Cruise Trips: Adventure over Relaxation (Part 3)

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013

Despite the relaxing image, a cruise trip can be as adventurous as any vacation, depending on the ship and itinerary.

A cruise trip on a European river boat means you spend every day sightseeing, each day in a new location. All shore tours and meals are provided by the cruise line and included in the cruise fare. You only unpack one time, so you never have to worry about finding a train station, hotel or restaurant. (You never have to pay for any of those, either.) Every minute you are sailing, you can sit on deck and watch the countryside go by.

Cruise ships are similar, except that a cruise ship will dock in a different city every day or two and offer a selection of 20 or 30 different tours to choose from. In Naples you might want to see the ancient city of Pompeii, or spend a day on the Isle of Capri. You will pay for the tours, however.

Whether by cruise ship or riverboat, a cruise trip to Europe, Asia, Alaska, South America or anywhere you travel is more than just leisurely days lying in the sun. A cruise trip is a real travel adventure offering incredible convenience and variety in sites and destinations.

You unpack just once. Your meals, transportation to different destinations, accommodations and nightly entertainment are all included in the cruise cost. Since you prepay for almost the entire trip in U.S. dollars, you wonÂ’t suffer from currency devaluation vs. the Euro. A cruise is a perfect way to see the world with all the benefits and none of the drawbacks of the usual methods of travel.

Cruise Trip Destinations My river cruise trip through the Russian countryside from Moscow to St. Petersburg is a perfect example. Day after day, we rolled past small towns, people riding on tractors, farmers selling homegrown cabbages and turnips by the roadside, and local residents walking to their orthodox churches in outmoded Sunday dress clothes.

With the onboard lecturers constantly telling us what we were seeing, and frequent stops to explore important sites from the Communist era and the monarchy, it was the cruise trip of a lifetime. It had nothing to do with typical visions of "cruise vacations" as most people perceive them. There were no umbrella drinks, reggae bands, bingo games or shuffleboard.

I understand the charm of living in a French town for two weeks, shopping at the marche and learning to nap every day from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. But I prefer to keep moving and see new things.

I especially love cruise trips to exciting destinations, because the ship does most of the actual travel while I sleep. On a cruise in Europe, you wake up in a new destination every morning. In some cases, you will wish you had more time to explore certain destinations. But there are plenty of places in Europe and elsewhere where one day is more than enough to see everything you need to see. I will give some examples.

A typical Eastern Mediterranean cruise usually starts in Venice, Italy, and continues through the Greek Isles and ports along the coast. Among the places you visit that are worth seeing but really do not require more than a day:

Ephesus: This ancient city founded by Alexander the Great is where the apostle Paul spoke in the theater during his earliest days. His famous "Letter to the Ephesians" is based upon a promise he made to them that he would return. One can still sit in the very theater where Paul addressed the crowd, and that is but one attraction of the ancient city. Another is the house alleged to be the former home of Mary, mother of Christ, who was brought to the city by John the apostle -- whose burial place is in nearby St. John's Basilica. All these sites can be seen easily with a one-day stop in Kusadasi, Turkey.

Continue Article >> Cruise Trip Destinations (Cont.) (Part 4)

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