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WrittenOnYourHeart

Greece (and Italy and Turkey) or Norway... WWYD?

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I currently have a 10-night cruise booked for summer 2021 (to celebrate my 50th) on the Edge that goes to Messina, Santorini, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos, Athens, and Naples. I have been to the Greek ports before and the general Naples area but the others are new to me. The ones I have been to before do have excursions I am into but could not do last time as I am just one person and chose others before.

 

I was looking at options just for kicks, and there are a couple of Norway and Fjords cruises - one 7 nights on the Reflection from Amsterdam (another new-to-me place) and the other 9 nights on the Silhouette from Southampton. All of these would be new to me - and (to sound like a total dork) Frozen 2 has gotten me back interested in visiting Norway. AND these have a big plus that they do not go to Russia (never had a desire to even before recent political stuff). 
 

But I am torn. The Edge cruise is with a NRD, so I know I would lose $100 but could transfer the remaining $350. I have not sailed Celebrity yet - will do a Western on the Edge in Feb and also have a Southern on the Summit booked for Feb 2021 (though am pondering changing to the Edge Eastern or Apex Western just to not have to deal with flying to and from San Juan).


Thoughts? WWYD - all new ports on more traditional ships (also thoughts on the Reflection or Silhouette are welcome) or about half previously visited (but not exhausted) ports on the Edge? Thinking more itinerary decisions (especially if you have done both) at this point as pretty much for me any day at sea is good because I am seeing the world! (I have gotten pretty well versed in the Edge thanks to the late, great @VTCruiser (and the negatives thanks to a couple of other posters who could take a lesson from Thumper at this point). I live in NYC, so I can pretty easily get non-stop flights to Rome or Amsterdam or London so flights are not really a consideration.

 

Thanks in advance!

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We did HAL's 14-night Voyage of the Midnight Sun this June and enjoyed it immensely, as we did Amsterdam for a few days pre-cruise. While "get away from the cold" Caribbean cruises tend to be repetitive, spring-summer-fall cruises allow us to seek out and explore new itineraries. In your shoes, I would definitely opt for the fjords, new places and new experiences.

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If you want a sunny and warm weather cruise then do the Med. if you don’t mind a cruise in cooler climates then Norway is fabulous. You can’t go wrong really. 

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No wrong answer. We enjoyed both our Baltic cruise and Mediterranean cruise very much and wouldn't hesitate to return to either destination again! Sounds like great port stops...

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Thanks all so far!

 

Another question... If I do decide to change and book one of the Fjords ones on board in Feb (that lower deposit and OBC is nice!), can I have my TA have the $350 future cruise credit from cancelling the Edge Greece one with the NRD transferred to the newly booked one or does that have to be used on a new booking?

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3 minutes ago, Cruise Junky said:

We are warm weather vacationers. Would stick to what you have. I’d love to go back to Istanbul. 


Yeah... I probably should have said that Turkey is the least attractive part of that cruise for me. Never really had a desire to go there and honestly would not be crushed if it were canceled due to unrest. Figuring if I keep what I have I will have two “sea days at port” on those two stops. If I keep it, it is for Italy and Greece only. (And the only options I found that did not include Turkey left from Venice and while I love that city, I will not do a cruise from it or to it again because of the damage ships are doing to the underpinnings of the city.)

Edited by WrittenOnYourHeart

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17 minutes ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:


Yeah... I probably should have said that Turkey is the least attractive part of that cruise for me. Never really had a desire to go there and honestly would not be crushed if it were canceled due to unrest. Figuring if I keep what I have I will have two “sea days at port” on those two stops. If I keep it, it is for Italy and Greece only. (And the only options I found that did not include Turkey left from Venice and while I love that city, I will not do a cruise from it or to it again because of the damage ships are doing to the underpinnings of the city.)

 

i think you might be surprised at the beauty in Kusadasi and Istanbul...I was very surprised in Kusadasi, and our Cruise Critic tour was excellent...just saying!  If you enjoy Greece, and Italy, why not Turkey?  The unrest is really not what you think it is, and I never saw, heard or felt unsafe!  However, we all are guided by our perceptions...just do a little research or forget I mentioned this!

 

I feel much like you regarding Venice, so next year it will be an overnight in Trieste.  I booked this cruise because of my dad's fond memories when he was in the navy.  Sadly, he passed away in October, so I will not be able to share my experiences with him.  Visitors there can visit Venice or Lake Bled, both beautiful places...

Edited by Lastdance

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Kusadasi and Istanbul are fabulous. Steeped in history. And you must visit the ruins and the restoration project. Enjoyed them much more than the Roman ones. 

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2 hours ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:


Yeah... I probably should have said that Turkey is the least attractive part of that cruise for me. Never really had a desire to go there and honestly would not be crushed if it were canceled due to unrest. Figuring if I keep what I have I will have two “sea days at port” on those two stops. If I keep it, it is for Italy and Greece only. (And the only options I found that did not include Turkey left from Venice and while I love that city, I will not do a cruise from it or to it again because of the damage ships are doing to the underpinnings of the city.)

Please please embrace Turkey and go. Ephesus and Istanbul are amazing. 

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20 minutes ago, Cruise Junky said:

Please please embrace Turkey and go. Ephesus and Istanbul are amazing. 


Well, at this point Istanbul has no excursions - what do you even do there? And everything in Ephesus is all “OMG THE VIRGIN MARY’S HOUSE” which as someone who is not Roman Catholic and does not worship her means nothing to me. And carpets have zero interest.

 

Also, as a solo female no way in hades would I do a private excursion, especially in Turkey (I worked with a guy from Turkey before and he was so disrespectful) so don’t even mention those.

Edited by WrittenOnYourHeart

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11 minutes ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:


Well, at this point Istanbul has no excursions - what do you even do there? And everything in Ephesus is all “OMG THE VIRGIN MARY’S HOUSE” which as someone who is not Roman Catholic and does not worship her means nothing to me. And carpets have zero interest.

 

Also, as a solo female no way in hades would I do a private excursion, especially in Turkey (I worked with a guy from Turkey before and he was so disrespectful) so don’t even mention those.

Ephesus is the draw in Kusadasi. I don’t have a religious bone in my body but have visited twice and love it. Mary’s house is just a stop enroute to Ephesus. 

 

Istanbul...omg, so much. Blue mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Cisterns, Topkaki Palace and the Treasury. I absolutely loved Istanbul. 

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5 hours ago, cruisestitch said:

Silhouette for sure.  Norway is amazing.  Going to a cooler place in the summer is way better than going to hotter places.  

Agreed.  We love the Silhouette.

 

Also you might take a look at the Princess Island Princess.  You get Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and England.  An older smaller ship experience and longer cruise..  The ship is small enough to go through the old Panama Canal.  I figure that this could be a plus cruising the fjords.  Not a Celebrity ship but one of my favorites.

 

We skipped Russia also for obvious reasons.

 

Small NRDs are not a big deal.  Other costs outweight the NRD.

Edited by NMTraveller

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Ephesus is outstanding. We took a private tour with Guide from the CC group. The Terrace Houses are stunning. As for Istanbul we spent several days there and every day was jam packed full of experiences as per above plus the Cistern tour underground. We didn’t go to the Virgin Mary’s house. 

Edited by Pushka

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I would suggest that you re-evaluate a Baltic sailing that goes to St Petersburg, there's nothing political about touring St Petersburg.  The St Petersburg tours are focused on Russia history before any of the current political discussion and it is truly spectacular.  On a side note, the people of St Petersburg are also much nicer and more welcoming than Moscow and other parts of Russia.   You are not able to tour Russia on your own without a fairly expensive visa, for US citizens, but there are some great private companies that provide multi day tours a reasonable price in small groups.  Additional stops in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Estonia make this a great trip.  Our trip started in Southampton which also provided an opportunity to tour London.  This was one of our best cruises.  If I was concerned about politics and political uncertainty, I would avoid Turkey.  Whatever you choose, enjoy your birthday. 

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The Eastern Med Greece and Turkey are some of my favorite places in the world. But we all have different likes. I've been to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The art and history is fantastic in St Pete, Moscow not so much. England is my most favorite place in the world. I also love Amsterdam. I would go for cruising out of Amsterdam as it is much more convenient than Southampton. 

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17 hours ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

I currently have a 10-night cruise booked for summer 2021 (to celebrate my 50th) on the Edge that goes to Messina, Santorini, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos, Athens, and Naples. I have been to the Greek ports before and the general Naples area but the others are new to me. The ones I have been to before do have excursions I am into but could not do last time as I am just one person and chose others before.

 

I was looking at options just for kicks, and there are a couple of Norway and Fjords cruises - one 7 nights on the Reflection from Amsterdam (another new-to-me place) and the other 9 nights on the Silhouette from Southampton. All of these would be new to me - and (to sound like a total dork) Frozen 2 has gotten me back interested in visiting Norway. AND these have a big plus that they do not go to Russia (never had a desire to even before recent political stuff). 
 

But I am torn. The Edge cruise is with a NRD, so I know I would lose $100 but could transfer the remaining $350. I have not sailed Celebrity yet - will do a Western on the Edge in Feb and also have a Southern on the Summit booked for Feb 2021 (though am pondering changing to the Edge Eastern or Apex Western just to not have to deal with flying to and from San Juan).


Thoughts? WWYD - all new ports on more traditional ships (also thoughts on the Reflection or Silhouette are welcome) or about half previously visited (but not exhausted) ports on the Edge? Thinking more itinerary decisions (especially if you have done both) at this point as pretty much for me any day at sea is good because I am seeing the world! (I have gotten pretty well versed in the Edge thanks to the late, great @VTCruiser (and the negatives thanks to a couple of other posters who could take a lesson from Thumper at this point). I live in NYC, so I can pretty easily get non-stop flights to Rome or Amsterdam or London so flights are not really a consideration.

 

Thanks in advance!

The Norwegian Fjords cruise that Celebrity has is a nice one, but Celebrity doesn't have one that goes all the way to the North Cape.  Royal Caribbean and NCL both have great cruises that do that. I highly recommend one that includes the North Cape.  We did one on Serenade of the Seas from Copenhagen for 11 nights.

 

As for the Med/Aegean cruise, that is a great one as well.  However, if the cruise only does a day stop in Istanbul, that is not enough.  We took a Black Sea cruise from Istanbul a few years ago and spend 5 days in Istanbul pre-cruise.  There is a lot to see in Istanbul.  If you only have the one day, make sure you go to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and see the Hippodrome.

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We were on the Silhouette to Norway this past September.  It was our first European cruise.  We absolutely loved Norway - so very, very beautiful.  We had awful weather, but the cruise before us had beautiful weather so not sure if we just got unlucky or if that is the norm in September.  Anyway....I would definitely pick the cruise with places I had never been before and Norway is just wonderful.  We added a few days in London beforehand which was a great addition as well.

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Have been on Reflection and Silhouette twice each. Love then both! Reflection in Greece and Turkey Along with Caribbean, Silhouette in the Baltic’s and sailing England and Ireland. We are loyal to Celebrity but if you are doing Norway go on Princess. We are doing this in June. Celebrity and RCCL do not have the itinerary that Princess does which takes you to the upper part of Norway and the Midnight Sun.

 

Rethink Norway with Princess.

 

Cheers! 

 

 

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On 12/21/2019 at 10:50 PM, WrittenOnYourHeart said:


Well, at this point Istanbul has no excursions - what do you even do there? And everything in Ephesus is all “OMG THE VIRGIN MARY’S HOUSE” which as someone who is not Roman Catholic and does not worship her means nothing to me. And carpets have zero interest.

 

Also, as a solo female no way in hades would I do a private excursion, especially in Turkey (I worked with a guy from Turkey before and he was so disrespectful) so don’t even mention those.

 

I understand your concern about private excursions as a solo female traveler, as that's how I travel. But I have to say, my tour to Ephesus using Ephesus Shuttle a few years ago was one of the top experiences I have had on a cruise. The destination was one I can only hope to return to one day, and they are continuously unearthing more and more there. The people running the shuttle, including and especially the male tour guide, were phenomenal. Their livelihoods depend on tourism - they will go out of their way to make sure it is a good experience for you. (I will say, the Virgin Mary's House after was more interesting than I thought it would be, but still not close to a highlight!)

 

That said, if you aren't comfortable doing something like that, I'm sure the cruise to Norway would be fabulous as well (it's on my list of "I'll get there one day" places, too). 

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On 12/21/2019 at 8:50 PM, WrittenOnYourHeart said:


Well, at this point Istanbul has no excursions - what do you even do there? And everything in Ephesus is all “OMG THE VIRGIN MARY’S HOUSE” which as someone who is not Roman Catholic and does not worship her means nothing to me. And carpets have zero interest.

 

Also, as a solo female no way in hades would I do a private excursion, especially in Turkey (I worked with a guy from Turkey before and he was so disrespectful) so don’t even mention those.

 

You don't need a tour in Istanbul,  everything is within walking distance from where the ships dock, & they also have an amazing tram system.  I personally felt very safe walking around.   It's my second favorite city to visit, right after Rome.  

 

 

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On 12/22/2019 at 5:00 PM, bigbenboys said:

The Eastern Med Greece and Turkey are some of my favorite places in the world. But we all have different likes. I've been to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The art and history is fantastic in St Pete, Moscow not so much. England is my most favorite place in the world. I also love Amsterdam. I would go for cruising out of Amsterdam as it is much more convenient than Southampton. 

 

 

Yes, we like sailing from Amsterdam - have done it a few times. We tend not to sail from Southampton if we can help it 😆.

 

We’ve been to all the ports you mentioned and it is a personal choice in what you’re actually wanting to see/experience from your vacation. Ephesus and Istanbul are definitely worth a visit, but so is Norway. I always say there’s a difference between the three fjord regions: Alaska is all about the wildlife, New Zealand is very panoramic and Norway is very tactile - you can virtually touch the rocks as you pass by. I’d only sail Edge where it was about the ship experience, the itineraries are far more important to us.

 

Our kids (boys) hated it when Kusadasi was removed from the itineraries as it’s the only place where they enjoy shopping. If you love ‘Genuine Fakes’, it’s a designer shoppers paradise. Their ‘Vans’ lasted years 😎.

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Since the Reflection cruise is 7 vs 10 days you could add a few days pre or post cruise to explore Amsterdam. Lots to see and quite walkable. We spent a few days in Amsterdam prior to a cruise a few years ago and it was the highlight of our trip. Also, the Reflection is a great ship.

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Just to update...

 

I did make the switch to the Reflection Norway cruise!! I feel good about it - very excited to experience all new things!! And yes, as you suggested @bkbarrym, I will likely add on some days before in Amsterdam before and probably add on a few in London and environs after (I really want to do a Downton Abbey tour and the Harry Potter studio tour...either of which would be amazing on my birthday, which will be 2 days after debarkation).

 

In a pleasant surprise, my TA managed to convert my supposedly NRD Edge cruise to the Reflection with no loss of the $100 - AND it is less than what I had found when I searched on my own. I’m in a Sunset Veranda - 8348!! - which I  am super psyched for as I think (weather permitting obviously) that will be an awesome place to enjoy the scenery!!

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