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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 29th, 2009, 06:51 PM
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Question BabyCruiser needs help planning belated Mediterranean Honeymoon

First of all I am amazed at the wealth of information on this forum, as well as the passion of all its members. I'm hoping some of you with cruising experience can help a newbie like myself.

My Hubby and I have been saving for our honeymoon after getting married last May. We plan to go cruising in May 2010. Ideally I would like to hit both Spain and Greece (hitting Italy along the way). I've never been to Europe, that's why I'd like to see more places in one shot. Here are a few questions:

1) We're looking at Carnival, Royal Princess, NCL, or MSC. We recognize there is quite a price range here and would like to hear from people who may have done all three, or have a strong opinion of one of the above.
2) Any suggestions for itineraries out there?
3) How to save money on shore excursions? Any online places to prebook them? Or is it better to research the location and find someone once you port?
4) Where to find the best deals to book the actual cruise?
5) Considering the cost, are the balconies worth it?

Thanks for reading these questions. We also thank you in advance for any wisdom or experience you can impart.

Cheers and Happy Cruising,
BabyCruiser (Lily)
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Old December 29th, 2009, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyCruiser View Post
First of all I am amazed at the wealth of information on this forum, as well as the passion of all its members. I'm hoping some of you with cruising experience can help a newbie like myself.

My Hubby and I have been saving for our honeymoon after getting married last May. We plan to go cruising in May 2010. Ideally I would like to hit both Spain and Greece (hitting Italy along the way). I've never been to Europe, that's why I'd like to see more places in one shot. Here are a few questions:

1) We're looking at Carnival, Royal Princess, NCL, or MSC. We recognize there is quite a price range here and would like to hear from people who may have done all three, or have a strong opinion of one of the above.

I have sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess and NCL and my personal favorite is NCL. The reason is their "Freestyle Cruising" concept. NCL has a variety or dining options for the cruiser, open seating in all restaurants, less stressful last day where you stay in your cabin and not stuck in a lounge waiting for your color to be called. Many of NCL's alternative restaurants do have a surcharge but if you budget $150 - $200 to your cruise budget you will have no problem. NCL usually has a lower fare that offsets this charge.

If you want a more traditional cruise I would suggest Princess but it will be an older crowd but not too old. Carnival and Royal Caribbean are somewhat similar with Royal Caribbean offering more innovative ships and Carnival being the most active of all the lines with very good food and nice sized cabins.


2) Any suggestions for itineraries out there?

I would look for a Med cruise that is, at least, 10 days. I prefer the Eastern Mediterranean that leaves from Spain or Italy. Italy is gorgeous and so are Greece and Turkey. Just about any Mediterranean itinerary will give you some great ports and leave you wanting more.


3) How to save money on shore excursions? Any online places to prebook them? Or is it better to research the location and find someone once you port?

A combination of researching the ports and booking your own tour. There are many reputable tour operators out there. Rely on recommendations of previous cruisers and watch out for "plant" postings from tour providers. These are often one time postings and sometimes have poor use of English. This is NOT ALWAYS true but just be careful. Also make sure the providers provide good communication and offer what you are looking for. Don't be pressured into booking with anyone.

4) Where to find the best deals to book the actual cruise?
There are many agents and agencies that will give you a good deal. I would pick up the phone and the Internet and start checking some of the advertisers here and also get recommendations from long time cruisers. Here is a great article that explains how to find a good deal.

Cruise Shopping: Pick Up The Phone

5) Considering the cost, are the balconies worth it?

This is a personal choice. It depends on your budget and how much you plan on being in the cabin. I personally will not cruise without a balcony. I like the extra space and the enjoyment I have sitting on the balcony and enjoying the sea.

Thanks for reading these questions. We also thank you in advance for any wisdom or experience you can impart.

Cheers and Happy Cruising,
BabyCruiser (Lily)
I put my answers above. If you have any more questions feel free to ask and welcome to the wonderful world of cruising.

Take care,
Mike
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Old December 29th, 2009, 07:49 PM
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Carnival is one of my favorites but I don't think they have anything that will fit your choice of ports and timeline. Suggest you check out the Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Jade. I think you would be very happy with either. It is a personal choice but many US/Canadians don't seem to care for MSC.

Balcony....Absolutely.

A word of caution since you did say BabyCruiser. If you choose to book tours with someone other than the cruiseline do it carefully. The ship likely will not wait should you be late returning. Stranded in a foreign country is not the best way to spend your honeymoon.
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Old December 29th, 2009, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BabyCruiser View Post
Here are a few questions:

1) We're looking at Carnival, Royal Princess, NCL, or MSC. We recognize there is quite a price range here and would like to hear from people who may have done all three, or have a strong opinion of one of the above.

I haven't done Royal, NCL or MSC. I took the Carnival Freedom from Miami across the Atlantic Ocean and end in Civitavecchia, Italy which is the closest port to Rome, Italy. We spent two days in Rome the hopped a Eurostar train across the Italian countryside to Venice Italy (stayed in the fish). I got a great price on the Cruise and loved the 5 sea days on the crossing over. BTW cruise started 4/26/08 so I was in Italy early May 08.

2) Any suggestions for itineraries out there?
Lets take a look see at the options. Wow finding Greece and Spain isn't easy. Royal does a 12 night cruise round trip from Barcelona. On the Brilliance of the Seas on May 27 or May 3 2010. The ports are Barcelona, Spain; Villefranche (Nice), France; Livorno (Florence), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Santorini, Greece; Naples, Italy; Barcelona, Spain. Livorno is the port for Florence Italy but like Civavecchia it's about an hour to an hour and a half from port.

The Ruby Princess has a 12 day repositioning cruise starting in Venice (I love Venice) ending in Barcelona. This cruise is on May 17, 2010. I have cruise Princess in 2003 to mexico and I really enjoyed it. here are the port of that cruise. Venice, Italy (Overnight) ; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece; Naples, Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Livorno (Florence), Italy; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Barcelona, Spain

Princess does the reverse of this cruise on May 2 & 29 so depending on the where you want to start Barcelona or Venice you can pick your cruise.

3) How to save money on shore excursions? Any online places to prebook them? Or is it better to research the location and find someone once you port? You can book the Vatican tour directly from the Vatican. But you still need a way to get from port to Rome. Here is the link Ticket Office online of the Vatican Museums
The
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyCruiser View Post
Archeological Visits are only available through the Vatican I heard they are wonderful. But not good if you are nervous in close spaces.

4) Where to find the best deals to book the actual cruise?
No idea

5) Considering the cost, are the balconies worth it?
Yes

Thanks for reading these questions. We also thank you in advance for any wisdom or experience you can impart.

Cheers and Happy Cruising,
BabyCruiser (Lily)

I hope that helps you.
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Old December 29th, 2009, 10:12 PM
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Not sure why my post went all funny.
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