europe by cruise or land ?

Old Oct 29th, 2008, 11:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I used to think visiting Europe by cruise was an odd idea. However, after hearing many of my acquaintances (in the U.S.) do this, I realized that more than a few people have a different kind of objective when they travel. These folks were looking for the cheapest way to travel within "some" kind of European context. Whether the cruise involved only 6hrs of visit to Rome was immaterial.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 01:27 AM
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Echoing Ira & others, you need a new TA as a cruise is not the way to go for really seeing Europe.

If you feel you must take a tour in order to get your feet wet as a first-timer, also consider that taking the Cosmos tour you mentioned is not that different than a cruise as far as content goes. You will spend more time moving from city to city & unpacking than enjoying your vacation.
Start small & take a Paris/Rome tour or geographically more desirable first London, then thru the chunnel to Paris.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 01:55 AM
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I think Ira has hit the nail on the head. A cruise is for cruising! We've just completed a 5 day cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore at the end of our Turkey holiday.

As one poster stated the ports/docks are often 2 or 3 hours away from where you want to be. We did one land tour on our cruise and wished we hadn't bothered.

So definitely if you want a cruise plan to do just that but if you want to see Europe you can't do it in depth from a cruise ship.

Also bear in mind that the tours offered by the cruise ships are quite expensive extras as are the add-ons of drinks etc.

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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 03:13 AM
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Hi Katrina

I have used Cosmos twice and can thoroughly recommend them. I did a similar tour to the one you're looking at but with Trafalgar. It was great but quite rushed. I call it the taster plate! You'll get an idea of the places you'd like to return to. If you do a search of this forum there are some excellent threads on what to expect from a tour. Cosmos is you could say a 3 star rated tour. Very adequate but as it is cheaper the hotels may not be centrally located and will require taxis (you can even club with other guests to share costs) or public transport to get to the sites during your private time. Nothing major - your tour director will outline your transport options. TIP: Ask your travel agent to book you in on a guaranteed departure date to avoid the off chance of the tour being cancelled.

On the issue of cruising, I have just returned from a cruise in Asia and agree with the comments above. If you intend to cruise it is wonderful and relaxing and the emphasis is on cruising. I was considering a cruise in Europe and I am so glad I didn't. If you want to sitesee then I recommend taking a tour or doing it independently. If you do decide to cruise look at the itinerary - the more days at sea the better! Of course that means less siteseeing but that's the trade off.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 04:03 AM
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SOME folks actually manage to use cruise ship STOPS to greater advantage than others...yes, cruises are for cruising and part of "cruising" is STOPPING at interesting places.

I like cruises and I like land tours...and have done both, many times.

But to answer this very specific question I would definitely advise AGIANST taking a cruise IF your main objective is to see these two cities.

Why (for those of you who actually like more "rationale" than..."It's the OBVIOUS choice...")

BOTH of these cities are at least an hour by rail (who knows about cars/busses) from the nearest major cruise port.

Rarely do cruise ships "overnight" at the ports "for" Paris and Rome

You will have little time to buzz by even the major sites in either city although if "buzzing by" is adequate (and it IS for some people even though NOBODY here EVER claims to have known anyone like that!!!) then go for it.

"Value?" depends on one's definition

Cruising isn't exactly a real "popular" pasttime on this board...sometimes it's like saying you are planning to crash a plane into the Louvre.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 06:02 AM
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Ditto Dukey!

We've done both - we've enjoyed both. They are different animals. Sight-seeing during cruising - sure you can. Our Med cruise a couple of years ago was exhausting with all that we did - the ship simply provided a place to put our weary heads in relative luxury. Let's see - three days pre-cruise in Venice, then a day in Dubrovnik (6 hours of sight-seeing), Santorini (hired a local driver to take us everywhere for 8 hours), Athens (another local driver, spending 10 hours in Athens and Cape Sounion and places in between), Naples (a 10-hour day with 3 hours in Pompeii and the remainder on the Amalfi Coast), Civitavecchia (12-hour "tour" of Rome with a boutique tour company, including much of ancient Rome as well as the Vatican Museum and St. Peters), Livorno (a 10-hour day, with 8 hours in Firenze on our own - our second trip to Firenze), Villefranche sur Mer (another 10-hour day visiting Nice and Cours Saleya, Eze, St. Paul de Vence, and Monte Carlo), and Barcelona. I admit, by the time we got to Barcelona, we were tired.

Of course, as noted previously, I prefer land "tours" and slow travel at that, but to infer that people who cruise do so simply to relax and not obtain "value" is incredibly short-sighted and parochial, and a bit paternalistic.

Lighten up folks!

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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 07:46 AM
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There are several cruises that are good choices for Europe.

The Baltic Sea cruise. The Northern countries are notoriously expensive so the cruise gives you great value for transportation, meals and lodging. The Northern cities, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Talin and/or Gdansk are pretty good one day stops and most of the ships stop for two days in St. Petersburg.

The Greek Island Easy Cruise. The ship is almost a hostel on the sea. It sails during the day and allows you to experience nightlife on the Greek Isles. Again the stops are good one day stops.

A river cruise that includes stops in many smaller cities that can be explored in one day.

A cruise might also be good for the Aegean sea. You can start in Venice and spend a couple days before the cruise begins.

I wouldn't use a cruise for stops that need more than a day to see. I would skip Rome rather than take an hour and a half to get into town, spend six hours there, then head back to the ship.

Another option would be to take a cruise as part of a bigger vacation. You could take a Mediterrainean cruise from say Barcelona to Rome, stay in Rome for several days, rent a car or ride the train back through the places you had just visited spending more time at the places you wanted to see and visiting sites in between.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 10:36 AM
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I agree with the comments that if the main point of the trip to Europe is to see Paris and Rome, a cruise would not offer enough time for you to enjoy those cities.

I like to cruise, and I also like land based vacations. When I take a cruise, I choose itineraries where I think I would be satisfied with just a "taste" of each port.

I'll be taking a 14 night Baltic cruise next summer and I've never had any particular interest in seeing any of the cities we'll be stopping at.

With this cruise I'll get the best of both worlds this way - I'll be enjoying the cruise itself and a taste of each of the ports.

Perhaps the small amount of time spent in one of the cities will prompt me to return for a more in depth (non-cruise) trip at a later time.
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