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Planning a Med Cruise - looking for tips on cruise line, ports, etc.

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My two sisters and I are planning a milestone birthday Med cruise for 2016. I'm looking for any tips that could be helpful to us. Here are some things you should know:

 

We are looking for a 7 day cruise. (Home obligations prevent us from going any longer). Ports of call are up for discussion, but we assume we might start in Rome and would like to see the Amalfi Coast.

 

We want to share one cabin, preferably with a balcony. And one of my sisters is worried she might get sea sick easily. So is there a certain cabin type (code) we should be looking for? Which cruise line will give us the best room layout?

 

When is the "best" time to go? We would rather not be on a ship full of summer vacationing families, and we don't want to go when the Europeans close up shop for their vacations either.

 

The Med cruise itineraries seem to be pretty full, so how important is "the ship" on a cruise like this? Will we be spending enough time on the ship to worry about which one has the better amenities?

 

So that's my starting point. Anyone have any tips to share?

 

Thanks!!

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My two sisters and I are planning a milestone birthday Med cruise for 2016. I'm looking for any tips that could be helpful to us. Here are some things you should know:

 

We are looking for a 7 day cruise. (Home obligations prevent us from going any longer). Ports of call are up for discussion, but we assume we might start in Rome and would like to see the Amalfi Coast.

 

We want to share one cabin, preferably with a balcony. And one of my sisters is worried she might get sea sick easily. So is there a certain cabin type (code) we should be looking for? Which cruise line will give us the best room layout?

 

When is the "best" time to go? We would rather not be on a ship full of summer vacationing families, and we don't want to go when the Europeans close up shop for their vacations either.

 

The Med cruise itineraries seem to be pretty full, so how important is "the ship" on a cruise like this? Will we be spending enough time on the ship to worry about which one has the better amenities?

 

So that's my starting point. Anyone have any tips to share?

 

Thanks!!

 

Wow, lots of research needed for this one. I will provide some quick thoughts and recommend you read some reviews from 7 night cruises to help you narrow down your choices.

We have done two 12 night Med. cruises - both on Royal Caribbean. Both fabulous. Our first left from Rome so we spent a week in Rome pre-cruise in order to see as much of the City as possible. The port is over 2 hours away from town. Having a balcony cabin in the Med. -- definitely -- you will enjoy your early mornings and late evenings in some beautiful places. The ship is your "home" and after a full day of touring, there is nothing better than coming back "home" to relax and rejuvenate -- so yes, your cabin is important.

Strongly recommend booking your excursions through the cruise line -- traffic and transportation issues have resulted in people missing the ship -- don't be one of them.

We have been in Naples twice -- loved it. Took tour of Pompeii the first cruise then spent afternoon enjoying pizza and walking around the area near the ship. Second time we went to the Museum where the artifacts from Pompeii are housed -- took taxi up to Museum and then wandered through town on way back to ship. Stopped at various churches and hubby took a tour of the underground -- very interesting. In Florence, we took the ship's tour which basically provided us a bus service with guide into Florence (long drive) and from there we toured on our own until time to meet up with guide. We used Google walking maps we created before the cruises to determine how many of the highlights we could get to during the day. We pre-booked tickets into the Academia to see "David" -- by-passed lines that were 2 hours long. Our google walking maps were terrific and we got to all the places we wanted to see.

 

Best advice -- read, research where you want to go and learn about what there is there so you don't come home and wish you had seen something.

Here is link to one of our reviews: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=33168

Here is link to second review:

http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=57957

 

Hope this helps get you started. Good Luck -- Happy Cruising.

Kathy

Edited by tomko2
added link to review.

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We have done multiple Med cruises and the Amalfi coast twice. I have not looked at 2016 yet but historically there have been seven day round trips from Barcelona. In Barcelona, the port is much closer to the city than Rome. Typical ports are: Provence, Villefranche or Monaco, Florence, Rome and Naples. We did several days pre-cruise in Barcelona. Of course, if you have never been to Rome, you could easily do a pre-cruise there. We did this cruise in 2012 on RCL. We said that we could easily do this exact cruise again and do something different in each port. So much to see.

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My two sisters and I are planning a milestone birthday Med cruise for 2016. I'm looking for any tips that could be helpful to us. Here are some things you should know:

 

 

 

We are looking for a 7 day cruise. (Home obligations prevent us from going any longer). Ports of call are up for discussion, but we assume we might start in Rome and would like to see the Amalfi Coast.

 

 

 

We want to share one cabin, preferably with a balcony. And one of my sisters is worried she might get sea sick easily. So is there a certain cabin type (code) we should be looking for? Which cruise line will give us the best room layout?

 

 

 

When is the "best" time to go? We would rather not be on a ship full of summer vacationing families, and we don't want to go when the Europeans close up shop for their vacations either.

 

 

 

The Med cruise itineraries seem to be pretty full, so how important is "the ship" on a cruise like this? Will we be spending enough time on the ship to worry about which one has the better amenities?

 

 

 

So that's my starting point. Anyone have any tips to share?

 

 

 

Thanks!!

 

 

If you want to see Rome, it should always be the start or end cruise port and plan on at least 2-3 days beyond the cruise time.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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You have many choices and there is lots of research for you to do. Also plenty of reviews have been done on cruise critic, as well as various blogs.

 

Here are my reviews on cruise critic.

 

Celebrity Silhouette out of Rome (Dec 2013)

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1952065

 

During our Celebrity cruise, we spent a day in Naples on a private tour, and we went to the Amalfi Coast too. Here is my blog post - http://guitar123foodandtravel.blogspot.sg/2013/12/naples-italy-amalfi-coast-positano-part.html

 

NCL Jade out of Rome

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2139138

 

For this cruise, our ship docked at Naples but some of my family members fell ill, so we didn't do much.

 

You will have many choices in the Med.

 

Have you cruised before?

Edited by Iluvcruising2

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I am a dedicated Celebrity traveler so I can't comment on other lines, but currently Celebrity is offering a drinks package (includes alcohol), prepaid gratuities and onboard credit with most European bookings.

 

Their standard cabins on S class ships are 194 square feet and can sleep three, although it would be tight. The ships are lovely, sleek lines and lots of artwork. I, not sure which ships do a 7 day itinerary, you'd have to check on their website. For the possible seasick issue (although I have been seasick before but never on these ships, which are extremely stable) you would want a cabin low down and midship, which are usually also among the the cheapest.

 

I disagree with the previous advice on booking excursions through the cruise line, unless you want to overpay and be herded like cattle. There are TONS of recommendations here on how to do it yourself, or you can join your roll call once you choose a cruise and share private excursions with other travelers.

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Have you or your sisters have ever been to Europe before? I would start with planning to go out of a port that you all are wanting to visit and plan on flying into that city at least a day or two before the cruise starts. Do all the points of interest in that city-if Rome is that starting point you can easily hit most of the great sights in 1 1/2 days and that leaves you plenty of time to travel to Civitavecchia to the ship. RCCL has a wonderful itinerary that goes to Sicily, Turkey, and Greece!

 

I feel that a balcony is a must on a Med. cruise-the islands are so beautiful and land is seen almost the whole trip(not like a Caribbean cruise)! That is my personal opinion, might not be every ones.

 

As far a time to go-I really enjoyed our trip in late May/early June. It was really warm in Rome and Turkey at this time, but not too crowded. It seemed to me that while there were some families-not a huge amount of families.

 

Hope your trip is wonderful(I am so jealous)!

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Sorry, I forgot-I prefer mid ship superior balcony rooms with prime location to elevators and decks with staterooms above and below! I would not worry about seasickness-I have seen a lot of those patches and bracelet things though! After traveling to Europe the past five years-we found that most countries have their summer holidays in August, so maybe travel before August to avoid this problem! Too hot for me in August anyway and I am from the deep south-lol!

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Hi

 

If it's any help with your planning the links in my signature below have short videos of just about every major port in the Med. I totally agree with Cathy's view on avoiding the ship's excursions, with the possible exception of destinations far from the port like Rome or Florence (from Livorno), where they just might be worth it in terms of time saved not having to take the penultimate public transport back. Otherwise, most of them are very easy to do by yourself or on a terrific private independent tour for less money and with far, far fewer people.

 

But whatever you decide, I am sure you will have fantastic trip. Happy milestone birthday ! All the best, Tony

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With your desire to start in Rome, with a stop in Naples, on a 7 day itinerary, your choices among the US mass market ships would be the Norwegian Epic and RCI Allure. RCI is running another ship out of Rome but it skips Naples and does Greek Isles. Epics and Allures itineraries are similar.

 

Make sure you have at least two nights for Rome (your first day there will be a jet lag day) and then it takes some time to get from Rome to the port of Civitavecchia. With two nights (more would be better) you'll have one full day to see the sights.

 

Also recommend you pick up a copy of Rick Steves' Mediterranean Ports book. It has a number of tips on how to see things on your own and when it might be better to do an excursion (Amalfi). If you do decide to do an excursion for a particular port - you might check your sailings roll call to see if you can join a tour some one has set up.

 

Unless someone is a teacher in your group - try the shoulder seasons of April, May. September or October. Airfares and cruise prices will usually be a bit less expensive and there won't be many kids.

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I have done two Med cruises, both with Holland America (they don't seem to have any 7 day cruises though) one in Sept. and one in Oct. Both were great. Oct was cooler and not quite as crowded.

On both trips we either joined in or organized private tours with others from our roll call using vendors highly recommended on Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor. The ship excursions tend to run about half the time of the private tours at twice the price. We had a wonderful time!

Loved Rome, and the Amalfi Coast!

Enjoy!

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We did a 7 day on the NCL Epic in May of 2013. We being myself and 3 of my sons. We visited Barcelona, Naples, Rome, missed Florence due to high winds, Marseille and Palma de Mallorca.

 

In Naples we booked Rome in Limo and you will find them to be highly recommended. We chose to go to Pompeii, Sorrento and Positano. It was fabulous. You can go to their webpage and join a tour with others very easily. The more people on the tour, the cheaper it is. We decided 8 was enough since we were not interested in being a part of a larger group.

 

Rome is very easy to DIY. Book tickets on the fast train ahead of time and you will be guaranteed a seat and you will get there in half the time. Book Colosseum tickets ahead as well if you plan to go there and you will skip the line. Get a good map (Mapeasy has a great one) and you will have no problems at all.

 

In Marseille we took a cab to the old port - great area, great shopping. From there we had wanted to take a ferry to Chateau D'If but couldn't because of high winds so we took Le Petit Train to Notre Dame de la Garde. Gorgeous.

 

In Palma there will be guides everywhere when you get off the ship trying to sell you a tour. Barter with them. Or just walk toward the cathedral and you will be in a very tourist friendly area.

 

Barcelona is a spectacular city that is tremendously tourist friendly. We spent 3 days there pre-cruise and fell in love with that city. Can't wait to go back in 2016!

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Wow great info so far! I knew this was the place to start! :)

 

I'll take some time to review the links with my sisters and may post back with more questions. Thanks everyone!

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Rome is very easy to DIY. Book tickets on the fast train ahead of time and you will be guaranteed a seat and you will get there in half the time. Book Colosseum tickets ahead as well if you plan to go there and you will skip the line. Get a good map (Mapeasy has a great one) and you will have no problems at all.

 

 

 

Not sure which "fast train" you are referring to, but as of now there are no trains other than the Regionale and Regionale Veloce (a slightly faster regional train that makes fewer stops along the way) scheduled to make morning runs from Civitavecchia to Rome.

 

There is one FrecciaBianca (one of the fast trains) that leaves Civitavecchia at 11:18 and arrives in Rome around noon. However, I don't think many people would want to wait around that long.

 

As has been noted on these boards before, the IC trains (sort of halfway between the Regionale and the really fast trains) are apparently being phased out and don't seem to be an option any longer.

 

The Regionale and Regionale Veloce trains are the ones that you can use with the BIRG pass that costs 12 euro and is also good on public transportation around Rome (e.g., buses and metro) for the day. They are a great deal, but yes, they can get crowded at peak hours. Just think of it like a subway ride.

 

 

 

In a sense, this is a good reminder that one should always research the CURRENT situation and not rely on information from previous seasons.

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In Naples we booked Rome in Limo and you will find them to be highly recommended. We chose to go to Pompeii, Sorrento and Positano. It was fabulous. You can go to their webpage and join a tour with others very easily. The more people on the tour, the cheaper it is. We decided 8 was enough since we were not interested in being a part of a larger group.

 

 

We are doing the exact tour with RIL in September. We also chose to have a guide for Pompeii as multiple threads/tour books recommend that (as well as RIL). I was concerned with the time element of being able to do all three places - obviously it works out well. Did you do a review or could you provide a little more info on your day? Thanks:)

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We are doing the exact tour with RIL in September. We also chose to have a guide for Pompeii as multiple threads/tour books recommend that (as well as RIL). I was concerned with the time element of being able to do all three places - obviously it works out well. Did you do a review or could you provide a little more info on your day? Thanks:)

 

I did do a review - I will go look for it, but I will say this - our guide was awesome, her name was Linda and without the guide you will not have much of an idea what you are looking at. With that said, after about 45 minutes it became increasing boring. Pompeii is huge and after about your 15th kitchen, or store or whatever, you will done. IMO we could have spent less time in Pompeii leaving more time in Positano and Sorrento. Sorrento is where you will find the best buys - we found an awesome leather shop and came home with multiple purses costing only 20-25 euro each! The drivers seem to mostly stop at the same restaurant in Sorrento for lunch and it is really excellent with good prices.

 

Positano is very expensive but there is a little shop there selling everything lemon - you will find it if you follow your nose :D and their lemon drops, lemon candles and lemon soaps were wonderful!

 

Positano

 

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Sorrento

 

922953_10201467629356923_811746840_n.jpg?oh=78a718461b3c875748696d5cd3172267&oe=554FDE6C

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Thank you! I suggested doing the tour in reverse & they were not opposed to that. I agree with you re Pompeii, unless you're a real history buff it could get boring :eek: JMHO.

 

Sent from my XT907 using Forums mobile app

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Depending on the time of year, Pompeii can be extremely hot. If you're goimg in summer, highly suggest doing Pompeii first! Also don't discount Herculaneum, also very interesting and more intact in many respects. Cruisemom will hate me for saying this but I enjoyed it more. It's a seaside town, so multilevel, and you can walk in and out of most of the homes as opposed to Pompeii where most are just viewable through bars. It's also much smaller and easier to see everything.

 

FWIW, either are very easy to do from Naples on the train. We did Herculaneum in the morning then continued on the same train to Sorrento, some minimal train fare, then had lunch and browsing/sightseeing in the afternoon before taking the hydrofoil back to the ship. The entire day cost next to nothing!!!

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I did do a review - I will go look for it, but I will say this - our guide was awesome, her name was Linda and without the guide you will not have much of an idea what you are looking at. With that said, after about 45 minutes it became increasing boring. Pompeii is huge and after about your 15th kitchen, or store or whatever, you will done. IMO we could have spent less time in Pompeii leaving more time in Positano and Sorrento. Sorrento is where you will find the best buys - we found an awesome leather shop and came home with multiple purses costing only 20-25 euro each! The drivers seem to mostly stop at the same restaurant in Sorrento for lunch and it is really excellent with good prices.

 

 

Thank you! I suggested doing the tour in reverse & they were not opposed to that. I agree with you re Pompeii, unless you're a real history buff it could get boring :eek: JMHO.

 

 

 

This is why it's really important to set up private tours with others that share the same interests. Be really clear about what you plan to see and do (and how much time you are allotting) to each area.

 

Some people (such as myself) would want to spend the whole day at Pompeii and would just about rather eat glass than spend time shopping in Positano and Sorrento! :D

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Depending on the time of year, Pompeii can be extremely hot. If you're goimg in summer, highly suggest doing Pompeii first! Also don't discount Herculaneum, also very interesting and more intact in many respects. Cruisemom will hate me for saying this but I enjoyed it more. It's a seaside town, so multilevel, and you can walk in and out of most of the homes as opposed to Pompeii where most are just viewable through bars. It's also much smaller and easier to see everything.

 

 

Next time, I'll send you my notes. I guarantee you'll find more open in Pompeii than you think... ;) (Including the baths you have to make a reservation to see but have some very *risqué* frescoes -- featured in several programs on sex in the ancient world....!)

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Next time, I'll send you my notes. I guarantee you'll find more open in Pompeii than you think... ;) (Including the baths you have to make a reservation to see but have some very *risqué* frescoes -- featured in several programs on sex in the ancient world....!)

 

 

Hi Cruisemom,

 

I have read lots of your comments and advice, and truly appreciate your opinion. Could share with me your notes on what to do in Rome, where we have 1.5 days and also Florence (10 am - 4 pm) and Pompeii ( 2 hours)? I will truly appreciate any advice you give me and my DH. My email address is ps.cv@hotmail.com

 

Forgot to mention that we have already bought entrance tickets to the Vatican and the Coliseum, and transfer to Florence for DIY.

Edited by epc3099

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Some people (such as myself) would want to spend the whole day at Pompeii and would just about rather eat glass than spend time shopping in Positano and Sorrento! :D

 

You always have excellent info cruisemom42! Thanks ;)

 

My problem is that I want to see it ALL!!!! Rather hard to do on my first 12 day Med. cruise, lol. I'm not a shopper but love to see a variety of things. Heard the scenery is spectacular, will also see if we can do the baths as well. tee hee! That's what I love about private tours. Since we're going the latter part of Sept. it should be comfortable whether we go to Pompeii in AM or PM.

 

Thanks all for "chiming in" :D

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BaseballMomof4

 

Your picture of Sorrento is so cool! I love how they squeeze the roads in however they can. I look forward to reading your review.

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Cruisemom42

 

Thanks for the info on Pompeii. I love history more than shopping as well, though my sisters might not feel quite the same - so we'll have to balance it out I guess. :)

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