Post # 1
Fiance and I have never been to Europe. We don’t care if it puts us in the poor house, we want to go for our honeymoon. After searching (on the bee and googling) our latest idea is to fly somewhere (London perhaps) and spend a day or two there. The next stop would be to fly somewhere along the Mediterranean and then board a cruise for a few nights. Wherever the cruise lands is where we would spend another extra night and day of touring before flying home.
Having never been overseas, we worry about carrying luggage from place to place, boarding so many trains/planes, food (I’m super picky), and safety.
I’m doubtful we’ll get this opportunity again, so we want to see as many places as possible. Is a cruise the best way to do this? I know we’d only have a limited time at each port, but we’d have many meals included and the same bed to sleep in for a few nights in a row.
Anyone done this/considering this?
Post # 3
@oandm: I was born and raised in Europe, and I try to go back and visit every two years or so. Depending what you like and if you are into touristy stuff, and because this is your first visit. I would recommend England, Germany. France and Italy. Great thing about Europe is that you can fly cheap between all these countries or even take the train so you can see the scenery.
Post # 4
This will be a long response:
In October I cruised the mediterranean with Norwegian cruise line. Overall I think it was a perfect experience for getting to see as much of Europe as possible in a single trip, but I wouldn’t cruise again, your time at most places is extremely limited.
We started in Venice and flew in early so we spent a half day, night, and half day before boarding the ship. This was an OK amount of time, our hotel was about two blocks from a water bus stop so walking around with the luggage wasn’t too bad and the busses we joined weren’t too crowded. Each person had either one large suitcase and a backpack or a large and small suitcase. Those with two struggled a bit more than those with a backpack. We also visited Murano. Leaving the port of Venice was really cool, it gave another perspective of the city that not too many people get to see.
Next we travelled to Split, Koper, Dubrovnik, had a day at sea, went to Naples, Messina, and landed in Rome, spent the night there, and flew out the next day.
Most ports are industrial ports so there wasn’t much to do at the actual port, which required tour guides to see the tourist spots. There are other ways of doing it on your own, but with the allotted time (usually 8 or 9 to 3 or 4), tour guides were easier. If you don’t have a group these get very expensive ($400-$600 for the day) we had a group so for the most part it wasn’t too bad. For example Naples is not very safe and a big draw to this port is Mt Etna, which was at least 1/2 hour away, and the greek theater, another 1/2 hour away. Messina brought us to the Amalfi coast and Herculaneum, at least 1/2 hour away, amalfi coast additional 1/2 away.
All in all I do not regret doing this as I had always wanted to go, the cruise itself was cheap (I think final price was $550 7/nt). We spent a little under $3k/person with flights and tours and spending. In the future, I plan to pick a central location (Rome) and and branch out to a few surrounding cities. There was just a lot we missed with our limited times.
Post # 5
I just don’t think I can pick one location to go to.. or even two.
Greece, England, Spain, & Italy are probably my top destinations. He’d like Ireland included in the list too.
We’re planning on meeting with a travel agent, but I just wanted some opinions from real people (not ones just trying to make some cash).
Post # 6
Ireland really can’t be done in a few days. It’s a trip by itself, unless you just want to go to Dublin, but there are so many other beautiful places to see there. I have never been to Italy, but when I do go, it’s going to be for at least two weeks.
I’d say Spain, Prague, Amsterdam, London, or Paris. You could do a couple of days there and it’d be enough.
Pack lightly. You won’t need six pairs of shoes and 8 pairs of jeans/pants. It can be done! Baggage fees for international flights can be pricey.
Good luck! I’m sure whatever you choose will be amazing.
Post # 7
I agree to really SEE any of those places it would be hard to do at once. I spent 3 weeks in Ireland and wish I had longer. We spent 2 in Italy and still didn’t see some of the things we would like to. A cruise might be the best way to see more stuff, but you may also see a lot of ocean. I would pick one or two that you really want to see and do them better. If you try to see too much you are likely to not see much of anything you want.
Post # 8
Look up Rick Steves or get one of his books because he has the right mentality when it comes to travelling Europe, which is essentially to “stack your trip”–meaning, if you’re traveling to several countries, forgo the mentality of “I have to see EVERYTHING!” and give yourself breaks in big cities (or big coastlines). Otherwise, you’ll be cranky and tired and won’t care if your’e staring at the Pantheon or the Parthenon.
I’m not much of a cruiser myself–I’d much prefer to travel by train and stuff through Europe, so I can’t really give you much advice there, except I’ve done a cruise through Greece and thought, “Meh.” I mean, Greece is gorgeous, but (and I’m sorry if I’m offending any Greece-happy bees!) to me, Santorini is Mykonos is Patmos is…They’re all similar. And I’ve toured the Amalfi coast of Italy a lot (we’ve got friends in Castellemare) and again, Sorrento, Positano, Capri…they’re all gorgeous, but they start to look the same, sort of like travelling up and down the California coast.
To echo a PP, PACK LIGHT. A carry-on suitcase wheels and a day backpack will generally be fine (cobblestones will be annoying, but a sturdy suitcase should handle them). There will be places you can do laundry when you need it and you’ll probably do a fair share of shopping along the way.
Post # 9
I’ve only been to Switzerland myself, and 6 days was barely enough to see what we wanted to… we really needed just a few more. I’ve never been on a cruise, but if the point is to say you’ve been to all these places, I think that’s a great idea; otherwise, I think picking one or two places would be best so that you can really experience the culture and see the sights.
I would say Ireland is a great place to go, but not because that’s where we’re going – because that’s the cheapest plane flights in all of the places I searched in Europe! We want to see lots of different things but we settled on just Ireland for now bc the flights to go elsewhere in Europe were just crazy.
We got our flights for about $800/each roundtrip to Ireland. Most other places are about $1200 and up, per person. I would recommend flying into Dublin, and then taking small planes/trains from there to see other things (like @EuropeanBride said). We almost did that, but chose not to bc of the drastic increase in the cost of hotels in the rest of Europe. I did enough research, though to realize that it would have been cheaper to do that than to get a flight to England/Italy/Everywhere else and travel from there. 🙂
Post # 10
I agree with previous posters, you can’t really do ireland in a day. Also, I was a poor college student when I traveled Europe, but you might want to look in to the train system if you can, it is often cheaper and you get to see more. North and work your way south on a train that serves meals en route, you will get to see a lot of the country side that way if you are in to that. A cruise sounds great if you are going to get to spend plenty of time on land. I would hate for you to ‘go to Europe’ and only see it from a boat, you really have to be in a town for a while to get to know it and say you have been there. but that is just my experience. Sounds like you are going to have a great time !
Post # 11
If you’re worried about luggage and getting it from place to place- travel backpack!!!! It is SOOO much easier to get from taxi to train to boat to bus to walking up the stairs on the metro, down the stairs on the metro, and back up the stairs on the metro when you get lost. Seriously, best travel purchase ever for about $100.
I lived in Europe for a couple of years and have traveled a ton, and would probably say to choose 2 countries that are next to each other and a place or two in each. Spain/France, France/Italy, Italy/Greece, Greece/Turkey, Ireland/England, England/Scotland, etc. are all great options. For example, if you were doing Spain/France, you could spend a few days in Barcelona, go to a beach in either Spain or France (and there are beaches in Barcelona), visit a vineyard in the Loire Valley for a day or so, and then hit Paris. France/Italy could do a few days in Paris, a couple days in the south of France, Rome, and then maybe a few days relaxing on the Amalfi coast. If you do a mix of cities and smaller towns or beaches, you won’t be as rushed from place to place and will have time to relax and enjoy.
Good luck with your planning! We’re doing Italy, Slovenia, and Austria for our wedding/honeymoon trip and I can’t wait!
Post # 12
We are doing a honeymoon registry instead of traditional to go to Europe (honeyfund.com if you want one too) I like cruises best. ours leaves out of Barcelona and we see Croatia, Italy and France too. As far as luggage here is a tip. Pack old clothes you were going to get rid of and a few nicer outfits. thinking about getting rid of that shirt bc you haven’t worn it in awhile but it still fits? wear that! you can trash it on ship and thus have room for stuff on the way home. Also pack staples that you can wear more than once. Hope this helps!
Post # 13
My FH and I have also never been to Europe and decided to make it our honeymoon. We were hesitating between France and Italy, and for a number of reasons (slightly cheaper, mudslides in Cinque Terre where we were hoping to spend a week, etc.), we decided to go to France for 2 weeks. We’ll be spending 4 days in Paris and do the whole tourist/sightseeing thing there, taking the TGV (train) from Paris to Menton (a cute little town right on the border with Italy). We’re spending 6 days there, which will include mostly relaxation, and visiting Nice and Monaco. We then rented a car to drive to Chateauneuf-du-Pape (FH is a big wine fan) and we’ll be spending the last two days in Marseille, exploring the Calanques de Cassis and enjoying the French National Holiday. It’s costing us a pretty penny, but we figure it’ll all be worth it in the end. We’re not the backpack/camping style, and without going all out, we’re getting very decent hotels. I also initially wanted to do a cruise so that we get to see many places. However, we went on a cruise to the Bahamas a few years ago and FH was seasick the first night, felt too rushed to visit, and didn’t like that we didn’t get to experience the lifestyle of the country. I think I would have still enjoyed it, but eh, that was a joint decision and I’m very happy with our plans.
Good luck with your planning!
Post # 14
We are leaving for Europe in TWO WEEKS! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
I felt just like you….we are going! So we booked a cruise on Royal Caribbean. We cruise all the time and love it, so we know we are okay with being in port from 7am to midnight every day and having to move to another place. Basically we fly into Spain, then we travel from Spain to France on to Italy and Greece. After, we end in Venice. Rather than just fly home, we have some time to travel on land and stay in a hotel before we fly back. We booked super early and were able to get a penthouse with a tub and balcony.
I’m thrilled. I didn’t want to have to be responsible for going place to place on the honeymoon (like figuring it out and the logistics). And our itinerary allows for plenty of time in each city since you are there all day and into the evening, and then by buffering some time on the end you can go back and see another city if you’d like.
Good luck with your decision!
Post # 15
I travel overseas all the time. Most people overpack. You really should be able to put it all in one medium sized bag (if not small) and then a small day pack or purse.
Trains and planes are not a big deal! Once you’ve done it, you’ll be fine. Even as a clueless 19 year old, I was able to find the chunnel London-Paris train just fine!
I would recommend not doing a cruise – the time on the water will eat away at your time actually experiencing the different cities/countries. Plus, it’s just not possible to truly see a city in 12 hours. Such a shame that you have to do it that way! Kind of a waste. But, I feel that way about all cruises. It’s SO easy to grab trains or short flights – I think cruises are just not a good value. Resist the tourist hand-holding that they embody and really get out there and see it for yourself!
Post # 16
@crayfish: Ours really is a floating hotel. We are only on the ship every night from midnight to 7am. There’s no way we’d be out and about then anyways. As for it being “a shame” or “kind of a waste” that we have to do it that way, I think it’s perfect to get a taste of Europe for people who enjoy seeing the world that way (via ship). It also depends on what you consider a vacation. Striking out on an “adventure” is fun, but for my honeymoon, I also have other things planned….and want it to be as stress-free as possible. I hate flying, hate traveling by train, hate trying to figure schedules. They are “fine” ways to travel, but not my personal preference when I am not traveling for business. We live near a port, and we cruise all the time though. So it depends and to each his own. Please resist the urge to consider a cruise “tourist hand-holding” as some of us have tried both, and prefer cruising for the 24/7 room service, hot tubs in our rooms, and the relaxation/luxury. I love arriving and already being on my vacation, and being able to put my wallet and phone away for two weeks straight!
I do agree that you should skip the excursions though. Once in port, you will always find your way around much cheaper than through the line.
As well, we are always fine sharing one large suitcase on our 2 week trips. I agree that many people overpack.
Also some cruise lines are better than others for each person. I personally prefer Royal Carib and Celebrity over Carnival, Princess, or Norwegian. But that’s just my experience. 🙂 A friend of mine prefers Carnival. For families, Disney really does a fantastic job and I can’t wait to try them out when we have our LO!