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ckmommy72

20th Anniversary cruise - Mediterranean

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Hi all,

 

Hubby and I are looking to celebrate our 20th anniversary next October in Italy.  Originally, we thought we'd do a traditional land vacation, but thought a cruise might be a better option.  We've sailed only twice before, both times from the Northeastern US to the Caribbean, once on Carnival with the kids and an adults only (for us) trip on Celebrity.

 

We're looking for suggestions, if anyone recommends an amazing cruise they've loved.  We would like to do mostly Italian ports, but it's always been my dream to go to Barcelona, and would love to visit Croatia or Greece as well.  We'd like to stick close to 7 nights, and do a couple/few days before and after, for a total trip of about 2 weeks.  As much as we'd love the luxury lines, we need to keep the cruise only price in the $2K/person range all in (or less :classic_tongue:) in a balcony or above.   Is that reasonable?

 

Any suggestions you can offer would be great!

 

Edited by ckmommy72

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We are likely taking a Mediterranean cruise next summer as well.  I was shooting for $5000 max for our family of four.  Since the kids are a much reduced price, it's close to the same budget as yours (though we can only travel in July which is the most expensive month!).  I've done a ton of research along with posts here and we decided on the 9 night Carnival cruise that starts in Barcelona and ends in Venice.  It has 4 Italy ports as well as 1 France, 1 Greece and 1 Montenegro (I would have preferred Croatia, but can't have it all!)

 

The other cruises I was looking at were Royal Caribbean, MSC, and Norwegian.  Celebrity was just out of our price range (and I didn't think the best option for the kids) but it might work for you.  Most of the cruises with Norwegian are on the Epic and that ship doesn't seem to get the best reviews.  Most 7 night cruises either do Western Mediterranean (includes Barcelona) or Eastern Mediterranean (includes Greece or Croatia).

 

We ended up choosing Carnival for the two extra nights and the fact that we could do Barcelona and Venice.  Have fun planning!  

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You might want to consider asking a local travel agent for information. That is their business and should know about appropriateness things for you.

 

Jim

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Have a look at some of the Princess itineraries. There are a few that cover quite a few of the places you mentioned but are 10 or 11 day cruises. Still, worth it if you can work around that.

 

Also Princess offers an Ultimate Balcony Dinner (extra cost) which is a wonderful way to celebrate an anniversary or birthday. It is served, course by course, to your cabin and is worth every cent. We've done it twice.

 

We celebrated out 20th anniversary on Royal Princess on a 21 night Grand Mediterranean cruise in 2017 and had a wonderful time. 

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It would be hard to do Barcelona and the eastern med, Croatia on a seven day cruise. To do Italy and Croatia you are gonna have to sacrifice Barcelona or cruise as suggested for 10/11 days. There are lots of cruises leaving from Rome, Venice, Naples, look at MSC or Costa if you are ok with several European nationalities and languages aboard.

We recently did Splendours of the Adriatic with a company called Marella, i know Canadians can book them thro Sunwing not sure about US, it set off from Naples, Sicily, Dubrovnik Croatia, Ancona in Italy, Venice and Split, Croatia then back to Naples 7nts, only one sea day. Very much aimed at the Brit market but All inclusive and a good deal if looking to keep costs down. Other than that its the usual suspects Royal Caribbean have a lot of ships in the Med but as suggested a good TA should be able to find a suitable deal for you. 

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I think the Med is more about the itinerary than the ship. You will have few sea days and lots of days on long tours. So look for one that hits the most of the ports YOU really want. 

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I would consider looking at Princess and including the flights....while you may not get all the ports you are looking for flights add up quickly and combining can make it workable.

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Thank you everyone for all your input.  As a couple of you stated, for us this is most definitely more about the ports than the ship, so we're open to almost any line...even Carnival though we didn't love our trip a few years ago on the Summit.😊

 

Off to research some more.

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We are doing the Celebrity Constellation this November 2019 for our 30th anniversary.  10 nights (1 sea day) from Venice to Rome, with ports in Croatia, Montenegro, Malta, Sicily and Naples.  If you are looking next year, check their itineraries.  We enjoy Celebrity. This is a smaller ship that doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but this trip is about the ports.

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On 8/4/2019 at 5:11 PM, ckmommy72 said:

Hi all,

 

Hubby and I are looking to celebrate our 20th anniversary next October in Italy.  Originally, we thought we'd do a traditional land vacation, but thought a cruise might be a better option.  We've sailed only twice before, both times from the Northeastern US to the Caribbean, once on Carnival with the kids and an adults only (for us) trip on Celebrity.

 

We're looking for suggestions, if anyone recommends an amazing cruise they've loved.  We would like to do mostly Italian ports, but it's always been my dream to go to Barcelona, and would love to visit Croatia or Greece as well.  We'd like to stick close to 7 nights, and do a couple/few days before and after, for a total trip of about 2 weeks.  As much as we'd love the luxury lines, we need to keep the cruise only price in the $2K/person range all in (or less :classic_tongue:) in a balcony or above.   Is that reasonable?

 

Any suggestions you can offer would be great!

 


You won't be able to see Barcelona, Greece, and Croatia in a week. Typically in a week you could go Barcelona to Lisbon, Barcelona to Rome, Rome to Venice including Croatia, Venice to Athens including Croatia.  

 

i think you're going to have a hard time finding a seven day cruise including shore excursions (even DIY--museums and such have entry fees), airfare, tips, travel insurance, cruise fare, and 5-7 nights of hotels and meals before the cruise for $4K for two people--particularly in a balcony!  Keep in mind that time is money when traveling, and taking a large ship--waiting in line constantly to get on and off while precious minutes in port are ticking by...  

 

Euro cruises are much different than Caribbean cruises.  They are port intensive, often having zero or one sea day on a seven day cruise.  The balcony won't be as important because you really won't have much time to use it.  We have always had large suites on Caribbean cruises, and our first European was a 14 day B2B in a 180 s/f porthole cabin.  We were quite concerned, but shouldn't have been. 

We were in the cabin to sleep and shower, and the majority of our awake time was spent on shore.  It was exhausting--we were up around 6:00 every morning and off the ship around 8:30 for the day.  We got back on in time to shower and changed for dinner.  We were typically asleep within 90 minutes or so after finishing our meal.  I tried to watch a DVD three nights in a row and never got past the opening credits before I was sleeping.  It might fit my budget, but I doubt I'll ever spend the money to upgrade to a larger or balcony cabin on a Euro cruise based on that experience.

 

Look at it this way:

 

Airfare r/t for two      $1000 minimum--I'd budget it closer to $1500

Surface transportation $50 estimate if you mostly walk

Hotel $700 (based on $100 per night which would be a modest hotel--think a Fairfield Inn)

Meals for days pre and post cruise minimum $350 ($50 a day--and that's eating a lot of pizza and such)

Travel Insurance $300

Base Tips on cruise $170

Tourism cost per day for entry to museums and sites $650 (this is based on $50 a day--some sites are free while others are quite spendy but worth the tariff)

 

I haven't even added in the cruise fare, and extras such as shore excursions, upgraded dining and alcohol and the budget has already hit $3220.  I think you need to either up the budget or perhaps just do a land based trip to Barcelona or wherever.  

 

 

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2 minutes ago, ducklite said:


You won't be able to see Barcelona, Greece, and Croatia in a week. Typically in a week you could go Barcelona to Lisbon, Barcelona to Rome, Rome to Venice including Croatia, Venice to Athens including Croatia.  

 

i think you're going to have a hard time finding a seven day cruise including shore excursions (even DIY--museums and such have entry fees), airfare, tips, travel insurance, cruise fare, and 5-7 nights of hotels and meals before the cruise for $4K for two people--particularly in a balcony!  Keep in mind that time is money when traveling, and taking a large ship--waiting in line constantly to get on and off while precious minutes in port are ticking by...  

 

Euro cruises are much different than Caribbean cruises.  They are port intensive, often having zero or one sea day on a seven day cruise.  The balcony won't be as important because you really won't have much time to use it.  We have always had large suites on Caribbean cruises, and our first European was a 14 day B2B in a 180 s/f porthole cabin.  We were quite concerned, but shouldn't have been. 

We were in the cabin to sleep and shower, and the majority of our awake time was spent on shore.  It was exhausting--we were up around 6:00 every morning and off the ship around 8:30 for the day.  We got back on in time to shower and changed for dinner.  We were typically asleep within 90 minutes or so after finishing our meal.  I tried to watch a DVD three nights in a row and never got past the opening credits before I was sleeping.  It might fit my budget, but I doubt I'll ever spend the money to upgrade to a larger or balcony cabin on a Euro cruise based on that experience.

 

Look at it this way:

 

Airfare r/t for two      $1000 minimum--I'd budget it closer to $1500

Surface transportation $50 estimate if you mostly walk

Hotel $700 (based on $100 per night which would be a modest hotel--think a Fairfield Inn)

Meals for days pre and post cruise minimum $350 ($50 a day--and that's eating a lot of pizza and such)

Travel Insurance $300

Base Tips on cruise $170

Tourism cost per day for entry to museums and sites $650 (this is based on $50 a day--some sites are free while others are quite spendy but worth the tariff)

 

I haven't even added in the cruise fare, and extras such as shore excursions, upgraded dining and alcohol and the budget has already hit $3220.  I think you need to either up the budget or perhaps just do a land based trip to Barcelona or wherever.  

 

 

Thank you for your response.  I know we won't be able to see both Spain and the ports east of Italy....just putting some cities we'd like to see out there as possibilities.

 

I'm thinking you might have misunderstood the figure I gave - I stated we'd like to keep the cruise only portion to around $2K each.  We know there is no way to do the whole trip for $4K.  Just getting started, the figure in our heads is more in the $7K-$10K range all in.

 

Thanks again!

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2 minutes ago, ckmommy72 said:

Thank you for your response.  I know we won't be able to see both Spain and the ports east of Italy....just putting some cities we'd like to see out there as possibilities.

 

I'm thinking you might have misunderstood the figure I gave - I stated we'd like to keep the cruise only portion to around $2K each.  We know there is no way to do the whole trip for $4K.  Just getting started, the figure in our heads is more in the $7K-$10K range all in.

 

Thanks again!

 

Ah, I did misunderstand.  

 

In that case, take a look at Windstar--they often have specials that would keep the cruise fare right around $2K pp.  They aren't all inclusive but do include a lot that many other lines don't.  Their biggest advantage is that the ships are small--no waiting to get on and off--and they have the private yacht feel.  Their ships have just been or are on their way into extensive dry docks so they'll be gorgeous next year!

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3 minutes ago, ducklite said:

 

Ah, I did misunderstand.  

 

In that case, take a look at Windstar--they often have specials that would keep the cruise fare right around $2K pp.  They aren't all inclusive but do include a lot that many other lines don't.  Their biggest advantage is that the ships are small--no waiting to get on and off--and they have the private yacht feel.  Their ships have just been or are on their way into extensive dry docks so they'll be gorgeous next year!

Thank you again - I will definitely look at Windstar.  MIL did a James Beard cruise with them around Spain and Portugal a couple years ago and raved about it. I'd completely forgotten about them until you mentioned it. 😊 

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You should have no problems with 2k budget for cruise per person. Totally agree Barcelona is a great place to start a cruise, fantastic city , very interesting with very reasonable food and drinks. I would definitely spend at least a couple of days there , but would consider a longer than 7 day cruise. We did a 12 day rccl cruise from there with 5 stops in Italy , also Croatia and Kotor. 

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