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Munga 6
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We are fairly new to cruising. We have made a deposit for the 46 day cruise 2022 because we liked the fact it departs from New York and returns to New York; it visits St Petersburg for two days; and Paris for two days, which allows us to visit Normandy and then see Paris. 

My concern is what has been others experience being on a ship that long. Our two main goals are to visit St Petersburg and Paris, but I can't find a cruise that has both in the itinerary in 2022. 

Wondering if we should consider doing two cruises: one that does St Petersburg, 14 days London to London September 2022; and then look at a river cruise in the May 2022 timeframe to visit Normandy, which would allow us more time in France. 

Hate the thought of two long flights, but also don't know if the 46 days may a bit much. 

For those that opt for the two different cruises, we have never done a river cruise and would welcome any suggestions. thanks.

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The truth is no one can really help you..I have been on a 40 day cruise and loved it I also really like river cruising..but this is a choice only you can make..personally I would rather fly only once to Europe instead of twice , if you decide to take two cruises try to get them within a couple of days of each other so you can stay in Europe and just change ships..

Jancruz1

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The longest we have done is 32 days 

You have to pace yourself  eating wise or take some bigger clothes to wear home

 Also try not to see it all in one day 

I agree with Jan if you do decide to do the 2 different cruise  then try to book them close together  so only flying over once

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It might be helpful to inform us what is the longest cruise you have ever taken.  Also, have you ever sailed with Oceania?  What cruise lines have you sailed with?  Our longest cruise is only 32 days, but we have done 4 30 days or longer cruises.

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A few years ago, we took a river cruise, spent about 5 days land touring on our own, and then took an ocean cruise. We prefer to fly to Europe once and this would be my suggestion. It takes time planning all of this but well worth it. Flying is the part we hate.

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4 hours ago, Munga 6 said:

We are fairly new to cruising. We have made a deposit for the 46 day cruise 2022 because we liked the fact it departs from New York and returns to New York; it visits St Petersburg for two days; and Paris for two days, which allows us to visit Normandy and then see Paris. 

My concern is what has been others experience being on a ship that long. Our two main goals are to visit St Petersburg and Paris, but I can't find a cruise that has both in the itinerary in 2022. 

Wondering if we should consider doing two cruises: one that does St Petersburg, 14 days London to London September 2022; and then look at a river cruise in the May 2022 timeframe to visit Normandy, which would allow us more time in France. 

Hate the thought of two long flights, but also don't know if the 46 days may a bit much. 

For those that opt for the two different cruises, we have never done a river cruise and would welcome any suggestions. thanks.

We are also scheduled for that cruise.  Our longest cruise to date has been a 38 days sailing on Insignia,  a segment of the 2018 cruise from Sydney LA.  We were not ready to get off the ship then and would have loved to sail on to Miami.  Our perfect cruise is anything over 30 days, but as others have said this is a question only you can answer.  We find Oceania to be a perfect fit.  Itineraries, life on board, the ports and the joy of seeing new and interesting things are something that so far we never get tired of.

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I would happily take a cruise of that length but not DW. She is more of a traveller and prefers land. A combination of Oceania Baltics cruise and a river cruise in France sounds pretty good and ticks both boxes. A river cruise is "closer to the ground" to smaller local sites so is more like a land trip without the packing and unpacking.

 

But like others have posted I would prefer to minimize flying. So taking the river cruise first in August/September followed by the O cruise in September would be our choice.

 

Your new to CC (welcome!) I suggest you also check out the river cruise forum if you have not already done so. River cruises are very different than ocean cruises and reading those posts might give you some insights on how you would enjoy / not enjoy

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I've said this before -- but not to the OP.  On our first cruise with Renaissance I looked into doing a day trip to Normandy from Le Havre.  When the tourist bureau in Bayeux advised AGAINST our trying to do Normandy on a day trip, we ended up doing a private land trip a few months later which allowed us to have 3-4 days in Normandy plus another 10 days driving through France.

 

Also, what is the port for Paris?  If it's Le Havre or Rouen, you are still a ways away from Paris AND Normandy.  You won't have much time in Normandy or Paris.  Sure you will see something ... just not what I would consider enough.  In either case you'd be spending several hours on a bus going back and forth, which limits your time at the desired destination.

 

I agree with those who have argued against two separate round trip flights as well.  Having two separate cruises with some time inbetween would give you more flexibility.

 

JMO ... not everyone will agree, but there's nothing new in that ...

 

Mura

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22 hours ago, Munga 6 said:

We are fairly new to cruising. We have made a deposit for the 46 day cruise 2022 because we liked the fact it departs from New York and returns to New York; it visits St Petersburg for two days; and Paris for two days, which allows us to visit Normandy and then see Paris. 

My concern is what has been others experience being on a ship that long. Our two main goals are to visit St Petersburg and Paris, but I can't find a cruise that has both in the itinerary in 2022. 

Wondering if we should consider doing two cruises: one that does St Petersburg, 14 days London to London September 2022; and then look at a river cruise in the May 2022 timeframe to visit Normandy, which would allow us more time in France. 

Hate the thought of two long flights, but also don't know if the 46 days may a bit much. 

For those that opt for the two different cruises, we have never done a river cruise and would welcome any suggestions. thanks.

No matter what your final decision, highly recommend...do not take a ship's tour of Normandy!! We did the first time and what we saw was very limited. The second time we booked a private tour for 6 (people we met on the Roll Call) with OverlordTours. This time we walked on Omaha Beach as we listened to an overwhelming narrative by the tour guide. 

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We have done multiple cruises over 100 days so obviously the length does not bother us.  You find you get in a routine and time flies by.  I would make the comment that seeing Paris while on a cruise will probably be disappointing.  It’s a ways inland so your time there is not very long, maybe 8 hours tops.  One could easily spend a month in Paris and not run out of things to do.  If Paris is high on your list, fly there, spend a couple of weeks and then take the train to a port (London, Rotterdam, Amsterdam) to do a cruise to the other ports you want to see.  St. Petersburg is different as a Russian visa is a real pain to get.  If your cruise overnights or even better spends two night there you can at least get some exposure to the city.  The ships dock close so you can really get a full day in.

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44 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

If Paris is high on your list, fly there, spend a couple of weeks and then take the train to a port (London, Rotterdam, Amsterdam) to do a cruise to the other ports you want to see.  

This is what we did except we spent a few days as opposed to a couple of weeks. We took the train from Paris to Amsterdam, took less than 4 hours or so. Got off the train, took a free ferry over to our hotel. Next day took same ferry back and walked to the Marina. On this trip at the Le Havre port we were able to visit the Normandy area. As mentioned above by another poster, we took a tour through Overlord tours. I'll chime in with that recommendation. Great ports down the north side of France, Spain and ending in Lisbon. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. 

 

I did St Petersburg on another trip. I think I'd try to do it separate. 

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5 hours ago, Loracpin2 said:

No matter what your final decision, highly recommend...do not take a ship's tour of Normandy!! We did the first time and what we saw was very limited. The second time we booked a private tour for 6 (people we met on the Roll Call) with OverlordTours. This time we walked on Omaha Beach as we listened to an overwhelming narrative by the tour guide. 

Please do not fall for Overlaord tours it is a brokerage and offers canned tours... they are the most expensive. and least inclusive.  You will get a different guide each time... So if person A has a great tour there is no guarantee that the  next day person B's tour will be anything like that.... 

 

   I now book Tours by locals.... a 10-11 hour tour for 6  about $750 euro......  Overloard wants 10000 euro and pay in advance !! .   and they will not  let you return  later than 5 pm to the ship  even though the ship sails at 9pm.....   So shorter hours more $$$$.Skip overloard...... more like over-rated.

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18 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

Please do not fall for Overlaord tours it is a brokerage and offers canned tours... they are the most expensive. and least inclusive.  You will get a different guide each time... So if person A has a great tour there is no guarantee that the  next day person B's tour will be anything like that.... 

 

   I now book Tours by locals.... a 10-11 hour tour for 6  about $750 euro......  Overloard wants 10000 euro and pay in advance !! .   and they will not  let you return  later than 5 pm to the ship  even though the ship sails at 9pm.....   So shorter hours more $$$$.Skip overloard...... more like over-rated.

If what you say is currently accurate, then what you describe is a 180 degree difference than what we experienced with them three years ago!! I don't recall what we paid but I do recall we DID NOT pay in advance.

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My thoughts are very different than the previous posts. 

 

As far as lengthy cruises, one thing to consider is if you stay on the same ship, remember the food will remain the same.  The longest cruise I have taken was 32 days on Oceania and I was ready to disembark.  The food is wonderful, don't get me wrong, however the menu doesn't change very much.  After two-three weeks it becomes a bit predictable, even though you have other options on port days.  Should you decide to take two cruises, I would certainly book with two different cruises companies just to get variety.

 

The Normandy region of France is fabulous and I would strongly recommend doing it on your own as a land tour.  It is very easy to organize yourself or through a TA.

 

Have fun planning and ultimately making some wonderful decisions! 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Loracpin2 said:

If what you say is currently accurate, then what you describe is a 180 degree difference than what we experienced with them three years ago!! I don't recall what we paid but I do recall we DID NOT pay in advance.

This is my experience both in 2019 and 2020    Pay in advance, fixed itinerary,.. 980 Euro for tour  up to 6, Pick up at 0800 and drop by 5 pm......no exception.       My experience is Normandy is rather complex there are a lot of sites that are private property and navigating the myriad of back roads to see is difficult..... been there 2x and it is no cake walk unless you want to be taken around with the hordes  If your traveling that far to learn of the history, dont short change yourself       I urge people to consider Tours by Locals... you can  contact me for more info.   I  donot know  what Overloard used to be  but I can tell you what it is like TODAY.......Way better options

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2 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

Please do not fall for Overlaord tours it is a brokerage and offers canned tours... they are the most expensive. and least inclusive.  You will get a different guide each time... So if person A has a great tour there is no guarantee that the  next day person B's tour will be anything like that.... 

 

   I now book Tours by locals.... a 10-11 hour tour for 6  about $750 euro......  Overloard wants 10000 euro and pay in advance !! .   and they will not  let you return  later than 5 pm to the ship  even though the ship sails at 9pm.....   So shorter hours more $$$$.Skip overloard...... more like over-rated.

Sorry Dan, but I went them in Sept of 19, not at all like you describe. You must have them confused with another company. Were they running tours in 2020?

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20 minutes ago, ORV said:

Sorry Dan, but I went them in Sept of 19, not at all like you describe. You must have them confused with another company. Were they running tours in 2020?

Orv...... I have been dealing with them for 2 years.....and what I describe is 100% accurate as of December 2020..... for a private tour.     Aside from being the highest price thy were inflexible on when they dropped you off.....no option  9-5 was their hours ...and no option to extend or modify........ I do not mind paying more for to get more...but they were NOT going to  do anything other than those hours...       

Perhaps you  can tell me what you considered you good experience ?     

 

My tour by local  was pick up 0800 and drop 7-730    7 sites"    Omaha beach, Cemetery, Sur Longes Battery,... St Mer Eglaise,... Meredt  iron mike.., Bretten Court Manor,  St Marie Du mont church, , Pont du hoc...+ lunch provided for all 6  in a 8 pax bus.  all for $145 pp.   11 hours.    8 sites

      Overlord waned $202 pp for 9-5    for 3 less hours, NO lunch and only Omaha, Cem ,Pont Du Hoc... and 3 sites .......... thats my experience...

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I won't get into the Overlord Tour argument -- although I think they picked a great name given where they are!

 

When we were in Normandy on our own in November 2002 we hired a private guide (just for the two of us) who was recommended by our hostess at the B&B.  This home had two rental apartments available, and the husband was a retired chef who prepared a wonderful dinner for us one evening.  (I don't recall but I'm sure we were charged for that ...)

 

We had three full days in Normandy -- we were based at Gold Beach.  Our tours with our guide were marvelous.

 

But I always strenuously argue for NOT trying to see the Beaches from a cruise port.  As has been said, you just don't have enough time to see enough.

 

Having said that ... we did a Viking river boat trip in 2012 and DID take the ship's tour from Rouen given that we'd been there for several days previously.  We took the "Canadian" tour which meant we were only five people.  We primarily wanted to go back to Bayeux (which the "American" tour did not offer) and the unexpected bonus was visiting the Canadian Museum at Normandy as well as "their" beach.  It was a different perspective which we really appreciated.

 

If you do a ship's tour from a two-hour drive away, you just won't have the time.

 

So again ... renting a car may be a pain but at least we US-ers aren't driving on the wrong side of the road ... And having time to see the area in depth is a real blessing.  Trying to see the Beaches with only a few hours is ... well, in my mind, a waste of time.

 

Again, as I always say!  If you think you'll never be able to come back and spend more time, then a ship's tour is better than nothing.

 

That goes as well for thinking you can see Paris in one day from Le Havre ...

 

Mura

 

From: Mura Kievman [mailto:mkievman@nyc.rr.com]
Having said that ... when we were there in 2012 on a Viking river boat trip we did take a shi

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8 minutes ago, Mura said:

I won't get into the Overlord Tour argument -- although I think they picked a great name given where they are!

 

When we were in Normandy on our own in November 2002 we hired a private guide (just for the two of us) who was recommended by our hostess at the B&B.  This home had two rental apartments available, and the husband was a retired chef who prepared a wonderful dinner for us one evening.  (I don't recall but I'm sure we were charged for that ...)

 

We had three full days in Normandy -- we were based at Gold Beach.  Our tours with our guide were marvelous.

 

But I always strenuously argue for NOT trying to see the Beaches from a cruise port.  As has been said, you just don't have enough time to see enough.

 

Having said that ... we did a Viking river boat trip in 2012 and DID take the ship's tour from Rouen given that we'd been there for several days previously.  We took the "Canadian" tour which meant we were only five people.  We primarily wanted to go back to Bayeux (which the "American" tour did not offer) and the unexpected bonus was visiting the Canadian Museum at Normandy as well as "their" beach.  It was a different perspective which we really appreciated.

 

If you do a ship's tour from a two-hour drive away, you just won't have the time.

 

So again ... renting a car may be a pain but at least we US-ers aren't driving on the wrong side of the road ... And having time to see the area in depth is a real blessing.  Trying to see the Beaches with only a few hours is ... well, in my mind, a waste of time.

 

Again, as I always say!  If you think you'll never be able to come back and spend more time, then a ship's tour is better than nothing.

 

That goes as well for thinking you can see Paris in one day from Le Havre ...

 

Mura

 

The system screwed up and repeated a sentence or so from what I'd already said. 

 

 

Except that I will say that given what because of what the Bayeux tourist bureau had recommended on our first trip to Le Havre, instead of trying to see Normandy we spent the day in near-by Honfleur.  We had a wonderful time.  As musicians we wanted to see the french composer Satie's home -- it's a double house with a wonderful exhibit.  Then we visited a wonderful art museum, then we had a lovely lunch in the main square.  At the end of our meal our waitress recommended that we visit Maison Satie and was most impressed that we'd already been there.

 

Honfleur is well worth a visit if you are in Le Havre and don't want to take a very long bus trip to Paris or Normandy!

 

 

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Welcome to Cruise Critic!

I cannot speak to lengthy cruises. The longest we have done is 20 days. I could have stayed on forever but my DH was ready to jump ship in the middle of the Atlantic after 4 straight sea days and he's the kind who goes to the lectures but doesn't play games, cards or bingo.

What I would like to comment on is St. Petersburg and Paris. I have spent extended time in both cities and a two night stop in St. Petersburg is not enough time to see what is probably on your short list. A one night stop on the coast of France to see Paris is also not much more than a drive by. 

There are many recommended tour guides on the Ports of Call/Europe forum. 

We passed on Overlord when stopping at Le Havre. Several of the other tour guides were trained by Overlord and went out on their own for a more personal one-to-one experience.

At this point we do not know if private excursions will even be possible. And, we surely don't know if any of the tour guides will still be in business. I hope so because we have had some wonderful guides in our travels.

If I were looking at your travel wish list I would first look for a three night stop in St. Petersburg. Oceania does have some BTW and then a land trip to Paris with a day or overnight (or more) to Normandy. If you are newish to cruising 46 days could prove challenging. A good travel agent can help.

 

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15 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

Orv...... I have been dealing with them for 2 years.....and what I describe is 100% accurate as of December 2020..... for a private tour.     Aside from being the highest price thy were inflexible on when they dropped you off.....no option  9-5 was their hours ...and no option to extend or modify........ I do not mind paying more for to get more...but they were NOT going to  do anything other than those hours...       

Perhaps you  can tell me what you considered you good experience ?     

 

My tour by local  was pick up 0800 and drop 7-730    7 sites"    Omaha beach, Cemetery, Sur Longes Battery,... St Mer Eglaise,... Meredt  iron mike.., Bretten Court Manor,  St Marie Du mont church, , Pont du hoc...+ lunch provided for all 6  in a 8 pax bus.  all for $145 pp.   11 hours.    8 sites

      Overlord waned $202 pp for 9-5    for 3 less hours, NO lunch and only Omaha, Cem ,Pont Du Hoc... and 3 sites .......... thats my experience...

I'll get back with you on this. Not enough time for details right now. 

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19 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

Orv...... I have been dealing with them for 2 years.....and what I describe is 100% accurate as of December 2020..... for a private tour.     Aside from being the highest price thy were inflexible on when they dropped you off.....no option  9-5 was their hours ...and no option to extend or modify........ I do not mind paying more for to get more...but they were NOT going to  do anything other than those hours...       

Perhaps you  can tell me what you considered you good experience ?     

 

My tour by local  was pick up 0800 and drop 7-730    7 sites"    Omaha beach, Cemetery, Sur Longes Battery,... St Mer Eglaise,... Meredt  iron mike.., Bretten Court Manor,  St Marie Du mont church, , Pont du hoc...+ lunch provided for all 6  in a 8 pax bus.  all for $145 pp.   11 hours.    8 sites

      Overlord waned $202 pp for 9-5    for 3 less hours, NO lunch and only Omaha, Cem ,Pont Du Hoc... and 3 sites .......... thats my experience...

First, we did the public tour as opposed to a private tour. This is something that we have done in multiple countries with great success. Yes, you might wind up in a bus full of people, but on the other hand you might wind up in Epheseus in a private car with a driver and private guide, for less than 50 euro a person. At any rate instead of a full group we wound up with 10 people in a 16 passenger Mercedes van. So it wasn't crowded at all. It's a gamble, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. 

 

Our tour was 9.5 hours, which for me is plenty long for a tour. If I wanted to do more I would make sure that I had an extra day, as packing more into a day would just wear me down. Our cost at the time was 110 euro each, which I see has increased to 130 now.  

 

We went to Omaha, the Cemetery, Honfleur & Bayeux. Yes, there are many things we missed out on that others have seen. Here's my thinking on this, our time and budget on traveling is limited and choices have to be made. Multiple days in this area is simply not(or was not at the time), a travel option. The option we had was a cruise port day from La Havre. Here is the important part for me. I would rather have seen what we saw than to not ever have seen it at all. 

 

This did have a personal connection for me as my favorite uncle was there on D Day, he was in the Big Red 1. 

 

We had a really good guide that was full of knowledge, he also had a notebook full of pictures and diagrams that helped us understand what we were seeing at the beach much better. We spent a considerable amount of time at the beach, as well as the cemetery. As you know it's a moving experience. 

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