Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

What is a typical cruise day like on Mediterranean Cruise

What is a typical cruise day like on Mediterranean Cruise

Old Apr 4th, 2005, 05:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 79
What is a typical cruise day like on Mediterranean Cruise

I am struggling with the 'to cruise or to travel by land' decision. I have never been and would love to go to Italy, Spain, Southern France, Greece, Turkey, etc. These locations are all listed on quite a few 12-14 day cruises. My question is what does a cruise day look like for say a 7am to 8pm stop at Livorno (70 minutes to Florence from what I have gathered from other posts) vs. staying near or in Florence for say 4-5 days? If I toured the most popular sites, how many would I fit in and what would I miss out on?

I have read other posts on this same subject and there is very good information, but I am wondering what specifically I would miss out on in places like Florence, Venice, Barcelona, Nice, Athens, if I am there for 12 hours.

Also, I don't know if anyone has compared the expense of land travelling vs. cruise and excursions (non-cruiseline arranged excursions), but it seems to me that it is cheaper to cruise. I am not looking at luxury accomodations or fine dining when I am considering the land decision by any means.

Another option is the combination of cruising and travelling on land. If I was to do a 10-12 day cruise then spent a week after in Italy, what would be the best end destination? I would want to see some areas like quaint villages and countryside if I chose this option.

Please help out. We would plan this holiday for September or October.

toontown is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2005, 06:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,799
The one-day Livorno-to-Florence cruise tour is pretty hectic, but you can see enough to plan for a more leisurly visit next time.

We did a 10-day Med cruise last year and I did a trip report part of which covered the cruise here: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34498271

In general you get a pretty superficial view of the ports of call, however if you strike off on your own you can see quite a lot in a day's tour. What you will miss, obviously, is nighttime in Florence, or dawn over the rooftops, things like that. OTOH dawn over the ocean isn't all that bad either.

Our view is that it's an unfair comparison. Accommodations on the ship are generally of a higher standard than we could afford on land, but the room is smaller. But, it has an ocean view . The food is excellent but tends to the unadventurous, and some cruise lines have cuisine that is stubbornly independent of where you happen to be - everywhere is Caribbean to them.

As for expense, IMO there's no contest - the cruise is way cheaper on a per diem basis IF you're talking about the mid-market lines (not Radisson, Seabourne et al) and IF you can stay away from the bar, casino, ship shops, and IF you prefer to eat 3 or 4 or 6 meals a day, and IF you take the cheapest "excursions" or none at all - use the local trains, subways, buses, your shoes, etc. We rode the ship's bus into Florence, for instance (mainly because it was the fastest) then said Ciao to the crowd and didn't see them again until rendezvous time in the late afternoon. We had a fine time, but only 6 hours or so of it. But we were plenty tired and footsore, and the shower on the boat was better than any 2-star hotel shower I've ever had in Italy.

As for ports of call, independent activity, tour + shore alternatives, hey - that's travel planning. It's our obsession around here.
Gardyloo is online now  
Old Apr 4th, 2005, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 95
I hope you mean Sept-Oct of 2006...it's kinda late to start now especially since you haven't even decided whether to do land, cruise or combo. I'm doing an Oct, 2005 cruise that starts in Venice and ends in Barcelona. I booked the cruise in January, have 2 nights pre-cruise booked in Venice, 5 nights post-cruise in Barcelona, and all the private tours we want to do are booked also. I have been researching what to see/do and how to get around since I booked the cruise. We don't especially like cruising because you are on THEIR schedule...but we figured this might be the only time we'd get to Europe and this way would allow us to at least see a few things in a variety of places. Considering the time to actually get into each city (Rome, for example takes 1 1/2 hrs to get from ship to Rome)you will have about 6-8 hours to see things before you have to get back to the ship.
There's no way we'll see everything we'd like to see in that amount of time. We'd be running from one place to another...and that's not fun. So you have to decide what you really MUST see and plan around that. That's where the research comes in. A good website to read other cruiser's comments, questions, etc is www.cruisecritic.com
You might get a feel for what it's like cruising just by reading some of their trip reports. I hope this helps. By the way, we're looking at spending an easy $10k for this trip (3 weeks)including air, cruise, hotels before & after and tours, etc. But I knew in advance it would be at least that much so I'm prepared. Hotels in Venice and Barcelona don't come cheap. Plan on around $200/night. At least that was the range for the places I was considering staying at.
JIW is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2005, 07:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 79
I have printed the thread you referred to Gardyloo. I missed that one as I have printed off most others that refer to the Mediterranean or Italy. Thanks for the info.

JIW, yes I am planning on next year, but I find that to price things out you can't look too far ahead so I am using 2005 info for now to get an idea.

The costs that you are estimating I assume are in USD and for two people, is that right? I was figuring between $4,500 & $5,500 CAD for a 12 day cruise, then add on the post cruise stay.

Thanks for the tip on cruisecritic.com. I will research that one too.

toontown is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2005, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,026
I've done lots of both types of vacations and what I've found with cruise vacations is that you get a nice taste of several different places without having to drive/train or bus and without having to pack and repack and you cover a lot more ground because you are sailing while you are sleeping. If you took a bus tour, you would be driving during touring hours.

You can't possibly see all there is to see in a city like Barcelona in a 12 hour stop but you can pick a couple of highlights that suit your interests and find a good place to have a meal. If you really like a particular port then you can plan a return trip back to see it more in depth.

Another option is to pick a line that gives you a couple of days in the first/last ports, I know Orient Lines did that with the 2 we took with them, perhaps there are others that do that as well. And certainly there are many that have extensions.

I don't think it's too late to book for 2005 incidentally, I never plan anything more than 2-3 months in advance because of work scheduling and I have never had a problem getting on a cruise of my choice. But early booking discounts might be gone, air schedules might be a little less convenient....

If this is your first trip to Europe, don't put off getting your passport to the last minute though, I imagine it's a good 6-8 weeks to process normally.
Kristi is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2005, 11:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,399
Our 10 night early June cruise just dropped $500 per person for a mini suite balcony cabin. When final payment comes, about 2 months out, all those travelers on the fence cancel their booking and create new inventory at a lower price. This is not the case for every cruise, but if you are willing to travel on a shorter notice you may be able to get a good discount on certain itineraries.
travelinwifey is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2005, 03:12 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,260
WE've donme a number (15) of cruises and will be taking one in the Med this Summer.

Cruising is, IMO, not the way to do any place of any size in any kind of "depth."

You mentioned Livorno, specifically. At that port I would hazard a guess that the majority of passengers opt for the tour to Florence which takes a minimum of 1.5 hours each way to reach and that doesn't leave a lot of time to spend sightseeing.

There are many advantages to cruising whiuch i am certain you are already aware of.

My biggest piece of advice is this:

Never, EVER pay the "brochure price" for any cruise. Almost all of them can be obtained at a discount and I mean through a cruise discounter. Shop and compare the same cruise with several vendors..and I do NOT mean the cruise line itself. You'll come out ahead money-wise.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2005, 05:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,562
Hi toon,

Cruises are similar to sampling a buffet. A land visit is a sit-down dinner.

>I was figuring between $4,500 & $5,500 CAD for a 12 day cruise, ...<

That's about 3200E (4200 USD). Please forgive me for thinking in USD.

Air fare to Europe - 1400
Leaving 2800
Hotel @ 100 = 1000 - 1200
leaving 1600 - 1800 = 180 - 130/day

A very comfortable budget for 10 days in Paris with side trips or 6 days in Paris and 6 days in the French countryside. OR

10 - 12 days in Italy - visiting Rome, Florence and Venice

ira is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2005, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 141
Cruise allows you to sample many places in a short amount of time. Land allows you more concentration in a few places, to really understand and get the feel. The one thing I miss when cruising the Med, is experiencing the food and lifestyle of the local area. Due to time (and money), you may have a local lunch, but most meals are on-board. It's also difficult to learn about the people and how they live day-to-day. On the other hand, cruising allows you to see places that would be difficult with a land package, like - Ibiza and Mallorca for example. Much easier by cruise.
tamjam is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2005, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,469
Thanks for starting a very interesting thread.
massagediva is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Feb 18th, 2009 07:29 PM
Jul 23rd, 2007 11:45 AM
Dec 4th, 2006 11:21 PM
Mar 15th, 2006 05:43 PM
United States
Feb 1st, 2005 11:42 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information