Honeymoon Discussions

Italy & Greece cruise recommendations?

We have switched our honeymoon idea from Mexico (too hot at the end of August) to possibly splurge on a cruise around Italy and Greece.  Neither of us have cruised before and I have no idea where to start looking.  Others have post about Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruises, and other than that I haven't heard of other cruise lines. 

I'm going to start with blind google and travelocity searches, and would really appreciate some recommendations!  I also have started contacting a travel agent to see what they think. 

We would like a cruise at least a week long, hopefully not a ton od kids (might be ok at the end of August with schools starting), and my FI has to have a room with some sort of ocean view (I personally don't care). 

I'm not sure about a budget, we'd be flying from Portland, OR which would probably be the largest expense.  I guess I need to see what things cost before I have an idea of a realistic budget.

Thanks for your help!

Re: Italy & Greece cruise recommendations?

  • We did a mediteranean cruise last year for our hm.  It was Navigator of the Seas which is a Royal Carribean boat.  It left from Civitavecchia Italy and went to Sicily, Athens, Crete and Turkey.  We did a lot of excursions which we picked out ahead of time.  We enjoyed seeing so many places in one trip.  We also stayed in Rome for 4 nights after the cruise.  It was a week long cruise.  The things we didn't like were the days at sea (2 days) which we found very boring.  We felt the cruise was geared towards older people and kids, not much in the middle.  We are early 30s.  The food was good.  If you did this cruise I'd recommend getting a drink package if you like to drink.  We didn't do this and barely drank as they drinks were so expensive on the boat.  Our plane tickets for the two of us in July were $1500 each from Boston.  The cruise itself I think was around $5,000 total.  Then we paid separately for our hotel in Rome as well as transports and excursions while there.  It was a pricey trip but a trip of a life time.  
  • CMGr, yes!  Thank you for pointing out the cruises from Vacations To Go, I was having trouble narrowing down my searches since there are so many offered.  At this time I would not mind missing out on Athens.  If/when we are able to get to Italy for a cruise, I would have to try my hardest to get back to Cinque Terre, my favorite place (so far) in the world.  I will talk to Chase about cruises departing or ending in Venice so we can cut over to Cinque Terre.

    I looked at some of the cruise schedules, seems like there is so much to do to pack into the time you get to spend on land, I wish I could spend more time in each place! 

    MrsG- good info about drinks, a package would be worthwhile for my FI, most definitely.  I'm not a big fan of many days at sea, I understand why they are necessary, and that would be the time to relax and work on a tan I guess.

    Thank you so much for the recommendations, very helpful!

  • MerAndTrickMerAndTrick member
    First Comment
    edited April 2012
    I've cruised a bunch...  but heres a post on a similar topic from a coupld of months ago...

    OK... I've been on 50+ cruises, and 3 med cruises.  

    LOL... I guess that makes me an "expert".  We are ALSO doing a med cruise, in September for the honeymoon, so I've done TONS of shopping around.  Here's my two cents...

    Cruiselines recommendations:
    • LOVE Royal Carribean and Celebrity.  Royal is a little more "younger and fun" as the clientelle tends to be younger.  It's also less expensive.  Celebrity has much better food and service, is a little more expensive, and has a slightly older crowd.  Especially in September when most families have kids back at school.  For the med, I prefer Celebrity, but I've done both lines there and it's awesome.
    • DO NOT, under ANY circumstances book with Holland... unless you want to be surrounded by REALLY OLD PEOPLE ALL THE TIME
    • ALSO, if you're trying to avoid too many kids, don't book on Carnival.  They are a cheaper line, they don't take care of their ships as well, and the quality of food and service is just not there... ESPECIALLY for a honeymoon!

    In terms of itinerary, here's the ones I recommend:
    • There is a 7 night, out of Bari, Italy on the Splendor that does a nice mixture of Italian, Turkish and ports in Greece.  Sailing date of Sept 16th
    • If you want a "bigger" ship, then the Navigator has two good sailings (Sept 16th and 23rd) out of Civitavecchia (Rome) that ALSO does a nice mix of ports in Italy, Greece, and Turkey
    Notice Turkey is up there on the list... if you are going to do a Med cruise... YOU MUST DO TURKEY.  It's AWESOME!!!!!!  I've been there twise, and our honeymoon we picked specifically because there is an overnight docking in Istanbul.

    Suggestions on Price:
    • The general rule of thumb for Carib cruises is <$100 per person, per night inclusive of taxes, port fees, etc.  However, for med this is higher.  You should be able to book for <$150 per person though on a Royal Carib ship.  Note on price... if you book now, most cruiselines will match better rates if they come along... you just need to call and ask.  Also if you book >6months in advance, you can normally negotiate a "cabin credit" for your on board spending.
    • Remember to also budget app $40 per person per day onboard for spending on drinks, tips for your wait and housekeeping staff, etc
    • If you have a friend or family member who's a travel agent, I suggest booking through them as sometimes they get unpublished deals.  If not, don't worry about it as an agent will charge a booking fee you might not recoup.
    • UNLESS you want to spring for a balcony or suite, there is, to me, no point to pay for a window.  The Outside cabins are normally the same size as inside cabins.  Also, inside cabins are DARK... so they are GREAT for sleeping in on your sea days ;-)
    • What DOES matter in a cabin is selecting which one you want... don't let the agent just pick one.  Try and get a cabin on a high floor (closer to ammenities), away from stair wells (less noise at all hours), and NOT nea service areas (again noise)
    • Another Cabin trick is to try and book one of the handicapped rooms that ARE signifcantly bigger.  Now if a genuine need comes along for someone who IS in fact handicapped, they will make you give it up... but you can always try and get it and hope you score it.  :-)
    • NEVER pick a sailing based on the cabins... you're in it to sleep, change, and well... other things.  Pick sailings based on itineraries and the ship.
    Some other "tricks" for a long-time cruiser:
    • I recommend going the specialty restaurants on board... they are normally awesome!!
    • MAKE FRIENDS with your cabin steward... they will make your life so easy if you do, and will bring you treats like candies, chocolate covered strawberries, etc
    • Remember that the staff on board works really hard for not a lot of money, and what they do make they normally send all of it back home to support families they never see.  Be nice to them, they will remember it and always give you excellent service.
    • Pick your one favorite bar in the ship, and go back there every time you want a drink, the bartenders will get to know you and have your drink ready in a heartbeat.
    • Get late seating for dinner... otherwise, you'll have to get back on board sonner in order to get ready for dinner and miss time in ports.
    • Request a dinner table with lots of people (like an 8 or a 10)... you cna make great friends on the ship, and dinner is great having other people to talk to sharing stories of your day.
    • DON'T buy any pictures until the last day... yes you will wait in line, but you won't have spent money on an ok one when a great one gets taken later.
    That's a lot I know... but you can always message me if you've got questions :-)
    Counting Down the Days... Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Wow, great advice!  I really appreciate recommendations on the cruise line because reading reviews was getting pretty boring.  I have seen the cruises that go to Turkey and didn't understand the appeal because I don't know anything about Turkey, so I am really glad that you mentioned it!

    Question on flying to and from the port cities- I have seen a few cruise lines that offer a credit with ChoiceAir once you book the cruise.  That is very appealing, but we were considering and extra night or two before or after the cruise to do some exploring. 

    I am looking at a cruise out of Venice down the coast, sounds amazing!  I'd love to have some extra time to train over to Cinque Terre for a couple nights, it's my favorite place (so far) on earth. 

    Do you have thoughts on drink packages?  I'm not a huge drinker, and probably would only drink more than usual if we were at sea for a while, and like wine with dinner.  I have heard that drinks can be pretty spendy so a package might be worth it.

    Thanks for the help!
  • In terms of the air... it CAN be a good deal.  Probably the best things about it is if you are planning on flying in the same day as the cruise boards, and your flight is late, if you booked through the cruise line they will actually hold the ship for you.  If you didn't, they won't.  However, since you're talking about spending a day or two in advance on your own, it wouldn't be as much of an issue.  For your case, you can probably find a better fare by booking either through a travel website, or directly with a carrier.  We have our flight booked on USAir (I used points for our tickets), and they've got some good deals into Venice... We're flying into Venice as well.

    For drink packages... if you aren't a big drinker, I wouldn't suggest it.  HOWEVER... I DO recommend getting one of the wine packages on board.  That way you can have a bottle of wine with dinner at night and it ends up less expensive.
    Counting Down the Days... Wedding Countdown Ticker
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