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Old 12-15-2010, 09:00 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Anyone been on one? What were your experiences, tips? Do you get to spend a decent amount of time exploring each port? Were there alot of hidden costs.etc? I'm thinking on going for about 12-21 days, focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean or the whole Mediterranean. Any companies etc you'd recommend?
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:09 PM
 
Location: rain city
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"Exploring each port"??

Haha. When touring on a cruise ship you'll be exploring nothing. A huge cruise ship pulls up to port and disgorges thousands of tourist captives to a main souvenir alley for a couple of hours, then rounds them up again in time for dinner on board.

And the cruise ships in the Med are some of the largest in the world. I saw one docked on Rhodes that was larger than the actual town and held 5,000 passenger and 2,000 crew. Absolutely frightening.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:53 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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I agree with azoria. Cruises are worthless if you want to actually see something. When we went to Rome, we met people who were there on a cruise and had 8 hours in the city. They spent half that time in line and at the Collosseum and seemed stressed by the time limit. We were there for 3 days and barely scratched the surface...I'm sure they went back home to the US and told everyone that they went to Rome when in reality they saw maybe 2 attractions.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:30 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Is that really the case? That mother was right...cruises don't seem so great anymore. Aren't there ANY cruises that allow you to properly see each destination?
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:09 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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The best example I can give you is San Diego. We are a HUGE cruise city. They drop them off by the boatload and these people hang out in Seaport Village, a tourist shopping hell, all day! They see none of the city and we have so much more to offer than shopping in some tourist trap. A few hours at a port won't do most cities justice.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Tigard, Oregon
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We went on our first cruise to the Caribbean a year ago. It felt like we got a good "taste" of the ports, but all were small islands. I wouldn't call them hidden costs, but when purchased through the cruise, the shore excursions get expensive quickly. We went on our own and had a nice day at a beach bar on Grand Turk, took a local 2-hour tour of San Juan and went to a nice restaurant. On St Thomas, again local tour, a local market, and the afternoon at a gorgeous beach. Last was a cruise owned island in the Bahamas. This was all while staying in a moving luxury hotel aka Holland American Eurodam.

We loved it and would do it again, but if you want to really see a destination, I don't think a cruise is the way to go. Just depends on what you want.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:37 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoso1979 View Post
We went on our first cruise to the Caribbean a year ago. It felt like we got a good "taste" of the ports, but all were small islands. I wouldn't call them hidden costs, but when purchased through the cruise, the shore excursions get expensive quickly. We went on our own and had a nice day at a beach bar on Grand Turk, took a local 2-hour tour of San Juan and went to a nice restaurant. On St Thomas, again local tour, a local market, and the afternoon at a gorgeous beach. Last was a cruise owned island in the Bahamas. This was all while staying in a moving luxury hotel aka Holland American Eurodam.

We loved it and would do it again, but if you want to really see a destination, I don't think a cruise is the way to go. Just depends on what you want.
I figured with all those islands in the Mediterranean a cruise seemed like a logical option, perhaps I might do a week-long cruise to get a 'taste' of it and see the rest via road and ferries to and from the various isles.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Yorkshire, England
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I used to live in Vigo, Spain which is on the cruise route between the Caribbean and the UK. Most mornings in the summer you'd get the cafes/restaurant owners rush outside to increase the prices on their boards and the town would be besieged by 2,000 mostly elderly British people aimlessly walking around the town and buying things for the sake of it, and then they'd do the same thing in Lisbon the next day. They never got a proper taste of the area (on the way in the boat would go past some of the best beaches in Europe, but they wouldn't generally have the time to visit them) and I personally wouldn't want to have so much organised for me. There are plenty of ferries in the Mediterranean e.g. between Italy and Greece if you want a taste of being at sea.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:28 AM
 
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We like to go on cruises and have been on a couple in the Mediterranean. It works for us as we have travelled extensively and already have a pretty good knowledge of most of the countries concerned. As such, we see a cruise as a way of discovering different ports/cities rather than an in-depth country experience. Cruises have the added advantage of seeing multiple places without having to pack and repack every day.

The first thing is to choose your cruise line and itinerary carefully. Not all cruises are 3000+ passenger monster ships. Depending on your budget, you can get cruise ships as small as 200 passengers and which visit smaller and more out of the way ports. The itinerary is also important. A city like Barcelona can absorb large cruise ships much better than a smaller port such as Syracuse in Sicily. If you want to see Rome or Florence then a cruise is not the way to go. You lose too much time getting from the port to the city and back and really have no quality time to sightsee. Most port stops are 8 hours or so which is sufficient to explore a large town or small city but not enough to get an in-depth "feel" for the place. Proper research of the various stops is very helpful so that you can make the most of your visit. By way of a warning ... do not go to Naples. It is not a safe destination.

Most "hidden" costs will be ... 1) alcohol on board, 2) organized excursions, 3) SPA treatments, 4) purchases in on-board shops, 5) casino losses, 6) internet usage.

We tend to cruise with an all-inclusive line where alcohol is already in the price and where the ships are no more than 450 passengers. Also, we tend not to take excursions but do our own thing and we are not big gamblers. So, for us, extra cost tends not to be a big deal. We also take advantage of opportunities to get on-board credit. For example, shareholders in Carnival Corp., get on-board credit dollars as a perk.

Don't be put off by the naysayers. A cruise is a great way to see the Mediterranean. But you need to put some work in with regards to the choice of cruise line, the choice of itinerary and, importantly, what you want to do in each port.
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:10 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Is that really the case? That mother was right...cruises don't seem so great anymore. Aren't there ANY cruises that allow you to properly see each destination?
Organized excursions will allow you to see more but they are expensive. But to "properly" see any destination, you really need to be there for more than a day and most cruises just don't have time for that. Caribbean cruises are good but if you really want to explore the Mediterranean, you'd be better off booking hotels in a few different locations and using budget airlines or other means of transportation to travel between them.
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