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To Cruise or Not to Cruise.... the MED

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I know, I know,  I'm asking a bunch of cruise lovers if I should take a cruise....

 

but hear me out on this.

 

A friend of mine is getting married in the countryside outside of Florence, he's invited a small group of friends over for the Wednesday wedding.  

 

We're encouraged to take day trips on our own during the week  pre and post ceremony.

 

We tossed around the idea of doing the wedding, and then mixing in a cruise.

 

We could fly out Monday night, Arrive Tuesday morning and hang out Tuesday, do the wedding Wednesday, and hang out Thursday.   Friday we could take a train from Florence to Venice and hop aboard Rhapsody and sail to Croatia, and Greece. 

 

Sounds great, but before I break out the credit card, we wondered if we were making a mistake.

 

Europe is no Caribbean (only place we've ever cruised) It's not like going from beach to beach.  Would a few hours in port each day be enough, would we feel cheated.

 

Maybe we should skip the cruise and explore Italy from land --- Pisa, Florence, Rome.....  

 

We are close to our next rung up on C&A status, and want to squeeze in another one before that add some tiers.... lol

 

But wonder if this trip would be better by land.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts....

 

 

Edited by RCCL Fan

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The MED is hands down an awesome place. Be prepared for an exhausting port intensive cruise but pair it to a Westbound Trans Atlantic and arrive in Florida rested. My Parents and I are doing a 22 night cruise with 7 of them on the Western Med from Barcelona on the Brilliance followed by the 15 night Trans Atlantic to Tampa. 


With ports in Nice, Portofino, Livorno, Citavecchia, Salerno , Cartegena, Cadiz, Malaga, Lisbon and Azores with tours in these ports to , Nice, Eze, Monaco the Almalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Lake Bracchiano outside of Rome, around Portofino, Cordoba, Murcia, Sintra and of course staying in Barcelona pre cruise and a night in Tampa post cruise its  a dream trip! 

 

We booked an Interior guarantee for the first portion due to long port days and an Oceanview on the second cruise. On the first cruise our sea day is the last one before returning to Barcelona and there is a sea day between Lisbon and the Azores and then after the Azores. This is the most perfect itinerary i have seen especially with an overnight in Lisbon we can go to the Alfama the next morning before departing at 4 PM.

 

Once we disembark Tampa we have an overnight in Rocky Point Sailport Suites and then fly out at 1:15 PM before returning to CA at 6:20 PM. 


The amount of sea days and port days is perfect and if you have the time to do a B2B that is great. On turnaround day I will use it as a recovery day and may just stay on the ship as I have seen Barcelona a few times plus a few days before the cruise. 

 

To me this cruise is a Cultural and relaxing vacation all rolled into one. We  will do wine tasting and enjoy local delicacies. 

 

My Father and I did a two week Med out of Athens to Rome on Cunard and loved Malta, Sarande Albania and other ports! We enjoyed Florence and Citavecchia as we have been to Rome before and were staying on in Rome.  To me going into Rome for one day by tour bus is a killer as they park further away from the sights.  If I am going to return to Rome it would be for at least 4 days or more.

 

Just my 2 cents and I really highly recommend you looking into sailing the Med even a B2B Eastern and Western Med  or one that pairs with a Westbound Trans Atlanttic.  On our cruise we gain an hour as Europe goes on to Standard TIme the day we leave on the first segment and on the TA we gain another hour to our 25 Hour Days as America goes onto Daylight Savings Time but we are still in Europe during that time!

 

So I say break out that Credit Card and pull the trigger and book it! You will not regret it and you will have memories to last a lifetime! Remember there are so many tours to suit your hobbies from winetasting to cultural tours. Pick up Rick Steve's Cruising Med ports for more insight. You could take ship sponsored tours or join one from a Roll Call here on Cruise Critic. 

 

I would start looking over the various Roll Calls and forums here on CC to get an idea of which cruise you would like to take.  

 

Enjoy and please keep us posted of your decision and which itineraries you are looking to take and I would be happy to help you disseminate it!  

 

I saw this B2B in my local Newspaper and booked it because it was so interesting. Just remember that due to weather you may not dock at every port due to winds etc.

 

Good luck!

 

 

Edited by travelplus

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I think it sounds awesome! You already have a reason to be in Europe and see some stuff, why not combine it with a cruise to see more stuff. Cruising is already like short attention span vacationing anyway. You have a hotel and food onboard, you can see some highlights, and if you love the cities you can always plan a future visit. :classic_biggrin:

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If you want to see Europe,  do a land vacation.

If you want to take a cruise, hop on that train to Venice

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Cruise, —there is a boat load of regions of Italy for you to explore, but you need serious time to do that correctly. 

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Explore by land only would be my choice, much more opportunity to experience lovely Italy. You would miss out on so much if you had to return to a ship every day.

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Do the cruise....it's a great way to have an overview of as many ports as you can.....Then you'll know if and where you would like to return.

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I recommend doing a cruise. Check with Royal Caribbean as some itineraries allow you get on at any port and stay on any number of days.

 

Med cruises are port intensive and you will get your moneys worth. I have done one med cruise this year and will be do a Spain coastal cruise in the fall.

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Definitely do the cruise, you will love it I'm sure. You get several hours in most ports which is time enough to take tours either from the ship or on your own.

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Do the cruise first as sort of a sampler.  Then do a land vacation for a more in-depth visit of places you found interesting.

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3 hours ago, SonicShip said:

I recommend doing a cruise. Check with Royal Caribbean as some itineraries allow you get on at any port and stay on any number of days.

 

Med cruises are port intensive and you will get your moneys worth. I have done one med cruise this year and will be do a Spain coastal cruise in the fall.

RCI only interports at Rome and Barcelona on Oasis (this year and Allure next year).  MSC interports at most ports

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Why not fly out Friday night and spend the weekend in Rome - then drive up to wherever the wedding is - you could take in Orvieto en route. Skip Pisa. It's a dump.   Sienna is much nicer than Florence too.  That would give you a flavour of Tuscany -  then catch the train up to Venice and cruise to Dubrovnik/Split and Montenegro.  That is what I would do....

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We look on cruises to new places as a snapshot of the area, if we really love somewhere we can go back on a land based trip. If you've never been to Europe before a cruise is a great introduction, then come back to the places you want to see more of.

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If totally go for it!  I’m on the Rhapsody right now on our last day of an 8-night Croatia/Geeece sailing. We saw Dubrovnik (walked around the city), Corfu (beach day - gorgeous!), was supposed to see Santorini, but it was too windy to tender, so had an extra afternoon in Crete. Had private tour guides in both Athens and Olympia for the next two days and was able to see a ton.  It IS port intensive, but that’s why I love it. My 12 year old just said he was bored by 11am on our only “at sea” day, so that reinforces that he liked the busy pace!

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Up until 2 years ago, we had never done a Caribbean cruise! All of our cruises were in Europe, and we’ve been cruising for almost 20 years! As other posters have commented, it’s a great way to get an overview and then decide where you might want to spend more time.  With children in particular, it’s great to know that you only have to pack and unpack once, and that you’ll go back to a familiar place every evening for a nice dinner while someone else worries about getting you from place to place. For us, with 3 young children, it was an easy choice. 

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I love the area.

 

I do not see that a few hours in each port is enough to even decide to come back.  And looking at the itineraries, they are port, port, port, port, port, port ......

 

And in many cases, since the ports are close, so transit time is short, and you are off the ship early and back late, to get up early and repeat.

 

To me, NONE of that calls to me.

 

I would rather pick 1 or 2 cities, and spend at least a few days in each.  Most of them deserve a week or more.

 

We have done a week on Mykonos, and still want to go back to do things.  Heck Delos is almost a full day.  We spent a week in Sicily, and that same.  2 weeks in Berlin.  A week in Copenhagen. Three trips to London for more than 5 weeks total.  Two week in Edinburgh (I have been there 4 times for a total of almost 4 weeks). etc, etc, etc.

 

 

 

 

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You are way more experienced cruiser than I. And there are many opinions from seasoned travelers here that I envy their travel histories. I would add you probably know what you want. Go for it. Land based or cruising will be a great time. What time of year are you looking at? We did western Med in early May on Oasis. It was Port heavy. The sights are quite a drive from the ship. Most sights were pretty crowded and the guides did say high season is awful. We would do it again tomorrow. Your going to have a great time whatever you choose, good luck! 

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We've done both- 3 land vacations in Italy and one cruise out of Citivieccia for the eastern Med.

 

It's a hard choice- but one thing is that you end up doing 2 of the major highlights of Italy via the cruise plan- some time in Florence/Tuscany and some time in Venice.  With the plan you have, you can see much of those areas and still add a cruise to some new ports that you can really get to know.

 

One issue with the road trip is that if you spend too much time trying to see too much, you get really exhausted.  Whereas the cruise doing the same thing is a lot more relaxing.  BTW, I would 100% plan on eating at each port- which may mean light dinners.

 

And the idea of arriving a day or two even earlier where you can spend a night or two in Rome is really solid.  You can stay really close to the train station, which would take you up to Florence- where you could rent the car for the few days there.  Then train to Venice, spend a cool night there, and hop on the cruise.

 

For the most part, Rome is 3 major highlights- the Vatican, the Roman ruins, and the historic area that is kind of in between the two of those.  If you plan ahead, all can be done without waiting in lines- which lets you see more in a shorter time.

 

Tuscany is really nice, lots of mountain top towns, wonderful food and wine- just like you expect.  Pisa is nice to see, but other than the leaning tower...  Much more to actually see and visit in Florence.

 

Venice is Venice.  All you need to do is wander, getting lost, until you get tired.  Eat, and then use a map to get back to your hotel.  This can be done repeatedly, if you want- it's great.

 

And adding a cruise after all of that would be pretty darned relaxing.

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I would definitely take the cruise.

Do the ports as best you can private tours aren’t particularly cheap but are well worth it especially with a guide we use Romeinlimo and then you can make up your own mind weather to return in the future and explore more.

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5 hours ago, little britain said:

Why not fly out Friday night and spend the weekend in Rome - then drive up to wherever the wedding is - you could take in Orvieto en route. Skip Pisa. It's a dump.   Sienna is much nicer than Florence too.  That would give you a flavour of Tuscany -  then catch the train up to Venice and cruise to Dubrovnik/Split and Montenegro.  That is what I would do....

 

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Siena is an extremely nice small city with wonderful gothic buildings much more peaceful and less hectic than Florence it really is worth a visit.

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I have done both. I have enjoyed both. I would say do the cruise. you can see more places on one trip

some of the Greek islands do not need more then one day. there were some places i would of like to stay longer. So i went back and did land packages but cruising let see what i liked first.

I have been all over Europe and turkey and Egypt. I would look for the place i want to see most.

 

I hope you have a great time no matter what you do

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12 hours ago, RCCL Fan said:

I know, I know,  I'm asking a bunch of cruise lovers if I should take a cruise....

 

but hear me out on this.

 

A friend of mine is getting married in the countryside outside of Florence, he's invited a small group of friends over for the Wednesday wedding.  

 

We're encouraged to take day trips on our own during the week  pre and post ceremony.

 

We tossed around the idea of doing the wedding, and then mixing in a cruise.

 

We could fly out Monday night, Arrive Tuesday morning and hang out Tuesday, do the wedding Wednesday, and hang out Thursday.   Friday we could take a train from Florence to Venice and hop aboard Rhapsody and sail to Croatia, and Greece. 

 

Sounds great, but before I break out the credit card, we wondered if we were making a mistake.

 

Europe is no Caribbean (only place we've ever cruised) It's not like going from beach to beach.  Would a few hours in port each day be enough, would we feel cheated.

 

Maybe we should skip the cruise and explore Italy from land --- Pisa, Florence, Rome.....  

 

We are close to our next rung up on C&A status, and want to squeeze in another one before that add some tiers.... lol

 

But wonder if this trip would be better by land.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts....

 

 

In your case, I'd do it by land. Although we love med cruises, they can be quite intensive if you book excursions in every port as we did. But if we were you, in this situation we'd definitely skip the cruise and just do it by land and rent a car. It sounds so much easier on both wallet and time allotted.

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Another thing to consider is that Europe is a huge continents where Paris, Barcelona, Vienna and a host of other awesome cities are a 2 hour and $90 plane ride away.   

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I say get the credit card out and book the cruise.  We did a 10 day cruise from Venice with an over night in Croatia and Malta.  WOW!!  It was a great cruise and gave us an overview of several ports and we now know which cities we want to go back to for a longer stay (Dubrovnik!!!) and which we have no desire to go back to (Rome).  You won't be able to see everything in all the ports, but it's a good test.  I suspect once you try it, you will go back for more.  We've done 2 Europe trips so far and we do 1 week on land and 1 week on a cruise.  

 

No matter what you do...You will have an amazing time!!!

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