24 Day Cosmos Grand European Tour

Jan 27th, 2013, 05:22 AM
  #61  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 31
The cruise sounds like a much better option. It would be nice if you could arrange to arrive a day early in Barcelona so you could leisurely walk around there. From Naples I would suggest going to the Amalfi Coast if that excursion is offered. It is breathtaking. The Cosmos tour would be very taxing...you'd really have to keep up with the group and being with the same people for 24 days could be a challenge. We were fortunate on our 2 tours to be with a very compatible group. Go and enjoy.
floridagal2 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 05:54 AM
  #62  
 
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floridagal2; You gleened information from all these replys and are now doing what best for you both.

Have a great trip.
iris1745 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 06:31 AM
  #63  
 
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Stu,

On a bus tour you'll get comfort stops every 2 to 3 hours. The bus may or may not have a toilet, but they would not want anyone to use it unless in an emergency.

With the two options you outlined, and considering that (1)you have been on a cruise vacation before,
(2)you really do not want to miss out on London and Paris, and
(3)your wife seems to want to try this bus tour, because it gives both of you a glimpse of many different places within budget,
I'd say go with the land tour. It may be taxing, but you and your wife will be happy because it satisfied your curiosity toward many places you know their names by heart. Also, on a land tour you can take a leisure walk in the evening near the hotel's neighborhood without worrying about missing the ship.

I understand why many experienced travelers spoke against it, because most of them are capable of plotting their own routes and moving around by various transportation means. But it is your vacation, your time, your budget, and your own satisfaction to meet.
Reading54 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 06:43 AM
  #64  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I am not at all a fan of cruises (it totally changes a place when the cruise ships are in port) but given your situation and your previous experiences with cruises it is at least a better option than the big bus tour.

However, I would pick the cruise carefully. There are a number of guidebooks available on Mediterranean cruises (try your library or just hang out at Barnes and Noble with a cup of coffee) and the travel magazines often have cruise issues. cruisecritic.com is an excellent resource, and a place to "meet" other people taking the same cruise.

I notice that this cruise puts you in a "Venice Lido" hotel - that means you will have to take a boat to reach the main part of Venice. Lloret de Mar is at least 75 kms outside Barcelona, although closer to the airport. Several of the ports sound less than exciting, too.

Have you cruised with Carnival before? Based on what I've read, they wouldn't be my choice. But you'll get better advice at cruisecritic.com and on the Cruise board here.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 07:45 AM
  #65  
 
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"Has anyone noticed that the OP hasn't been back in 3 days?"

It's enough that the OP set the seed. Threads grow on their own
LSky is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 08:24 AM
  #66  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,624
Stu and Susan, I'm European and hate the idea of either a coach tour or a cruise but I have done a river cruise in Europe and loved it. Ok everyone on the thing was +60 but we went to a bunch of different towns.

I didn't use these guys but I saw this site recently, maybe of interest http://www.vikingrivercruises.co.uk/...tesprices.aspx

http://www.avalonwaterways.com/Cruis...s/Rhine-River/

it may interest
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 08:45 AM
  #67  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
I cruised with carnival before. They are sort of like Cosmos in a way namely more or less a budget cruise line competing with Norwegian. It was fine; besides unlike Norwegian, Carnival serves coke products not pepsi.
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 09:03 AM
  #68  
 
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Good point bilboburgler - a river cruise would be a much better intro to Europe than a Med cruise. Amsterdam to Budapest, perhaps....
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 11:00 AM
  #69  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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I agree with most that it's just too much bus time, packing and re-packing suitcases.

I also understand why you would like a tour.

I love the River Cruise idea. So many different ones, many offer extensions to other places after the Cruise, one doesn't have to worry about bathroom stops or packing and re-packing luggage. Or bus drivers that drive too fast

I would also think the scenery would be nicer on a River Cruise.

One could even fly open jaw and combine two of them. Now THAT would be fun!

A River Cruise is on my bucket list, probably Viking, but I know there are some others that are good.
wrenwood is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 11:30 AM
  #70  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,169
I like the idea of a river cruise, considering your previous experiences on cruises and travel needs. One way a Mediterranean cruise differs from Caribbean cruise: the port cities for the major European cities they serve are often an hour away, so a lot of time is wasted debarking and traveling to the city of interest. A river cruise would position you much closer to what you actually want to see, and probably give you more time to see it.

A bus tour might still be a good idea for you. But not THAT bus tour. In an attempt to include so many places, that particular itinerary wastes too much time on bus travel and gives little quality time visiting a place. Too many of the places that were mentioned would be simple drive-bys. Too may of the days would require 4-6 hours on a bus.

To my mind, you might choose a shorter (14 days?) bus tour that covers less countries/cities in a bit more detail, and then add on visits on your own before and after the tour in the cities where the tour begins and ends. This is similar in concept to what you propose for the Mediterranean cruise. However on a bus tour, you will experience more of the places you are visiting (even if through the window of a bus), while on a Mediterranean cruise you will experience more of a innocuous cruise ship.
ellenem is online now  
Jan 27th, 2013, 12:32 PM
  #71  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Agree that a Carib cruise is not a great idea. Many cities are more than an hour from the ports they serve - and you will often get very limited time in any sights - and a major cost.

A river cruise puts you right in the center of the cities you are visiting - and you can take the tour from the boat - or just explore the town yourself if you want. That also gives you the opportunity to see one additional city at either end of the river cruise to stay several days - doing day tours if you want - without a lot of research/work.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 12:52 PM
  #72  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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After arrival in Barcelona you are transferred to the quaint,
seaside village of Lloret de Mar for your included three night
stay.>>

quaint seaside village? possibly once. Now there are over 100 hotels just like this one:

http://www.ghthotels.com/en/hotel-co...arium-spa/home

then there are the places that you stop at:

Palma de Mallorca, Marseille, Olbia, Livorno, Rome, Naples, Messina, Dubrovnik and Venice - for most of them there will be a substantial time taken actually to get to the place named. in Rome, for example, you dock at Civitavecchia - which isn't in Rome at all.

River cruises, OTOH, do mostly at least put you where you want to be. Saga run some which are aimed at over 50s - http://travel.saga.co.uk/holidays/river-cruises.aspx

and as virtually everything is included, they are pretty good value too.
annhig is offline  
Jan 28th, 2013, 04:53 PM
  #73  
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6
I would like to thank everyone for their comments.
Susan and I have decided on the trip from Legendary Journeys.
We will arrive in Barcelona and spend the three nights in Lloret Del Mar. It is about 50 miles from Barcelona. They have cars to rent really cheap or we can use a train or bus.
They will serve up breakfast and dinner. If we are out (which will probably be the case for dinner) we will just miss it.

Then the carnival legend (not a bad ship,,have been on better) will take us to the cities listed above. We know we will have to take excursions to go into cities or visit sites and they are extra cost. When we get to Venice we will stay at a hotel in Venice itself, not on the outskirts. I opted to upgrade the hotels.

For our first taste of the mediterranean, not necessarily Europe, we feel this will be a good start for us. I upgraded the cabins to balcony, each day breakfast and lunch is included, added in a extra charge for cabin and hotel selection due to my limited ability for climbing stairs or getting to a elevator (upon advise of travel agent). I am slow but steady!!! On another trip we may do the coach or river cruise but this will be a great start.

The total cost including air, trip insurance, transfers, hotels, cruise,taxes comes to $8140.00. For 20 days that is about $400 a day for the two of us. Then we will have the tips on the ship and any excursions plus whatever we don in Venice and Spain.

Once we get a taste of the area we will probably plan ourselves for future trips as I have heard others do.

Again, both Susan and I are grateful for all the comments.
Thanks again!!
floridastu is offline  
Jan 28th, 2013, 05:30 PM
  #74  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,619
I doubt you want to take a car into Barcelona. No train. The bus takes about an hour - see www.sarfa.com.

Good luck.... I still think the river cruise is a much better bet, but please post a trip report when you get back.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 29th, 2013, 06:30 AM
  #75  
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6
Thanks for the trip on the car into Barcelona Thursdaysd.
Do you reccomend traveling about around the other areas by car near Lloret De Mar?
floridastu is offline  
Jan 29th, 2013, 07:38 AM
  #76  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,619
Sorry, when I visited Barcelona I found enough to do IN Barcelona. Maybe this thread will help?
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...uggestions.cfm
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 29th, 2013, 01:36 PM
  #77  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,444
Hi floridastu -

i'm really glad that you've found something that both you and Sue feel will suit you, and hope you have the best time.

regards

Ann
annhig is offline  

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