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  #1 (permalink)  
Old May 25th, 2005, 05:35 PM
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Default Top 10 Ports

Greetings seagoers!

I'd like to get your opinions on the top 10 ports to visit in Europe. Tel me your best top 10 and worst top 10, then a brief reason.

For example, La Havre, France would be on my top 10 worst ports because there are several miles between the port and Paris, France...therefore you are spending lots more time and money to get to Paris on a shorex.
On the other hand, Venice, Italy is on my top 10 because of the proximity of the town, things to do, and low cost for shorex.

I'm planning to cruise Europe this summer for the first time, and I want to pick the best port itenary ship, so tell me what you think

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2005, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: Top 10 Ports

Just back from 12 day Mediterranean cruise with 7 ports on the QM2. By far the nicest port was Lisbon Portugal. There were monuments and statues along the coast, the tigus bridge that you pass under is beautiful, walking distance to center, excellent shopping (bought lots of handpainted Portuguese pottery) the sidewalks and squares were all hand placed individual tiles made in different designs, the people were lovely, lots of pretty fountains, castles, statues etc. Would love to go back only had a nibble and would like a big bite. I took more pictures here than I took anywhere else. Oh yes, they had the most awesome pastries and coffee I've ever had. Well thats my view anyway.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2005, 07:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 32
Default Re: Top 10 Ports

I hope you mean NEXT summer, because most of this summer's European cruises are sold out (according to my cruise travel company).

With any itinerary, there are bad ports and good ports. It depends on what you want to see. I would not use a cruise ship for any serious sightseeing of places like London or Paris, where you need no less than 3 days.

If you have never been to Europe, you might want to try a Med. cruise. Athens, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples etc. British Isles cruises are OK, but COLD!

If you choose a northern itinerary, just don't pick the tours where you have to travel a long distance to get to a major city. Go back another time.

If you've got the bucks to go on a european cruise, the cost of the tours is just part of your total expense. I wouldn't try to save money. Your onboard expenses ie drinks is what will cost you.

Just my opinion...
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old May 29th, 2005, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: Top 10 Ports

10 Good ones:

1. St. Petersburg, because you almost always spend at least two days there, and you need it. Take a private tour with one of the licensed companies like Red October. It is the fabled city of the Romanoffs and of riches, and is a world treasure. Not to be missed.

2. Barcelona, especially good as an embarkation or disembarkation port, because you need at least three days here. Also, an easy overnight train ride or short plane ride to Madrid, which you should also do while you're in the neighborhood, if you've never been.

3. Venice, again as a starting or ending point. Not so hot as a one-day-wonder in the middle of a cruise. One of the world's most fascinating cities, you need at least three or four days here to understand the unique rhythms of the place, and to let the unbelievable nature of this outstanding city sink in. Even though the piers are practically right in the city, if you only spend a day here you're absolutely cheating yourself.

4. Santorini, on a sunny day there's little that can top it for just plain pretty.

5. Talinn, same idea, just plain pretty. A great place to spend a day.

6. Athens, even though one day is far too short a time to spend, at least the piers are convenient to the city, so you can see the major sights in a single day. And as a seat of civilization, of course, it's an incredibly worthwhile place. Hire a taxi for the day, don't get bogged down on ship's tours.

7. Ephesus, if your imagination makes you tingle to stand in the amphitheater where Paul preached, and to see the workings of an amazingly sophisticated community that's 20 centuries old.

8. Rotterdam, because Amsterdam isn't very far away. On a one-day stop, see the Anne Frank House, Rebrandthouse, take a canal boat, and if possible lift a glass at the Heinekin Brewery. Better yet, spend three or four days in Amsterdam and really see it. Have some pommes frites with mayonnaise and vinegar on the street for me.

9. Southampton/Dover, only if you spend some time seeing England. If you go from London airport right to (or from) the ship, you've missed the point.

10. Wernemunde, not so much because you can go to Berlin (a long slog), but because the little town is surprisingly charming, and because Rostock--a 10 minute train ride away--is remarkably nice. Nice to see the old "East Germany" looking so good.

Bad ports? Well, first understand that "bad" is a relative term. I don't find any of them really bad. The major metropolises like Paris and Rome are just too far away from their respective ports to make a single day's stop worthwhile. If you want to see these places, take a land trip or make them your starting or ending points. Gibralter is just so-so. Malta is nice, but somewhat limited. Oslo is a nice little city, but difficult to see in the very short time usually available on ship stops. Ditto Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen, but these aren't so little, and the tourism industries are a bit more robust, so you can spend a reasonably productive day in each.
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