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Old September 18th, 2012, 03:02 AM
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Default Med cruise: April or July?

Hi all, I'm considering timing for our first cruise holiday now. We're looking at a Western Med cruise, and the months I can get away are either April or July. April is probably more comfortable for sightseeing, but July certainly nicer for sunning on the deck.

I talked to my family, and they said July for sure to get away from the winter cold here, but then I pointed out that April cruises cost less, and the difference in cost would pay for a cheap holiday to Thailand. We could cruise in April and go to Thailand in July for the same cost as cruising in July! Then they said April for sure.

So ... what's it like cruising the Med in April? I've traveled in Mediterranean countries in April and August before, so I have a fair idea of the difference in land temperatures, but is it very different on the water? Will it be unpleasant on deck in April? And more importantly for me, is the sea more likely to be rough? Thanks!
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Old September 18th, 2012, 08:32 PM
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April is much much nicer than July. July is hot; 35 to 40 or even more. April is more temperate with temperatures in the 20s. Crowds are much nicer in April, too. Late October to early November is my favorite time for Med cruise; have also done August but never again.
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 09:34 PM
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Thanks Marc, I figured April was probably the better bet but wasn't sure if there was something I was missing as I've never cruised before.
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Old September 23rd, 2012, 03:49 PM
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I second the April timeframe. Last year we did a Med cruise in Mid April and the weather was beautiful. Ranged from 70-80's including Italy, Greece and Croatia. Plenty of sunning took place on the deck. I heard July is down right hot and my husband hates the heat so we went in April and had a wonderful time.
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Old September 23rd, 2012, 09:26 PM
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We wouldn't find July particularly hot for sunning and swimming, but walking and sightseeing (especially in a city built of stone) can be very unpleasant once it's over 30 degrees. I remember one time we were in Rome in April, and it was lovely weather, but we were looking for shade every time we stopped. I remember feeling glad it was only April!
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Old September 23rd, 2012, 11:29 PM
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I agree with others - April would be my choice - better weather (although sometimes is can be rainy, which no one mentioned). But July can be hot, crowded, and more expensive.

Personally, if I had my choice, I would really prefer September, but it may not be an option for you, especially since you have children. Great weather, good pricing, and minimal crowds. Just a thought.

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Old September 23rd, 2012, 11:50 PM
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Yes, September would be nice but I can't get away then. I will need an extra week of leave, which the board would be unlikely to approve at that time of year as I mostly teach seniors and they'd be coming up to their finals.

Our school holidays (other than summer) are only two weeks, and two weeks for Europe isn't quite long enough for me - I need to allow a couple of quiet days at either end for jet-lag. I know some people who can push right through it but when I try to I get migraines. So with travel time as well, that's basically a week shot just getting there and back.

Actually it just occurred to me that DH might sometimes have trouble getting leave in July because of end of financial year stuff, so it looks like it'll probably have to be April anyway. It's a shame Europe isn't nicer in January!
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Old September 24th, 2012, 12:02 AM
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Alot of people don't plan for that long jet lag, so you're doing the right thing. Heading West isn't quite as bad as heading East, and the older you get, the tougher it is. But I can somewhat relate to your long journey. We flew from Washington, DC to Los Angeles and then to Tahiti. Got up at 4:00am and by the time we got to bed, it was about 26 hours later. So leaving from Australia would definitely prove to be tough on the body. It would be great if you can plan a stop half way, but sometimes time does not allow it.

As for April, plan to dress in layers. It can be cool and it can be wet. So take some long sleeve shirts, a few sweaters, and a good rain jacket. That way you can pick and choose depending on the weather.

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Old September 24th, 2012, 12:09 AM
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We left for Europe the day the prince got married last year..4/29..we only had one day that was showery in Dubrovnik. I remember sitting in the main square in Florence,and thinking how uncrowded it was,and I was so thankful I was not shoulder to shoulder with a million other tourists, as we would be in high season. It does make a huge impact on how you can enjoy these glorious ports.Everything changes..wait times in restaurants, getting good service in stores, etc...

Another thing is, you will find that with the very long excursion days, the only days you will enjoy the pool is on the couple of seas days..In July, it would be quite crowded...we were able to find seats easily.

I vote for April as well, you lucky duck
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Old September 24th, 2012, 12:20 AM
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Hey, Trip - I have to agree that Dubrovnik was amazing. We also loved Split. I never thought I would enjoy Croatia, but it was awesome and we'd love to go back some time. People were wonderful, food was very good, and the history was overwhelming.

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Old September 24th, 2012, 12:25 AM
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Pete, a hidden jewel that took my breath away....loved every minute.
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Old September 24th, 2012, 01:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
Pete, a hidden jewel that took my breath away....loved every minute.
Very well stated!! Could not have said it any better.

Pete
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Old September 24th, 2012, 02:27 AM
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I've been to Europe several times in the spring. In my opinion spring, or late fall are the best times to visit. Weather is generally pretty decent, and crowds are much smaller.

I was just there in late June/early July. Temps were in the 30s + every day; made touring much more uncomfortable, and major sites and cities were very crowded.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 08:53 PM
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I've done the Med cruise three times, one the first week of May and twice in October. October is nice but can be rainy, but May was almost perfect weather. I would avoid the summer months at all costs due to the heat and crowds in the ports and you also have a lot more children on the ships in the summer months.

Whatever you decide, try to fly in at least one day prior to the start of the cruise to rest and possibly see some of the origination city. Having the day or two buffer up front also allows your luggage extra time to catch up if necessary. I've been on cruises where people did not get their luggage until 5 or 6 days into the cruise. If you plan to fly in the day of the cruise, pack a couple of changes in your carry on bags.

The earlier you book your cruise, the more choices you have for planning excursions and/or private tours.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nothin but blue skies View Post
I've done the Med cruise three times, one the first week of May and twice in October. October is nice but can be rainy, but May was almost perfect weather. I would avoid the summer months at all costs due to the heat and crowds in the ports and you also have a lot more children on the ships in the summer months.

Whatever you decide, try to fly in at least one day prior to the start of the cruise to rest and possibly see some of the origination city. Having the day or two buffer up front also allows your luggage extra time to catch up if necessary. I've been on cruises where people did not get their luggage until 5 or 6 days into the cruise. If you plan to fly in the day of the cruise, pack a couple of changes in your carry on bags.

The earlier you book your cruise, the more choices you have for planning excursions and/or private tours.
Perfect information!!!

We like to go two nights before the cruise for the very reason you stated; the first day we're wiped from traveling plus the time difference, so the second day we use for sightseeing.

As for luggage, your chances for lost luggage are less if you use the same airline for the entire trip over. It's when you change airline that it can often create a problem. We also always suggest packing half of your clothes in each of the two suitcases just in case one makes and the other doesn't.

I also agree that May is the perfect time to do a Med cruise - much better than July. September can also be a very good time and often has some great deals.

Pete
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Old November 8th, 2012, 04:44 PM
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Thanks for all the tips folks! In fact (after all my research!) in the end the consensus of my family was we should do Paris, Brittany and Normandy for our next trip, so I'll be pining after a cruise for a bit yet. Seeing if we can incorporate a river cruise down the Seine but they're pretty pricey.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 05:16 PM
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Yes, river cruises are definitely more expensive than ocean cruises, but you're also comparing apples to oranges as it is a completely different experience. You're talking about ships that carry around 3,000 people and don't see land until they're coming into port versus a smaller boat that may hold 150 people and the scenery is constantly changing. Plus, on a river cruise, it always docks right in the heart of the city/town, so you don't have to walk very far to be where everything is. And river cruising in Europe is absolutely amazing! We're definitely hooked on river cruising and can't wait to do another one.

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Old November 8th, 2012, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks for all the tips folks! In fact (after all my research!) in the end the consensus of my family was we should do Paris, Brittany and Normandy for our next trip, so I'll be pining after a cruise for a bit yet. Seeing if we can incorporate a river cruise down the Seine but they're pretty pricey.

Paris, Brittany and Normandy....JEALOUS!!!

We were in Normandy for 5 days in 2010 and absolutely loved it. Enjoy.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 05:26 AM
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Yes, it will be great. One of the deciding factors was that our adult son said if we went there he'd like to come too - he's always been interested in history and is keen to see the D-Day beaches and museums. None of our kids are married yet and we figure it might be the last time we all do a big trip together.
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