It seems to me that cruising the Mediterranean is much more expensive than the Caribbean, at least on the more mainstream cruise lines. I'll looking at same ship comparisons. Are costs higher for the lines in Europe or is this just a matter of supply & demand?
(I do note that the higher end lines seem to have more consistent pricing where ever they sail.)
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There does seem to be a difference. Costs are a bit higher due to, among other things, the exchange rate. Supply and demand is also always at work. You will also notice excursions are much more expensive and many of them are full day tours that include lunch. Still, I much prefer cruising the Med to the Caribbean. I have 35 nights in the Med in last six years and 14 more nights booked for 2010 (along with 14 nights in Norway, 7 night in Baltic, and 7 nights on European river cruise). European cruising is wonderful.
Overall the Med is more expensive than the Caribbean. It is basically supply and demand. There are more ships in the Caribbean than the Med but there are deals to be found.
If you sail the Med in the fall or winter you will find a significant saving. We did the Med last February, in a full suite, on NCL Jade for around $250 per day for two people. Regular balcony cabins were about $100 less per day. The weather was not "hot" but it was in the 50's and 60's most of the time and in the 80's in Egypt.
Your airfare will be more expensive and you will want to do longer and more expensive tours. We booked private tours in Rome and Egypt and really enjoyed them. We pre-booked our private in Rome and Egypt for around $700 for three days. (One day in Rome and two days in Egypt) Actually a lot less than the ship's tours.
In the other ports we utilized taxis and tours offered at the port. None of these were more than $100 for a full day. The most expensive taxi was in Greece and included Ephesus was $80. Not bad. Our entire trip was under $6800 for 12 days. This includes cruise, air, tours and onboard expenses. A lower category cabin would have been significantly less.
The best part was that there is so much more to see and do in the Med than in the Caribbean.
You could do significant saving on tours if you booked with multiple people and did not do private tours. Our Rome and Egypt tour could have handled six people but we did it on our own. If it was divided among multiple people it would have been much less.
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If you want to see antiquity, I recommend the eastern Med. Western Med is more for seeing modern europe. Baltic cruises are also great, but you will notice a sameness to the architecture amd culture. You can get full Med cruises from Istanbul to Barcelona - that is an itinerary you will never forget.
It takes at least three cruises to really see Europe by cruise ship. The Med, the Baltic and the Atlantic coast (with U.K.)
After that, I really recommend certain river cruises: The Seine, The Danube, Russia.
We did a Mediterranean cruise last spring and will do another one in 2011. Yes it costs more, but itís worth it. The whole place reeks with history. I welcome the chance to revisit some of our favorites.
2005 Panama Canal
2006 W. Caribbean
2007 E. Caribbean
2007 N. Atlantic
2008 S. America
2009 Grand Voyage
2010 N. Atlantic
2011 Grand Voyage
2013 Hawaii - S. Pacific