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SCGirl3211

Suggestions for First European Cruise

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DH and I were in Barcelona in May and stayed in the Central area.  Walked back to our hotel at night with very few people around and felt safe.  Again, when traveling, use common sense.  Stay in well lighted areas , never walk alone, and hide your valuables! 

 

Muggings get in the news when it hits someone "important".  Or in your local news when it's someone from your country.   There are so many other crimes around the world that do not get reported.  It's everywhere! 

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2 minutes ago, G.M.T. said:

There have always been pickpockets in Barcelona, but things are changing, pickpocketting has turned into a plague and some are even turning to violent muggings.

 

The violence mentioned in the various articles are injuries caused by the old scheme of drive-by purse/handbag snatching. Some people got hooked up in the straps, fell and hurt themselves. Not nice but nothing new either.

 

Don‘t flash your valuables, leave the bag at home and you are fine. What you don’t have on you can’t be taken from you - it’s as simple as that... in Barcelona and any other touristic city.

 

If you are scared by those tabloid news you are absolutely correct! Better stay at home. However, we and others are still going to enjoy traveling to any city. We have been to Barcelona recently, loved going to hidden hangouts of locals at night and never felt unsafe. 

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1 hour ago, Miaminice said:

 

The violence mentioned in the various articles are injuries caused by the old scheme of drive-by purse/handbag snatching. Some people got hooked up in the straps, fell and hurt themselves. Not nice but nothing new either.

 

Don‘t flash your valuables, leave the bag at home and you are fine. What you don’t have on you can’t be taken from you - it’s as simple as that... in Barcelona and any other touristic city.

 

If you are scared by those tabloid news you are absolutely correct! Better stay at home. However, we and others are still going to enjoy traveling to any city. We have been to Barcelona recently, loved going to hidden hangouts of locals at night and never felt unsafe. 

The violent attacks in Barcelona are something new and on the INCREASE.

 

I'm certainly not scared, just that a poster asked about barcelona and I gave them some information (important). One should never play down dangers no matter where.

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4 hours ago, G.M.T. said:

Barcelona!

 

Have fun, but no thanks.

 

That does not really sound not scared... 😁

 

Plus, quote "The violent attacks in Barcelona are something new"... I suggest reading into what the media called "violent attacks" before you talk about "violent attacks". It´s hardly anything new.

 

Anyway, suit yourself...

Edited by Miaminice

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Nobody yet has mentioned an Adriatic cruise out of Venice.  One of our favorites.  Croatia is amazing.

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54 minutes ago, TeeRick said:

Nobody yet has mentioned an Adriatic cruise out of Venice.  One of our favorites.  Croatia is amazing.

 

Have to agree. We did Constellation out of Venice with a few days pre cruise in Venice. The adriatic coast is spectacular as is the Venice sailaway (At the moment). Montenegro is charming and the "fjords" as you approach are majical. Our best cruise yet. 

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I believe everyone should start their Europe adventures with the Med, BUT some of those ports are prone to pickpocketing. We never felt unsafe, though; you just have to be vigilant. 

 

Top picks for must do ports IMO are Venice, Rome, Naples, Barcelona, Mykonos, and Santorini.

 

Beware; it’s very easy to get addicted to Europe! ☺️

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I have read many tips for traveling, how to avoid pick pockets.  There are lots of ways you can fall victim.  Never had a problem myself, but I carry my purse across my chest even before cross body purses became popular.  You can get theft resistant backpacks, too, though I would still carry important info in front of you, not in the back pack.  I was lazy one day and did not lock up my theft proof backpack and sure enough it was unzipped (totally undetected by me).  A man in line while I was getting food in a London train station told me my backpack was completely open.  Nothing was taken because all my important possessions were in my purse in my crossbody purse.  The thief was not interested in my pack of Kleenex and sweater!  So just be vigilant and don’t get lax with taking precautions.

 

There are lots of other schemes, so read up on them and be a smart traveler before you even set foot in Europe.

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Pickpockets and crime are everywhere you travel including the US.  No need to single out European countries.  Just be cautious/vigilant  everywhere you go.  

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My sister and I are taking our first Med cruise in 3 weeks - Constellation 9 nights Barcelona to Rome. Staying two nights in Barcelona and Rome before/after the cruise. I've booked everything through my travel agent and have arranged private tours in both cities. Can't wait.

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On 8/24/2019 at 12:27 PM, SCGirl3211 said:

My husband and I have cruised on 15 cruises mostly to the Caribbean.  We are looking to expand our travel by booking a European cruise.  Offer us some suggestions for a good cruise to start with.  We don't really want to start in a crowded, high crime big city...that we know.  Any suggestions would be wonderful. We enjoy history, museums, and eating local foods. Also what would be the best time to travel to whatever area you suggest.  We prefer to travel during off season times but with our first trip we will bow to the experts!! 

Vote for Baltics.

Sail out of Southampton. Easy to reach via London and a car service.

Then upon disembarkation have the car service take you on a tour of Stonehenge before your flight that day. 

Brugge you can do via a taxi.

Take a tour to Berlin from the German port.,

Tallin can be done on your own as can Stockholm (Noble museum, Vasa museum. Boat-taxi around town is great)., Copenhagen can be done on your own. Use a private tour service like Dancing Bear for St Petersburg to skip the crazy lines.

 

A great way to see some beautiful places. 

 

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58 minutes ago, jpcello said:

My sister and I are taking our first Med cruise in 3 weeks - Constellation 9 nights Barcelona to Rome. Staying two nights in Barcelona and Rome before/after the cruise. I've booked everything through my travel agent and have arranged private tours in both cities. Can't wait.

 

Hi! We must be on the same cruise! I am also staying two nights on both sides of the cruise, booked through Celebrity.

 

See you soon!

Trish

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1 hour ago, trishtoro said:

 

Hi! We must be on the same cruise! I am also staying two nights on both sides of the cruise, booked through Celebrity.

 

See you soon!

Trish

Trish we’re staying at the Majestic in Barcelona. Otherwise see you on board. 

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On 8/24/2019 at 11:27 AM, SCGirl3211 said:

My husband and I have cruised on 15 cruises mostly to the Caribbean.  We are looking to expand our travel by booking a European cruise.  Offer us some suggestions for a good cruise to start with.  We don't really want to start in a crowded, high crime big city...that we know.  Any suggestions would be wonderful. We enjoy history, museums, and eating local foods. Also what would be the best time to travel to whatever area you suggest.  We prefer to travel during off season times but with our first trip we will bow to the experts!! 

 

We have only done one European cruise so far--12 nights, Venice to Barcelona aboard Millennium--and we loved it.  The sailing started with an overnight in Venice (we spent 3 wonderful nights there before the cruise) and we visited Dubrovnik, Athens, Santorini, Naples, Rome, Florence, and Monaco/France.  Every port was a highlight and it certainly hits the history, museums, and local food categories that you are looking for. 

 

Sunset over the Strait of Messina.JPG

Jun 24 2007, sailing thru the Strait of Messina at dinner time

Edited by mahdnc

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Remember one thing, 1 way air fares to Europe are really expensive. Try to start and end in same airport city.

 

Add to the list a trip to thw Canaries usually from Southampton UK.

 

Baltics is also great as well as Norway

 

 

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On 8/25/2019 at 9:27 AM, Emmandjay said:

If you've never been to Europe before, why not start with the British Isles?  We're generally friendly, we speak English, we have loads of history and museums and interesting foods ( steak and kidney pie, fish and chips with mushy peas and even deep fried Mars bars!)

 

 

I totally agree with your suggestion! For first-time Europe visitors who are skittish about crime, the ports on a British Isles cruise may be somewhat safer than Rome, Barcelona or Paris (although I do remember being told by a sweet Irish lady to hang onto my purse in Dublin). Plus English is spoken so your DH needn't stress about communicating in another language. This itinerary will be a great introduction, and other cruise itineraries as suggested above will be sure to follow.

 

My DH & I are in our 70s and have been traveling to Europe by sea and land for a couple of decades. As others have posted here, be aware when traveling whether abroad or in the U.S.

 

BTW our DD, DSil and 3 DGS's live in Mt. Pleasant- wish I could convince them to cruise with us one of these times!

 

 

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Our favorite is Eastern Med, then Northern Europe, British Isle, Adriatic. Last would be Israel. If Israel is important to you, you can do a Eastern Med cruise with stops in Israel. My favorite cities are London, Rome, Saint Petersburg, Paris. I think the best time to cruise the Med is Sept to Oct. If cruising out of Rome you need 3 days to see things. The Borghese Gallery in Rome is wonderful. Here are 2 photos from the Borghese Gallery. If you do Saint Petersburg I enjoyed Peterhof Palace.

Borghese Gallery.jpg

Borghese Gallery1.jpg

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Two contrasting cruises are equal top of my list.

 

The Baltic (starting in Amsterdam to save sea days from Southampton). Different countries so different types of cities. St. Petersburg is wonderful but Tallinn and Stockholm are also really lovely. Amsterdam is a good place to have at the beginning or end of the cruise for an extra couple of days. The remaining ports of call such as Copenhagen and Helsinki aren’t exactly lacking in interest either.

 

The Mediterranean (eastern end). Unless you go for three weeks it is not possible to see

the whole of the Med. I prefer Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Adriatic countries (Croatia &

Montenegro in particular) compared to France and Spain. I would put Venice in as an

absolute essential. I agree with those recommending Rome and Venice as start/finish

ports.

 

Time of the year is important. I would avoid July and August. Too crowded and too hot 

in the Med.

 

I am sure you will have a memorable cruise whatever you choose. Somewhat inevitably

I would, of course, suggest that you make every effort, sometime, to do both!

 

Kind regards,

 

Montythecat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Oceansaway17 said:

Remember one thing, 1 way air fares to Europe are really expensive. Try to start and end in same airport city.

 

We have not found this to be true when flying into one city/country and out of another.  Yes, if you are just purchasing a one way ticket, say for a transatlantic, a one-way can be more.  But if you purchase your flights as Multi-City tickets (example:  ATL to BCN and then VCN to ATL) instead of one way for each port city,  the price is usually the same as ATL to BCN roundtrip. 😉

 

16 hours ago, TMLAalum said:

BTW our DD, DSil and 3 DGS's live in Mt. Pleasant- wish I could convince them to cruise with us one of these times!

 

 

 

Have you thought about trying the Carnival cruise out of Charleston to get your DD and SIL interested in cruising? Of course, taking a Carnival cruise could be a disaster, but they may feel more comfortable trying their first cruise from home.  Less time off of work, too!

 

The Carnival Sunshine is currently sailing out of the harbor.  Never been on it, but doesn't look that bad a ship.  In fact, I am trying to talk my DH into trying it just for a 4-5 night getaway.  I believe the Fantasy, that normally sails out of there, is much smaller and older.  My children have all sailed on it during spring breaks.  That's not a good time for adults to try it.  LOL

 

Years ago, after my parents quit flying, we drove them to Charleston and sailed on the Carnival Glory.  It wasn't Celebrity, but we had a great time!

 

SCGirl3211 - Have you sailed on those Carnival ships?

Edited by Iamthesea

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I have taken many European cruises. They were all nice. Do some homework and read up on possible ports.  My favorite cruises start and end in an interesting place. I like to stay in the port on either end.  My favorite was British Isles. Added staying in a London.

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We are considering a cruise originating in Barcelona, but looking at basing ourselves in Madrid the days before and taking the train down to Barcelona on departure day.  Has anyone done that?

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Other than handling your bags, there is high speed train service...2 1/2 - 3 hours.  Barring a strike, you should have no problems.  Taxis are plentiful in Barcelona to take you to the cruise.

 

If it were me, I'd spend the last night before the cruise in Barcelona...it's a great city and arriving a day early takes all the stress out.  

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6 hours ago, Iamthesea said:

Have you thought about trying the Carnival cruise out of Charleston to get your DD and SIL interested in cruising? Of course, taking a Carnival cruise could be a disaster, but they may feel more comfortable trying their first cruise from home.  Less time off of work, too!

 

The Carnival Sunshine is currently sailing out of the harbor.  Never been on it, but doesn't look that bad a ship.  In fact, I am trying to talk my DH into trying it just for a 4-5 night getaway.  I believe the Fantasy, that normally sails out of there, is much smaller and older.  My children have all sailed on it during spring breaks.  That's not a good time for adults to try it.  LOL

 

Years ago, after my parents quit flying, we drove them to Charleston and sailed on the Carnival Glory.  It wasn't Celebrity, but we had a great time!

 

SCGirl3211 - Have you sailed on those Carnival ships?

 

I'd be reluctant to suggest Carnival to them, but that is based on my impression of the line. I almost got them to try a short Disney cruise for their anniversary, but they opted for the Big Apple instead....

They had fleeting thoughts about finding a cruise with a stop in Barbados since they lived there for about 4 years but are spending time there + St. Lucia and another island over the holidays.

Some day....

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If you're going to do a "try this" cruise from the US....please don't try carnival, msc or norwegian, especially not a 7 day or less cruise which can be a horror  for some with kids, drinking, bare chest contests, etc....unless you know folks would like that...."let your hair down and party" type of cruiuse.  I think your best bet would be royal caribbean which offers a nice combination of relaxation with activities and good shows.  Celebrity is more lay back...and not everyone's cup of tea.  RCL is a safer bet for a "first" cruise...and if the indication is that there's too much "rah rah" stuff, then the second cruise should be Princess or Celebrity.  

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