Honeymoon Discussions

Deciding on a Mediterranean Cruise

We are looking at a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon. One idea we are considering is staying in the country of departure/arrival for a few days in addition to the cruise.  I am curious if anyone has any recommendations on which country to stay in based on our options. I am not sure which countries are better cost-wise or romance-wise.
We are interested in Italy, Greece, and Spain, but I don't think we would get all 3 on a cruise for the length of time we can travel. We were originally just going to go to Italy but we both liked the idea of doing a cruise for at least part of the trip and the idea that we could see more countries without a lot of travel time is very appealing.
I went to Europe on a cruise a few years ago and loved all 3 countries (I was in each country for a day) so I am excited about going back so I can spend more time and visit more cities and places in each country.

In looking at Norwegian cruises (which seem to have a nice variety/price of cruises in the area), it looks like we have 4 options.

Leave/arrive from Barcelona, Spain and cruise to France and Italy.

Leave/arrive from  Venice, Italy and cruise to Croatia and Greece.

Leave from Rome, Italy and cruise to Italy and Spain and arrive in Spain.

Leave/Arrive from Rome and cruise to Italy and the Greek Islands.

While I'm sure we will be happy with any of these options, I was curious what cities are better cost-wise to stay before/after the cruise in or if anyone has any suggestions for making the most out of our time in Europe since we are planning to stay for a little extra time on land.

Re: Deciding on a Mediterranean Cruise

  • For staying extra days, I'd go with the first option. We did a cruise like this, and one day definitely was not enough time for me in Barcelona. I would have loved more days to explore the city. Where would you be docking in Italy at the end? We were in Italy on our cruise and went back for our HM. We're also going back this September. So obviously I love it there - ha! I can't recommend it enough!  

    Venice is great, but personally I felt that I saw a lot of what I wanted to see in one day. 

    I haven't been to Croatia or Greece, though, so I can't speak to that. 
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited March 2017
    Have you considered other cruise lines?  Talk to your travel agent.  You should consider all options before you decide.

    You will not see Rome at all unless you stay there for a few days.  Leonardo daVinci airport is far, far out of the city, and the ship will dock at Civitavecchia.  Rome is an inland city.  The other cities on your itinerary are port cities.  I would recommend choosing an itinerary that either starts or ends in Rome.

    I have cruised all over the world, and one of my favorites was the Greek Isle cruise from Princess.  Santorini was breathtaking!  I have always been interested in history and archaeology, so this really thrilled me.

    What are your interests?  Food?  History?  Art?  Beaches?  Architecture?

    You need a good travel agent who specializes in cruises.  I usually book with my on line agent.  We talk on the phone, and he gives me lots of information.  My next cruise is to Japan.  Remember, ALL internet travel sites ARE travel agents.  You might as well use one that can give you some special service as well as the best price.

    This cruise gives you Spain  (Barcelona), Italy and Greece, and ends in Rome.  If Spain is of interest, Holland America has some wonderful, unusual itineraries.

    PS.  If you need a travel agent recommendation, I will happily share mine.  Just PM me.  There is nothing in it for me.  I just know he does a good job, and I want him to stay in business.

  • I've been on a couple of Norwegian cruises (North America), and I was not impressed.  Perhaps the Mediterranean ones are better, but the few I went on left a bad impression and I wouldn't choose them again.  So, I would definitely check out other cruise lines.  Princess cruises are more expensive, but worth the upgrade. 

  • I am not a fan of cruises, so no input there, but the greek isles and croatia have been my favorite vacation spots ever. Not a humungous fan of Venice, but it would be nice to spend a couple days on either end.

    Recommend Greece and Croatia if your interests are: Sailing, food, nightlife, beaches/watersports. I think if your main interests are art, history, museums, sight seeing, etc the other cruises may have more to offer for you
  • DH and I did a 10 day Mediterranean cruise last year starting in Athens and ending in Barcelona.  I agree with PP that 1 day is not enough in Barcelona!!!  However, we did stay for 2 days in Athens prior to departure and it was AMAZING.  I have traveled frequently and far my whole life and Greece was never really on my bucket list - but holy cow, I was so wrong.  Athens is phenomenal, historical, beautiful and best of all AFFORDABLE.  We spent one day doing historical tours in the city and one day exploring the beaches but it's definitely somewhere that you could really see and get a feel for in 2-3 days.  

    Our favorite place ON the cruise was the Amalfi Coast in Italy (Capri, Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, etc.) and we're definitely planning on going back to that area for a longer time on our next big vacation.   

    So I guess I would suggest for a pre-cruise short stay 1) Athens 2) Barcelona 3) literally anywhere along the western coast of Italy.  Again, agree with PP that Rome needs a few days minimum so that may be fun too.  

    If you have any questions feel free to PM!  We love Europe!
  • I vote Italy. Greece was okay but not a place that I would choose over Italy.

  • Also, I'm not sure what your budget is, but we sailed with Cunard on the QE2 for our Med cruise. We really enjoyed it and the food was fantastic. 

    Instead of using the tours through the ship, we booked Tours by Locals in the larger cities. It was a much more personalized tour and we got to see a lot more. Loading onto a tour bus with all the people from the ship isn't really my thing. 
  • penguinpoppenguinpop member
    Tenth Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited March 2017
    To answer a bunch of previous questions, I was looking at Norwegian because I went on one a few years ago (to the Mediterranean) and I liked it and they seemed to have some nice itineraries and shore excursions. I was looking at Princess but one of the future in-laws said that they heard Princess was really for an "older crowd" and they didn't think we would enjoy it as much. So for those of you who love Princess, please let me know why! I am not set in stone on Norwegian.

    As for what we are into - both of us like history. I am a museum/art/ancient world scientific sort of person. Not really a big partier or beach-sunbather.  Both of us are foodies.  My fiancé is into medieval stuff so I thought Italy offered a bit of both medieval and ancient things to keep us both interested.

    When I went to Europe the first time around - I agree, Barcelona was a really cool city. I would love to go back and spend more time there. But I loved all the ancient ruins and art in Greece

    CMGragain: yes! that cruise has it all. that looks great, but it's very pricy per person. I uppose a travel agent would be good for getting us a deal :D

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited March 2017
    We have been on 22 cruises, 15 of them Princess.  Princess caters to Americans of all ages, but you will mostly see people in their 30s and above. They are not cheap, but give good value.   Their ship entertainment is very, very good (I am a musician.), and their food, especially the chocolate desserts, also very good.  Longer cruises will tend to have older crowds because working people can't take long vacations.  It is not a party-til-you-drop ship, like some Carnival cruises.  It tries to please all age groups.

    Holland America is my other favorite, but it does cater to an older crowd, and in Europe, many itineraries will have a large number of Dutch passengers, especially if they sail from Rotterdam.  Their food is better, but no chocolate desserts like Princess!  (Can you tell that I am a chocolate addict?)  They often have more unusual itineraries, which is why we started sailing with them.  Great ships for quiet relaxation.

    You really need to talk to a professional who books ALL cruise lines to give you an unbiased opinion.  I have never sailed with Norwegian, but I have heard negative things from a few friends who tried it after Princess.  It might suit you just fine!
    Talk to a travel agent and get their opinion.  Cruise lines play games with their prices, just like department stores.  My next cruise is currently accepting reservations for $2000 more than we paid when we booked during a special sale.  Ha!

    Here is another sample:  http://www.princess.com/find/cruiseDetails.do?voyageCode=1727A

    http://www.vacationstogo.com/fastdeal.cfm?deal=14288  This one if from my favorite travel website.  You have to register to see it, but they won't bother you.  If you can't see it, use their website and look for #14288.

    Can you do two weeks?  http://www.vacationstogo.com/fastdeal.cfm?deal=24082

  • My husband and I are in our late 20s and we like to cruise (we actually got married on and cruise and then honeymooned on another). Celebrity is my favorite line, their tag line is "modern luxury" and I definitely think the decor, menus, etc. are more modern. Usually the majority of the crowd is between 30s-50s. 

    I always get a balcony. I hate being indoors and not having a view. I like to drink coffee in the am as we pull into port and cocktails later on the balcony. I often do my makeup out there and have blow dried my hair on the balcony too. Celebrity and now NCL often run specials with balcony rooms where you can get a drink package included which I am all about. 

    Holland America is my second favorite cruise line. The crowd is much older but the service and entertainment are really good and and food has always been awesome. I have also gotten drink packages included in the cruise cost as a perk. 

    NCL I have been on and am going again however, it's not my fav. I have not been on princess but would try them if the deal was good. Carnival you couldn't pay me to go on. 

  • Re: older crowds, I actually prefer that. When we sailed on Cunard, my H and I were pretty much the youngest on board (I was 32, he was 39). We had a great time. There was still very much a party element (the club was packed late at night) and bonus - no kids running around. 
  • In 2008 I did two back-to-back 12-day Mediterranean cruises (booked as one 24-day cruise).  The first one left from Barcelona, and we flew to Barcelona and spent several days there first.  It went to Monte Carlo, Sicily, down the Italian coast, to a few Greek isles, Croatia (Split), and up to Venice for the first leg, then Venice, Croatia (Dubrovnik), Greece (mainland and isles), and Turkey, then back to Venice.  The cruise line was Holland America, and I loved both the cruise and the destinations.  I'd been to most of the cities in Italy before but everything else was new to me.  Croatia is particularly beautiful!

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