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(Experienced Euro Travelers) Cruise VS. Land Exploring

(Experienced Euro Travelers) Cruise VS. Land Exploring

Dec 8th, 2003, 07:54 AM
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(Experienced Euro Travelers) Cruise VS. Land Exploring

This question is for those who have seen Europe by cruise ship and on land....

If money were not an object and time is - two week max - would you choose a cruise or land journey through Europe? Why? What were the benefits and drawbacks of each? Was the cruise worth the high price?
Big_Daddy is offline  
Dec 8th, 2003, 11:15 AM
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All I can say is that anyone who pays the "brochure price" for ANY cruise is doing themselves a disservice since just about all of them are available at a discount. Not sure the resultant price is any "higher" than two weeks spent on land WITH the same level of service, food, fairly hassle-free movement, etc.

The way your question is worded it sounds as if you may be prejudiced against any sort of cruise travel from the start but I could be wrong about that, of course.

That said, my biggest concern would be the inability to do any sort of "in depth" exploration of port calls given their brevity on most cuise itineraries. Secondly, ports of call are not necessarily "typical" of the visited country which is a concern for some travelers. I suppose one "advantage" of a pre-arranged cruise ship itinerary is that it removes many of the planning aspects of the journey which some travelers would just as soon not be concerned with. But cruise ships don't typically visit the "interior" of any country, etc., etc...the list of pros and cons is probably endless.
Dec 8th, 2003, 11:46 AM
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I can tell you only what my research has, as I have not done the cruise thing in Europe. I will assume you are referring to one of the plethora of river cruises. We found them to be quite pricey & not necessarily what we were looking for although I can see an advantage in visiting a few hard to get to places. I guess the primary item (outside of the cost) would be what places & things you are looking for &/or to do. I personally like to settle in places for a longer period of a time so I would hesitate to take any cruise unless perhaps it were specific to something I especially enjoyed (such as a wine cruise through down the Mosel or in Bordeaux). Best I can do, but if you give us a little better idea of what you are trying to do, see or accomplish that may help.
SAnParis is offline  
Dec 8th, 2003, 12:05 PM
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Hi Dad,

You have to give us some idea of what you have in mind. There are numerous cruises inside Europe and along the coasts, not to mention barges and canals both crewed and bare boat.
ira is offline  
Dec 8th, 2003, 12:20 PM
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Although I know more and more cruises are doing two or three day stops in cities, the main difference has always been that you really can't experience a city or a country by getting off a ship for a few hours and being taken to a couple of tourist spots. You especially don't get a chance to eat with the locals or enjoy local customs, but usually get back on your ship for the same cuisine you'd have anywhere else.
Dec 8th, 2003, 12:23 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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Cruises usually spend a few hours to a day in any one location. While you may visit many locations, each visit is short and quick. We have always opted for land journeys as we don't want to be on such a tight and organized schedule. We also like to explore on our own and perhaps more in depth.

This is a very personal decision. I have friends who love european cruises visiting as many highlights as possible.
JuneAnn is offline  
Dec 8th, 2003, 12:41 PM
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I am referring to Med. cruises. The specific cruise I am looking at is Celebrity - Barcelona to Venice.
I usually like to spend more time in places and would want to avoid quick stops but the cruise is also appealing for lack of planning concerns. I thought it would be pretty spectacular to be aboard a luxury ship in the middle of the Med. at night with twinkling lights on the coast. i thought I would get a "sampler" of many different countries.
But I also hate the quick stops. I reallly want to do the Greek Islands - this cruise only stops in Mykonos and Santorini. I could take ferries and spend more time island hopping but then again I would feel stressed working out all the details.
Big_Daddy is offline  
Dec 8th, 2003, 01:54 PM
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I've traveled in Europe, and I took a Med cruise - and I liked both. For the travel within Europe: Pros: Can plan your own schedule, can lay out exact itinerary, less expensive sometimes, completely custom. Cons: You don't know what you don't know, extensive exhaustive planning, don't really know tour people. Med Cruise (we did Symphony - absolutely the most amazing experience) - Pros: Once booked, no worries, food was spectacular, tours were absolutely amazing, never bored - but could relax as needed - one stop shopping; Cons: was expensive, wanted to go to a few more Italian cities not on the itinerary. BUT - I loved the cruise because it let me get a taste of several countries/cities (some of which wouldn't have been on my list - but were wonderful) and now I can go back and spend more time in the places I loved. To me, it was worth the price.... I thought I would want to spend more time in the Greek Islands (we stopped in Mykonos and Santorini) - and they were beautiful - but I actually like warm water that's very clear - and it's not like that there. It's gorgeous - don't get me wrong - but it's not Hawaii, Tahiti or the Caribbean where you can see forever. Was wonderful on a ship - get a balcony!!!! Do both. At different times......
Debi is offline  
Dec 8th, 2003, 02:00 PM
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I guess I'd never cruise unless I couldn't walk somewhere. But then DH and I love to walk everywhere.

Cruising the Greek Islands? certainly.

Cruise to only see the shorelines of Mainland Greece, Italy, or even Great Britain or Ireland? never!
Koshka is offline  
Dec 8th, 2003, 02:53 PM
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Big Daddy, have you posted your question on the cruise forum here? I think the people there may be more positively predisposed to cruises & you should get a fair mix of opinions. The obvious benefits to cruises are:

>no packing & unpacking
>no plane, train or car travel
>a certainty of accomodation
>food probably designed for American tastes
>no planning required

the cons
>limited time onshore
>land trips from the ship are evidently expensive in many places (we often get people asking about "do it yourself" land trips)

I would consider a Greek Island cruise or perhaps a French barge canal tour but not anything like you're considering. I ENJOY exploring, planning & getting a feel for the country I'm visiting, but many people prefer the "safety" (food, accomodation, pampering) of a ship.
mclaurie is offline  
Dec 8th, 2003, 03:33 PM
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hi big daddy,

I really think you are talking about 3 distinctly different types of vacations, and the reasons for chosing one over the other can be different for different people. You would select whichever you are in the mood for or can afford.

As stated by others above, a cruise thru the Med, would be relaxing way to just sit back and enjoy the views. You don't have to plan or worry about anything other than making it back to the ship on time. Most cruises, your food, of course your accommodations, and travel itinerary are completely taken care of, and as a result, the cruise is much more expensive. A cruise is also limited to ports of call only, but a good cruise would be stopping for more than just one night to give people a chance to really explore a city or area. A bad cruise would be stopping for just a few hours or part of a day. But the Med. ports of call have to be some of the most beautiful in the world, don't you think?

Compare a cruise vs. the 2nd type of vacation, a land group excursion tour. A land tour or land group excursion can have just as much taken care of as the cruise. Food, travel, hotel, and itinerary. The difference is you have to move everything around each day, luggage etc. The benefit, for some, you get to see more of an the inland country and major cities which are not on the waterway, and in less time. But for the hassle of moving everything around from hotel to hotel, I would prefer a med. cruise over a group land tour anyday and would consider it a near perfect no worries vacation.

If I could afford it, I would love to do an alaskian, norweigan, or med. cruise. I think it would be a wonderfully relaxing vacation...(you notice I mentioned colder or moderate weather cruises only...I am not a warm weather crusie person).

I personally will never do a group excursion on land again unless I am in a 3rd world country. I think you waste alot of time getting to and from places and most group land excursions are prone to take you to the least expensive, most worn hotels, and your time is too restrictive.

Now, the 3rd type of trip is a do it yourself vacation of a country or city. Which most of us do. Unless you are paying a travel agent to do the work, this type of trip takes a lot of planning and co-ordination, but that do-it-yourself saves alot of money and allows you to do much more. The drawback, it's your baby...you have to worry about the connections and travel and reservations etc.

I would also never try to do a whirlwind country tour on my own. I don't believe in the "see all of Italy in 16 days or less" thing. Why do that? I prefer to base myself out of one city and branch out from there. Next time, I will pick another area and do the same.

No, big daddy, I think each of these vacations have their pros and cons, and each individual has to determine which suits them best.

I have a friend who always takes a cruise on vacation. She prefers it over any other type of vacation because her job, 9-5 each day is planning....planning and ...planning. She wants a no hassle, worry free vacation, where she can sit back and simply relax. She packs a bag, flys to meet the ship and forgets any worries from that point on. It does her a world of good! She comes back completely refreshed. So, for her it works.

I have another friend that likes the security of a group tour. She often travels in areas where she does not know the language and she prefers a tour guide. She also does not like having to worry about getting to and from areas and likes the fact that the plans are already set. For her, the group excursion works perfectly. She packs like and uses one suitcase only.

For me, I prefer city stays on my own, traveling to one major city and branching out from there, but would hop at a chance to do one of the colder weather cruises in a ny minute.

hope this helps!


erinb is offline  
Dec 9th, 2003, 05:24 AM
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appreciate the responses.

most of my life i have spent vacations doing my own planning to save on $$ . this has always been wonderful but i usually try to see too much.

last year i did Hawaii and decided to stay in only one place the entire trip and it was easily the most relaxing trip yet - thus the choice of picking the cruise this year?
Big_Daddy is offline  
Dec 9th, 2003, 05:34 AM
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>last year i did Hawaii and decided to stay in only one place the entire trip and it was easily the most relaxing trip yet .....<

So, how about one week in Rome and one week on the Amalfi Coast? I think you could afford a driver from Rome to Positano or Sorrento for the savings on the cruise.
ira is offline  
Dec 9th, 2003, 11:44 AM
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If you want convenience and easy logistics then take a cruise--anywhere.
If you want to see south Europe then do not begin to think you can experience it from a cruise ship.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Dec 9th, 2003, 12:24 PM
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Love the name, BD !

How about 3 nights in Barcelona before the cruise and 3 nights in Venice after the cruise?

TamT is offline  
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