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Crowded Ports- Too many Ships in Ports!

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On 5/6/2019 at 5:42 PM, warburg said:

Right on, Hawaiidan.  Fab photo. We live on South Beach, South of Fifth. This neighborhood is neglected by hordes because it has very few inexpensive bars and restaurants,  By contrast, in The Season, north of Fifth Street resembles Dante's Inferno. However, off season, all of South Beach is nice but warmer. Therein lies another anti hoard strategy. Visit places when the main industry shuts down, For example, ski areas are still pretty nice off season, especially if you like mountains. As travelers, checking out destinations is fun and pays off. Our next land trip is to Phoenix this July. In this case we are attending a big event and this is when it is. I am guessing that it is off season there. I've already checkout the hotel. Great air conditioning, You are correct about west/east TAs. Much more comfortable.

 Ummmm.....

I'm not sure travel in the off-season is a great solution....After 20+ years in the Phoenix area I can't say I recommend it in July.  Staying in a nice hotel is fine, but you may not wish to leave it in the daytime.

 

Large crowds are not limited to cruise ship ports.  No cruises to Walt Disney World, but over the years the crowds have grown oppressive there too.  I once had these apocalyptic visions of what overpopulation would look like - but now I think we are seeing it everywhere around us in everyday living, in crowds and traffic and touring.  I just finished buying timed admission tickets for the Alhambra and Sagrada Familia months in advance...and remember giving tickets to the Anne Frank house to others in Amsterdam last year when we could not even purchase tickets to the museums on site - much less the Anne Frank house.  And being unable to see the flowers in Giverny over all the other heads.  Or the Sistine Chapel ceiling through the hundreds of iPads photographing the ceiling by Japanese tourists.

 

Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a solution, or such a thing as spontaneous travel anymore.  And right now, I can't even add one person to specialty dining reservations on Oceania for a single widowed friend who decided to join us about a month before the cruise.

 

Now THAT seems to be something that could be resolved.  I am finding it really sad that Oceania is so unresponsive to such things.

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But if go to the reservations desk on the day, or even better on boarding day, you may well be able to fix this.  There are limits to the number of reservations permitted before departure.  The table size you need could also be a factor.

 

Ask when on board and you may well get that reservation.  Be open to early and late times, and also different days.

 

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Just now, su-arizona said:

Now THAT seems to be something that could be resolved.  I am finding it really sad that Oceania is so unresponsive to such things.

Agree with Mura above.

They cannot book every single space online pre-cruise - have to leave some space for those that might (cannot) not have made reservations online.

I suspect that you will have little trouble solving that issue once onboard.

Agree with you on overcrowding of ALL popular destinations and trouble getting tickets to popular attractions.

Glad we started traveling a long time ago - just remembering how different Machu Picchu was in 1988 or Angkor Wat 20 years ago or Great Wall of China 35 years ago or Moscow in 1964.

Edited by Paulchili

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On 5/5/2019 at 11:41 PM, Sopwith said:

We’re seeing this all over, not just cruising.  

Exactly - the crowds are immense in many cities (for example, Rome, Florence, Paris, etc.).  Most of our European visits are not via cruise - we usually fly and spend several days in a city before taking a train to our next destination. Crowding conditions are due to a huge influx of travelers over the past decade or two and really have little to do with cruisers - many more people are traveling. Case in point ... the Chinese are now the largest middle class in the world and they, along with many other nationalities, travel extensively.

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Many good tips and comments here, I am in total agreement with all. We also focus our cruise-related travels on Oceania because of ship size and ports.  I also use local tour companies as much as possible when O is not the only ship in port.  It is much easier to get ahead of and away from the ‘cattle’ coming off the other ships..  These local guides will often customize an itinerary for you for a good price, and you are supporting the local economy.

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Just came back from europe/ france and switzerland... and its  crowed  even inland  unless you get out of the cities and attractions... which I did with  some success.

I  was blown away by the rampant development that has happens across Europe... The  rural car park for Zermatt in 2007  is now a 3 story high rise car park... ( Zurich airport now has 15 story car parks....4 of them)     Chinese tourists are everywhere by the tens of thousands. Huge traffic jams everywhere, unless you  get to rural places.    May is  not a big tourist month  either....   Summer will be beyond comprehension to me at this rate

     

My take is that in the future I will use the ship for the ship and not the ports... Like a hotel or resort that you stay at.  I wont expect to get off and enjoy the ship..... thats it.

 

I will use  off the grid  remote places to visit on land, and not be subjected to the cruise ship port ghettos. when i want to see the land....

 

Thats my plan.....    

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15 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

Just came back from europe/ france and switzerland... and its  crowed  even inland  unless you get out of the cities and attractions... which I did with  some success.

I  was blown away by the rampant development that has happens across Europe... The  rural car park for Zermatt in 2007  is now a 3 story high rise car park... ( Zurich airport now has 15 story car parks....4 of them)     Chinese tourists are everywhere by the tens of thousands. Huge traffic jams everywhere, unless you  get to rural places.    May is  not a big tourist month  either....   Summer will be beyond comprehension to me at this rate

     

My take is that in the future I will use the ship for the ship and not the ports... Like a hotel or resort that you stay at.  I wont expect to get off and enjoy the ship..... thats it.

 

I will use  off the grid  remote places to visit on land, and not be subjected to the cruise ship port ghettos. when i want to see the land....

 

Thats my plan.....    

Hi Dan - I think I'm going to start trending more in that direction as well, in the future.  As I get older, I'm liking crowds less and less.  Never really did "like them", but found it easier to "put up with" when I was younger.  For now at least, the population concentration in the U.S. (people per square mile) is still less than most places in the world (as long as we stay out of the big cities - that certainly presents no problem for me).

 

There's still plenty of places/things for me to see in the U.S. or Canada, without it seeming to be as crowded, as it is elsewhere.  And I don't have to "slug my way" through airport terminal crowds/lounges, and customs/baggage "holding pens", or sit on planes for 8-10 hours to get there (even as "relatively" more pleasant as B/C is, it's still not as nice as back in the "good old days").

 

Have you found, or do you think, that this feeling by us, along with that of other "seasoned citizens" will possibly make Transatlantic Cruises more popular for our demographic in the future - where the "shipboard experience" becomes more of the attraction/destination rather than any incidental ports along the ways?  Regards.

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Very interesting article in travel weekly.  I have a few trips to the med planned in the next two years but it looks like it will not be enjoyable or even feasible for much longer.  When our kids retire, they will not have the same travel options we have.  Very sad.......

 

https://www.travelweekly.com/Asia-Travel/China-tourism-takeover

 

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23 hours ago, pingpong1 said:

Hi Dan - I think I'm going to start trending more in that direction as well, in the future.  As I get older, I'm liking crowds less and less.  Never really did "like them", but found it easier to "put up with" when I was younger.  For now at least, the population concentration in the U.S. (people per square mile) is still less than most places in the world (as long as we stay out of the big cities - that certainly presents no problem for me).

 

There's still plenty of places/things for me to see in the U.S. or Canada, without it seeming to be as crowded, as it is elsewhere.  And I don't have to "slug my way" through airport terminal crowds/lounges, and customs/baggage "holding pens", or sit on planes for 8-10 hours to get there (even as "relatively" more pleasant as B/C is, it's still not as nice as back in the "good old days").

 

Have you found, or do you think, that this feeling by us, along with that of other "seasoned citizens" will possibly make Transatlantic Cruises more popular for our demographic in the future - where the "shipboard experience" becomes more of the attraction/destination rather than any incidental ports along the ways?  Regards.

 

Well I think so....  I now take  Southern/mid  US to Europe cruises and  get off and out  in Europe  Mainly France,  Spain and Italy are human Zoos. Switzerland.... once classy and alpine  attracts a huge mass of Chinese beyond comprehension.   Picture Chinese restaurants in Zermatt and Grindelwald !!!!

 The Chinese as pointed out are nothing short of an invasion... you chances of getting hit by a selfi sick  even in a fine restaurant are  increasing exponentially.     Its  amazing and wearing the locals, friends of mine, rather thin.     At least they have replaced the " ugly american" with their antics.

 

 The Pacific too is fertile ground   Sydney- LA   La-Tahiti skipping Hawaii  which is now LA with Pineapples.. ( Honolulu  ain't Hawaii)   

I would avoid the Cunard mega ships for their  British class system/attitude  and    Asia....  the jury is still out ..... but it looks like Japan, Australia Vietnam are out as they are too "popular"   

With  Viking flooding the market with ships...all doing inclusive shore cattle calls will furthur impact  port experience.   At least Carnival and Similiar passengers all just want to get drunk .    

Then there is the Carribe !!!!  ( I am on a 25 day cruise with 10 in the carrib ports and DO not plan to get off in any of them)

So yes  it your a experienced traveler the ports are less and less important   Picking the right  fit ship becomes very important.          

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On 5/6/2019 at 7:31 AM, Hawaiidan said:

The trend will get worse... ships are now being built for 4000-6000 people      In most ports they , the passengers, overwhelm the ports...  More passengers than residents.     The problem is visiting in peak times and on peak routes.   Alaska from June to September  looks like a zoo.   The Med is too.   So dont go there .  There many alternatives..      In ports that are crowded  stay one the ship and enjoy just being on a nice ship..... why get off?   

One solution is to re-define what a cruise is.   It is really an ocean voyage and a romantic connection to the sea.   Ports are frosting on the cake, parsley on the plate.    Enjoy the ship experience rather than focus on getting off it.      Trans Atlantic and  South Pacific cruises are still the best experience  if  you  dont want torun into the occupants of " Tenement of the Ocean"   or Obscenity of the  Sea">  and their sister ships  now larger then the largest NAVY aircraft carrier !       You right in concluding that as the quantity of humans on a ship rises their demographic goes to new levels... and not up..   If you have not seen the new Carnival commercial...you should.. people throwing food in each others mouths... a floating cony islandDSC_0037.thumb.JPG.0f7ab979d8281dba9aa4b8ba303cbf33.JPG

 

 

Best is to charter your own yacht and crew.

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42 minutes ago, Kingofcool1947 said:

 

Best is to charter your own yacht and crew.

 

42 minutes ago, Kingofcool1947 said:

 

Best is to charter your own yacht and crew.

What a great idea.  Had not thought of it.  just need someone to pay for it. 

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14 hours ago, Kingofcool1947 said:

 

Best is to charter your own yacht and crew.

 Thanks  I have  sort of done that..... I didn't charter, I just bought the yacht  and arranged for crew.   It is far cry from O....  Sounds good but after a week or so it gets pretty old.   There is a reason I go commercial shipping.

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I'm just back from the cruise around Italy on Riviera, plus a few days in Rome and Venice.  I'm having doubts about anymore overseas trips, at least to touristy places.  The crowds in Florence Venice and Rome have increased exponentially since we were in Italy in 2005.  Giant guided walking groups, many Asian.  In Pompei and Vencie, big groups of guided school kids shouting and horsing around.

 

Besides Venice, I hadn't been to the other ports on the cruise, but the popular sites in Sorrento, Pompei, Malta, Kotor and Split were crowded to an annoying point for me.  On one excursion, to Mt Etna from Catania, we spent the whole first 30 minute stop in line to the restroom.  Tour buses all over the place.  With stuff like that and the rigors of air travel from the West Coast, that was probably our last Europe trip.

Edited by Jeffxx
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Thanks Jeff,I was afraid of that!I have a trip booked on Oceania in Sept. to the Baltic and I am seriously thinking about cancelling because of the crowds. I do not want to visit ports jammed w/ tourists from too many Cruise ships and now tour buses pouring into the Port cities.I started noticing on  the last 2 Oceania cruises we took of the Port overcrowding.

 

It's hard to justify spending over $20K to be in places w/ hoards of tourists- I am not buying the idea submitted on this board to stay on board and enjoy the ship and not go into the Port but Walking in large groups behind a flag bearer for hours isn't appealing to me as well!

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Try going November through March.  Places like Barcelona are nice during the day temperature wise,

and there are far fewer tourists.  I went in early December to Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal and it was not

crowded.  One of the guides was excited just because there were no crowds.

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Doing a second Papeete-California next April, PPT-SFO this time. It's more or less a transpacific with as many sea days at it has- just four Tahiti ports and four Hawaiian. All are shoulder season so no port felt crowded. It's a lovely cruise but sure it would have been different if one of the behemoths like Celebrity's or HAL's was visiting. I always make sure the monsters aren't in town before I book.

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I am from the UK and have been to Spain and Italy many times, both on a cruise and independently.  Myself and husband love walking, both in the mountains and by the coast and even in the height of the summer we have never had a problem avoiding the crowds.  Last August we were on Riviera visiting Venice, Split, Kotor, Catania, Amalfi and several other ports.  We never take organised tours and often map out our walks before the trip.  Even in Venice, just walk out of the centre towards Arsenale and you will soon lose the crowds and the photo opportunities are just as good.  In Amalfi, we walked straight through the crowded town and did a  lovely four hour return walk up into the hills above and saw hardly anyone.  I realise that not everyone likes walking or may be unable to but for anyone who can, don’t give up on Europe in the summer as with a bit of effort, and maybe using the local buses to get out of town perhaps to the start of a coastal walk, there’s plenty of ways to avoid the crowds.

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21 hours ago, Petoonya said:

Doing a second Papeete-California next April, PPT-SFO this time. It's more or less a transpacific with as many sea days at it has- just four Tahiti ports and four Hawaiian. All are shoulder season so no port felt crowded. It's a lovely cruise but sure it would have been different if one of the behemoths like Celebrity's or HAL's was visiting. I always make sure the monsters aren't in town before I book.

The California-Tahiti  cruise  is one of the best as few ships do that region due to the cruise length and cost. Sort of " natural $election."    most ports can not accept the monsters of the sea.   O some years back offered a 28 day rt  LA to Tahiti  that was pretty nice

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20 hours ago, beechwood said:

I am from the UK and have been to Spain and Italy many times, both on a cruise and independently.  Myself and husband love walking, both in the mountains and by the coast and even in the height of the summer we have never had a problem avoiding the crowds.  Last August we were on Riviera visiting Venice, Split, Kotor, Catania, Amalfi and several other ports.  We never take organised tours and often map out our walks before the trip.  Even in Venice, just walk out of the centre towards Arsenale and you will soon lose the crowds and the photo opportunities are just as good.  In Amalfi, we walked straight through the crowded town and did a  lovely four hour return walk up into the hills above and saw hardly anyone.  I realise that not everyone likes walking or may be unable to but for anyone who can, don’t give up on Europe in the summer as with a bit of effort, and maybe using the local buses to get out of town perhaps to the start of a coastal walk, there’s plenty of ways to avoid the crowds.

 

Yes  hiking  is one way...   But only a  very small number of cruisers  can do 3- 4 hour continuous hikes and elevation changes.  However, It is getting very tough  to get out of the crowd because of the sheer mass of people.  In France and Switzerland   last week I experienced mid week, crowds almost everywhere  and it was raining and not the high season...

    In the National Parks here in the USA studies show that almost 90% of  park visitors never get over 100 yards from the road. .....      

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32 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

The California-Tahiti  cruise  is one of the best as few ships do that region due to the cruise length and cost. Sort of " natural $election."    most ports can not accept the monsters of the sea.   O some years back offered a 28 day rt  LA to Tahiti  that was pretty nice

LA-Tahiti 28 days now and I'd have to be on it! And yes that price is very nice on the one way. Last time we did it we were in an aft cabin on Sirena and it was perfection. Next April, Regatta.

Edited by Petoonya

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On 5/30/2019 at 3:06 PM, beechwood said:

I am from the UK and have been to Spain and Italy many times, both on a cruise and independently.  Myself and husband love walking, both in the mountains and by the coast and even in the height of the summer we have never had a problem avoiding the crowds.  Last August we were on Riviera visiting Venice, Split, Kotor, Catania, Amalfi and several other ports.  We never take organised tours and often map out our walks before the trip.  Even in Venice, just walk out of the centre towards Arsenale and you will soon lose the crowds and the photo opportunities are just as good.  In Amalfi, we walked straight through the crowded town and did a  lovely four hour return walk up into the hills above and saw hardly anyone.  I realise that not everyone likes walking or may be unable to but for anyone who can, don’t give up on Europe in the summer as with a bit of effort, and maybe using the local buses to get out of town perhaps to the start of a coastal walk, there’s plenty of ways to avoid the crowds.

 

On your next cruise to Italy, and if you have not done it before,  and you enjoy walking,  I highly recommend walking one or more of the hills towns of  the Cinque Terra.  My favorite way for avoiding the cruise crowd.    Easy day trip, and not too strenuous of a walk if you are fit.👍

Enjoy your cruise.   And your walking.   😀

Edited by Kingofcool1947

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54 minutes ago, Kingofcool1947 said:

I highly recommend walking one or more of the hills towns of  the Cinque Terra.  My favorite way for avoiding the cruise crowd.

That may have been the case in the last century (or on a rainy day 🙂). Cinque Terre towns and all its walking trails are full of tourists these days (though it is very good exercise ) 

Edited by Paulchili

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18 hours ago, Petoonya said:

LA-Tahiti 28 days now and I'd have to be on it! And yes that price is very nice on the one way. Last time we did it we were in an aft cabin on Sirena and it was perfection. Next April, Regatta.

Regatta is a perfect fit for the south pacific... 600 pax   multiple sea days between ports.   The round trip without having to fly from  LAX  was great     Too  Sydney to LA is another  nice 36 day  when I took it.      I fear it wont be long till cruise lines like Viking, Celebrity and RCCL  start heading there.      2 years ago in Bora Bora I learned that  many of the Bora hotels had gone out of  business due to both a tourist slump  and the fact that they over built hundreds of over water bungalows everywhere....  

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