, schlepping the bags .... and it was fun, I love being on the road. But we'd like a little more comfort these days.

Love - there was music every night? Any dancing? Or any kind of entertainment/activities at all? We don't gamble, & I live in NYC so shopping isn't a big deal to me. However, we do enjoy a good show, a comedian maybe, a good sing-along piano bar, some games/activities. Because the TV on cruise ships is pretty lame.
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 06:36 AM
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Yes, every night, plus there was a piano and dance floor, and the young man playing the piano was great--he played every kind of music for all ages. We didn't watch much TV, but I must say that the Patriots game was on, live, on the TV in our room!
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Old Dec 20th, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Interesting to hear about the entertainment in the eves. Good to know.

The patriots game????? Yeah, the TV is always lame. They seem to always have some stupid game on, but no decent TV shows or movies. No offense, but I hate football & find most other sports really boring & people's obsession w/ them silly. I've seen grown (supposedly!) men practically in tears because 'their team' lost. YOUR team??? Come on, you don't even know those people!!!!

But I digress .....
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