Trippy
 
  Questions  
Drive      Fly      Stay      Login    Signup
profile

Dave
Houston

Dave from Houston asked

Why take a Mediterranean cruise?

We were in Venice, Rovinj, and Dubrovnik recently. While there we encountered cruise ship passengers who were like small mobs of people following along behind a guide holding up a sign reading something like Carnival King of the Seas. These historical cities are really small towns and most of the streets are narrow built long before the invention of the automobile. When the cruise ships were in port it felt like being in a crowded elevator much of the time. When the passengers went back aboard ship in the evening those cities once again became delightful.

Those ships are like big floating hotels with all the food coming from the same kitchen. It seems to me a terrible way to see Europe. They're popular though so I must be missing something. Please tell me where I'm wrong.

Europe   Venice   Rovinj   Dubrovnik

8 Answers
profile
top answer by
Abhishek

We took a Mediterranean cruise recently and we absolutely loved it (the best cruise we've ever done) - the reason we loved it was that we got to see a ton of amazing destinations in a short amount of time. It was also convenient to not have to pack/unpack etc. in each place. And while cruising we also got to see parts of these destinations that you don't get to see if you just fly in. And we personally enjoy not doing the excursions but exploring the destinations on our own. I think what's important is that the cruise ship docks close to the destinations and gives enough time at each destination (Princess did for us).

I do understand your point though - it is probably tougher for the folks spending a few days during these destinations when all the people from the ships come and overrun a place during the day.


Comments (2)

profile
Dave
Hello Abhishek - I appreciate your reply and it is good that you enjoyed your cruise. This exchange of ideas did motivate me to look more closely at cruises as a possibility,. We'd like to go to the Greek Isles and getting to the various islands by plane and ferry can be difficult, time consuming, and expensive. So I looked into cruises as an option, Sadly most of them give you less than 24 hours in a single destination. Seems more like a flyover than a visit. I also tried to get a better understanding of what I'd be paying for. The show stopper for me was Formal Night on Royal Caribbean. The chances of me ever taking a suit and tie on vacation are approximately zip squat to the tenth power. I have no interest in nighttime entertainment, games, group activities, etc. Cruises just don't seem to be a good choice for us.
 

profile
Abhishek
Yes you are right - most of the places just give you less than 24 hours. That's definitely a con but I liked the fact that Princess allowed us to dock for 12-15 hours each place and I felt it was enough to see the main highlights and get a good flavor of each place. It then gave me ideas on what places I would like to come back and spend more time at. On the suit and tie stuff, I never wear suit and tie at any of these formal events. We take a sports coat, a shirt and jeans and that flies on cruises. But if you don't enjoy some of the other things cruises offer then maybe that is not for you.
 
 
 
comments (2)
likes (3) thanks
profile
answered by
Claudia from New York City

Hi David,

I felt a pang of guilt when I read your question and points on Mediterranean cruises.

I haven't done any cruises in Europe but will be taking the Norwegian Star from Venice to the Greek Isles, Kotor (Montenegro) and Dubrovnik (Croatia) next year. I've already visited Venice and Dubrovnik (although not on a cruise), however the Greek islands will be new for me.

Here are some of the reasons why I choose to cruise:

  1. I don't have to plan for hotels, meals and activities.
  2. It's more economical for the family.
  3. We get to spend more time together on the ship.
  4. More time to relax.
  5. I have a Norwegian cruise voucher that will expire soon.
  6. It gives us enough time to visit Italy prior to the cruise and after the cruise.


Rosalie Ann did point out other advantages of cruising and it is especially great for folks who dislike unpacking to get from hotel to hotel, and not knowing where to eat when at a new destination.

Check out the cruise itinerary: https://www.ncl.com/in/en/cruises/7-day-greek-isles-from-venice?itineraryCode=STAR7VCEKOTCFUJTRJMKDBVVCE


Comments (3)

profile
Dave
Thanks for your reply Claudia. It's the old story of different strokes for different folks. We never stay in hotels unless an airport hotel the night before a flight. Much prefer to rent apartments or villas through a site like Homeaway.com or airbnb.com. When I'm in Europe I want a car so that we have mobility. I love the planning process and finding great restaurants. Italy has some great food. I would not want to be dining on a Norwegian ship when I'm in Italy. Defeats the purpose.
 

profile
Dave
Claudia - I looked at the Norwegian Star's itinerary for next year's Adriadic cruises. Here's the problem. They arrive in Dubrovnik at 1PM and depart at 9PM on the same day. That's not nearly enough time to experience Dubrovnik. They arrive in Kotar at 9AM an depart 2PM on the same day. That might be enough time for a quick fly through but not enough time to really experience Kotar. They're in Athens from 8AM to 6PM but you're really not going to have the full 10 hours ashore. They're only in Split from 8AM to 5PM. Nine hours isn't enough time to see Split. Way too much time at sea and not nearly enough time ashore.
 

profile
Claudia
Dave, did you take a look at NCL's 7-day Greek Isles cruise from Venice? It has an amazing itinerary for those who would like a short visit to Corfu, Mykonos, and Santorini. This cruise will work well for me next year. I'll be visiting Dubrovnik and Kotor this fall. The cruise stops would just be a nice stop to visit both cities again.
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Venice (city)
  2. Kotor (city)
  3. Dubrovnik (city)
comments (3)
likes (2) thanks
profile
answered first by
RosalieAnn

Royal Caribbean has all the "of the Seas" ships. So it might have been Carnival Breeze which I think is based in Venice or Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas or Vision of the Seas.

The big cruise ships are like floating A/I hotels with all the disadvantages of an A/I.  If you don't like A/I (I do not, but lots of people do), then you may not like that type of cruise ship.  They take their entertainment with them-some of them have skating rinks and climbing walls etc.  and they usually have shows and other activities.  You do not have to get off in port if you don't want to and in the very popular ports like St. Thomas, many people do not get off at all.  And it is not required that you eat all your meals on the ship.  (We usually eat at least lunch ashore)

The advantage of a cruise ship is that you can see a bunch of places without having to get on and off planes or trains (or buses) and without having to pack and unpack. Your transportation is handled during the night and you don't have to take a day out of the trip for it.  It is also in many cases cheaper than flying to the location and staying in a hotel.  I can go on a cruise to Bermuda for a week from Baltimore (I can drive to the terminal in a couple hours) and have 2.6 days in Bermuda for less than $1700 for two people. Flying to Bermuda would be $770 for two and a room for three days would be $700 to $1800 and that would probably not include meals.

But if you only look at the BIG cruise ships, you are missing the 'big picture'.  Not all cruise ships are huge. There are river cruises which may have less than 200 passengers and there are smaller regular cruise ships and these ships go to destinations that the big cruise ships can't  get to (Antarctica, the Amazon river, Trinidad, Reedville VA). We prefer the smaller ships. 

So I cruise quite a bit and it suits me very well.  The places where I have been before, I do not take the ship tours.  Having been there before, I arrange what I want to do.  Since I am not able to walk far, I can't do a regular walking tour from a cruise ship anyway so I will often hire a taxi for the day.

Specifically for Venice - I took a Med cruise which started in Barcelona, and went to Rome, Naples and Venice.  I got to Barcelona a couple of days in advance and explored the city - I had things I wanted to see there. I had only been there in transition from the airport to the train station.  I had only been through Rome on the train, so I hired a car and driver - we went to the Vatican and then explored the city.  In Naples (where I had been), I hired a car and driver and we went first to Pompeii (before the rest of the people got there and while it was still cool) and then we drove down to Amalfi and back.  When I got to Venice, I took a vaporetto in to St. Mark's Square in the morning, and I did take a ship tour to Burano and Murano.  Then I got off the ship and went to a hotel where we stayed for a couple of days before  we flew home.  This is the write-up of that cruise although I do not have all the photos for Barcelona or Venice https://grandmarmed.travellerspoint.com/5/


Comments (3)

profile
Dave
You've made some valid points RosalieAnn. Especially this: "The advantage of a cruise ship is that you can see a bunch of places without having to get on and off planes or trains (or buses) and without having to pack and unpack. Your transportation is handled during the night and you don't have to take a day out of the trip for it." However, I don't think one day in a port is nearly enough. I travel with my wife and her sister so a group of three. Our usual modus operandi is to rent houses or apartments for a week at a time in a good location for interesting day trips within about a one hour radius. We almost always rent a car. This last trip we spent three days in Venice (not enough time there), a week in Rovinj (barely enough), a week in Split (not enough), 3 days in Dubrovnik (not enough), and 3 days in Istanbul (not nearly enough). For instance, we rented this place in April for 1000 Euros for the week. Very pleasant with kitchen, living room, sea view, easy level short walk to the old town and harbor. http://cortedeimerli.com/en/suite That was less expensive that getting two rooms in a hotel and a lot more delightful experience.
 

profile
RosalieAnn
It is true that one day often isn't enough. And it is also true that a large ship dumps a lot of people into a port and makes it very crowded. But if you combine cruises with land vacations you have the best of both worlds. You can decide if you like a place enough to revisit or if you'd just as soon skip it. We went to Grenada and St Croix on a cruise and then later came back and rented a place for a week (2 weeks in the case of St. Croix). Also if one cruises a lot, you can do serial days in the same place on different cruises. I've been to Barbados for a week on land and at least five times on a cruise - I have places I revisit there in Barbados and new places to see. And I don't have to go to the airport and sit in a cramped seat for hours (my mother described airplanes as a bus without scenery) . If I fly to Europe, it is only one round trip
 

profile
RosalieAnn
PS - I almost never have enough time anyplace that I go. It would be a sad day if I didn't have anything left that I wanted to see or do. Better to leave wanting to stay some more than to wish that you could go someplace else.
 
 
 
comments (3)
likes (2) thanks
profile
answered by
Sue from Daytona Beach

I really feel it is all about how you travel. Some people enjoy the Carnival or NCL experience. Then some cruise with Azamara who is smaller and focuses on overnight stays. Some want luxury and less people like Seabourn. Or Wind Star to sail and the small ship experience. It is all about finding how you want to travel. I have to tell you though that when my clients book land trips like you did in major port cities, I try and let them know when the hoards will descend!  

We took a Disney Med cruise a few years ago and it was perfect as we stayed in Italy afterwards. When everyone made their dash to the Vatican, we rented a car and went into the Hill Towns. Things like that saved our sanity. Talking to families on board they were exhausted trying to see everything by the end. Our trip was just beginning. Bonus we found places we want to go back to and spend more time at because of the cruise.  

It is all how it is planned in the end.  

Sue Jeske 

Finding Paradise with Sue 

Helping you travel to YOUR paradise! 

Www.FPwithSue.com


Comments (3)

profile
Dave
Thanks for your observations Sue. I'm beginning to think a cruise might make sense for destinations like the Greek Islands where it can be expensive and time consuming to get from island to island by air. You wouldn't be staying ashore long enough to get more than a quick introduction to each island but it could help you to decide which island(s) to revisit. The The Turkish Lira is way down vs the dollar just now. What would you think about a flight to Istanbul, a few days there followed by several days at Bodrum, a visit to Ephesus, along with a Greek Islands cruse on a Turkish cruise ship?
 

profile
Sue
As a traveler it sounds like the beginning of a great plan. As a travel agent, you could probably save time and maybe get more out of your traveling dollars by reaching out to someone who specializes in that part of the world. It just depends on how you travel. There are some beautiful spots to see. And there are folks that charter their sailing boats that can show you parts of Greece you may miss. Greece is a place I would want local knowledge!
 

profile
Sue
Dave look at Emirates EWR to Athens over Labor Day weekend buying your flights! Business class on sale!!!
 
 
 
comments (3)
likes (1) thanks
profile
answered by
Sabine from Hamburg, Germany

Hi Dave, I live in one of these medieval italian towns built for people who are on the way with carriages and on horseback (Taormina, Sicily). And from April to October our cute little town is flooded by hordes of "crusaders", who are cruising the Med. But: A cruise is a wonderful way to see as much as possible in a short time without having to unpack and pack every day (round trip by pullman). Ok, you don't have much possibilities to taste the local cuisine and get in contact with locals. I used to work for a big touroperator for about 25 years and in my holidays I went on many round trips and once on a cruise in Caribbean. I just loved the cruise and it was the best way to see 6 islands in one week. I think it is a question of personal taste and also money. If you are the type of invidual tourist (which I am) sure it is nothing for you.


Comments (0)

 
likes (1) thanks
profile
answered by
RosalieAnn

When I was younger, I did as you do.  I stayed several days or a week in places. But now, because I use a mobility scooter to get around a cruise ship has the specific advantage for me that I know it is accessible.  I can get from my room to the dining room.  There are elevators.  If I fly to a location and stay for some days, I have to figure out whether the hotel or house or whatever is accessible.  I have asked  for a room with no steps and the room didn't have stepS.  But there was one step at the threshold which fortunately my husband who was traveling with me could lift the scooter over.  I booked a hotel in London after carefully ascertaining that there was an elevator.  And when I got there, it was broken.  They put me in a ground floor room, but there were two steps up from the street to the door.  And this past June, I booked a hotel in Amsterdam and also rented a scooter.  The scooter was almost too big to fit in the elevator and I couldn't easily get it into the room because the hall was too narrow.  On a ship, I don't have to worry about that.


Comments (1)

profile
Dave
So you have special needs that make cruises especially attractive for you. I get that.
 
 
 
comments (1)
likes (1) thanks
profile
answered by
Diane from New York City

Med cruises are great for getting to see a little of many places without having to take buses or pack and unpack countless times  

You don't have to do the ships tours u can set out on your own or arrange private tour  

And the days at sea u get to relax 

You get on your ship at night and the next day u r someplace else thereby avoiding the traveling part of traveling  

We have done several and then went back to places we really loved  

Also most are a great deal compared to land tours or doing on your own especially if you don't know where u r going


Comments (4)

profile
Dave
I can see your point, especially with itineraries that would be complicated and difficult to arrange with flights, hotels or vacation rentals, etc. The Greek Isles come to mind. However, you have no control over the schedule and zero independence. If you decide you love Santorini and want to stay a few more days you're out of luck. If you're in Dubrovnik and a fellow traveler tells you that a day trip to Kotor in adjacent Montenegro is not to be missed you're out of luck. I greatly enjoy the process of planning a trip, finding a great apartment, making in trip schedule and destination adjustments, having a car and being independent. One of the biggest joys for me in European travel is checking out the local restaurant scenes. I wouldn't want to eat from the same kitchen all the time, nor would I want to pay for a meal ashore when I've already paid for the same meal onboard.
 

profile
RosalieAnn
In Europe, you CAN get off wherever you would like - you do not have to take the whole cruise if you don't want to. So if you loved Santorini and had the requisite visas and wanted to stay there, you could. The Med cruise that I took, we got off in Venice and did not finish the trip (although that was because of time constraints) This is not possible for trips that start in the USA. Or of course you could come back on your own or after the cruise.
 

profile
RosalieAnn
The cruises are cheap enough that it does not bother me a bit to eat on shore even though I have "paid" for a meal on the ship. NCL at one time had vouchers that you could use to eat on shore where the meal was paid for by the ship.
 

profile
RosalieAnn
Except for cruises that start on the east coast of the USA, I almost always spend a couple of days at the beginning of a trip (cruise or not) in the local area. So my last trip to Tanzania, I spent 3 days in Amsterdam first. A cruise to the Baltic, I spent 3 days in Copenhagen first and afterwards visited Kinderdjik and went to Amsterdam for a couple of days. It was WAY cheaper and less hassle to get to Russia on that cruise ship because I did not have to get a very expensive visa.
 
 
 
comments (4)
likes (1) thanks
profile
answered by
Lee from Florida

Dave, cruise ship holidays may not be enjoyable for you. If you see a group of ship passengers with a guide, and they look like a “mob” you may not be happy in that group.... or near that group. If you feel like you’re in a ”crowded elevator” when you’re among ship’s passengers that have come ashore, you may not be happy in or near those groups. Those same mobs will also be aboard for sea days and evenings. If you find “all the food coming from the same kitchen” unappealing, you wouldn’t like the food.

If you think it’s a “terrible way to see Europe” you’re probably absolutely right -- for you. The cruise ship experience just might make you unhappy, and fellow passengers can be negatively impacted by people who choose a cruise but know ahead of time that they’re determined not to enjoy it.  Your best bet may be individual travel where large groups of tourists are not to be found.

I love cruising. I love people, communal activities, gatherings large and small of people from a variety of places and backgrounds.  I love cruising!


Comments (0)

 


   
Questions   ·   Destinations   ·   Drive   ·   Fly   ·   Airports   ·   Stay   ·   Search

Login   ·   About   ·   FAQ   ·   Feedback   ·   Privacy   ·   Terms