We're celebrating our 30th anniversary next fall, and after debating Mediterranean and Alaska cruises, we have decided on the Mediterranean.
Because I majored in and speak Spanish, I really want to pick a cruise that hits at least one Spanish (Barcelona) port. But, we are also interested in Greece and/or Venice. Princess and RCCL have cruises that would accomodate those needs. But, the downside is that we wouldn't have much time in Spain. So, a cruisetour is a consideration. . .
Have any of you ever done a cruisetour in Europe? Any thoughts. . . .Any suggestions. . .Positives. . .Negatives. . .
Let me try to answer your question with a question. You are considering Med cruises and cruise tours. Why not do a cruise and than spend some time in Europe on your own? You do not need a "tour" to go to Barcelona. Simply go a few days earlier (the more days the better) or end a few days later. Barcelona is a very easy city to handle on your own (we have been there 5 times and do not speak any Spanish) as is the rest of Spain and nearby France. The internet has made Europe very easy to do on your own with reservations and info as easy to get as in the USA. As to your last question about having done this, we have been traveling internationally for about 40 years (not boasting,, just giving credentials) and have driven literally thousands of miles (rental cars) in places like France, Spain and Italy. From my point of view the only negative on spending time in Europe is the cost! As for a few quick ideas on Barcelona, besides the city which is easy to navigate you can easily take the train to Montserrat to see the Monestary, take a train about 40 minutes to Sitges which is a sea/beach resort, and perhaps go over to San Sebastian or even Bilbao. If you had a lot of time I would suggest flying into Madrid, renting a car, spending a few weeks driving in Southern Spain, than up the east coast to Barcelona.
Doing Espana on our own is a consideration, but time is our one negative. We have just about 2 weeks, give or take a day or so, and most of the cruises that interest me are 12-day.
We have actually done a lot of Europe on our own - Italy, Ireland, England and France. . .(Michael even drove us all around Italy, and I actually came home with a few hairs still on my head!!) I know we could do it by ourselves, but time is the downside.
Of course, we could do a 7-day cruise, but I would prefer to do a longer cruise.
What it will come down to is what I'm willing to give up. . . Spain or cruise. . . .
The time issue is always a big problem. We found that the best part of retirement was that time disappeared as an issue and was replaced by resources (lol). As to tapas, although its common throughout Spain, the place where it really reigns surpreme is Sevilla where no matter where you go its always delicious. We also had a lot of good tapas in San Sebastian. As to Barcelona, we have never found great tapas, but I am sure somebody who reads this board can tell us both where to go for the best stuff. It has to be there somewhere.
Aimless, you are right. .. I am more interested in the cruise, but the Spain-thing really is the sticking point with me. But, as I said, with my husband's work schedule, a longer time overseas at this point isn't possible. . .. Of course, I guess *I* could always go a few days earlier or stay a few days longer!!
I know what you mean about retirement, Hank.
f-mattox, I read your post about your excursion to Florence. One of my big concerns with doing a landtour of any kind is that I don't like to be herded around. That's why I like cruises so much. . .If I want to do something, I can. If I don't want an excursion, it doesn't matter. Of course, the downside to cruising is the fact that one does not get a lot of time to spend in one place, and if you are going on an excursion some distance from the port, you do lose a lot of fun time to bus travel.
I think I've talked him into a cruise, thanks to all of you!! You guys are great!