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Old 01-07-2012, 04:06 PM
 
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Are cruises a good way to travel to see different cities?
Are the day trips at each port enough to get a good overview, or is cruising really about what you do on the ship, like the food, activities, shows etc.
Also, is it rare to get seasick on a cruise because the ship is so big?
I'd love to try it some day! Very interested in Alaska, because I would imagine you'd see some beautiful landscape right from the ship.
Also interested in a Baltic Sea cruise to see the northern countries and especially would like to see Helsinki. That's where my family emigrated from 4 generations ago!

Thanks for any feedback!
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Old 01-07-2012, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
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Crusies are a good way to travel, especially if you have limited time. We've been on 10 crusies, 2 to Alaska. The seas are generally calm and the ships are so big that most of the time you don't even realize you're on one, and seasickness is quite rare. Many people take seasick pills before departing to prevent it.
Most everyone takes the daily tours to get an overview of the areas. You never see 100% of an area so you pick and choose your tours. Generally you can do 2 tours in one day. Festivities are mostly at night and the food is abundant 24 hours a day. You can go dining either formal or informal depending which dining area you decide to go to. The entertainment and shows are fantastic on the big ships. There is enough variety all over the ship to keep you entertained until the wee hours of the am.
Alaska cruises are worth the time and money. They are a good value.
We have not been to the Baltic Sea so cannot comment on it.
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Old 01-07-2012, 07:22 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,329,100 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Podo944 View Post
Are cruises a good way to travel to see different cities?
Are the day trips at each port enough to get a good overview, or is cruising really about what you do on the ship, like the food, activities, shows etc.
Also, is it rare to get seasick on a cruise because the ship is so big?
I'd love to try it some day! Very interested in Alaska, because I would imagine you'd see some beautiful landscape right from the ship.
Also interested in a Baltic Sea cruise to see the northern countries and especially would like to see Helsinki. That's where my family emigrated from 4 generations ago!

Thanks for any feedback!
I have been on six cruises and am taking a seventh next month.

First, it is a great way to see cities but not countries. You need to be clear on what you want and be careful in choice of itinerary.

Second, there are a wide range of cruise ships ranging from the small ... 200 passengers to the very large .... 4000+. The ships offer a different experience depending on your tastes and budget. So you need to research them. But, to answer your question, I enjoy sea days as much as I enjoy shore days. It is about both.

Third, it depends on how big the port city is as to the good overview. The smaller the city the easier it is to really see the place. For most of them you do not need to buy a tour. Just research them on-line and do your own thing.

Sometimes the sea can be rough. I have never been seasick but I should imagine the size of the ship as well as your own constitution would make a difference.

I am told that the Alaskan cruise ports are getting very touristy. Would also love to do the Baltic. June is the best month for weather.
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:03 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
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We did not take cruises until after we have travelled by air and land for 40+ years. In the last three years, we took 10 cruises. Yes, we overdosed ourselves, but we knew ahead of time that there were only a certain number of islands and island countries we wished to see where cruising would be a good idea, so we did it all, sort of getting it out of the way.

My conclusion: Yes to island cruises (Bahamas, Caribbean, etc.) Yes to Alaska cruises. No to European/Baltic cruises.

Why? We have visited 2/3 of Europe and stayed between one to two weeks at each destination and still, each time we left, we knew that we only had a small taste of each country. One to two weeks of our own destination of choice to do our own exploring on our own time, and we barely scratched the surface. After we returned to see certain countries again for much longer time, I knew that I would never be able to be a hummingbird kind of travellers. One of the longest Baltic cruises I saw on the Internet offers 10 countries in 14 days. Spending a good chunk of money on that kind of trip in hope of knowing enough of a place to return on later date? No siree, that's neither a good idea nor a good deal in my book.

I would rather save the cost of that whirlwind tour to visit a few countries on my own, countries that I seriously wish to see, and stay for a decent amount of time to get more than a fleeting touch of what the one-day land tours allow me to see.

That's just my own feeling, of course. Some people have a bucket list and they check mark the list as they go, thus one or two days per country are enough for them. Not I. Too much money for too little experience and knowledge.

Editing to add: I deleted the Greek Islands as OK for a cruise after remembered how long we stayed in Athens, Santorini and Corfu (three times, for a total of one month.) Nope, even the smallest Greek island deserves more than 6 or 8 hours that cruise passengers are allowed to have.

Last edited by Ol' Wanderer; 01-07-2012 at 08:30 PM..
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:18 PM
 
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Default Thanks!

Appreciate the replies!
I didn't know there were smaller cruises with only a few hundred people.
I'd probably have to try the big ships though as I do have a queasy prone tummy. My husband on the other hand can tolerate roller coasters all day long!
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
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If you want a "taste" of different places, a cruise is great. If you want to immerse yourself in a different culture, then simply travel where you want to go.
Smaller ships will have more motion than larger ships.....although ALL will move with the ocean....they are floating!!!! There are sea sickness preventatives!!!!!
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:34 AM
 
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You can't say a cruise is a way to immerse yourself in the culture of a country but, hey, I took my first european cruise last month and I was pretty impressed on what I was able to see and experience. Previously, I had dispised cruises. Maybe I am getting old and lazy.

But most Americans go on carribean cruises - forget it, you can hardly call it a travel experience. Fake plastic port stops that have all the originality and culture of a gulf coast t-shirt shop. Beautiful stops however. And Alaska? Well you miss the best parts of Alaska by not seeing the interior. Seeing it via a cruise is only one slight step above watching some video about Alaska. Alaska must be visited by land.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:43 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Cruises are a great way to go island-hopping, like in the Caribbean or Mediterranean, and there's the convenience of having a moving hotel and not having to move from place to place. Obviously, not the choice for someone who really wants to explore a country.
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Florida -
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If you like the idea of a floating hotel, with great food, entertainment, interesting people and no airport/taxi/reservations hassle ... all included, then cruising is for you! You can either take daily excursions at every stop (either arranged by the cruise line or booked through Viator or some other company) ... and often see/learn much more than if you spent a week there! If you would prefer to take off on your own and explore, you can rent cars or ride on/off tour buses.

We loved Alaska and the Mediterranean (30 days, 17 ports). We found the Caribbean limited (but, we already live on a Florida beach) ... and thought the Hawaii island-hopping cruise was great! In Alaska, we spent the first week aboard ship and the second week on land via pre-arranged trains, buses, etc. Another thing we've done is schedule time at either end of the cruise (for example, we spent a few days in the Port of Amsterdam before the Med. cruise ... and then spent 3-4 days in Athens at the end).

A couple of other issues --- My wife gets 'seasick' walking down a dock near the water ... but, admits that she has no problem aboard a cruise ship. Also, ships/lines are different. We've found Holland America and Royal Caribbean to be best in terms of food, entertainment, etc ... and are not too wild about Princess or Carnival. Finally, while I guess it depends on your lifestyle, we have found the cost of cruising (with all the amenities included) -- to be less than the comparable cost of land travel.

Last edited by jghorton; 01-11-2012 at 09:04 AM.. Reason: spell check
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:08 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
If you like the idea of a floating hotel, with great food, entertainment, interesting people and no airport/taxi/reservations hassle ... all included, then cruising is for you! You can either take daily excursions at every stop (either arranged by the cruise line or booked through Viator or some other company) ... and often see/learn much more than if you spent a week there! If you would prefer to take off on your own and explore, you can rent cars or ride on/off tour buses.

We loved Alaska and the Mediterranean (30 days, 17 ports). We found the Caribbean limited (but, we already live on a Florida beach) ... and thought the Hawaii island-hopping cruise was great! In Alaska, we spent the first week aboard ship and the second week on land via pre-arranged trains, buses, etc. Another thing we've done is schedule time at either end of the cruise (for example, we spent a few days in the Port of Amsterdam before the Med. cruise ... and then spent 3-4 days in Athens at the end).

A couple of other issues --- My wife gets 'seasick' walking down a dock near the water ... but, admits that she has no problem aboard a cruise ship. Also, ships/lines are different. We've found Holland America and Royal Caribbean to be best in terms of food, entertainment, etc ... and are not too wild about Princess or Carnival. Finally, while I guess it depends on your lifestyle, we have found the cost of cruising (with all the amenities included) -- to be less than the comparable cost of land travel.
Yes cruises do seem pretty cheap comparatively speaking these days. Gone are the days when cruising as a form of travel was the preserve of the rich. While cruises do have that grey-haired association, I do feel they're getting popular with people of all ages, families especially, as just a relaxing holiday.
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