Monday, August 29, 2011

Has anyone taken a cruise that departs overseas and cruises Europe?

Live in U.S. thinking about flying to Rome tour there, then take 12day cruise that departs from Rome to go to Spain, Venice&Monaco. Has anyone taken a European cruise? What are your experiences and would it be better to go to Rome and then another country? Me and my husband are just trying to get in as many places as we can for great price so we figured a cruise. We dont know if we will regret spending so little time in each port and wonder if we should just do like Italy and another country since that would fit our budget. Any help or suggestions? What are great places to take cruises to overseas?

Answer on Has anyone taken a cruise that departs overseas and cruises Europe?

I/we have taken two cruises of the Mediterranean and have another booked now. Our first cruise began in Barcelona and had port stops in Nice, Florence/Pisa, Naples, and Rome Italy; then Athens, Santorini and Mykonos, Greece; then Kusadari, Turkey (not in that exact order). Our next cruise of the Med also departed from Barcelona but had stops in Spain, Portugal, Gibralter, Morocco and the Canary Islands.

What we found was that the 8 or 9 hours that we had in each port was sufficient to see things and get a flavor for the country/port, with one exception. You do need more time in Rome because there are so many things to see and so many people touring that it takes a bit of time to get to and through attractions. It is good that you plan to spend time in Rome before your cruise.

Two things you should be aware of. First, the port for cruises from Rome is a good hour, or more by bus, train, or shuttle from the city. SO plan plenty of time to get to the port on the day of your cruise. We did not take the train between Rome and the Civitavecchia port but I understand that you can do that and there is regular service. Second, you can use the trains in Europe to get around very easily. They go most places you may want to see and run regularly. You can even reserve right on line and they will mail you your tickets. We did that for travel between London and Paris and also between Madrid and Barcelona.

You need to decide before you book which ports stops are most important to/for you and book accordingly. There are a variety of cruises and they do not all do the same itinerary. Some cruises are 7 days and others are 12 to 14 days. Some cruises are round trip (start and finish at same port) and others are one way. If you want to see Venice and Rome then you will probably have to take a one-way cruise that is more than 7-days long because Rome and Venice are on opposite sides of Italy. We prefer the 12 to 14 day cruises because once you spend the airfare to get to Europe you want to see as much as you can.

Whatever you do be sure to fly to the departure port city at least a day early so that you do not miss your cruise due to a flight delay or cancellation; and that also gives time if your luggage is lost or delays. On our last cruise we had a flight cancellation AND our luggage was lost for 2 days. Fortunately we flew to the departure city 3 days early.

My favorite Mediterranean ports:
Rome
Florence/Pisa
Naples
Santorini
Mykonos
Ephesus
Gibralter
Canary Islands
Athens