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Cruising Med compared to cruising Caribbean

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38 minutes ago, ducklite said:
39 minutes ago, ducklite said:


One day in either of those cities is  waste of time and money.  If that is the intent, skip the cruise and do a land based trip that encompasses both--probably for less money if you plan well.

Never a waste of time & $. Did a 2 week tour of France in high school & other than 2 days in Paris, we were never anywhere more than a day. Waste of time & $--HECK NO. I still remember it vividly & fondly.

 

Will we see everything these cities have to offer--OF COURSE NOT. But we will prioritize what we want to see/do at each port. I am also not opposed to just wandering a lovely town, enjoying the beauty, the ambiance, doing a tad bit of shopping, sitting with a glass of wine & people watching. Again, some of vacations best memories are those unplanned moments.

 

Rush back to the ship for lunch--absolutely not. I am looking VERY forward to enjoying local fare. Fond memory from France. And I am gluten sensitive--and have heard from others who are as well & said the pasta in Italy did not cause them issues. We shall see...at worst it will cause me some discomfort & annoying issues...likely good as long as I don't eat a lot of wheat constantly all week. Looking more forward to fresh seafood.

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47 minutes ago, ducklite said:


One day in either of those cities is  waste of time and money.  If that is the intent, skip the cruise and do a land based trip that encompasses both--probably for less money if you plan well.

I'd agree with that, but for many, especially, dare I say it, American cruisers, a cruise with tours offered by the cruise line,  is a stress free, easy way to see a certain number of sights.  It may not be for everyone , me included, but I can understand why some people do it.

I still don't understand the mentality of hurtling back to the cruise ship for lunch, even it is included in the fare.

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7 minutes ago, KKB said:

Never a waste of time & $. Did a 2 week tour of France in high school & other than 2 days in Paris, we were never anywhere more than a day. Waste of time & $--HECK NO. I still remember it vividly & fondly.

 

Will we see everything these cities have to offer--OF COURSE NOT. But we will prioritize what we want to see/do at each port. I am also not opposed to just wandering a lovely town, enjoying the beauty, the ambiance, doing a tad bit of shopping, sitting with a glass of wine & people watching. Again, some of vacations best memories are those unplanned moments.

 

Rush back to the ship for lunch--absolutely not. I am looking VERY forward to enjoying local fare. Fond memory from France. And I am gluten sensitive--and have heard from others who are as well & said the pasta in Italy did not cause them issues. We shall see...at worst it will cause me some discomfort & annoying issues...likely good as long as I don't eat a lot of wheat constantly all week. Looking more forward to fresh seafood.


I guess you travel very differently than I do.

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Posted (edited)

We have done four Med cruises and countless Eurpean land trips.

 

Agree with Ducklite.  But if you really want to cruise the Greek Islands don't bother with the big, mainline cruise lines.  You will get to go to Santorini and Mykonos and chances are it will be very crowded.  Shop for a small Greek or Turkish cruise line/ship that actually spends a week around the islands.  Then get off and spend some time in Athens or.....hop on a ferry and visit a few island on your own.

 

There is absolutley no comparison between doing the above vs a cruise that makes two stops at an overcrowded tourist destination for a very short time.

 

We looked at Med cruises for this Sept/Oct.  All of about ten minutes.  Prices were high, DW said forget it.  We plan to island hop on our own.  We can travel for a month or more on the what we would pay for a ten or fourteen day cruise.  Plus....we would get to see and experience a great deal more.

Edited by iancal

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2 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

 the notion of a half day ashore pretty well defeats the whole point of going

 

I mainly cruise for the "cruise" and not for the ports. If I can see something on a halfday tour I'm happy with that.

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When we want to cruise we take a cruise.  If we want to really enjoy some of Europe or Asia we spend weeks on land.  Visiting ports can be fun, but it is not a way to really experience Europe.  As an example DW loves visiting Paris but we do not even waste our time going to Paris on a port day from Le Havre.   When we want to visit Paris we go there for at least a week...which is still not nearly enough time.  It is the same with Rome, Athens or most other major cities.  

 

As as to the Greek Islands there are over 200 inhabited islands of which only a few are visited by large cruise ships.  A cruise gets you a very brief intro to a handful ,of places, but it is only a tiny glimpse.

 

Hank

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To return to topic: “Cruising Med compared to cruising Caribbean” —- cruising the Caribbean is a pretty good way of experiencing the area - most islands can be experienced on a port call;  while cruising the Med is a terrible way to experience the area - most worthwhile port calls cannot be even tasted in the time allowed.  If you are going to fly over, your time, money and effort will be much better spent ashore.  

 

Sure, you are getting the “cruise experience” as well as seeing places, but with so many port calls, and wearing yourself out on them, you will not get that much of the “ship experience” either.

 

That is how I would make the subject comparison.

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I have to disagree a bit with some of the experienced pundits. 

 

Yes, there are limitations to how satisfying sightseeing can be on a Med cruise. But to say that "most worthwhile port calls cannot be even tasted in the time allowed" is a bit of an exaggeration. One can get a very good idea of some places -- for example, Dubrovnik, Rhodes, Malta, Corfu, Mykonos, Split -- in a day. And to experience something of what the Mediterranean culture and history are about, the experiences are additive -- so the more places you see, the more complete the picture. 

 

How many times I've read posts on these boards from people wanting advice for their "one and only" Med cruise. Then, two years later they are back on the boards, planning another cruise, perhaps with a land trip added at the beginning. Truly, it's like a gateway drug... :classic_biggrin:

 

I have not found any of my 10 Mediterranean cruises to be a waste of time. I've visited more ports than I can count, and re-visited many others. I also do land travel, but that does not diminish the enjoyment I get out of a day spent in Valletta, for example, by one whit.  In three different visits by cruise ship I've been to all the main tourist sites in Valletta, spent time in Mdina, visited the prehistoric temples and wonderful archaeologic museum, walked through a Roman villa that most people don't even know exists just outside the gate of Mdina, and eaten pastries while people-watching outside one of the most famous bakeries/cafes in Valletta. Granted, I didn't do all this in one visit, but it started out that way.

 

I would ten times -- no, a hundred times -- rather cruise the Med than the Caribbean.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/16/2019 at 1:47 PM, iancal said:

We have done four Med cruises and countless Eurpean land trips.

 

Agree with Ducklite.  But if you really want to cruise the Greek Islands don't bother with the big, mainline cruise lines.  You will get to go to Santorini and Mykonos and chances are it will be very crowded.  Shop for a small Greek or Turkish cruise line/ship that actually spends a week around the islands.  Then get off and spend some time in Athens or.....hop on a ferry and visit a few island on your own.

 

There is absolutley no comparison between doing the above vs a cruise that makes two stops at an overcrowded tourist destination for a very short time.

 

We looked at Med cruises for this Sept/Oct.  All of about ten minutes.  Prices were high, DW said forget it.  We plan to island hop on our own.  We can travel for a month or more on the what we would pay for a ten or fourteen day cruise.  Plus....we would get to see and experience a great deal more.


Windstar has Greek Island cruises as well.  Not cheap, but you get what you pay for.  Small ships, and I believe it's the sailing yachts that usually do Greek Isles.  There's nothing like being on the open water under wind power!

Edited by ducklite
typo correction

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Posted (edited)

A vacation is all about spending time and money in a way that is rewarding to you. 

 

When a newbie comes and asks, so easy for us to pontificate, even I do it 😁

 

For someone to say one day in Rome is a waste, what do they know of the person and interest to say that?   

Or whatever blah blah blah ....

 

I have never taken a vacation whether land/cruise/island or weekend that I regretted.  It was mostly though thru and comprehended what the tradeoffs were/was, sometimes you learn a bit and on the next you are wiser.

 

What would be more useful is to share tradeoffs 😉

Edited by chipmaster

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20 minutes ago, chipmaster said:

A vacation is all about spending time and money in a way that is rewarding to you. 

 

When a newbie comes and asks, so easy for us to pontificate, even I do it 😁

 

For someone to say one day in Rome is a waste, what do they know of the person and interest to say that?   

Or whatever blah blah blah ....

 

I have never taken a vacation whether land/cruise/island or weekend that I regretted.  It was mostly though thru and comprehended what the tradeoffs were/was, sometimes you learn a bit and on the next you are wiser.

 

What would be more useful is to share tradeoffs 😉


The only vacations I've ever regretted were a Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean and a Bahamas cruise on DCL.  On the latter, just say no to Nassau, the ship was fine--too big for my tastes though.

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As someone who has done 2 longer length Europe Carnival cruises I can give my two cents..

 

1) DIY is indeed best. Carnival's excursion's were not worth the money as they are more experienced in offering excursions elsewhere.

 

2)Carnival match a MDR dish to their current port. These offerings were often better than other choices.

 

3)Carnival do a big sail away party with streamers and characters etc. They tend to do all the line dances that Americans love but us Europeans have no clue about....so don't be surprised if you have confused Europeans. The ships are usually a mix of European (with a UK dominance) and US.

 

4) On the 'party' note of Carnival do not listen to the naysayers that diss Carnival. We have found our 3 long Carnival cruises to be nothing like what have read about the line's 7 day offerings.

 

aaannnnd my biggest tip:

 

5)) Be careful with Carnival's bus port prices. Carnival does not do free port buses. Carnival offer tickets to the centre of Corfu, or of the Rome port etc for a price when you can usually get it free (Rome has a port bus) or a very cheap taxi. Research all this before you go to avoid getting ripped off. Carnival like to advertise their buses the night before or that morning.

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Posted (edited)

Our experience in a number of Med, Aegean, and repo cruises is that the cruise line excursions are poor value for money.  Same with their hotel offerings.

 

You cannot blame the cruise lines.  They need to have a margin.  This is a business not a charity.  We have found these prices to be 2X and sometimes 3X.  

 

I believe that they trade on peoples hesitation when it comes to foreign lands and different languages.  Especially novice travelers in the area.

 

If you are the least bit independent and especially if you a web litterate, you can certainly have a good shot at arranging  better, far less crowded trips, with fewer stops at the time wasting  trash and trinket stores by arranging your own.  And you will not have to wait for that person on the bus who is always late, in the restroom, or trying to shave ten cents off the cost of a made in China  fridge magnet.

Edited by iancal

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On 7/16/2019 at 5:27 PM, navybankerteacher said:

A whole lot of people who want to “do” Rome or Florence from where their ship moors.

Florence is an hour no more. And you can do pisa on the same trip. 6 hours in florence and an hour or so in pisa, which frankly is more than enough as apart from the tower there is nothing else of  note to see.

 

Naples you dock there and Pompeii is an hour away.

 

Rome is about 90minutes.

 

We did Pompeii in 4 hours and enjoyed an afternoon on the ship by the pool in the sunshine with a large number of beers.

 

And we loved Pompeii.

 

Some folk love to exaggerate to ridiculous extremes.

 

Palma docks in the city. 5 minute bus ride.

 

Monte carlo 5 minute walk.

 

Cannes 10 minute walk.

 

 

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2 hours ago, DarrenM said:

Florence is an hour no more. And you can do pisa on the same trip. 6 hours in florence and an hour or so in pisa, which frankly is more than enough as apart from the tower there is nothing else of  note to see.

 

...

 

Rome is about 90minutes.

 

We did Pompeii in 4 hours and enjoyed an afternoon on the ship by the pool in the sunshine with a large number of beers.  

...

Whatever floats your boat.

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i am fairly certain it wasnt my alcohol comsumption keeping the boat afloat.

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8 hours ago, DarrenM said:

It was more likely to have sunk it.

Doubtful. You merely exchanged containers.

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On 7/12/2019 at 3:58 AM, sverigecruiser said:

 

I don't agree about t-shirts and trainers because they are defenitely worn everywhere in Europe. Shorts are worn by tourists but most locals in southern Europe don't wear shorts. 

 

Baseball caps is a big NO, I think. Grown ups with baseball caps looks supersilly!

 

But if you want to wear baseball caps, do it. Don't care too much what other people think. Wear what YOU want!  

 

  

I agree.  I think in many circumstances, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between some Europeans and a North American. I see I Love NY, Hard Rock Cafe, Italy Rules  hats, Union Jack and such all over Europe worn by Europeans.

Being exhausted after visiting a port is subjective, just like some people are pooped after mowing their lawn.

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1 hour ago, JMorris271 said:

I agree.  I think in many circumstances, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between some Europeans and a North American. I see I Love NY, Hard Rock Cafe, Italy Rules  hats, Union Jack and such all over Europe worn by Europeans.

Being exhausted after visiting a port is subjective, just like some people are pooped after mowing their lawn.

Our very first cruise was a Western Mediterranean. And DW is an art teacher. Believe me after all the museums, I was definitely pooped.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/16/2019 at 10:47 AM, iancal said:

 

 

There is absolutley no comparison between doing the above vs a cruise that makes two stops at an overcrowded tourist destination for a very short time.

 

 

Beg to differ, while not for everyone we had the standard one day in Port at Naples, Florence, and Rome

 

We used RIL for all three hmm

Naples;  Pompeii for 90' then off to Amalfi coast, wonderful meal, 3 stops and long drive back.  Was it ideal, probably not but what an amazing efficient day hitting so many wonderful places

Florence/Pisa: 1st stop Pisa and a climb to the top ( priceless ), off to Florence; David, quick stop at museum and three churches, some shopping, ideal maybe not, but timeless whirlwind 

Rome:  Colleseum, Trevi, Pantheon, Spanish Steps,   lunch than Vatican, pretty nice day too.

 

Maybe not relaxing to some, but for others perfect and efficient.   My kids and my 70 year old parents and parents inlaw got to see so much with little drama, worry.   

 

Now in today's social media crazed world boy my kids would have gotten a long string of likes ( call it shallow ) every once in a while we pull the 200 odd pictures we saved from that we go OMG we saw so much how special, but hey what rocks your boat.   Now did we have time to explore the back alleys and offbeaten path things and eats/wine, not like we did on our recent 7 day cruise that was less hectic, but I'd not have changed that for anything else at the time.

 

As long as those planning know what they are getting into.   Every to go place is overcrowded, good you make choices that work for you, no need to degenerate how others might want to experience it 😉

Edited by chipmaster

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One day at any port is worthwhile.  All my tourist experiences have, in reality, just been a bunch of one day experiences strung together.

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"I  have never taken a vacation whether land/cruise/island or weekend that I regretted.  It was mostly though thru and comprehended what the tradeoffs were/was, sometimes you learn a bit and on the next you are wiser."

 

MY SENTIMENTS PRECISELY.

Well, I've always said the only trips I've regretted were the ones I DIDN'T TAKE.

 

Less than $1100pp for lodging, evening entertainment (if desired), Breakfast/dinner on most port days,  3 meals on the 3 sea days plus transportation between ports (which happens while I sleep so I don't waste my days) is a tremendous value. 

 

I love to plan so I anticipate most of our touring will by DIY, or possibly a local tour operator.

 

Will we see everything? Heavens no. 

 

Will the 3 of us enjoy one another's company & get a taste of the Med? Absolutely.

 

We have each done a land tour of Europe from 1-3 weeks (tho not Med). So we will be able to compare. Interestingly, most of our trips never involved more than 2 nights in 1 stop & we all had travel time that infringed on touring time at each location. And we all loved our trips.

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