Taking an Italian / Mediterranean cruise can be a great way to see Italy as well as other European countries whether it is going to be your entire vacation or just part of your vacation. I have often incorporated a cruise into my overall vacation plan. I will give you the information you will need to plan a cruise and shore excursions more easily.
Keep in mind there are very few Italian only cruises as the majority of large cruise lines don't stop in any port cities in eastern Italy and cruises leaving Venice for Rome or vice versa can stop in Slovenia, Croatia, or Greece.
I did however find a couple cruise lines that offer a 7 and 11 day cruise with only one stop in a country other than Italy. Fortunately the cruise booking company we use represents one of these companies which is Azamara lines.
Their ships are smaller than the mega cruse ships and are considered Luxury cruise ships so expect to pay a premium from these lines. If you are interested in an Italian only cruise just click on the box marked Azamara under cruise lines when searching for a cruise and you will see some that are Italian only.
Since they are independent lines you can only book them on there websites. After reading this section you will feel more comfortable and confident about choosing and making cruise reservations online.
Questions To Ask Yourself
Before I start looking into the overall planning I need to ask a few questions, for example.
I will answer all these question as I go along but let's first decide where you want to go on your cruise by logging onto the Cruise direct website and type in the general area you want to go. Since you are on an Italian travel site you probably want to cruise around Italy so you would choose Mediterranean as a starting point for a search. But if you are looking for a cruise elsewhere and since all the information applies to cruises in general it will be fine. I use cruise direct on this website because it is very easy to use and will show us all the different cruises available from most of the cruise lines operating in the Mediterranean.
Pick Cruises to Compare
Next you will choose about how many days you would like to be on the cruise, there are many options so I would pick a few cruises with a different number of days as well as departing and returning from the same port and from different ports so you can compare prices. While checking prices you also want to look at the cruises itinerary to see which port cities that cruise goes to and on what date. Prices can vary depending on which level of the ship you are on, the season and even the week your traveling as well as the cruise line you choose but for now you are just checking prices and lengths of different cruises. One thing to keep in mind if you think you may become seasick is an inside stateroom low in the ship would be the place to be as you would feel the ship swaying much less then in outer rooms. These rooms don't offer a view but are normally the least expensive on the ship.
Choose The Best Cruise For You
After you have chosen several different cruises and have general idea of pricing now you would need to check how many vacation days you have and don't forget to include at least one day going to and coming back from Italy. Compare what you get and places you will see on the cruises with the least amount of days with the longest cruises and choose the one that fits what you want the most. Something else to keep in mind is if you want to stay a few days or longer in either your departing or returning cities ports you may want to stay a few days if both if you aren’t returning to your departing port.
I recommend purchasing your shore excursions before you go on your cruise for a few reasons. You won't have to stand in any lines on the ship to book your excursions, you will have months after you pick out your cruise to make a decision as to which excursion to take in each port city. You won't have to worry about the excursion selling out before you book it as well as knowing how much more money you will be spending on the cruise.
Now that you have picked a cruise go to the cruise line's website and find the cruise you chose on the Cruise Direct site and go to the itinerary page. Cruise line websites have a shore excursion tab by clicking it you will get the list of port cities you will visit on that cruise then by clicking on the port city you want more information and there will be a list of shore excursions to choose from.
Many will show what degree of physical activity the excursion will have so someone older or with limited mobility can see how difficult it may be to get around. There should also be an area that will tell you want the general price of each excursion will be making it easy to see if you are staying in your budget.
Now that you know how to plan a cruise all I ask for this information is that you return to My Italian Travels and book your cruise online through the cruise direct link on this site. The last but of information below is how I combined my last vacation with a cruise, hopefully it can give you some great ideas for your trip.
Planning Our Last Trip
I had about 20 days to play around with and I wanted to spend 3 days in Venice and 6 in Rome so there were many ways to arrange the trip. I could fly into Rome and take the cruise before or after I visit Rome for 6 days, then take the train to Venice visit there for 3 days and fly home from Venice. I could fly into Venice visit for 3 days take the train to Rome and again take the cruise before or after visiting Rome for 6 days then fly home from Rome. Well the group of friends I had together wanted to be adventurous and I decided to fly into Venice visit for 3 day, take the train to Rome visit for 3 days then take the cruise and return to Rome for another 3 days before flying home.
At first I thought this was crazy but after doing it, it turned out to be a great idea for a few reasons. After our first 3 days in Rome I ended up seeing more sites then I had planned mainly because I didn't stay at each site as long as I thought I would, so while on the cruise I had a little time to rest ( when I am sightseeing I never seem to stop till bed time) and look over the rest of the sites I wanted to see in Rome and added many things from our want to see if I have extra time list. The other thing besides the extra sites to see that turned out good were the hotels, even though both hotels I stayed in were only about 5 or 6 blocks away from Rome's main train station they were on different sides of the station and had just a little bit of a different neighborhood feel to them as well as different restaurants. I could have stayed in the same hotel before and after the cruise but choose different hotels just to be different.
By my example you can see that there are almost endless possible ways to arrange your trip so don't limit yourself and be creative. If you decide to have a cruise as part of your trip then the rest of your trip will have to be arranged around the cruise since the cruise dates once you have picked a cruise is the only thing you can't change by 1 or 2 days and the rest of your trip can be changed. Also flying into one City and out of another is never a problem and easy to do not to mention many cruises start in one city and end in another.
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