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peacefrogdog

Recomendations: number of sea days for Europe itineraries

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Planning a 20th anniversary cruise to Europe and looking at the various itineraries.   While a common theme on these boards is to choose an itinerary based on the ports (which makes sense) the question I have for those who have sailed Europe is:  did you ever wish you had more sea days?  The reason I ask is, from the sounds of things, when you spend time in ports in Europe it is fairly busy with a lot of walking and/or touring.  Does it every get so tiring during the cruise you wish you could just rest for a day? 

 

For reference, my wife and I are in our mid-40s and while are not marathon runners or triathletes or anything, consider ourselves to be in good shape.  However for reference, when we take our kids to disney world for example, after 3 days of doing the theme parks we feel we need a day off.  Thus I'm wondering whether those who have done one of these European cruises have found that after a few days in ports that they welcomed a day at sea when they could just relax for a day before going back at it the next day.  I realize we could just choose not to get off the ship on certain days, but if I can avoid paying port fees for a port I won't even experience I would prefer that. 

 

 

 

 

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I know I would welcome a sea day (or two) after those grueling all day excursions.

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Congrats on your 20th.  We are doing a Baltic next month for our 25th.

 

Consider the time of year you wish to cruise.  Our original plan was to do a Mediterranean, but we were advised against this if we wanted to cruise in August.  Very hot and extremely busy at that time of year.  So we decided on a Baltic.  It is 12 nights with 6 ports.  Several port days are separated by a Sea day.  This should make it a much more relaxing cruise than a Mediterranean.  We will look at a Mediterranean later-on when my wife can get time off in May or October.

 

dp

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I was on the Jewel OTS a few weeks ago. I loved having lots of port days, I just wish our only sea day wasn't the first full day. It would have been nice to have a down day later in the week. 

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9 minutes ago, peacefrogdog said:

Planning a 20th anniversary cruise to Europe and looking at the various itineraries.   While a common theme on these boards is to choose an itinerary based on the ports (which makes sense) the question I have for those who have sailed Europe is:  did you ever wish you had more sea days? 

 

 

Just because a lot of people here prefer port-intense itineraries doesn't mean it's best for you. I would absolutely hate a cruise that is nothing but port days. You'll be so busy during your port days, having a day to chill at sea every few days would probably be a great thing.

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Our preference is to have a sea day every third day, at least. Not a fan of 4, 5, or 6 port days in a row. 

 

When we did the Med, we had no more than 3 port days in a row.

 

mac_tlc

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Was looking at some of the Allure itineraries that have 5 port days in a row, then one sea day before returning to Barcelona. Sounds tiring!

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Also, is it safe to assume that the itineraries for Europe (they are scheduled up to November 2020) are somewhat similar to what would be offered for April-May 2021?  

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7 minutes ago, peacefrogdog said:

Also, is it safe to assume that the itineraries for Europe (they are scheduled up to November 2020) are somewhat similar to what would be offered for April-May 2021?  

 

Maybe not 100% identical, but for me, they would be similar enough to make preliminary plans.

 

dp

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Just remember that even if your cruise has lots of port days you don't have to do long, tiring excursions on all of them to enjoy the area. You could just get off the ship, wander into the local town, have a look around the shops/ walk along the beach/ go to the local market/ sit out and enjoy a glass of wine and take in the atmosphere. We often do this anywhere we go in the world and it makes for a nice relaxing day and can give you a much better 'feel' for the place than an organised excursion.

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I have just returned from Jewel - great itinerary but first day was the only sea day -meaning that we took Barcelona as another 'sea day'.   

The Allure itineraries next year are exactly the same as Symphony last year and Oasis this year.  Very port intensive.  Also consider the distance from port to sites - like Rome; or from Naples down to the Amalfi coast - it does mean early starts.

 

Have you considered the itinerary out of Venice - far nicer easily accessible ports IMHO - Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor.....stroll off and soak up the atmoshere (^^ as suggested above)....and you cannot beat that sailaway.

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Posted (edited)

We also did Jewel of the Seas a short time ago.  One sea day at the beginning and one at the end with six ports in the middle.  With the exception of Crete being a very relaxing beach day, the other ports were very active...long tours on each day.  While we loved it, I can't deny that all our plans to enjoy some late nights just didn't happen.  It was very tiring...but something I would do again in a heartbeat!  This was Rome r/t with five stops in Greece and the last stop in Naples...and all after we spent five days in Rome pre-cruise.

Edited by lola2013

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10 minutes ago, little britain said:

I have just returned from Jewel - great itinerary but first day was the only sea day -meaning that we took Barcelona as another 'sea day'.   

The Allure itineraries next year are exactly the same as Symphony last year and Oasis this year.  Very port intensive.  Also consider the distance from port to sites - like Rome; or from Naples down to the Amalfi coast - it does mean early starts.

 

Have you considered the itinerary out of Venice - far nicer easily accessible ports IMHO - Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor.....stroll off and soak up the atmoshere (^^ as suggested above)....and you cannot beat that sailaway.

 

Yes, the one that departs from Venice and returns to Barcelona looks fantastic.  Has a Port-Port-sea-Port-Port-sea schedule which seems like good opportunity to rest.   Doesn't have Greece included in it, but realizing we won't be able to check off all of our wish list items in one cruise.

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I love sea days, but we flew over to Italy to see as much as we could in 3 weeks.  Choosing a port intensive cruise was the answer for us.  We were able to see much more that way, including Malta, Athens and Pompeii.  It was very worth it for us.

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They don’t throw you off the boat on port days.

 

Typically, there is less lunch and entertainment options while in port, but if you want a to spend the sitting by the pool you can.  And what is open is less crowded. No issue with getting a chair by the pool. And sometimes they offer a discount at places like the Spa on port days.  The casino will be closed.

 

OTOH, it is impossible to make a sea day into a port day.

 

So don’t automatically dismiss 5 port days in a row, but you might want to plan on making one of them a day you don’t leave the ship or if you leave just plan on a leisurely stroll by the harbor.   

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, peacefrogdog said:

Planning a 20th anniversary cruise to Europe and looking at the various itineraries.   While a common theme on these boards is to choose an itinerary based on the ports (which makes sense) the question I have for those who have sailed Europe is:  did you ever wish you had more sea days?  The reason I ask is, from the sounds of things, when you spend time in ports in Europe it is fairly busy with a lot of walking and/or touring.  Does it every get so tiring during the cruise you wish you could just rest for a day? 

 

For reference, my wife and I are in our mid-40s and while are not marathon runners or triathletes or anything, consider ourselves to be in good shape.  However for reference, when we take our kids to disney world for example, after 3 days of doing the theme parks we feel we need a day off.  Thus I'm wondering whether those who have done one of these European cruises have found that after a few days in ports that they welcomed a day at sea when they could just relax for a day before going back at it the next day.  I realize we could just choose not to get off the ship on certain days, but if I can avoid paying port fees for a port I won't even experience I would prefer that. 

 

 

 

 

If you want plenty of sea days sail from Southampton to the Canaries or 14 night Mediterranean cruises.

If you sail from Barcelona,Rome, Venice or Valetta around the Mediterranean they are port intensive cruises.

Happy 20th Anniversary.

Edited by grapau27

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2 hours ago, peacefrogdog said:

 

Yes, the one that departs from Venice and returns to Barcelona looks fantastic.  Has a Port-Port-sea-Port-Port-sea schedule which seems like good opportunity to rest.   Doesn't have Greece included in it, but realizing we won't be able to check off all of our wish list items in one cruise.

 

Might also check the itineraries that are in and out of Venice and do get down to Greece -- those are also port port sea port port sea. Though the one to Barcelona does have some great ports that would be must-see ones in my book, if you have not been before. And with an extra couple of days in Venice on the front end and Barcelona on the back? Sweet!

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You might want to consider a b2b since itinerary and ship selection isn’t very good in Europe. Personally I think Italy and eastern med if preferable. I wouldn’t recommend sailing out of Southampton to the med. Too many sea days back to back. Mediocre weather until you reach the med. Relatively short days in port as they try to cover so much sea. The joys of fully utilised drinks packages. 

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I have done it both ways.

 

First Med was a 12 dayer (can't remember which length)  I specifically picked this one because of the ports of call but also every couple/few days, there was a sea day.

 

My second one, was a 7 dayer where pretty much everyday was a port day.

 

Of the two, I much preferred the longer cruise, with the sea days every so often.  Med excursions can be all day affairs, getting up early and getting back to the ship late.  It was nice to catch up on sleep and just relaxing on the sea days.  Made the excursions later in the cruise enjoyable.

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We did a med cruise several years ago (maybe 12 night?), and were so happy that we took advice and had a few sea days.  While the ports were awesome, the long days of excursions were grueling (and we were in our 30’s).  It was so nice to have a few sea days mixed in to relax 🙂. No regrets!

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Europe cruises are very port intensive and very exhausting but in the most wonderful way! I am always very ready for a sea day in Europe; they’re much needed for rejuvenation before reaching another set of ports. At the same time, when in Europe, you wanna see as much as you can so aim for enough Port days with a sprinkling of sea days. 

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We're about 10 years older than you and did a Med cruise with 5 straight port days (final sea day back to Barcelona).  Wasn't as exhausting as I thought it might be, and we had long port days PLUS the cruise was after 9 days in England and Barcelona.  The trick, as someone else noted, is to find a relaxed pace and take plenty of time to just sit and absorb.  It took some mental prep as I typically would want to pack every minute possible with something to do.

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Done the 12 night Greek Isles and 12 night Venice out of Barcelona. Think they both had 3 sea days with 2 of them in a row. They were well spaced and gave ample time to rest up. Have another 12 nighter next month and that one has 4 sea days. Regardless you’ll likely be exhausted from you vacation 😉

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I'm doing the 9 night Greek Isles because it seems more relaxed then the others. With 3 sea days and ports you don't need to be bussed to, I figured it might even be relaxing. Plus we will spend 3 busy days in Rome pre-cruise but at our own pace

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Two unrelated questions:

 

1.  Ship classes in Meditarrean:  While a few years out, I'm hoping to make the anniversary trip special by booking one of the nice ocean view balcony cabins  in the aft with the large balconies . As such I'm scoping out which cabins to look for.   Going into fall 2010, it appears the ships in Europe are the Vision class (Rhapsody), Radiance class (Jewel), Voyageur class (Explorer) and Oasis class (Allure).  Without going deep into looking at old itineraries, does Freedom or Quantum class typically sail into Meditarrean ports?  We are specifically hoping to find itineraries that sail into Croatia.

 

2. Trouble getting tenders?    Is getting onto tenders going to be much of an issue on the smaller boats? I can understand that with the Oasis class ships that the large numbers of people may make it harder to get on an earlier tender to get to port quicker. Have others had the same experience with the other ship classes?  Initially I thought of booking a grand suite that would give us priority getting off the ship but after doing some preliminary pricing I'm not sure that would be worth the extra fare for us (as we otherwise don't anticipate spending much time in the cabin anyway). 

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