airports/cruises/land portions


May 22nd, 2012, 12:41 PM
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airports/cruises/land portions

We are leaving the USA on Aug30,2012 to Copenhagen DM with a Baltic cruise on Royal Caribbean 9/1-9/8/12 would a 1-2 day stay be enough to see the major sites? Also we plan on going on Easy Jet for most of our connections to Madrid/Venice/Rome/Barcelona
ect. For land stays between cruises and departing for the cruises
As we have mutiple cruises Venice, 9/14-9/24/2012 and Barcelona 9/29-10/6/12 departing Barcelona 11:40 am to come back to the USA
Questions 1. I have been told to watch out for Easy Jet and Ryan Air as they will some times scrap a flight if it hasn't enough passengers. I would like to know if that is true or not.
2.Also since we are from the USA do we need to go thru Immigration and Customs at every country we are stopping in or transitioning thru and what amount of time should we expect to allow for?
3.On our last leg of the trip from Barcelona we arrive back at 6:45 am early in the morning however I read it can take 4-5 hours to get off the ship,go thru airport security ect.
And to expect the same for Venice Italy
4. And last question 2-3 days in Rome,2 -3 days in Madrid ,2-3 days in Barcelona sound ok or to much?
As we have never lived in the city we have never been on a subway or train in our entire lives so we have no experience to know how difficult it is to travel that way as we do not speak any language other than English. Any help would be appreciated
melbarb is offline  
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May 22nd, 2012, 06:51 PM
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IMHO you have packed way too much travel into way too little time. Cruises are not really the best way to see europe- since you spend so much time on the boat and so little on land - and much of the time on land is spend getting from the port to the city it serves (which can easily take from 1 to 2 hours in each direction).

As for your days inn major cities - they are too few, not too many. IMHO you need at least 3 days (4 nights) to see anything of Rome - and the same is true of any major city. (I would do 5 days - 6 nights to see much of Rome - but obviously you don;t have those options. I would stop bouncing around from one place to another like a ping pong ball and stay in 1 or 2 places long enough to actually see something and get a feel for the culture - otherwise you will be pending a very large proportion of your trip in airports and train stations rather than seeing anything.

If you plan on using any of the budget airlines you need to know several things:

1) They mostly have VERY small weight limits for luggage and if you have more than 1 very small wheelie each it can end up cotsing you hundreds of $ in overwieght fees.

2) they are very strict about check-in times. It doesn;t matter if you are at the airport and on line - if you haven;t checked in 2 hours (or their exact limit) in advance you are a no show and won;t be on the flight

3) the airports they use are often not the primary airport for the city - but can be a long distance (often bus ride) away - meaning that a 2 hour flight can take all day.

Sorry - I don;t have the time to sort out all of your details - but I wold really rethink this entire trip - to get yourself a reasonable amount of time in fewer places (and avoid spending so much time, energy and money on just getting from one place to another).
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May 22nd, 2012, 07:05 PM
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Thanks we are considering on spending more time in Rome instead of Venice and take a some guided tours.

And spend more time in Madrid & Barcelona Spain. We cruise a lot and enjoy that type of travel as it is very reasonable considering the food,entertainment,lodging and only packing 1 time a week. We have traveled many years using only two carry ones each for our entire trip.
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May 22nd, 2012, 08:44 PM
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I strongly agree with nytraveler that cruises are not the best way to see much of Europe. You don't get any of the ambiance of evenings spent strolling around with locals or getting to know someone because you eat breakfast or buy gelato in the same place a few times, or even being invited home to tea by a stranger in a small town as we once were. Italy, Spain and France are, IMHO, some of the worst countries to visit on a cruise because so many of the wonderful sights are so far from the ports.

Since you will have three cruises where you will see things at a pretty fast pace with no time to linger and soak up any culture, and rarely, if ever, experience any evening times on shore, I would strongly agree with nytraveler that you take as much time in a few places as possible so you have more of an experience rather than just see the sights.

That being said, cruises are great in and of themselves. we also enjoy them and combining them with longer visits to other places gives some of the pleasures of both. To get the most from the land portion, I think it is important to make it a real contrast to the cruise part and stay someplace and explore it more thoroughly so you start to feel at home there.

Rome, as nytraveler says, could take several days - or weeks and there are great places for day trips if you decided to spend a week there.

Venice (some folks love it, some hate it - I am in the love, love, love it group) could take two days or two weeks or two years. It is to be savored in the mornings and the evenings. It is to be expored off the main canals and attractions. If you were "done" after two days, there are incredible places within a few minutes train ride: Padua, Vicenza, the islands of Burano and Murano.

From Madrid, I would be sure to include a day trip to Toledo (a most beautiful and interesting little city). If you do not plan on that, then I would replace Madrid with Seville or even Granada since you are already visiting some big cities.

Do allow plenty of time between cities, minimum of half day for travel and check in (and more in some cases), no matter how you are doing it.

I am not quite clear on the cruises. It looks as if they each begin and end at the same ports? If so, what ports do you visit before returning to Venice or Barcelona? Will the ship be docked overnight in Venice? Might offer some advice if I am clear on the order of things. You mentioned Madrid, Venice, Rome, Barcelona. I would not think that would be the order of your flights.

Language: so many people speak some English, you won't have any issues in Italy or Spain. Pick up maps for the bigger cities and you can go anywhere. Subways are easy in European cities. There are several posts on Fodors about different cities and how to use their bus and subways. You will have no problems.
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May 22nd, 2012, 09:05 PM
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<< 4. And last question 2-3 days in Rome,2 -3 days in Madrid ,2-3 days in Barcelona sound ok or to much? >>

Way too little time in these cities. I only count 4 days between the cruises. You're docking in Venice on 9/24 and have to get to Rome so that takes care of the 24th. You have a cruise starting in Barcelona on the 29th.

<< As we have never lived in the city we have never been on a subway or train in our entire lives so we have no experience to know how difficult it is to travel that way >>

I don't see where you're taking trains/subways but it's very easy. You've taken planes before (I'm guessing) so follow the same rules. When you get to the train station buy your ticket and look at the departure board for your track. Get on the train.

Subways are a bit different. Find the line you need to take to get to your destination. Look for changes on the line if you need to transfer to a new line. When you transfer follow the directions for the next line you need to take (the directions will be marked in the subway). Think of it as driving a car - take the first road, follow signs to transfer to the second road, etc.
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May 23rd, 2012, 06:02 AM
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Thanks We have from the 11th of Sept to visit Venice as our cruise departs on the 14 at 5:00pm. We were going to do Rome as well but have decided to stay in Venice during our lay over. Our ports are the Greek islands plus Croatia 10 days.Our last cruise is out of Barcelona on Sept 29 at 5:00pm going to France,Florence,Rome,Naples then we just do the excursions from the ship to see some of the sites we want to see.We will fly into Madrid on Sep 24 and stay there for several days and then to Barcelona until our last cruise.
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May 23rd, 2012, 06:18 AM
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My only caution is to watch out on EasyJet for excess baggage fees. If you're packing heavy for a cruise, you may find that the cost of baggage exceeds the cost of your flight. Plan and pay for everything in advance.
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May 23rd, 2012, 08:07 PM
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Based on the info about your cruises, staying in only one place between cruises makes sense. I would definitely stay in Venice and perhaps do a day trip if you feel you are "done" with Venice. It is a just a few minutes train ride to Padua or Vicenza and both offer really interesting things to see. You could also take a boat out to the nearby islands. Burano is very colorful. The vaporetto system in Venice is easy to see once you are there. All of Venice is actually walkable and the train station is right on the Grand Canal, so easy to get to for day trips.

On your Barcelona cruise, the ports of Livorno (to Florence) and Civitavecchia (for Rome) are some distance away from the cities. You won't have much time in either city, so read and plan carefully what exactly you want to see. As an experienced cruiser, I assume you have joined the roll call for your ships so you can hook up with others for good tours.

I would still choose Seville over Madrid just because it seems so old world to me. However, if you want to visit the Prado or other museums and Toledo, Madrid is a great choice and there are lots of other things to do. You could instead day trip to Segovia, which is lovely. They are both very short train trips from Madrid. All are easily walkable as is Madrid. There are buses in Madrid, but we mostly used taxis because they are so reasonable. At some point, go to Plaza Mayor late at night just to hang out and see any artists or muscians or dancers who might be there. Madrid is a great city for tapas bars.

If you have not been to Barcelona before, then I would stay three nights in Madrid and at least two nights before the cruise in Barcelona so you could have a whole day on the 28th to see things like Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, etc. then the morning of your cruise to see anything you missed that you want to see. Busses look pretty easy in Barcelona, but we took taxis just because it was faster and easier and we didn't mind spending a little more to get places.
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