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  #1  
Old July 31st, 2013, 04:51 AM
Sian230 Sian230 is offline
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Default What's more important - Ship or itinerary? Help needed for newbie!

Hi all,

I'm new to the World of cruising, bar one cruise that I took 12 years ago with my parents aboard the Thomson Emerald, so hoping for some help and advice…

After lots of indecisiveness about where to holiday this year, my boyfriend and I have decided to go for a last minute cruise, looking to leave anytime between the 1st and 10th of September (although if the deal warranted it, we could go a bit later during September).

When looking at holidays, we were trying to decide between Santorini, Mykinos, Croatia and Italy so wanted to choose a cruise along the lines of this itinerary, if possible. We came across a few, but after research have pushed them aside and believe that, the best line that we could go for with our money is Royal Caribbean, over MSC and NLC (we cannot spend more than £750 each inc flights) - but do correct me if you do not believe that to be true!

I have found 3 cruises with RCI which fit my criteria, and was hoping for some thoughts and opinions on which may suit us better.

We are a couple of 28, no children. My boyfriend doesn't seem to be able to sit still for more than 5 minutes, so we need a holiday which is fairly active, and we both enjoy a nice meal, drink and entertainment in the evenings - although aren't party animals!

With regards to itineraries, my favourite is that of the 7 Night Greek Isles & Turkey Cruise, which includes:

Venice, Italy
Split, Croatia
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
Mykonos, Greece
Argostoli, Greece
Venice, Italy

However, this is on the Splendour of the Seas, which I understand to be a smaller and older ship. Do you think that this would cater to our needs?

Or, are we better off on either the 7 Night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise or 7 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise on the Navigator and Liberty, respectively?

We aren't sure if we should put ship or itinerary first and, as it is my first recent cruise and my boyfriends first ever cruise, we want to be sure to make the right choice.

Apologies for the long post, but I look forward to your comments.

Regards,
Sian

Last edited by Sian230; July 31st, 2013 at 04:53 AM.
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  #2  
Old July 31st, 2013, 05:00 AM
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papaflamingo papaflamingo is offline
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Wow...tough question. For me, I look at both. When I cruise somewhere I have never been, I look at itinerary. If I cruise where I have been before, I look at the ship. If you plan to spend a lot of time on shore then I'd definitely go for itinerary. Not to sure of the demographic make up of European cruises. I love the class ship that Splendor is. But no doubt Navigator or Liberty will give you more in the way of night life. So if that is most important, look at the itinerary of each and decide. Personally, any cruise is great and every ship offers a certain experience different from others.
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  #3  
Old July 31st, 2013, 05:20 AM
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I will vote for Splendour - I like the vision class of ship and the itinerary is much more interesting - but since Liberty is a bigger ship there will be more 'night life' and activities.
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  #4  
Old July 31st, 2013, 05:21 AM
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anandaindonesia anandaindonesia is offline
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Take your favorite itinerary.

It's your favorite, so you'll like it. You WILL love your cruise, just don't try to do everything at one time. You can try many other ships later.

Bon voyage.
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  #5  
Old July 31st, 2013, 05:37 AM
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villauk villauk is online now
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If I was in your shoes, I'd look at Navigator out of Rome. There are some really good prices on the Eastern Med route which includes Kusadasi and Crete. I only say this because even though I think the Splendour itinerary is excellent, the prices for Navigator are very low and it will be the last season it does this route (next year it's staying in the States). IMHO, Navigator is a larger ship with more amenities for a more active vacation and if you haven't sailed any of the itineraries, I'd go for the better deal.

Check the flight prices for the weeks you are considering (not sure if you know you don't have to book the flights through RCI?). Obviously, you'll have to consider transfer costs too. We have stayed several times in a small hotel in Civitavecchia that offer transfers to and from the airport as well as to the port.

OTOH, there is no sail away that compares to Venice. It's a tough decision, perhaps looking at overall costs will help you finally decide.

Btw, we have sailed all 3 ships and more than once on some of the itineraries you mention (see signature).
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Old July 31st, 2013, 05:41 AM
Sian230 Sian230 is offline
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Thank you all for your replies so far. It's a hard decision to make as each of the itineraries has its plus points. Venice and Santorini combined sounds great to me, and we would def do some day trips there, but spome of the other days we will want to just chill out I think, which is where a nice ship comes into play.

Perhaps I will take a look at the Splendour and Navigator cruises this afternoon and try to price them up. The only one that I've priced up so far is the Liberty cruise and that came out at £750 including flights for an outside cabin (I think).

I will try and come back with the different prices and see if that helps sway which is more worth while for the money.

Thank you all for your time so far

Sian
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  #7  
Old July 31st, 2013, 05:42 AM
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mondas42 mondas42 is offline
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I suppose it depends on what you want to do in the evenings, Splendour has just had a large makeover and there is more places to eat and drink than before, however it does not have a nightclub; Navigator has one. During the day if you are not off the ship I guess the experience will be the same -ish. you lounge by the pool, drink etc but it will be the evening you may notice the difference. TBH though when you get back from a intensive day in port you will be shattered and we are always too tired to party!

Have fun
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  #8  
Old July 31st, 2013, 05:57 AM
Sian230 Sian230 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by villauk View Post
Btw, we have sailed all 3 ships and more than once on some of the itineraries you mention (see signature).
Can I ask...which was your favourite, and why?
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  #9  
Old July 31st, 2013, 05:58 AM
Sian230 Sian230 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mondas42 View Post
TBH though when you get back from a intensive day in port you will be shattered and we are always too tired to party!
Have fun
I was thinking this...maybe we will just have to upgrade to a balcony cabin on the cheapest offer and drink there instead
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  #10  
Old July 31st, 2013, 06:06 AM
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In that case you might find that balconies TEND to be more expensive on the smaller ships as there are less of them. I emphasise TEND as its not always the case.
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  #11  
Old July 31st, 2013, 06:09 AM
Sian230 Sian230 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mondas42 View Post
In that case you might find that balconies TEND to be more expensive on the smaller ships as there are less of them. I emphasise TEND as its not always the case.
Thank you, I hadn't thought of it like that.

I'm just waiting for my lunch hour to come round now so I can 'officially' spend time researching the best deals for these three cruises and report back
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  #12  
Old July 31st, 2013, 06:32 AM
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I think that on a port intensive itinerary (where you hardly have any sea days), the ship matters less. You will be off the ship at each port exploring, and will come back tired, so you'll have dinner, perhaps see the show, and fall asleep because you will be getting up early the next day to repeat.
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  #13  
Old July 31st, 2013, 06:34 AM
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villauk villauk is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sian230 View Post
Can I ask...which was your favourite, and why?
That's a difficult one to answer, especially as we have kids so our priorities may be different to yours.

For ease of port, that has to be Barcelona; it's also a great port to explore. Venice is very expensive, however if you've never experienced it previously, then there is nothing quite like it. Remember, you won't have time to see much of Venice unless you plan to fly in early or stay post cruise for a day or two. Now if they swapped Split for Dubrovnik on the Splendour itinerary, that would be fabulous (only my opinion as we prefer Dubrovnik to Split).

Rome is about 45 mins to 1 hour from the airport to Civitevecchia port, but we like the feel of the seaside atmosphere (especially as we tend to fly in the day before the cruise leaves to extend our vacation).

The larger the ship the more amenities it has to offer. Our actual favourite class of ship is Radiance, however out of the three you list, Splendour is probably our least favourite (she has been refurbished recently, so that's a definite positive to consider). Liberty and Navigator offer more of a 'happening vibe', mainly because of the promenade and the parades/shows etc. it holds there i.e. Saturday Night Fever.

If you can't stretch to a balcony cabin, consider one of the promenade view cabins on the larger ships - they are nice cabins with a love seat overlooking the promenade - great for watching the parades and other cruisers .

I think you need to look at costings and where you would really like to sail to. If you intend to make cruising a regular vacation of choice, then look at what offers the best deal at the time. If it's a one-off, then go with the itinerary you are desperate to visit. Saying that, I'm sure it won't be long into your holiday until you're 'hooked' like the rest of us .
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  #14  
Old July 31st, 2013, 06:50 AM
Sian230 Sian230 is offline
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That's all really good to know, so thank you for explaining further.
I've just checked a few sites, and the Greek Islands Splendour cruise is coming out at over £1000 for an inside cabin, whereas the other two are coming in closer to £720, so i think, very sadly, Splendour has been knocked out of this round.

With regards to the other two cruises, we have no preference over either itinerary nor ship (Liberty & Navigator), so now it is down to getting the best deal I think.

Are there any places that I should be keeping an eye out for deals etc?

Thanks,
Sian
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  #15  
Old July 31st, 2013, 06:58 AM
PattyG12 PattyG12 is offline
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When you're budgeting for the trip, please remember that the normal tips are not included in your price. Neither are excursions or alcohol or gambling. I remember our first trip, we found a good price but when we got on board we hadn't saved nearly enough for the extras!
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Old July 31st, 2013, 07:01 AM
Sian230 Sian230 is offline
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Thank you Patty, this is why we need to stick to our £720 budget for the cruise and flights for a week, so that we then have enuogh to be able to enjoy the cruise itself and the port visits etc .
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  #17  
Old July 31st, 2013, 07:03 AM
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Default Itinerary vs. Ship?

Everyone has their own preference regarding this question. For DH and me, we always put itinerary first over ship. When it's time to decide for our next cruise, we figure out where we want to go, then look to see what our options are regarding what ships go where. We've never been disappointed with how this has worked out for us.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 07:11 AM
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Mycraft Mycraft is offline
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There must be always a good balance between itinerary / ship and Price...

Freedom Class ships are my favorite so i would choose liberty over navigator...simply more things to do there...and less crowded...
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Old July 31st, 2013, 07:16 AM
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villauk villauk is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sian230 View Post
That's all really good to know, so thank you for explaining further.
I've just checked a few sites, and the Greek Islands Splendour cruise is coming out at over £1000 for an inside cabin, whereas the other two are coming in closer to £720, so i think, very sadly, Splendour has been knocked out of this round.

With regards to the other two cruises, we have no preference over either itinerary nor ship (Liberty & Navigator), so now it is down to getting the best deal I think.

Are there any places that I should be keeping an eye out for deals etc?

Thanks,
Sian

We can't quote any TAs on this site and to be honest, recently RCI have restricted TAs giving any additional discounts in the UK.

Check out the RCI UK website, I think they are offering OBC when booking a last minute 2013 Med cruise. I would have included a link to the Tuesday specials as there are a few last minute deals for September, however you have to be a Crown & Anchor member to qualify .

Don't forget those flights, you can usually pick up a budget airline flight at a decent price (most are the same ones used by RCI when you book an all inclusive package - worth checking). As Patty said, don't forget to budget for the gratuities and other incidentals. If you do get the extra OBC, you can use this towards your tips as they are automatically added to your seapass account.
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Equinox - Ultimate Caribbean & Panama - April 2015
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Silhouette - Eastern Caribbean - B2B - April 2014
Enchantment - Bahamas. - Aug 2013
Oasis - Western Caribbean - Aug 2013
Solstice - Oz & NZ - Dec 2012
Navigator - Eastern Med - Aug 2012
Brilliance - Norway - Jun 2012
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  #20  
Old July 31st, 2013, 07:19 AM
big al big al is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sian230 View Post
Hi all,

I'm new to the World of cruising, bar one cruise that I took 12 years ago with my parents aboard the Thomson Emerald, so hoping for some help and advice…

After lots of indecisiveness about where to holiday this year, my boyfriend and I have decided to go for a last minute cruise, looking to leave anytime between the 1st and 10th of September (although if the deal warranted it, we could go a bit later during September).

When looking at holidays, we were trying to decide between Santorini, Mykinos, Croatia and Italy so wanted to choose a cruise along the lines of this itinerary, if possible. We came across a few, but after research have pushed them aside and believe that, the best line that we could go for with our money is Royal Caribbean, over MSC and NLC (we cannot spend more than £750 each inc flights) - but do correct me if you do not believe that to be true!

I have found 3 cruises with RCI which fit my criteria, and was hoping for some thoughts and opinions on which may suit us better.

We are a couple of 28, no children. My boyfriend doesn't seem to be able to sit still for more than 5 minutes, so we need a holiday which is fairly active, and we both enjoy a nice meal, drink and entertainment in the evenings - although aren't party animals!

With regards to itineraries, my favourite is that of the 7 Night Greek Isles & Turkey Cruise, which includes:

Venice, Italy
Split, Croatia
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
Mykonos, Greece
Argostoli, Greece
Venice, Italy

However, this is on the Splendour of the Seas, which I understand to be a smaller and older ship. Do you think that this would cater to our needs?

Or, are we better off on either the 7 Night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise or 7 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise on the Navigator and Liberty, respectively?

We aren't sure if we should put ship or itinerary first and, as it is my first recent cruise and my boyfriends first ever cruise, we want to be sure to make the right choice.

Apologies for the long post, but I look forward to your comments.

Regards,
Sian
Difficult decision because you are talking about 2 different cruises: 1) the itinerary ( daytime) and 2 ) activities & nightlife ( ship)..shipwise, the Liberty wins hands down for activities, shows ( Saturday Night Fever terrific!) and the Adult Solarium pool area with those canti-levered hot tubs that stick out over the sea for amazing views...NOS does not have that, although they do have an Adult Solarium..IF you want itinerary, then go with that. Price is important to consider..I've been on all 3 ( Liberty & NOS twice each), and IMO, the Liberty offers the most as far as night life ( especially if you're concerned about your BF & boredom..he WILL be bored on the Splendor,IMO.)...any more questions, thoughts, give a shout..we are like you, but older...no kids, like a nice meal, drink & entertainment ( LOVE on RCI the British Pubs, Schooner Bar, Viking Crown Lounge at the top of the ship, & ice-skating shows!)...

Big Al
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