Planning Europe Cruise in 2010

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loly

Guest
#1
Planning a cruise to Europe in 2010, it will be a group of 6 of us, but have no idea of where to start, I have read so much information I am all confused. First question is which would be the best cruise line for this, I have been a faithful RCL, but also see others like Costa, Norwegian etc, have cruises to Europe, we are thinking to travel to Madrid for like 2 days, then travel to Barcelona and spend another 2 days and from there take out cruise.... but I am totally lost when it comes to sight seeing, hotel etc. and I have been designated to plan all this, not a good thing... PLEASE HELP.....I am lost, too much to check, do, reserve, etc...
 
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Ted_D

Guest
#2
Loly,

It sounds to me as if you desperately need a good travel agent. This is exactly the kind of thing they do for
a living, and they can take a lot of the stress and risk out of planning a vacation into unfamiliar territory.

You didn't say what cities you planned to see on your cruise, and that is probably the place to start. There
are many itineraries -- some that focus on the western Med, others that do a complete loop, and others that
stay in the eastern Med. The cultures, languages, and sites in each case are very different. So, think about
what you want to see. Is Rome essential? Do you want to see Venice, or Athens? How about exotic cities
in Turkey, or the Greek islands? So start on what you want to see and how much time you have and settle
on the itinerary that suits you the best.

Second, in our experience, Mediterranean cruises are somewhat different from others in that they are much
more focused on the ports you visit, and less focused on the ship and its activities. While the ship still
matters, of course, it isn't nearly as important as on other cruises. If you are comfortable with the RCI product
and can find a route you like at a good price, book it. Or, if not, booking on any of the other mainstream line
that has the route and price that fits will probably do just as well.

Finally, I personally think it is a great idea having add-on days before, after, or both. Getting to Europe is
tedious and expensive, and having more time to see the major sites is a good idea. Having been there, though,
there is no question in my mind that I would want the extra days in Rome. There is more to see there than in
any other Med stop, and the ship will dock far away from the city, making a ride of nearly two hours to get to
the city and another two hours to return. It makes for terribly long days, and reduces the amount of time you
have to actually see the historical and cultural sites.

Good luck.

Ted
 
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Parrot Mom

Guest
#3
If your thinking of cruising from Barcelona..good thinking.. the biggest or second biggest in Europe. so much to see. Search the boards.we found a hotel that we book that is right on La Rambla and includes a 24 hour buffet and free internet service and many cruisers..Before you go to a travel agent (who I think are a waste of time)...Check out the itineraries of the several cruises..first decide when you want to go..summer is very, very hot and ships are packed.. We ourselves prefer the fall.. after September. We have ourselves discovered that trans-atlantics are a great value.. y ou fly to Europe and cruise home.. Now, check out the catalogs or on line and see what ships what ports that are attractive to your group.. NCL, Celebrity and Costa I believe leave from Barcelona... Do you want to visit Rome, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, ... You will have to make a list of three or cruises...and their itineraries. this is a good time to book because prices are low right now and for instance the NCL Jade is doing Europe all year round.. as are other ships who have learned that cruises love to go to Europe and the exchange is getting better
 
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BruinSteve

Guest
#4
loly,
I'll be doing my sixth European cruise on three different cruise lines in the last 8 years this June...
I will try to help you as much as I can here...

This is how I would approach it:

First, I would prioritize the various cruise lines...not yet settle on one (we'll get to that later)...Even though the cruises are generally port-intensive and a lot of time is spent off the ship, you still need to be comfortable with the ship...Everyone has their favorites...for different reasons...We all have different criteria and different standards...

Personally, for Europe, I prefer Celebrity...after that, I look to Oceania and Azamara-- (though both are smaller ships and a higher price range)...After those, I look to Royal Caribbean...Princess or HAL would come after that...and I would shy completely away from Carnival, NCL or Costa...but, that's me...

Here's how I view the various lines:

First, my criteria start with spaciousness first, then service and food, then entertainment and amenities...

Celebrity has some of the best space-per-passenger ratios...so their ships feel far more relaxing, less crowded...the food and service is excellent...and the prices are generally not as high as Oceania or Azamara so the value is outstanding...

Oceania and Azamara (both similar lines) offer no formal nights and open seating on small, comfortable uncrowded ships.

Royal Caribbean has the big ships and lots of entertainment, amenities and activities...but, on a Mediterranean cruise, when you're spending most LONG days in port, it's not all that important to have ice skating and rock climbing.

Princess is okay (I wasn't thrilled with several of the aspects of my two cruises with them) and HAL tends to get an older crowd (very good if you're in their demographic though).

Costa tends to cater priamrily to Europeans--so a lot of the entertainment and style isn't necessarily to American taste...and I've heard negative reports on food and service...

I don't think NCL and Carnival are very good products--Crowded ships, not well run, cut a lot of corners...

But, again, different things are important to different people...

NEXT, go to each cruise line's website in the order of the cruise line priority and check out the itineraries...Find the ports you want to visit and look for dates that work for you...Then you can start comparing the itineraries...

I prefer cruise that start in one port and end in another--since it allows you to do distinct pre- and post-cruise stays in two different ports...always good to do at least a couple of days pre-cruise--to catch up with jet lag and time zone changes...and to hedge against flight delays, missed connections and lost luggage...Also good to do both since most itineraries don't account for time to really see these cities.

Also consider the amount of time and the hours spent in each port...

Now, take your few favorite possibilities and bring them to a GOOD travel agent and ask them to get you prices on each--for inside, window and balcony, with and without airfare...Make sure each quote includes the same "apples for apples" inclusions or account for the values...

Now you have your choices...either one is going to stand out...or you're going to have a choice to present to your group...Good luck...
 
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CathyP

Guest
#5
We have cruised - RCL, HAL, Princess and Celebrity. Of those Celebrity is my favourite - however for a longer cruise I prefer Princess because of the ability to do you own laundry and ironing whenever we need to. It helps cut back on the amount of clothing (luggage) required for a longer trip...although I still manage to overpack :). Also amazing pricing currently avail on www:cruises-n-more ... we just booked 15 day transatlantic balcony for less then $100 per day
 

mrsrocster

Well-Known Member
#6
Wow, BruinSteve, another wonderful, informative post! Thanks! This is helpful for the novice traveler to the experienced traveler (cuz we all forget things now and then)!
 

iggy_az

Active Member
#7
loly
I just booked a 12 night cruise for June 8 , 2010 with RCL, Brilliance of the Seas
I picked the PCL becasue of the ports and the time allowed on shore. I really liked it being able to spend an evening in Venice. I also liked using Barselona as a start and return port. Cheaper and easier to get there then othe locations like Rome or Venice.

Here is the itinerary
08-Jun Barcelona, Spain 6:00 PM
09-Jun Cannes (Monte Carlo), France 10:00 AM 8:00 PM Tendered
10-Jun Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy 7:00 AM 7:00 PM Docked
11-Jun Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 7:00 AM 7:00 PM Docked
12-Jun Naples, Capri, Italy 7:00 AM 7:00 PM Docked
13-Jun Cruising
14-Jun Venice, Italy 1:30 PM Docked
15-Jun Venice, Italy 2:00 PM Docked
16-Jun Dubrovnik, Croatia 9:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked
17-Jun Corfu, Greece 7:00 AM 7:00 PM Docked
18-Jun Cruising
19-Jun Cruising
20-Jun Barcelona, Spain


Let me know what you think and if anyone else took this route I'd like to hear your opinions.