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Back from our month long European vacation and cruise. thanks to all who gave such excellent advice

Back from our month long European vacation and cruise. thanks to all who gave such excellent advice

Jul 23rd, 2001, 11:45 AM
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Back from our month long European vacation and cruise. thanks to all who gave such excellent advice

We returned last week from our month long trip to Europe and the Mediterranean. Our trip incorporated a 1 night stay in Brussels,3 nights in Istanbul and then a 12 day cruise in the Mediterranean. Stops were Kusadasi, Turkey (Ephesus), Cyprus, Alexandria, Egypt (Cairo), Piraeus, Greece (Athens), Naples, Italy (Capri and Herculaneum), Civitevecchia (Rome), Villefranche, France (Eze and Monaco) and Barcelona, Spain. We then spent a few days in Barcelona, took a train to Avignon, spent 1 night there and then spent 4 nights in Les Baux. Then another train to Pais for 5 nights and then finally back to Brussels from where we flew back home.

I want to thank all the wonderful people who gave me such excellent advice on so many aspects, both directly and indirectly from other postings. it was great to meet up with a Fodorite who had given me such excellent advice on the area we stayed in Provence, (PB Provence. In many cases, because I had such great advice from other Fodorites, the traveling was so easy. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

We stayed in great, relatively inexpensive 3 and 4 star hotels. In many of the cruise stops we used the services of excellent guides in order to maximise the quality of our short visits.

After I finish the unpacking, ( I have no idea how I fitted so much stuff into 1 roll-on and 1 back pack for each of us and a big tog bag for the cruise.) I want to post a journal. I kept a handwritten journal for the first 3 weeks, but I hope to be able to put it out for others to benefit from.

P.S. I wore my Fodors pin for the first few days and then it kept on falling off, so I took it off before it got lost.
Jul 23rd, 2001, 05:02 PM
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Sounds like good trip.
Would like to know about your guides that you used. We are going on a cruise on August and are we are thinking about doing the tours offered by the ship
Jul 23rd, 2001, 05:17 PM
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Welcome home Lisa! And I guess I mean to the states AND this travel forum. We were in Turkey right before you, I think. No cruise, but I'm trying to remedy that by beginning to think of where to go next. Can't wait to hear how yours was! We've narrowed it down to a western med cruise or Spain. I'm sure your reflections will help.
Jul 23rd, 2001, 05:25 PM
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Glad to hear you had a good time.
did you do Pompeii or Herculeneum?
We did Herculaneum , but went earlier than planned.
Decided it would be good to do with husband, so went on the 1st.
Had a great guide named Hector.
A very knowledgable and funny gentleman!
Write more if /when you can.
Jul 24th, 2001, 12:15 PM
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Hello Lisa,
your trip sounds wonderfull.
Please can you give more details about the cruise (the shiping company, ship,the cabins and the cost).
Thank you
Jul 25th, 2001, 06:42 AM
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Thanks, Sean, Mary, Nancy and Ana
I have a very short review, mostly contacts for the private guides we used and a short description of the cruise stops at this URL

Ihave copious notes in my journal but the task of transcribing them onto a website is daunting.

Sean, I found it so much better to do private tours rather than the ships tours so if you can get a small group together, private tours are definitely the way to go. Witht he ships tours you spend a lot of time at a shopping area where the tour guide will get commission. I never found this with any of our private guides.

Mary, I'm looking forward to hearing your report on Turkey. I think you did more extensive traveling than we did. Didn't you love Turkey? It was so different than my preconceived ideas. I found Istanbul a beautiful, vibrant, exotic,cosmopolitan, sophisticated city. The coast line also looked beautiful. Kusadasi and Ephesus were fascinating (but hot).

Nancy, we did Herculaneum and were thrilled with the visit. The quality and condition of the ruins/remains is truly awesome. And the noteworthy aspect is that if it wasn't for Fodor's forum, I would not even have known of the existence of Herculaneum. Did you do both?

Ana, we went on the Celebrity Millenium.It is a newish ship (less than 1 year old) and it was beautiful. It is a great way to see the sights without having to make your own way there, check in and unpack at every venue.

Go to Celebritycruises.com. For pricing, it depends so much on when you go, number of people, when you book, which travel agent you book through, what kind of deals you can get, what category of "stateroom" you choose. The website will give you an idea of the ship but the prices they post on the website are higher than you can actually get. There are cruise travel agents which specialise in cruises and thus get block bookings at better prices. If you want the TA we used, I will be happy to give you the contact details.

The cruise was a 12 day cruise with 3 sea days, which were great to recuperate and relax. The food was excellent and available almost all day. There was plenty to keep us all busy with. They have an excellent gym at the front of the ship so you have a great view of the ocean while you are on the machines.

My 12 year old loved the kids programs which are very well run and we hardly saw him. As it was school holidays there were many kids of all ages and we never saw any evidence of bad behaviour that is someitmes evident when there are many kids (or so I have read). There are movies, shows (which were fair to good - not excellent, but entertaining) some lectures and other activities like Bingo etc.

There are 3 pools, (2 outdoor and 1 indoor) and about 6 jacuzzis. There is a health spa and beauty salon, stores and specialty sales and art auctions.

And of course, many places to relax.

I found it a great way to travel. Of course, you don't get enough time in each port but it gives you a great taste and you know where you want to go back. As you know you are in port for such a short time, you make the most of your time and put in an intensive day of sightseeing,

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