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First trip to Europe cruise question

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First time trip to Europe and looking at doing a cruise.   If you had to pick an embarkation city for your cruise in Europe (specifically looking at Oct 2021 Enchanted Princess 22 day) in Barcelona or Rome, which city would you pick to  and why?  i.e.  Barcelona or Rome

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10 minutes ago, sunscreen said:

First time trip to Europe and looking at doing a cruise.   If you had to pick an embarkation city for your cruise in Europe (specifically looking at Oct 2021 Enchanted Princess 22 day) in Barcelona or Rome, which city would you pick to  and why?  i.e.  Barcelona or Rome

Both are wonderful cities are filled with tons to see and do. We favor Rome and have visited multiple times - we are fans of Roman history and still have not seen all there is to see.

A consideration for a first time visitor such as yourself would be the distance from Rome or Barcelona to your cruise ship. Cruise ships beginning in Barcelona actually dock in Barcelona so it is easy to get from airport/hotel to the cruise port.

Cruise ships beginning in Rome actually dock in Civitavecchia which is located about an hour from Rome. You would need to arrange transportation to Civitavecchia from airport/hotel. There are several options for this but you would have to decide which you would prefer according to your budget and mobility.

Would you be arriving early to spend a day or two in either city? 

 

Edited by dogs4fun

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We would want to fly in at least a day before our cruise and try and find  a hotel close by the cruise port if possible.   How is Oct for weather?    

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16 minutes ago, sunscreen said:

How is Oct for weather? 

Can't say how the weather will be for your particular dates but we actually prefer to travel in October. Both Rome and Barcelona are crowded with hordes of tourists during the summer months and the temperatures are usually far too hot for us to remain comfortable when touring about the city. Add to this the fact that there are few areas to find shade - particularly in Rome.

We have had very good luck in both cities in October - the weather has been temperate (usually in the 60s) & we have lucked out and experienced no rain. The bonus for us is the smaller crowd sizes. However, both of these cities are still quite busy in October.

If you plan on arriving early and want to book a hotel close to the cruise port then I would recommend Barcelona. There are many hotels located a short distance (by taxi) from the cruise port. Taxi to the cruise port would be inexpensive and, bonus, you would reap the benefit of checking out the sights in the city before embarking on your cruise. I would recommend visiting Sagrada Familia - it is spectacular. The HOHO bus (hop on, hop off) is also an alternative.

Hotels in Civitavecchia are not nearly as numerous and many receive rather poor reviews from cruise ship passengers. There is little to see and do in Civitavecchia and most people elect to stay in Rome and travel to their ship in Civi on their day of embarkation. There is so much to see and do in Rome that it is mind boggling and the food is excellent. If you are fit you can take the train from Rome to Civi - this is a very inexpensive option. There are also transfers by bus and, of course, taxi (most expensive).

Edited by dogs4fun

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Thank you so much.    I welcome all the knowledge one can get off these boards.  We recently came back from Australia and New Zealand and these boards were so helpful!  Im sure I will have alot more questions as my planning progresses.  

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I would also factor in the cost/time/ease of flying into Barcelona vs Rome.  ie   can you get a non-stop from your hometown airport to Rome, vs a stop in London with a 5hr layover to reach Barcelona ? 

You're going to arrive exhausted from jet lag, so if you can swing 2 days prior it would be advisable.

 

Our cruise started Sept 15 out of Barcelona.  Few kids onboard, weather was around 80, and the crowds weren't bad, except in Rome.  If you want to check weather stats, go to wunderground.com and select history .... enter the name of a city and Oct 19th, then check that week for the past 5 yrs.   Takes about 5 minutes to do a couple of cities. 

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We have cruised in October a few times.  This year was great with nice weather, the last time more rain and cooler temperatures.  We like September or early October.  

Next year West jet will have direct non stop Calgary to Rome so that would make things easier out of Rome.  I would go several days early to see Rome and get rid of your jet lag.  I would stay right in the center of Rome and hire a car service like Rome cabs to transport you to the ship,  

 

Barcelona is a beautiful city but you have to be very cautious re pickpocketing and scams and when you are jet lagged you are more at risk.   Either way use a money let for your valuables and you will be fine.  

 

It it really boils down to what you want to see.  I like the cruises that do Rome to Venice or vice versa. 

 

Edited by bennybear

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Can anyone tell me if on board account for Mediterranean cruises are usually in US dollars if say booking with Princess or other major cruise lines out of the U.S.?

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53 minutes ago, sunscreen said:

Can anyone tell me if on board account for Mediterranean cruises are usually in US dollars if say booking with Princess or other major cruise lines out of the U.S.?

Yes, onboard accounts on Princess, RCL, NCL, HAL, Carnival, Viking, Oceania, etc. are all charged in US dollars.

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5 hours ago, bennybear said:

We have cruised in October a few times.  This year was great with nice weather, the last time more rain and cooler temperatures.  We like September or early October.  

Next year West jet will have direct non stop Calgary to Rome so that would make things easier out of Rome.  I would go several days early to see Rome and get rid of your jet lag.  I would stay right in the center of Rome and hire a car service like Rome cabs to transport you to the ship,  

 

Barcelona is a beautiful city but you have to be very cautious re pickpocketing and scams and when you are jet lagged you are more at risk.   Either way use a money let for your valuables and you will be fine.  

 

It it really boils down to what you want to see.  I like the cruises that do Rome to Venice or vice versa. 

 

Barcelona is certainly no worse than Rome...It's up to the traveler to be aware of their surroundings where ever they happen to be.

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6 hours ago, sunscreen said:

Thank you so much.    I welcome all the knowledge one can get off these boards.  We recently came back from Australia and New Zealand and these boards were so helpful!  Im sure I will have alot more questions as my planning progresses.  

 

US ships (eg Princess) on-board currency will be US dollars

 

For sure embark in Rome rather than Barcelona.

The port for Rome is Civitavecchia, 90 minutes from the city - so you lose 3 hrs & more travelling if you visit as a port-of-call.

In Barcelona you're in the city cerntre (Columbus statue, Las Ramblas, etc as soon as you exit the port, making it a very productive port-of-call.

And Rome has so much more to offer. Just the Colosseum & the Forum is worth a full day. And the Vatican at least another half-day.

So two or three pre-cruise days in Rome.

 

JB :classic_smile:

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We had the same choices when we sailed on the MSC Meraviglia last November. We chose Rome over Barcelona purely for convenience. We could fly nonstop from our home airport to Rome but no to Barcelona. Also, boarding in Rome meant a Sunday departure which was more convenient for our travel plans. 

 

We spent two nights pre-cruise in Rome, mostly exploring the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, and the Colosseum. Needless to say, 2 nights isn’t nearly enough to see it all but that’s all we had time for. In Barcelona we visited La Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou, and Las Ramblas. I left Barcelona with a pit in my stomach because it’s such a wonderful city and 10 hours in port was so limiting. 

 

The last thing I’ll say is that, yes, the drive from Rome to the cruise terminal in Civitavecchia is about an hour (from our hotel near the Vatican) and about 45 minutes from the port to the airport, but it’s a very enjoyable, picturesque drive. We hired a private car to take us to the port and back, and it was very easy to do. 

 

 I don know what time your ship will sail from Civitavecchia, but we had enough time on embarkation day to head back to the Vatican and watch Pope Francis give the Angelus, have lunch, and then take our private car to the port, arriving around 2pm for a 7pm departure. 

Edited by Tapi

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On our first European cruise we started in Barcelona and ended in Rome (Civitavecchia).  Best of both. Both are wonderful.

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On 11/6/2019 at 11:52 AM, sunscreen said:

which city would you pick to  and why?  i.e.  Barcelona or Rome

 

On 11/6/2019 at 8:37 PM, mskaufman said:

Both are wonderful.

 

You can't go wrong, you won't have enough time in either city!  We've been to both Rome and Barcelona for several days and loved them both.  I am personally partial to Barcelona, it's one of my favorite cities and we've spent much more time there, to include almost a month at the end of this past summer (I posted to CC while we were there).

 

I pulled up the itineraries and see that you'll have the same port calls regardless of your starting point so that's not a factor.

 

On 11/6/2019 at 7:38 PM, John Bull said:

The port for Rome is Civitavecchia, 90 minutes from the city - so you lose 3 hrs & more travelling if you visit as a port-of-call.

In Barcelona you're in the city cerntre (Columbus statue, Las Ramblas, etc as soon as you exit the port, making it a very productive port-of-call.

 

+1 about the transit times.

 

On 11/6/2019 at 6:45 PM, Ashland said:

Barcelona is certainly no worse than Rome...It's up to the traveler to be aware of their surroundings where ever they happen to be.

 

+1 here too, there are folks looking to take advantage of travelers in both cities.

 

Have you looked to see what you'd want to do in Barcelona and Rome if you only had the one day in each city?  That could be the tie breaker if air and other factors don't push you one way or the other.  If you end up with a list of five "must see" things in one city but only one in the other city then that would make it an easier decision.

 

 

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We Love Love Love Rome, however for your first Europe cruise I would recommend Barcelona.

 

Reason: proximity to both The cruise terminal and airport.  It is very quick and simple to get to and from Barcelona from both the ship and airport. Barcelona is beautiful with many sites, you won’t be disappointed.

 

however if you do choose Rome, I would suggest a precruise stay of atleast 3 nights. 
 

we have also departed from Venice, that was an amazing starting point aswell. I would say it’s  simpler then Rome, But still Barcelona wins for practicality.

 

hope this helps

Edited by ldock
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