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Stockjock

So much port redundancy?

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I've been on quite a few cruises.  But one thing that is starting to get to me is port redundancy.  As an example, did a 10 night on Divina in 2016 and a 7 night recently on Bellissima.  While I had a great time on each sailing, many of the ports were the same.

Looking at some future Mediterranean cruises on Seashore and others and they all seem to be visiting a lot of the same places.  Malta, Naples, Barcelona, Genoa, Rome, etc.

Don't get me wrong, most of those ports are interesting places to visit, but after a certain point, I suspect that many cruisers want something new and different.  I even had to do a bit of a "sales job" on my girlfriend for this most recent cruise, as we had previously visited several of the ports.

I would think that most of the repeat cruisers and big spenders on cruises are repeat cruisers who are looking for something fresh and new, right?  You'd think they could come up with something different, wouldn't you?  

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Mega-size resort ships are very limited in which ports they can dock at, and [let's hope] are becoming aware of how they overwhelm the ports where they have to tender.  If you want more interesting itineraries, check out the small-ship cruise lines like Azamara and Windstar.  [And be prepared to pay, because small ships inherently cost more to operate – especially those mentioned that don't have casinos.]

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At least for me -- 1st time cruising is port/ship, then it starts becoming only ship, since ports are typically the same (same cruise line or others).  And now, it's just to relax and be a familiar environment.

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Same. I’m doing the next cruise for the ship. We are doing Meraviglia. We have been to 2 of the ports twice already. I was on the fence and thought about the seaside as it’s itinerary is different than once we have done, bit we did Seaside on our last crises.  We can only sail carribean itineraries as we have to drive to ports.  

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When I run out of new ports, my cruising will end, there are plenty of regions to keep me cruising for a while but repeating regions does not work for me.

 

We are all different but for me the ship is no more than a floating hotel, nice dinner, good show, few drinks and wake up in a new port with no unpacking, I also hate sea days as I just want to be out exploring.

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I used to sail "for the ports" but then I was doing ship redundancy (I live walking distance to the port in NYC and I only sail out of that port).  Now I sail for "different ships" and although I'd prefer new ports I'm more concerned about the entertainment and other things available onboard.

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Cruising is  primarily about exploring new regions for us too. I love being able to cover multiple places I'l like to visit in one holiday.

I do love the experience of being onboard and exploring new ships too though.

We will be doing our first cruise which isn't for the itinerary and just for the ship and to relax in November. Although, this is only due to the cancellation of Cuba, we cruise moved to Seaside, no new ports but we decided to just treat it as a sunshine 'floating hotel' break.

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I agree with the OP. When booking Caribbean cruises, there does seem to be a lot of overlap. When our cruise on Armonia ceased to go to Cuba, the resulting itinerary was nearly identical to the Seaside's, which we took last year. Now we're on the Meraviglia and a different itinerary. That being said, one of the dilemmas we always run into is having time to do only one excursion per port. Going to the same port multiple times means we can do different excursions each time. And it is fun getting to experience different ships even if the ports are the same. 

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Most often we sail for the ship in the Caribbean.  One island to another is more the same than different.

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There are limits to ship logistics and port infrastructure. These mega ships reduce the # of ports that can hold them, and ports are made in a month.

I first cruised for the ports, then had a decade away from cruising. Now it is a mix of just a relaxed vacation onboard and new ports.  I like sea days but I have more vacation time to indulge in them.

I think travel is what we make of it. Find new things to do in a repeat port (and it doesn't have to be a guided tour even if it is with a discount), or go to a different global region. Take up a hobby that you can indulge in in port - cooking classes, art, birdwatching. Or decide that for that itinerary you are going to visit gardens, or lakes, or specific type of museums. Let your imagination out of its box. If not prepared to budge from one cruise line, or one/two ports, only wanting return itineraries, large ships, or one region is going to limit your options - severely.

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We're at the stage of looking for new to us ports too. Be it Caribbean or Mediterranean you can only go so far in say 7 days.

Recently booked our first Costa sailing for Sept, ten nights out of Savona, the length of the cruise means we get Cadiz & two days in Lisbon amongst some of the more regular Med ports, great price too, like some of the prices MSC used to have! 

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For sure the bigger ships are more limited in terms of where they can port.  But I don't think it's necessarily hard to find ports you haven't done before.  This year we did a transatlantic and a mediterranean and between the two, we had 12 ports.  Next year we're doing Italy/Greece and the only port that is the same is Rome/Civitavecchia.  I'd also like to do a Norway/Iceland type itinerary sometime, and maybe a Baltics one, or maybe Asia.  You do have to look at other lines and such sometimes.

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Most of our cruises are taken to avoid the bone-chilling winter months at home, and we would much prefer to be on a ship with changing scenery than at an all-inclusive resort, even if we have already visited some of the ports. 

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Daisy-Mae and Host Jazzbeau have made good points.  Smaller ships will take you to new ports of interest and there are some of us who don’t care where the ship goes.  Some us have climbed all the mountains and have visited all the temples and cathedrals we will ever care to see.  These mega ships have limitations getting in and out of ports...it is what it is.  There are those who live for sea days and those who wish for a new port every day.  Thank Heavens the choices of ships are expanding each year.

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Hi Stockjock - as Hostjazzbeau stated the mega-ships are limited in where they can dock.  We too were suffering from port fatigue.  To alleviate this, we tried different cruise lines, AIDA and Costa.  We also sailed to the Canaries, albeit we had been there before, for a change.  Next year we will be sailing to the fjords and northern Europe.  Is a change from the Med something you would consider?  Added to this, maybe try the Eastern Med as opposed to the Western Med for a bit of variety?  

 

In Europe they itineraries for 2021 have not yet been released in their entirety so you may want to look again, maybe the end of this year, beginning of next to see if any other interesting ports materialise?

 

Another thing we try to do is sail at Easter or Christmas as Europe over these periods offers a very different vibe.

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But keep in mind, when you sail for the "exotic ports"......those "exotic ports" can be canceled for political, mechanical or weather related issues.

If my heart were set on a specific port, then I'd make it a land vacation.

When I'm on a "new to me" ship, that ship is my destination.

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@kodesthemoose We did a Baltic cruise last year and Norway this year, I'd highly recommend. We've been to Iceland but on a land based trip, I'd also strongly recommend. Asia is next year, hopefully that will also be a great experience. 

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17 minutes ago, CruisingFox27 said:

@kodesthemoose We did a Baltic cruise last year and Norway this year, I'd highly recommend. We've been to Iceland but on a land based trip, I'd also strongly recommend. Asia is next year, hopefully that will also be a great experience. 

Last year we flew to Shanghai and did an eight night cruise that visited Tokyo, Kobe, and Osaka, Japan.  I was very impressed with both places and I really came to respect the Japanese people and their culture in particular.  

 

While there were some cultural differences, especially in China, we did enjoy the experience overall and had a nice time in Shanghai before the cruise. But this is an example of the type of thing that I am referring to. Culturally enriching Cruises to different locations, rather than the usual stops at the same old places.

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We sail from Shanghai and will be spending a few days there prior to our cruise too, sadly, we only have one stop in Japan but we're very much looking forward to visiting. This for us is also a great example of why cruising works for us, we'll visit lots of countries we couldn't possibly arrange to visit otherwise - unless we did a lot of individual trips, obviously.

Edited by CruisingFox27

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13 minutes ago, CruisingFox27 said:

We sail from Shanghai and will be spending a few days there prior to our cruise too, sadly, we only have one stop in Japan but we're very much looking forward to visiting. This for us is also a great example of why cruising works for us, we'll visit lots of countries we couldn't possibly arrange to visit otherwise - unless we did a lot of individual trips, obviously.

Am I allowed to recommend tours here?  If so, we booked the following 8 hour tour in Shanghai and I think our tour guide was "Tom", who spoke good English and was quite good, in my view.  I think the price we paid for 2 was around $230 USD and we felt that we got a lot for our money.  We did have to pay a small amount for things like a trip to the top of Shanghai Tower (World's 2nd tallest skyscraper), but it was worth the cost, in my view. In Shanghai, we also did the tour of their water towns outside of the city (separate tour) and I don't recommend that.

As for Japan, Triple Lights tours seem to pretty much dominate and their prices are reasonable.  You can pick the tour guide that you like and each guide's prices vary.  We used them 3 times in Japan and were very satisfied with 2 tours and 1 was okay.

Here's the Shanghai guide we used.  As you might guess, I have no affiliation or financial incentives in making this referral.  
 

Tour operator, HIKESHANGHAI

Phone: +86 15021986304
Further queries: hikeshanghai@gmail.com
https://shanghaidriverguide.com

Here's the website for the Japan tours, and again, there are many tours, many tour guides in many different cities.  Most/many will meet you at the ship.  You would likely be responsible for things like their train fare, if applicable.  We also bought our Tokyo guide dinner, which we enjoyed a lot (Tokyo Night Walking Tour in Shinjuku).
 

 

Edited by Stockjock

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Much appreciated thank you. We've recently been planning our Shanghai time, we intended to explore independently but are not adverse the arranging tours either.

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1 minute ago, CruisingFox27 said:

Much appreciated thank you. We've recently been planning our Shanghai time, we intended to explore independently but are not adverse the arranging tours either.

Very few people in Shanghai speak English.  So it was convenient to have someone pick us up in an air conditioned car and show us the sights with an English narrative.  Obviously, to each their own.

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We have 4 days so we hope to be able to take a relaxed walk to places like Yu Gardens and The Bund, some friends visited and said this was manageable, we hope they are right! We may need to consider tours for the more out of town sights though.

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On 7/10/2019 at 8:05 PM, Stockjock said:

I've been on quite a few cruises.  But one thing that is starting to get to me is port redundancy.  As an example, did a 10 night on Divina in 2016 and a 7 night recently on Bellissima.  While I had a great time on each sailing, many of the ports were the same.

Looking at some future Mediterranean cruises on Seashore and others and they all seem to be visiting a lot of the same places.  Malta, Naples, Barcelona, Genoa, Rome, etc.

Don't get me wrong, most of those ports are interesting places to visit, but after a certain point, I suspect that many cruisers want something new and different.  I even had to do a bit of a "sales job" on my girlfriend for this most recent cruise, as we had previously visited several of the ports.

I would think that most of the repeat cruisers and big spenders on cruises are repeat cruisers who are looking for something fresh and new, right?  You'd think they could come up with something different, wouldn't you?  

 

If you are only looking at Med cruises then I think you are in for disappointment as there are only so many suitable ports for cruise ships.  OTOH, we did the Med on Divina, and the Baltic & Fjords on Meraviglia and there were no ports in common.  So you can diversify geographically.

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