europe by cruise or land ?

Old Oct 19th, 2008, 01:25 PM
  #1  
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europe by cruise or land ?

My husband and I are wanting to go to europe and have been trying to decide whether a cruise or tour by land would be better. My travel agent suggested a cruise for value. We especially want to see Paris and Rome but would appreciate any suggestions.
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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TAW
 
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We took a cruise in 2005...started in Venice and ended in Barcelona. While we got to see a little of each city/area it was just a tease and not enough. As for seeing Rome...it's about 1 1/2 hrs from the cruise dock to Rome, so roundtrip cuts 3 hrs out of seeing anything in Rome. We virtually RAN thru Rome to see a few specific places on our list...Coliseum, Roman Forum, Vatican, and Pantheon (not in that order). No time for anything else since we only had about 5 - 6 hrs there. I would imagine Paris would be the same. A cruise is ok as a floating hotel room and it allows a glimpse of those wonderful places but not if you want to see those 2 cities in depth and really enjoy what each has to offer. After you've been to Italy you can't wait to go back. It is just wonderful!
If the cruise you are thinking of starts or ends in or near either Paris or Rome you could extend your trip and either arrive a few days before or stay after the cruise. We did that on both ends. Arrived 3 days ahead in Venice to see it by ourselves and stayed a week in Barcelona on our own. That worked great for us. Good luck with whatever you decide!
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 01:56 PM
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If you especially want to see Paris and Rome, I wouldn't suggest a cruise. Neither is on the shore, plus most cruises will give you only one day in the cities. And a short day at that, by the time get there and have to get back before the ship leaves. Not my idea of value!
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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You cannot begin to experience Europe from a ship--just a tease at best.
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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Our first trip to Europe was Switzerland on business. It was 5 star all the way.

We knew we couldn't afford that luxury, so when a cruise ship we had sailed on in the Caribbean offered us 2 for 1 in the Med. we jumped at the opportunity. It also was the same room we had before, so we thought it was an omen.

Off to Rome we went, then on to the Star Flyer(150 passengers, so not too big).

We went Corsica, Portofino, Nice, Monte Carlo, Elba, and the port for Florence.

Yes, it was just a teaser, but we loved it. We saw places we would never get to otherwise, and the small ship was a good fit for us. We also like Windstar cruises.

When they booked our airfare on that first cruise, the return trip flew us from Rome to Paris, to Chicago. How could we change planes in Paris and not see Paris?

We stayed for 4 nights and fell in love with Paris. We just completed our 6th trip to Paris in Sept.

We now go to Europe every year, and feel the cruise was a good way to start. It gave us a taste of dealing with foreign languages and places, but with the comfort of the ship to return to.
We owe our love of Paris to that plane change that started it all.

We haven't been on another European cruise, but wouldn't rule it out. Next time it will be on the Windsurf out of Venice.

If you do decide on a cruise, do your homework and choose the ship that is best for you.

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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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You have to decide what "value" you might want to consider.

If you define "value" as money spent per hours traveled, you might conclude that a cruise is a better value.

However, if you define "value" as money spent per hour of exposure to the culture, a cruise would likely come out short.

Here is one 7 night Western Mediterranean cruise I just looked up. I listed the "land time"

Malta 7hrs
Naples 11hrs
Civitavecchia 12hrs (previous post says ~6hrs of usable time)
Livorno 12hrs
Villefranche 8hrs

for the total of 50hrs. Of course, from these you have to subtract many hours getting off the boat and back to the boat.
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 03:21 PM
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If you want lots of water, lots of socializing, lots of food included -- and a teensy tiny bit of "Europe". Take a cruise. If you are "cruise people" who enjoy the ship as much or more than the places - a cruise would be great. But it is definitely not a way to "see Europe".

If you want to see a few cities in Europe - stick to land.

Brief shore excursions are not seeing Europe.
janisj is online now  
Old Oct 19th, 2008, 03:37 PM
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Brief shore excursions are not seeing Europe.

Well what is it that you are seeing then?
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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My first exposure to Brugge and Lisbon was by cruise ship..and then I knew I'd want to go back.

Maybe the perfect idea is
fly over to Paris (there are specials for 6 or 10 days or more, that include hotel for the price of the airfare - and then time it to catch a cruise back to the states, with more stops in other countries,

I think that's probably the best of both worlds.
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 04:19 PM
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I would love to see a cruise ship in Paris (it would be wider than the Seine). And the port of Rome is more than an hour from the city.

If you want to see Paris and Rome you should just buy air tickets and go.

A cruise would be ridiculous and a tour unnecessary.
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 05:42 PM
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If it has to be either/or, I'd certainly pick "by land." We've done both, and you simply get "different" value from each mode. Our first trip (within the last 10 years anyway) was 4 days in Paris followed by 2 weeks in Italy (villa in Umbria for a week with daytrips followed by a week in Positano/Capri/Rome). It was wonderful!

Our next was a 12-day Med cruise to celebrate our daughter's college graduation. This was her first foray across the pond, and she's now hooked. The other posters are right though - other than our decision to go early for 4 days in Venice, the rest of the cruise gave us a taste of the other ports; of course DW and I had already spent time in some of the locations so we didn't mind taking a second taste.

This year DW and I spent 3 weeks in France (one week each an apartment or house in Paris, Provence, and Cote d'Azur), and that is now my preferred mode of travel. Relaxing plus busy - with enough time to wine away the hours sitting on a balcony or terrace in the late afternoon.

Our next trip, next June, will be a 12-night cruise of the Baltics and St. Petersburg (with 3 full days in St. Petersburg). Unfortunately more tasting and not in-depth, but oh well!

The dilemma for us (and maybe others) is that there are so many places to see and visit before our time is up that there's not enough time to do it all. But that dilemma is also a pleasure, because now I get to decide and plan our trip after next June - possibly Argentina???

For what you've indicated as your interests, I'd stick to land and try to spend as much time as you can in each location so that you also have time to wine away the hours.

Bon voyage,

Sam
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 05:56 PM
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"Brief shore excursions are not seeing Europe.

Well what is it that you are seeing then?
"

You are seeing 1) the inside of the tour coach, 2) all the same folks you had dinner and breakfast w/, 3) a glimpse of the Coliseum, a bit of the Acropolis, 4) a mad dash back to the ship before it sails that night.

There is absolutely nothing wrong w/ a cruise. They are great. Just don't equate a European cruise w/ "seeing Europe". And they really do not save money -- sure the stateroom and meals are included - but that is very expensive transportation to just see a few cities for 6-7 hours each. And you have to pay extra to tour each of those cities.

Whereas, If you are staying IN Rome or Paris or wherever - you walk outside your hotel and you are right there seeing Rome or Paris or wherever.
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 06:50 PM
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We have not done a cruise, so we only have half of the picture - we have seriously considered a cruise several times, but ultimately decided to do an independent land vacation each time.

The lack of time spent in the areas we want to visit is what always deters us from choosing a cruise. We have discovered that most of our favorite memories from trips are memories of hanging out, just soaking up the scene. If we only allow ourselves a small amount of time someplace, we never get to the part where we relax and just soak it up - we end up going away feeling like we weren't really there at all.

So we find other ways to get the most for our money - moderate accomodations, moderate to inexpensive restaurants, picnics, walking tours rather than coach tours, bike rentals and public transportation, etc.
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 06:56 PM
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I think it boils down to this katrina, do you want to be in Europe and have the day to day experiences of being in Rome and Paris or do you want a vacation where you are on a floating hotel/restaurant and just want to catch a glimpse of Rome and Paris?

First decide on what you want from this trip. After that decision you will make the right choice I would think.

I would never tell anyone what is best for them. But for me going and staying in Rome and Paris would be the answer but I know others that love cruises and so their way of travelling works for them.

P.S. If you want to especially see Paris and Rome per your last comment it would seem to me a cruise is not what you are looking for and it seems to me that your travel agent is not listening to you. If you want to visit Paris and Rome you do not even need a travel agent. Book a multicity flight, fly into one city and fly home from the other city. Book your own hotels etc. There is a wealth of information here on Fodor's that you can research and when you have questions Fodorite's are so generous in giving advice and opinions. Best regards and I hope you work out the trip that will be best for you two!
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 03:45 AM
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I've been to Europe many times and of course by land would be my choice. However, if the price was right and the itinerary included several stops or if you could be docked for two days in one port, I would consider it. I have only been on one cruise in my life and that was to French Polynesia, What I disliked were the "wasted days" at sea. The following year we went back to the Society Islands and did a land sejour. Again, personally, I would consider a European cruise but I would include a few days in Barcelona or wherever the trip ends.
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 05:45 AM
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ira
 
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Hi K,

If you want to visit Paris and Rome, go to Paris and Rome.

If you want to go on a cruise, go on a cruise.

They are two completely different adventures.

>My travel agent suggested a cruise for value.<

Value to whom?

Your TA gets a commission from the cruise line that is much higher than any commission from booking you hotels, etc.

You certainly don't need a tour group to do a week in each city.

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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 07:24 AM
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By land is my only way. To get the full sense of a city I feel you have to wake up there and get out early before the tourists hordes are up and experience the city awakening, the people going to work, the early markets etc.
Spend a few days in Paris and a few days in Rome. Explore, get lost and don't worry about getting back to the ship on time.
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Old Oct 26th, 2008, 02:05 PM
  #18  
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Thanks to everyone for your advise. Land sure sounds like the way to go. I have looked into tours. Could anyone help me with a tour company. Cosmos has a 14 day tour starting in London and traveling to Paris, Lucerne,Venice,Rome, and a couple of other cities. I don't have the info in front of me. Globus is another. Never having been to Europe,I thought a tour may be the way to go.
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Old Oct 26th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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how about a river cruise? Don't know if they go anywhere near Paris or Rome, don't guess so, since neither river looks wide enough to my untutored eye, but you could fly into one or the other city, pick up the cruise at where ever is nearest then continue on.

here are 2 companies:

http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/us/

http://www.deilmann-cruises.com/

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Old Oct 26th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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hi katrina,

<<and have been trying to decide whether a cruise or tour by land would be better. My travel agent suggested a cruise for value. We especially want to see Paris and Rome>>

LOL - any TA who thinks that a cruise is a good and "value" way of seeing Paris needs to get a map - or a different career.

what Ira says - if you specaily want to see Paris and Rome, that's what you do. it's dead easy - open-jaw flight into Paris, train to Rome [lots of fun, and once you factor in the time taken hanging around at ariports not that much longer] fly home from Rome.

depending on the time you have, and when you are travelling, you might like to think about adding a middle "non-city" section - the alps, italian lakes, the cinque terre - somewhere where you can relax and gird your loins for Rome.

have a great trip,

regards, ann
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