7 Days 1 Bag Article at Magellan's


Cruise Vacations:

Is a Cruise Ship Vacation for You?

(continued)



B. Because You Like the Cruise Itinerary and Ports of Call.

PROS: One of my favorite things about cruise vacations is that you're able to visit many different destinations all on one cruise without ever having to repack -- and all for one amazing price! On a recent 10-Day Western Caribbean cruise, I had a balcony stateroom and went to the Cayman Islands, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico for a total of $535 per person (including port fees and taxes)! Can you imagine what it would have cost me in airfare alone to visit those countries plus expenses for four-star hotels (not to mention meals)? This cruise itinerary was perfect because I had just the right amount of time at every port city and country that we visited (with the exception of Playa del Carmen and Cozumel where I would have liked to have spent a little more time).

CONS: Now from the good to the bad and the ugly when it comes to choosing cruise vacations based on the cruise ship itinerary. I took an amazing 8-Day Mediterranean Cruise out of Barcelona with ports in Naples, Rome, Florence, Nice and Marseilles. I had never been to Spain, Italy or the South of France so this was a great itinerary in principle. What I discovered -- and what you need to be aware of -- is how limited time can be when you port. Usually port time is no more than 10-12 hours. By the time I actually got into Rome from port (a 60-90 minute trip), I only had seven hours to actually sight see. You definitely need much more time than that to see all the city has to offer and hit the highlights (the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel & The Coliseum). When I got to the ancient ruins of Pompeii from Naples, I only had two-to-three hours with a guided tour to explore the ruins. For some people, that's more than enough, but I could easily have spent the entire day just in Pompeii as I had no idea how huge the city is. Also, I could have easily spent an entire day in Nice, but had to budget time between Nice, Monaco, and Monte Carlo on the same day.




On cruise vacations, you also need to be prepared that you may occasionally be unable to port due to inclement weather conditions. This is what happened with Florence so I did not get to get my proverbial photo holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. With all that said, I had two weeks of incredible experiences packed and condensed into four days on shore including being blessed by the Pope in St. Peter's Square in Rome and standing just 12 feet away from him as he came by in the famous Pope Mobile. I wouldn't trade it for the world. But if you're a seasoned traveler, this may not be a great experience for you and if you're like me, you now know that you need to plan two weeks just for Italy on your next vacation! No, wait, make that three weeks! Now even if you don't book an excursion and do things on your own, there are still many of the same issues (plus a myriad of others such as when trains get delayed, you miss your train, or you get stuck in traffic and can't make it back to the ship before it departs).


C. Both A & B. Because You Want to Experience a Cruise and You Like the Cruise Itinerary.
PROS & CONS: There is one difficult part of planning cruise vacations if you want to experience both the cruise and wonderful ports of call: Where in the world do you want to go? With hundreds of different ports to choose from, you can find your dream cruise ship vacation with cruises all around the world including Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Bermuda, Hawaii, New England and Canada. But no matter where you decide to go, seeing the world on a cruise ship vacation is unlike any other trip.


How to Find the Best Cruise Deals. So now that you know the pros and cons of cruise vacations, are you ready to book a cruise? I recommend that you subscribe to Travelzoo's weekly V.I.P. newsletter that drops right into your inbox for great deals on cruises and more. Here's a quick tip, you can save up to $525 when you book your flight and hotel together at Expedia.com. You'll probably want to book your cruise through Expedia too to save even more. If you're flying into a port city, be sure to arrive the day before your cruise departure so that if you experience any travel delays, you won't miss your cruise.

I also have some important additional travel tips for First Time Cruisers before you book your cruise. Before you go, you might want to look into Medjet Assist because even paradise has its pitfalls. Use this link to save up to $20. Bon Voyage!



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Cruise Vacations:

The Hidden Costs of Cruises

Five Travel Tips for Booking Shore Excursions

Tipping Guidelines for Cruises

Ten Travel Tips for Staying Connected Abroad


Travel Advice:

Tips for Booking Travel Online

Top Five Travel Mistakes that Cost You Big Bucks

Credit Card Reward Programs & Travel Loyalty Programs:
Your Ticket to Free Vacations

Travel Technology: How Smartphones are Changing How You Travel

Avoiding Jet Lag - Tips


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Airline Luggage Fees Chart

Lost or Stolen Passports

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