What's more important - Ship or itinerary? Help needed for newbie!

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#1
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
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
#2
2,461 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
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
Denmark
1,649 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
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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My cruise blog mogenshallas.com - email: [email protected]
RCCL Diamond Plus and Celebrity Captain's Club Elite member

Past cruises: 24 RCCL and 4 Celebrity - 20 ships and 100 Ports - two future cruises: Hurtigruten in June and Serenade Caribbean cruise February 2018..
Sovereign of the Seas, East Caribbean Nov 1996; Enchantment of the Seas, West Caribbean Feb 1999; Splendour of the Seas, Brazil and Rio Carnival Feb 2001; Adventure of the Seas, East Caribbean Mar 2004; Rhapsody of the Seas, West Caribbean Mar 2005; Brilliance of the Seas, Panama Canal Mar 2006; Jewel of the Seas,East Caribbean Feb 2007; Brilliance of the Seas, Hawaii Oct 2007; Voyager of the Seas, Mediterranean Nov 2008; Legend of the Seas, Asia Feb 2009; Oasis of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean Feb 2010; Briliance of the Seas, Suez Canal and Dubai Jan 2011; Vision of the Seas, 3 nights Berlin Cruise from Copenhegen June 2011; Serenade of the Seas, 7 night from San Juan, February 2012; Vision of the Seas, 4 night St Petersburg from Stockholm, June 2012; Celebrity Millennium, 14 Nt Gems of Southeast Asia from Singapore, Jan 2013. Liberty of the Seas, Western Mediterranean from Barcelona; April 2013, Vision of the Seas, Norwegian Fjords from Copenhagen, June 2013; Celebrity Xpedition, Galapagos itinerary B, November 2013; Celebrity Reflection, Eastern Caribbean, March 2014; Legend of the Seas, Baltic Cruise, June 2014; Quantum of the Seas, TA Maiden Voyage, Nov. 2014; Quantum of the Seas, 12 Nt. Southern Caribbean, Jan 2015; Anthem of the Seas, 3 Nt Royal Cruise from Southampton, April 2015; Splendor of the Seas, 7 Nt. Greek Isles & Turkey, Nov 2015; Celebrity Equinox, 11 Nt.Ultimate Caribbean Feb. 2016; Anthem of the Seas, 9 Nt.Canada and New England, Sept. 2016; Legend of the Seas farewell , 23 Nt. from Singapore to Barcelona, March 2017.
#4
Indonesia
2,129 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
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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Michael

Reviews :
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Mariner of the Seas
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Celebrity Solstice - Australia/New Zealand, March 2013
Crystal Symphony - Grand Mediterranean, April 2012

Roll calls :
Vision of the Seas - Canada/New England Fall Foliage, 11 October 2017
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#5
uk
5,943 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
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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Equinox - ABC Islands - August 2018
Constellation - Arabian Sea & India - December 2017
Reflection - Western Med - July 2017
Millennium - Hong Kong to Singapore - December 2016
Constellation - Venice to Rome - August 2016
Equinox - Istanbul to Barcelona - August 2015
Equinox - Ultimate Caribbean & Panama - April 2015
Independence - Northern Europe - Oct 2014
Infinity - Iceland & The Faroes - July 2014
Independence - Caribbean - April 2014
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
Navigator - Eastern Med - Oct 2011
Caribbean Princess - New England - Aug 2011
Liberty - Med B2B - April 2011
Liberty - Med Western - April 2011
Constellation - Baltics - Aug 2010
Splendour - Med to Venice - April 2010
Radiance - Alaska - Aug 2009
Brilliance - Canaries & Morocco - April 2009
Navigator - Med - May 2008
Brilliance - Venice Med - Aug 2007
#6
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
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
#7
UK
333 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
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
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Originally posted by villauk
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?
#9
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Originally posted by mondas42
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
#10
UK
333 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
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
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Originally posted by mondas42
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
#12
Long Island, NY
16,577 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
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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~Donna
139 nights at sea (81 with RCI):
RCCL Anthem of the Seas (7 nights NJ to Bahamas) 3/19/17
RCCL Anthem of the Seas (5 nights NJ to Bermuda) 4/30/16
RCCL Anthem of the Seas (3 nights sampler NJ cruise to nowhere) 3/4/16
RCCL Liberty of the Seas (5 nights NJ to Bermuda) 10/17/15
RCCL Quantum of the Seas (3 nights inaugural sampler NJ cruise to nowhere) 11/18/14
Celebrity Summit (7 nights NJ to Bermuda) 8/17/14
Celebrity Summit (7 nights NJ to Bermuda) 8/25/13
RCCL Jewel of the Seas (7 nights Southern - Barbados route) 5/25/13
RCCL Explorer of the Seas (9 nights NJ to Bermuda, Labadee, San Juan and St Maarten) 5/24/12
RCCL Explorer of the Seas (7 nights NJ to Bahamas - New Years cruise) 12/30/11
RCCL Allure of the Seas (7 nights Eastern Caribbean) 8/21/11
Caribbean Princess (9 nights NY to Bermuda, St Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk) 7/29/10 REVIEW
Caribbean Princess (7 nights Canada/New England) 8/24/08 REVIEW
RCCL Mariner of the Seas (7 nights Western Caribbean) 8/26/07 REVIEW
RCCL Mariner of the Seas (7 nights Eastern Caribbean) 8/20/06
Carnival Miracle (7 nights NY to Bahamas) 6/26/04 REVIEW
RCCL Adventure of the Seas (7 nights Southern - Aruba route) 8/24/03
RCCL Explorer of the Seas (7 nights Western Caribbean) 8/17/02
Costa Riviera (7 nights Western Caribbean) 5/90
Cunard Countess (7 nights Southern Caribbean) 6/89
Home Lines Atlantic (7 nights NY to Bermuda) 7/88
#13
uk
5,943 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by Sian230
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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Equinox - ABC Islands - August 2018
Constellation - Arabian Sea & India - December 2017
Reflection - Western Med - July 2017
Millennium - Hong Kong to Singapore - December 2016
Constellation - Venice to Rome - August 2016
Equinox - Istanbul to Barcelona - August 2015
Equinox - Ultimate Caribbean & Panama - April 2015
Independence - Northern Europe - Oct 2014
Infinity - Iceland & The Faroes - July 2014
Independence - Caribbean - April 2014
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
Navigator - Eastern Med - Oct 2011
Caribbean Princess - New England - Aug 2011
Liberty - Med B2B - April 2011
Liberty - Med Western - April 2011
Constellation - Baltics - Aug 2010
Splendour - Med to Venice - April 2010
Radiance - Alaska - Aug 2009
Brilliance - Canaries & Morocco - April 2009
Navigator - Med - May 2008
Brilliance - Venice Med - Aug 2007
#14
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
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
#15
Southwest Florida
6,917 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
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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#16
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
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 .
#17
SW Florida
7,051 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
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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Karen

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrowmindedness" - Mark Twain

RCI


#18
Germany
238 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
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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August 2009 ~ RCCL Liberty ots ~ west Caribbean
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#19
uk
5,943 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by Sian230
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 - ABC Islands - August 2018
Constellation - Arabian Sea & India - December 2017
Reflection - Western Med - July 2017
Millennium - Hong Kong to Singapore - December 2016
Constellation - Venice to Rome - August 2016
Equinox - Istanbul to Barcelona - August 2015
Equinox - Ultimate Caribbean & Panama - April 2015
Independence - Northern Europe - Oct 2014
Infinity - Iceland & The Faroes - July 2014
Independence - Caribbean - April 2014
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
Navigator - Eastern Med - Oct 2011
Caribbean Princess - New England - Aug 2011
Liberty - Med B2B - April 2011
Liberty - Med Western - April 2011
Constellation - Baltics - Aug 2010
Splendour - Med to Venice - April 2010
Radiance - Alaska - Aug 2009
Brilliance - Canaries & Morocco - April 2009
Navigator - Med - May 2008
Brilliance - Venice Med - Aug 2007
#20
3,319 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by Sian230
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