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Beetsme 08-21-2008 11:06 AM

I am trying to plan a surprise Western Mediterranean cruise for my wife for her 60th birthday. I was wondering if I could get some opinions on two or three of the best lines/ships for that type of cruise? My list so far includes, NCL, Regents, Seabourn, Silversea and Windstar. Anybody I should add (or remove)? Unfortunately, it has to be a 7-day cruise.

Jim C. 08-21-2008 11:28 AM

Welcome to cruise chat Beetsme!

That list contains lines from many price points.
NCL does not compare to Seabourn or Regents. Its also a very difficult question to answer without a LOT more information as to your price range and expectations of the cruise.

You are probably best of finding a travel agent that specializes in cruising so they can help find you a prefect cruise for you.

But, if you want us to help, we will need to know more about - what your price point is, what ports you feel you MUST see if any, what type of service do you expect on your cruise (Seabourn offers very individualize service at a price), Do you want to be cruising with others your own age, are you both very active people, when would this cruise be and do you have any preference on where the cruise leaves from?

Beetsme 08-21-2008 12:51 PM

Thanks for the response. I would like to keep the total trip(incuding air from the Midwest) at around 12K US. We would enjoy a balcony and free-style dining and would like at least one day in Rome. I would hope to go in Sept or Oct of 2009. A cruise embarking from Rome would be ideal, because we could spend a day or two sight-seeing either end of the cruise. My wife and I are about average when it comes to activity level for people in their late 50's to early 60's. We will probably spend a good deal of time sight-seeing during the day and probably not stay up too late in the evenings.

Jim C. 08-21-2008 02:14 PM

Well, I'm not a travel agent with access to cruise fares but I can tell you that with that budget you may limit yourself from a couple of those choices. Coach airfare for 2 from Chicago to Rome cost us about $2800 in June. We probably spent about $2500 to $3000 on excursions and expenses on the ship, that leaves with roughly $6000 for the cruise itself. Regent and Seabourne are going to be high end cruises (a really quick check with regent has the cheapest cabin at $3895 per person for a med cruise) I would suggest you consider a Royal Caribbean Cruise, Princess or even a Holland America cruise. Each have cruises leaving from Rome.
For $3000 each you can get a very nice cabin on any of those.

Holland America Lines tends to attract an older crowd where as Royal Caribbean and NCL will have more families on board. Your other choice would be Celebrity cruise lines. They would be a great compromise between the high end lines in your list and the more moderate cruise lines I have mentioned. But I'm not sure if they have an itinerary that departs from Rome.

$12K is very doable. Find a travel agent and start checking into prices. Tell them you want a Med cruise departing from Rome and to have them give you a Balcony cabin price for the lines I have mentioned. You can assume about $3000 in "spending money" above your airfare and cruise total to determine which to choice from.

If you get a couple of choices from the agent, then come back here and spell them out and we can easily give you information on your choices.

LHT28 08-21-2008 05:03 PM

I would not go all that way for 7 days see if you can squeeze in an extra few days.
Do not forget you pretty much lose a day flying over.
I would look at Oceania or Azamara they are upscale but not high end like Regent and have open dining (freestyle)

Jim C. 08-21-2008 06:14 PM

Lyn- Yes, I agree, I didn't even think about the 7 day part... to have a chance to see a good variety of ports you need to find a longer cruise. Definitely fly over at least a day or two before the cruise or the jet lag is going to ruin your first couple of days of cruising.

And its the info you provided on the Oceania/Azamara lines that prompted me to suggest finding a TA that can more easily spell out the options available and meet up his preference with a cruise line.

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