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femkej Mar 2nd, 2018 08:11 PM

Recommendations for good Cruise around Mediterranean
I am planning on doing a cruise around the meditteranean, hopefully embarking and disembarking in Italy. I would love to go on a ship like the Silver Seas, but it is a bit out of my budget. It seems that there is either fantastic cruise ships or more main stream cruises. Is there anything in between?

Rhea58 Mar 3rd, 2018 04:09 AM

Not that I know of. Have you checked out

femkej Mar 3rd, 2018 04:30 AM

Yes, I've been reading up on it. They say Holland is a premium cruise, but that it's not geared for kids. They also only have a 12 day cruise around the Mediterranean at that time of year.

Sassafrass Mar 3rd, 2018 02:16 PM

Were you looking at the upscale cruises for included wine and upscale meals, cabins, service? Mainstream companies also offer fine quality cabins and service, with reasonably priced special drinks and food. Many of the mainstream cruise ships are really, really nice, pretty fantastic actually, some elegant, some casual, both beautiful and great for families. If you have kids, you will really appreciate a cruise that is at least somewhat kid friendly. Cruising is an easy and fun way to travel with children. I have been cruising with my little Granddaughter, now age 8, for several years. She loves getting dressed up and eating with us on formal nights, but also loves kids sized things on the ship.

Even with mainstream companies, there is such variety that with some thoughtful research on the cruise line, the particular ship and the itinerary, you can find something you like. Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have some beautiful and amazing ships. I will be on a Royal Caribbean with my family in a week! I have been on several other lines, sedate Celebrity, gorgeous MSC, fun Carnival, and each have pros and cons, depending on the ship and itinerary,

DH and I have also done two Med cruises and a TA that had a week of ports tacked on, so covered a lot from Israel to Turkey to Greece, Italy, France and Spain. You mentioned the 12 days on HA. Not knowing the itinerary, 12 days is a nice amount of time for one cruise. Did you want more or fewer days? We like to have a few days at an interesting port in the beginning, then the cruise, then a few days at the end at a different port, so add a week to whatever length the cruise is. If you really want to see things, then look for itineraries with lots of great ports and long days in port, so you will actually be off the ship a lot.

Be specific in what you need and people can give good advice.

What is the particular reason for embarking and disembarking from Italy?
Why are you thinking of a cruise rather than a land trip? This is not a question of criticism. I love cruises, just considering the expectations. There are so many reasons for one or the other.
How many days will you have available? Consider how long flights, etc. will take. 12 days is an issue?
Where will you be coming from?
When, or time frame for the trip?
How many people?
How many kids and how old are they? Girls? Boys?
What ports are you particularly interested in?

cruisecritic is a great suggestion.
Also look at vacationstogo as a really easy to use website. Don’t just look at the 90 day sticker. Put in specific information and it will show many more cruises.

femkej Mar 4th, 2018 01:18 AM

thanks Sassafras! You make some very good points. We are flying into Rome and have cabins held on the Royal Carribean Jewel of the Sea! I land first thing in the morning and the cruise boards at 5pm that day. It's a 7 night cruise around Western Mediterranean. I have looked at quite a few cruises but it is hard to find the perfect cruise leaving at the right time. I am just hoping that I am choosing the right cruise. I know my kids will love it. I am spending a month in Italy, so after the cruise I plan on travelling to Puglia and Positano.

femkej Mar 4th, 2018 01:19 AM

I forgot to mention that me and my friend will be travelling with 5 children in total and plan on just visiting Italy during summer.

Sassafrass Mar 4th, 2018 01:38 PM

Hi Femkej,

Sorry to say this, but might as well make this point right off because it is very important, and the only concern I would have about the cruise. I never, ever, under any circumstances book a cruise to depart the same day I arrive someplace. There is just too much chance of a delay causing you to miss your expensive cruise and even a short flight delay or traffic jam can induce unnecessary panic. Many experienced cruisers fly in the day before, and spend the night. Not only is it a safer bet for not having any problems, you have a night to rest from jet lag and be ready to enjoy the cruise from the moment you board the ship rather than be so tired, you just want to sleep. If you can change the flights for the day before or book the cruise for a different week of your trip, do it.

I assume you are aware of how burning hot Italy is in Summer and are planning for that with the kids, and booking some places with pools.

Such a coincidence. This time next week, my DH, DD, Granddaughter (age 8) and best friend (age 85) and I will be boarding Jewel of the Seas in San Juan, Puerto Rico for a 7 day Southern Caribbean cruise. After our cruise, I will get back to you about it, but Jewel was recently refurbished and looks great online.

Choosing a cruise is always stressful, especially for other people, at a specific time including flights, and with lots of money in play. We try to take one cruise every year to the Caribbean for a warm, sun and sand week to get away from our freezing winter, unfortunately, limited to GD’s Spring break time, but it is usually early. This was my approach this year. DD and GD have not been to the Southern Caribbean, so wanted them to see Barbados, St Lucia, etc, also to visit daughter who lives on St Kitts. The best cruises for that itinerary depart from SJ, so that really limited choices of ships, and cost is a big factor for five people. We debated between a larger ship with inside cabins, and Jewel with balcony cabins for the same cost. We choose Jewel for the balconies. It is the first time to do that with our GD because she was fast and a climber, so we never felt she was safe in a balcony cabin before. Personally, I prefer slightly larger ships with bigger entertainment productions, more stuff for kids and more comprehensive kid’s programs since my Granddaughter is by herself, but we will be off the ship every day with this itinerary, so it is not that important. With five kids, yours will have company so a bigger children’s program is less important, and your itinerary may be more important anyway this time. For another time though, Norwegian has kid’s programs second to none, absolutely superb.

We have been on two RCCL cruises, both smaller, older ships, one just last month to the Bahamas on the old Grandeur of the Seas. From my personal experience and conversations with other RCCL cruisers, this is applicable to older RCCL ships across the board.
Style is not as glitzy as new ships, but very well maintained and look great overall.
Cabins were nicely arranged with (extremely) nice linens, towels, etc. I was impressed with the sheets.
Our cabin Stewards were outstanding! Our cabin was kept impeccably clean, as was the whole ship. Staff was constantly cleaning handrails, bathrooms, tables, etc.
The dining room staff was absolutely wonderful. The whole crew seemed very loyal to their particular ship and to RCCL.
The ships are well layed out and easy to find your way around.
The main dining rooms are very pretty and well arranged so they do not feel crowded.
The buffet is circular, so moves along pretty well. I have not seen a perfect buffet, but this is better than many.
Pools, play areas and hot tubs are nice, with life guards. Many ships do not have them.
The adult pool area is super nice, but usually no kids allowed.
Not the stuff for sale, but the artwork that is part of the ship is wonderful on Royal Caribbean!
While most of the entertainment is mixed, the dance performances are superb, the best on any ship, so don’t miss those if you enjoy the dance.

My take on the food.
Other people at my table loved the food, and it was generally good. Basic things, like real-mashed potatoes were wonderful. Steaks were great! Breads were excellent. My issue was not enough really interesting things in the main dining room, a pretty standard menu with meh desserts, nothing spectacular.
OTOH, everyday the buffet featured much more variety from different countries and specialty dessert nights. There was cupcake night, cake night, pie night, etc. The cakes were lovely and tasted great! The spicy foods, prime rib, baked ham, etc. were all really good! I would like the main dining room to offer that, so I could eat in a more formal space with the more interesting food.

Cons. Short order places are open very late, but food is not 24/7 as on some ships. There is a charge for room service, but it is one charge, no matter how much you order or how many people, so not bad if you order in breakfast for the whole group.

I think you have chosen a great ship (Hey, I chose it), especially for a family. Post the itinerary and others can give advice there.

femkej Mar 5th, 2018 01:44 AM

Thanks for all the comments. The itinerary goes to Cannes, Corsica, Palma De Majorca, Barcelona, Spain & Rome. I just was worried it would be too geared towards children and not towards adults. I would like a good mix of both.
I am on standby to fly in the day before. Flights are just really full at the moment. My travel agent said that everyone is going to Italy this summer.
Has anyone stayed in a spacious ocean view room with balcony? I have that held as well as a ocean view statesroom. I have to decide by Friday.

Sassafrass Mar 5th, 2018 04:41 AM

I have the spacious ocean view with balcony booked for this trip because I got a good price and as we get older, we enjoy being in our cabin during the day, especially in the Caribbean.
However, with your itinerary and kids, you are not likely to be in the cabin more than to sleep, so it would depend on the difference in cost. I might take the one with the most square footage. We have mostly had inside cabins, no windows at all, and it was fine because we were always out during the day.
How old are your kids?
As soon as you get on the ship and it is open, check the kids into the kid's program, find the hours and what is available. Things on the ship are definitely not geared too much towards kids!

femkej Mar 5th, 2018 05:29 PM

thanks for that. The price difference between the rooms is about $500. They are having a sale at the moment. I will definitely utilize the kids club. My kids are 7 & 10.

Sassafrass Mar 5th, 2018 08:30 PM

Tough choice. Would you like to hang out on your own tiny private outdoor area or be at the pools, quiet adult areas, playing games, using hot tubs, etc., on the ship, or mostly be off the ship seeing things, going to a beach, etc. on port days? For some people a balcony is a must. Others like inside better for sleeping. Personally, $500 is a lot of money to me, and I would rather have it for some nice excursions or towards other things on the trip. For others, it is money well spent. Unfortunately, you won't know until you do it. Pros. You have a bit of a retreat while still enjoying the Summer weather, a breeze while getting dressed for the evening, a place to eat a leisurely breakfast if you are not in a rush to get off the ship. Cons. Cost and may not be used enough to make it worthwhile. I think your kids are going to love a cruise.

femkej Mar 6th, 2018 02:30 AM

Thanks Sassafras, you give good advice. I will have a think over night about it.

Eschew Mar 7th, 2018 06:35 AM

Sass, such sage advise! My only comments to add is 7 days seems to be too short if you are spending a month there. You may not realize it, the cruise maybe cheaper than hotel/meals/airfare on a same length vacation, and you can see more places as the "hotel" travels with you and you don't have to pack and unpack. The kids will love the activities on the ship. You will have quiet time on your own and enjoy the ship as well. You will be hooked on cruises!

Sassafrass Mar 7th, 2018 10:38 AM

I agree. My GD would love longer cruises, and every cruise, as we are departing the ship, we wish it was just one day longer! I have mixed feelings though because in Europe, I really enjoy having more time in one place and spending evenings walking around, sitting outside in a plaza, etc. The other thing is, July is so hot, when you are on a cruise, you are off sightseeing during the hottest part of the day.

OTOH, w've had a lot of time visiting Europe and have done it in July and August and still enjoyed it, and a cruise has to be one of the most stress-free, relaxing ways to spend time with a family and children. Just two very different experiences.

If we knew the dates for the OP's cruise, we could make more specific REC's. I did note that some of my favorite ships have 12 day cruises in the med and Greek Islands, but are sold out, so this Summer, not many cheap bargain cruises to be found. If I were going, I would even consider Northern Europe, but we don't know what the OP has done before.

Femkej, I hope you have a blast, whatever you do, and let us know afterwards.

aliced Mar 7th, 2018 06:01 PM

Femjej, saying Holland...."is not that geared to kids" is the biggest understatement. Even though I am old, I would never take that line, since it's long had the reputation, totally deserved or not, as being for the lounge chair & blanket set. I'm talking 10-20 years ago. Its ships also are huge. We are preferring the smaller size with tons of amenities such as Oceania & Azamara (which we are taking again Aug/Sept). Our inlaws, who are exactly our ages, took it about 10-12 years ago through Panama Canal and said everyone was old. Funny when we regard people so close to our ages as "old" but guess it's how you live and how you feel. Me, I'm still attending with my never-miss-a-rock-concert-daughter the latest gigs and love the dance floor.

femkej Mar 8th, 2018 01:49 AM

Hi Aliced, I looked at Azamara, but the dates didn't work for me. I would have liked to go on that cruise.

Sassafrass Mar 8th, 2018 05:54 AM

Don't feel wistful for the cruises that don't work for you, either cost or date wise. The best thing is to ignore all of those and look only at what is in your price range and works for you at that particular time, then pick. There is probably no perfect ship, but the cruise can still be perfect. Once you book, just look at pictures of that ship, the lovely atrium, the theater, etc. and read about all the things you can do on and off that ship. Last night I was showing my friend pictures of Jewel. She has never been on a cruise and was completely wowed by it.

blaire25 Mar 9th, 2018 07:56 AM

Dont know of anything in between. Good luck on your search!

andrews98682 Mar 11th, 2018 11:01 PM

As someone said earlier, I would never book a flight arriving the day the ship leaves. Thatís just begging for trouble. For what itís worth, I did a one-week out of Rome on Norwegian Epic and loved it. The ship went to the port that serves Pisa and Florence, Cannes, Mallorca, Barcelona and Naples.

Sassafrass Mar 14th, 2018 09:56 PM

Femkej, did you make your decision already? I have been on Jewel now 3 days. It is a beautiful ship. The kids program is great. My GD gets upset when she has to leave it. The Service is superb!!! The food is very good. Many, many pros. Any cons are really my personal preferences rather than actual negatives about the ship. I will try to do a trip report ASAP.

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