Mediterranean Cruise Advice Needed ASAP


Jul 30th, 2005, 10:17 PM
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Mediterranean Cruise Advice Needed ASAP

We are in the early stages of planning a Mediterranean cruise and would like the opinions of fellow travelors as to time of year to take a cruise (we were thinking early May), cruise line that you have experienced including positives and negatives, and any other useful advice that you would like to share.

We were considering traveling on the Crystal line but felt it was more for the over 55 crowd.....any thoughts on this? We are in our late 40's.

Thank you in advance!

Please feel free to post here or email me at [email protected]
positiveadvice is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2005, 06:38 AM
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May should be OK, though my favorite time of year in the Med has always been mid September to mid October. IMO, it's the best weather and fewest crowds.

As for ships, I've been on quite a few Med cruises, probably one per year. The best experiences have been on Radisson ships with fewer than 600 passengers per ship (Voyager does a lot in the Med). The worst experiences I've had were on larger ships with more than 1400 passengers and the very worst was on an older ship that didn't even have balconies (a Must IMO in the Med). I have never cruised on Crystal but it does have a very loyal following. The reason I will not cruise on Crystal is because I've been too spoiled with "open seating" for dinner. I like to eat when, where, and with whom I feel like and Crystal has set dining at the same table, same time each evening. It is also a bit more formal that I prefer. I also don't like the idea that wine and cocktails are not included with dinner each night. To me if you pay for a luxury cruise line it should be very close to all inclusive with liquor and gratuities included. I have read that Crystal does cater to a little bit older crowd than Radisson or Silversea (I'm close to your age) but again, Crystal does have a very loyal following so I'm sure they're very nice, just not the best match for my husband and me! I think the best advice based on my own experiences, regardless of what cruise line you choose, is to choose a smaller ship with fewer passengers for the best experience. I also would want a balcony in the Med. What itineraries are you considering?
petlover is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2005, 06:40 AM
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TYPO: I meant to say Crystal is also a bit more formal THAN I prefer.
petlover is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2005, 10:01 AM
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Yes, I was looking into Crystal too but they have a pretty strict dress code, no shorts on the ship after 6pm. That's a little too much for me. Whatever floats your boaty
travelinwifey is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2005, 11:34 AM
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I cruised a week on Royal Carib Splendour of the Seas. It was a very pleasant sailing, not at all "upscale" but I enjoyed the ship. There was an indoor pool where our group would tend to congregate in the late afternoons for a snack and conversation, and would then have late seating for dinner. Royal Carib is not my favorite cruise line (of those I've sailed) but it was a cruise I could easily repeat. I just would NOT do it in June! It was way toooooo hot. Many in my group took tours, and said that the waiting in long hot lines was pretty bad. I would prefer September, if I can manage that time of year in the future.
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Jul 31st, 2005, 11:59 AM
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I have done Princess ( years ago ) from Barcelona to Venice the middle 2 weeks of Sept..IDEAL weather- no crowds..Older folks...

Then we did Windsurf beginning of May---330 passengers-open seating dining, casual elegant dress code-no coat and tie- no tux-FABULOUS!! Hubs LOVED it!
We are totally hooked on Windsurf-lots of people your balconies but it is a 4 masted sailing ship and that in itself is awesome! You do into smaller , more unusual ports that the large ships cannot get into..and a heads up---Crystal and Windsurf docked at the same ports....
You will LOVE this ship!

But MAY weather is iffy- we had 3 days of rain out of 7--

I would definitely go mid Sept!!
andy is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2005, 02:27 PM
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We like Oceania line--open seating for dinner, no formal nights, ships hold 684 passengers.
abram is offline  
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Aug 1st, 2005, 09:26 AM
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We have sailed the Med. on Princess (June/July), Marco Polo (Aug.) and Oceania (Sept.) Each time the weather was hot for touring around. So I would suggest earlier (May) or later (late Sept. - Oct.) BTW, of the three lines, we LOVED Oceania. Small ship, open dining, great food, free specialty restaurants, good computer facilities. Also, no great pressure to book optional tours. Ports were eminently do-able on your own and there were lots of like-minded folks to share cabs with. Also, NO FORMAL nights. And there's a self-serve laundry room, which we needed because of the intense heat during the day.
Mimi is offline  
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Aug 1st, 2005, 11:40 AM
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Agree with the others....late Septebmer or first half of October is the best for weather and crowd control.

I wanted to add something about Oceania that anyone considering this line should be aware of. We had 4 cabins in a row booked on Oceania for February '06 in the Caribbean until we found out that there is no smoking allowed in the cabin OR ON THEIR OWN BALCONY. This didn't effect us but it did effect 2 of the other couples we were traveling with. We even suggested that the 2 smoker's cabins be sandwiched in between the 2 non-smoking cabins since we didn't mind. We're all traveling together (4 couples) and we were on the highest deck so no worry about bothering those higher up with smoke. They wouldn't allow this either and we ended up changing cruise lines. I just wanted you to be aware of this in case you're a smoker (we are not) or are traveling with friends who smoke as we are. Most smokers don't smoke in their cabins but they do smoke on their balconies. NOT allowed on Oceania. Just a heads up. Other than this, I hear many good things about this cruise line though it is not all inclusive.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 03:09 PM
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Hi, I can't tell you anything first hand about the Crystal line, except it seems to get very high marks from people who love to cruise. We took a 12 day med cruise on Celebrities Millenium. I have a trip report on the Europe forum. I don't know how to cut and paste, but it should come up if you type in zwho in the general interest search box, and if you're interested in my opinion, ofcourse. We went the 1st week in June and had perfect weather except for 90+ day the last day in Venice and some rain the first night in Monte Carlo. We know people who went 2 weeks before us, same cruise, and their weather was cool and rainy. You just don't know anymore, the weather is so screwy. I didn't like not having enough time to enjoy the ship properly, because we docked at wonderful ports daily and only had 2 sea days. I have always done land travel in Europe so the 1 day itinerary was also alittle half assed for me. Having said all that, it was an experience that I probably would repeat, just not so many stops or so few at sea days.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 05:18 PM
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We have cruised a few times with Windstar Cruises. Small ships, very elegant and their dress code is "casual elegance. No tux's, no gowns, and no tips! The trip we loved best was from Malta to Venice. Truly awesome, and the median age was around 50-ish. The food, service and accomodations were fabulous. Since they are smaller ships, they can get into small ports
(smaller islands, less crowds) than the larger ships.
CWH is offline  
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 04:02 AM
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Last year I cruised the Med on Celebrity and I think it was in May. Had a fantastic time. The ages were very mixed, not just an older and not just a younger crowd. It was my first time on Celebrity and would consider going with them again for the right itinerary and price.

I believe the cruise was 10 days and starting in Civitavecchia (the port leading to Rome - sp?), went to Naples, Malta, 2 Greek Islands (Mykonos and Santorini), Barcelona, Villefranche and back to Civitavecchia.

I was travelling solo and the only problem I had was seating at dinner. The first night, they sat me at their largest table with a family of 17 at two tables. Why they would place me with a table full of family and me as the only non family member, I'll never know. Then they moved me to a smaller table where it was a group that was travelling together, and again, I was the only one who didn't already know everyone else. This continued for a few nights and would rate them very poor in this department.

Aside from the seating, everything else was superb.

Have a great cruise.
loverome is offline  
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:18 AM
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To add to newyorkgolfer41's comments re Oceania and smoking. Absolutely correct! This line was created by "some" of the old Renaissance Exec's who bought the old R class ships. Soon adding a third to the fleet.

They also adopted a lot of the Renaissance policies. They do not promote "no children" however there are NO youth organized programs. And, they strictly enforce their smoking policy. Only allowed in one small area in one public lounge and a small area topside on deck. Period!
Bonnie_B is offline  
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 01:31 PM
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Oceania will be PERFECT for you!!!
My husband and I went on a Med cruise with them for our honeymoon and we were pretty much the yougest people on the boat. But, surprisingly, not by much! It seemed the average age was mid-40s. which we thought was fabulous!
The boat is amazing. Teak decks, few people, amazing food, open seating, country club casual attire w/ no formal nights, great itineraries!
I have recommended them to SO many people. I don't think you can go wrong with this company.
And the afternoon tea, sitting watching the ocean, listening to the string quartet was TO DIE FOR! We did that at least 4 times!
TravlGrl is offline  
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Aug 4th, 2005, 04:52 AM
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To Travlgl: Were you on the Insignia, Venice - Athens cruise Aug.31, 2004? mimi
Mimi is offline  
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Aug 6th, 2005, 03:24 PM
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We sailed on the Crystal Serenity in the Med last summer. It was out third cruise with Crystal. I think Crystal is lots more fun for youngish people than the Radisson ships. There is just lots more activitiy in the lounges, and the entire ship is just livelier. The staterooms on Radisson are so comfortable that no one ever leaves his room, so you go tyo the lounge and you wonder where the party is.
While open seating may be very nice for some people, we have found that we enjoy having an assigned table, where we get to meet nice people, and the waiters get to know our preferences. You develop a relationship with your waiter over the course of the cruise and, on Crystal, they really take very good care of you. The alternative dining on Crystal is spectacular, as well.
The best thing about Crystal are their itineraries. They are just superior. They go to more ports, and, in each of those ports, they have the prime anchoring or docking spot. In Dubrovnik, for example, we were anchored just outside the walls of the Old Town. Celebrity and Silversea were anchored in another harbor, not even close to the town. They had to be bussed in, whereas we just got off our ship's tender and we were there.
You'd never guess it, but I love Crystal!
virgo839 is offline  
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Aug 8th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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Mimi, no. LOL!
We were on Insignia on the Athens to Barcelona trip in October 2004. I would go back on that boat in a second, how about you??
TravlGrl is offline  
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Aug 9th, 2005, 04:42 AM
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TravlGrl: I know that the most recent trip is always the best, but I LOVED Insignia and think it would be hard to find another cruise line that satisfied like Oceania. The cabins, the dining (food, venues, service, High Tea), the entire staff (who never saw you without inquiring about your day), the ship's size, the ports, and generally speaking, our fellow passengers.

I have been spoiled by Oceania, but alas, there's no possibility of a cruise for us this year. Of course, it's not too early to start planning for 2006!
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