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katmu

May 2021 cruise decisions

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So a friend and I are currently booked in an obstructed view deluxe balcony on the newest Princess ship, Enchanted Princess for the 5/1 sailing out of Athens to Barcelona.  My friend's daughter has been out of work due to Covid, and so far has had issues collecting unemployment so he's been supporting her and doesn't think he can afford his portion of our remaining balance.  So I'm trying to decide if I foot the entire bill myself or look for a less expensive cruise for myself for 2021 (or maybe even a land vacation?) and then rebook our Princess cruise for 2022 when my friend should be able to go.

 

I'm asking this on the RC forum as the 3 cruises I'm most interested in are all Royal cruises on either the Anthem or Harmony.  I've only cruised on Carnival many years ago and then Princess.  The 7 night Norwegian Fjords on the AOTS is the least expensive but I'm a little concerned how many of the excursions I would be able to enjoy.  Hiking is out for me as I have a knee issue due to an accident in 2018.  I can walk for up to 10,000 steps per day (about 5 miles) maximum before I get swelling issues.  I cruised last December in the Caribbean and was able to get around fine including a tour of Mayan ruins, so I'm thinking I can manage ok if I pace myself.  I could potentially look into renting a small scooter as well.

 

The details on the 3 RC cruises I'm looking at are below.  Which one would RC regulars recommend?

 

7 nt Norwegian Fjords on Anthem.  I would book a solo balcony.  This is the most affordable balcony by $275.
Day - Port
1 - Southampton , England Embark 5:00 PM
2 - Cruising
3 - Bergen , Norway Docked 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
4 - Geiranger , Norway Docked 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
5 - Alesund , Norway Docked 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM
6 - Kristiansand , Norway Docked 1:00 PM - 7:30 PM
7 - Cruising
8 - Southampton , England Debark 5:30 AM.  I would stay on in London a few days.

 

7 nt Western Mediterrean on HOTS 5/16/21.  There are solo oceanview cabins available, but I'm wondering if I would be better to upgrade to the std balcony for $363 more or look at a interior with virtual balcony or std oceanview?

Day - Port
1 - Barcelona , Spain Embark 6:00 PM; I've never been to Barcelona so I would plan to stay a few days post cruise.
2 - Palma de Mallorca , Spain Docked 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
3 - Provence (Marseilles) , France Docked 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
4 - Florence/Pisa (La Spezia) , Italy Docked 8:30 AM - 8:30 PM; I've never been to Florence so this excites me.
5 - Rome (Civitavecchia) , Italy Docked 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM ; I've spent a week in Rome before and loved it so I wouldn't mind going back for a day.
6 - Naples (Capri) , Italy Docked 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM; I've never been and really want to see either Pompeii or Herculaneum and the archeological museum in Naples.
7 - Sea Day
8 - Barcelona , Spain Debark 5:00 AM

 

7 nt France & Spain on AOTS 5/28/21.  I would book a solo balcony.  It's slightly more expensive than the std balcony for 7 nights on the Western Med HOTS above.

Day - Port
1 - Southampton , England Embark 5:00 PM
2  - Cruising
3 - Bordeaux (La Rochelle) , France Docked 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
4 - Bilbao , Spain Docked 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM; I would love to see San Sebastian.
5 - La Coruna , Spain Docked 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM; I would look for an excursion to Santiago de Compostela.
6 - Cruising
7 - Paris/Normandy (Le Havre) , France Docked 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM; I would love to do a D-Day tour.  I've been to Paris 2X before.
8 - Southampton , England Debark 5:30 AM; I would stay on in London a few days.

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Only you can decide if you want to "foot the entire" trip.

Personally I would rebook for 2022.

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3 minutes ago, Ashland said:

Only you can decide if you want to "foot the entire" trip.

Personally I would rebook for 2022.

Sorry I should have specified.  The 2021 cruise would be in addition to rebooking the Princess one for 2022.

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, katmu said:

Sorry I should have specified.  The 2021 cruise would be in addition to rebooking the Princess one for 2022.

Of the three choices I would opt for door #3 or even door #2 (great choices). Have you compared if any price difference for booking a double with a TBD for your balcony category then having a no show and fees/taxes will be returned. Sometimes this works to book a double some times not...but do check. Best of luck in whatever ends up working best for you.

Edited by Ashland

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Number 2

 

Pompeii is just amazing!!!!!!!!

 

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2 hours ago, katmu said:

So a friend and I are currently booked in an obstructed view deluxe balcony on the newest Princess ship, Enchanted Princess for the 5/1 sailing out of Athens to Barcelona.  My friend's daughter has been out of work due to Covid, and so far has had issues collecting unemployment so he's been supporting her and doesn't think he can afford his portion of our remaining balance.  So I'm trying to decide if I foot the entire bill myself or look for a less expensive cruise for myself for 2021 (or maybe even a land vacation?) and then rebook our Princess cruise for 2022 when my friend should be able to go.

 

I'm asking this on the RC forum as the 3 cruises I'm most interested in are all Royal cruises on either the Anthem or Harmony.  I've only cruised on Carnival many years ago and then Princess.  The 7 night Norwegian Fjords on the AOTS is the least expensive but I'm a little concerned how many of the excursions I would be able to enjoy.  Hiking is out for me as I have a knee issue due to an accident in 2018.  I can walk for up to 10,000 steps per day (about 5 miles) maximum before I get swelling issues.  I cruised last December in the Caribbean and was able to get around fine including a tour of Mayan ruins, so I'm thinking I can manage ok if I pace myself.  I could potentially look into renting a small scooter as well.

 

The details on the 3 RC cruises I'm looking at are below.  Which one would RC regulars recommend?

 

7 nt Norwegian Fjords on Anthem.  I would book a solo balcony.  This is the most affordable balcony by $275.
Day - Port
1 - Southampton , England Embark 5:00 PM
2 - Cruising
3 - Bergen , Norway Docked 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
4 - Geiranger , Norway Docked 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
5 - Alesund , Norway Docked 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM
6 - Kristiansand , Norway Docked 1:00 PM - 7:30 PM
7 - Cruising
8 - Southampton , England Debark 5:30 AM.  I would stay on in London a few days.

 

7 nt Western Mediterrean on HOTS 5/16/21.  There are solo oceanview cabins available, but I'm wondering if I would be better to upgrade to the std balcony for $363 more or look at a interior with virtual balcony or std oceanview?

Day - Port
1 - Barcelona , Spain Embark 6:00 PM; I've never been to Barcelona so I would plan to stay a few days post cruise.
2 - Palma de Mallorca , Spain Docked 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
3 - Provence (Marseilles) , France Docked 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
4 - Florence/Pisa (La Spezia) , Italy Docked 8:30 AM - 8:30 PM; I've never been to Florence so this excites me.
5 - Rome (Civitavecchia) , Italy Docked 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM ; I've spent a week in Rome before and loved it so I wouldn't mind going back for a day.
6 - Naples (Capri) , Italy Docked 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM; I've never been and really want to see either Pompeii or Herculaneum and the archeological museum in Naples.
7 - Sea Day
8 - Barcelona , Spain Debark 5:00 AM

 

7 nt France & Spain on AOTS 5/28/21.  I would book a solo balcony.  It's slightly more expensive than the std balcony for 7 nights on the Western Med HOTS above.

Day - Port
1 - Southampton , England Embark 5:00 PM
2  - Cruising
3 - Bordeaux (La Rochelle) , France Docked 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
4 - Bilbao , Spain Docked 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM; I would love to see San Sebastian.
5 - La Coruna , Spain Docked 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM; I would look for an excursion to Santiago de Compostela.
6 - Cruising
7 - Paris/Normandy (Le Havre) , France Docked 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM; I would love to do a D-Day tour.  I've been to Paris 2X before.
8 - Southampton , England Debark 5:30 AM; I would stay on in London a few days.

Just keep in mind that Europe isn't very scooter friendly. To each one's own but I won't consider going back to Europe until 2022 at the earliest. While I love Oasis class in the Caribbean I feel that it's just way too big for Europe. We did a Med cruise on Brilliance and it's the perfect size for it IMO. 

 

All those things considered though and if I have to pick one I would go with option 2 without hesitation. Barcelona is an awesome city and there's so much to see and do.....and  eat. And I feel like that itinerary is the best. One piece of advice, always book a private car/tour or post on the roll call and get a small group together (8-12) because you will always be there before the ship's tours do and with 6000 passengers that's gonna be pretty important. There are tour companies who operate in all the cities in Italy so you can get a package deal. 

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1 hour ago, Mapleleafforever said:

Just keep in mind that Europe isn't very scooter friendly. To each one's own but I won't consider going back to Europe until 2022 at the earliest. While I love Oasis class in the Caribbean I feel that it's just way too big for Europe. We did a Med cruise on Brilliance and it's the perfect size for it IMO. 

 

All those things considered though and if I have to pick one I would go with option 2 without hesitation. Barcelona is an awesome city and there's so much to see and do.....and  eat. And I feel like that itinerary is the best. One piece of advice, always book a private car/tour or post on the roll call and get a small group together (8-12) because you will always be there before the ship's tours do and with 6000 passengers that's gonna be pretty important. There are tour companies who operate in all the cities in Italy so you can get a package deal. 

 I would most likely save the scooter for use on the ship.  I do think you're right about booking a private car/tour as even on Sky Princess last year we noticed that our private tours were 1/2 through some of the sites before the ship's tours arrived.  The only itinerary from Royal that will work for me next year on a smaller ship is a 12 night on the Vision.  There is a 10 day on the NCL Spirit that could work also from Venice to Barcelona, but it has no sea days at all.  I would likely need to keep the visits to maybe Corfu or Argosoli and possibly Monte Carlo short.   I do like the idea of debarking from one port and ending in another.

 

10-Day Mediterranean from Venice to Barcelona: Italy, Greece & Croatia
Date    Cruise Ports    Arrive    Depart
Tue, May 25, 2021    Venice, Italy (EMBARK)    ---    5:00 pm
Wed, May 26, 2021    Split, Croatia    7:00 am    5:00 pm
Thu, May 27, 2021    Kotor, Montenegro    7:00 am    5:00 pm
Fri, May 28, 2021    Corfu, Greece    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Sat, May 29, 2021    Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Sun, May 30, 2021    Catania, Italy    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Mon, May 31, 2021    Sorrento (Capri), Italy    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Tue, Jun 01, 2021    Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Wed, Jun 02, 2021    La Spezia, Italy    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Thu, Jun 03, 2021    Monte Carlo, Monaco    7:00 am    12:30 pm
Fri, Jun 04, 2021    Barcelona, Spain (DISEMBARK)    5:00 am    ---

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I like both option 2 and 3 but would probably pick option 2 and do a solo oceanview cabin since it is a port intense cruise with only 1 sea day you really dont need to spend extra money on a balcony.  Save your money and spend a little on your land tours instead of the cabin you wont be in very much anyway.

Have fun planning!

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If you’ve never cruised the Norwegian fjords I’d give them a go. 
Fantastic scenery that you can enjoy from your balcony.

Southampton is an extremely easy port to embark from and has excellent hotels next to the port.

 

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10 hours ago, katmu said:

 I would most likely save the scooter for use on the ship.  I do think you're right about booking a private car/tour as even on Sky Princess last year we noticed that our private tours were 1/2 through some of the sites before the ship's tours arrived.  The only itinerary from Royal that will work for me next year on a smaller ship is a 12 night on the Vision.  There is a 10 day on the NCL Spirit that could work also from Venice to Barcelona, but it has no sea days at all.  I would likely need to keep the visits to maybe Corfu or Argosoli and possibly Monte Carlo short.   I do like the idea of debarking from one port and ending in another.

 

10-Day Mediterranean from Venice to Barcelona: Italy, Greece & Croatia
Date    Cruise Ports    Arrive    Depart
Tue, May 25, 2021    Venice, Italy (EMBARK)    ---    5:00 pm
Wed, May 26, 2021    Split, Croatia    7:00 am    5:00 pm
Thu, May 27, 2021    Kotor, Montenegro    7:00 am    5:00 pm
Fri, May 28, 2021    Corfu, Greece    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Sat, May 29, 2021    Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Sun, May 30, 2021    Catania, Italy    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Mon, May 31, 2021    Sorrento (Capri), Italy    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Tue, Jun 01, 2021    Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Wed, Jun 02, 2021    La Spezia, Italy    7:00 am    6:00 pm
Thu, Jun 03, 2021    Monte Carlo, Monaco    7:00 am    12:30 pm
Fri, Jun 04, 2021    Barcelona, Spain (DISEMBARK)    5:00 am    ---

This one looks exhausting but fun!! 

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Anthem is an amazing ship, and the itinerary of the Fjords is good. BUT, I wouldn't do it in May. 

 

We went smack in the middle of the "season", mid-July, and it was cold and rainy most of the time.

 

On the other hand, mid-May is an excellent time to visit South Europe. HOT is a great ship.

 

I'm wary of cruising in May, since final payment is in February, and I'm not sure that by this month cruising will look safe and all the ports will be open to non-Europeans.

 

[I've moved a May cruise to September, and still not sure that by September 2021 cruising will be like we've known it before Covid.]

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I wouldn't invest any money into the unknown. Too many problems with the cruise industry and with the different countries at this point. We have family that couldn't get back the 7k they spent for a honeymoon cruise because their cruise was cancelled because of covid so the cruise line said why not sail this date instead. Well the cruise line cancelled that also and since they didn't ask for a refund on the initial cruise they were not going to get a refund on the 2nd. They have a credit but have no idea when they will be able to use it. Just be prepared!

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I like the Venice to Barcelona itinerary, but be aware that the ship will depart from Ravenna instead of Venice. 
 

I would be cautious about booking a Med cruise for next May. If you can find a similar itinerary for fall 2021, I’d book that instead. We have a late May 2021 British Isles cruise that was booked in 2019, and we may move that to 2022 when those cruises are available to book. 

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Posted (edited)

NCL does offer similar itineraries on the Spirit in August and September, some are 9 days instead of 10 and they add Dubrovnik and Koper in place of the 2 Greek ports and Catania.  If I really wanted to push the dates out, there are similar itineraries again but on the Sky in the Spring of 2022.

 

HOTS offers that same #2 itinerary through October, although the mock bookings I did don’t seem to have the lower single supplement starting later in the summer so the 7 night, even in an inside, ends up being more than the 9 or 10 night NCL.

Edited by katmu
Typo

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15 minutes ago, katmu said:

NCL does offer similar itineraries on the Spirit

 

You might want to read reviews about the Spirit before even considering it.... Several couples I know were less than pleased with Spirit, even though the itinerary, which included Dubrovnik and Koper, was very interesting.

 

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10 minutes ago, dani negreanu said:

 

You might want to read reviews about the Spirit before even considering it.... Several couples I know were less than pleased with Spirit, even though the itinerary, which included Dubrovnik and Koper, was very interesting.

 

Great advice 

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There are definitely some bad reviews on the Spirit, especially that cruise from Dubai right after it’s overhaul when Covid hit.  It sounds like NCL did not do a good job of communicating what was going on.

 

So I’m wondering if I should either stick with my original itinerary on Enchanted Princess but move to the Sept 4 sailing, or look for one of the sailings on the HOTS for around that same week.  Princess ends up being a little more but it includes drinks, gratuities and Wi-Fi.   I would be looking at an inside for sure on Princess and at least the interior with virtual balcony on HOTS.

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Love the ports on the Barcelona cruise, also Barcelona is a great city to spend some time pre or post cruise. Also really great ports on Venice cruise , we just loved Kotor and of course this gives you a few extra days.

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Does anyone have an opinion on the Promenade or Central Park view staterooms on HOTS vs. the Interior with virtual Balcony?  On some of the dates I’m looking at those “interior” with the window are considerably cheaper than the Interior with Virtual Balcony, and even cheaper than the Solo Oceanview.  I know there’s no oceanview but the itinerary only has 1 sea day and pretty long port times on most of the other days so I don’t think I’ll be in the room as much as I might be on a Caribbean sailing.

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3 hours ago, katmu said:

Does anyone have an opinion on the Promenade or Central Park view staterooms on HOTS vs. the Interior with virtual Balcony?  On some of the dates I’m looking at those “interior” with the window are considerably cheaper than the Interior with Virtual Balcony, and even cheaper than the Solo Oceanview.  I know there’s no oceanview but the itinerary only has 1 sea day and pretty long port times on most of the other days so I don’t think I’ll be in the room as much as I might be on a Caribbean sailing.

Opt for the Promenade or CP view on HOTS which ever is less expensive.

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4 hours ago, katmu said:

Does anyone have an opinion on the Promenade or Central Park view staterooms on HOTS vs. the Interior with virtual Balcony?  On some of the dates I’m looking at those “interior” with the window are considerably cheaper than the Interior with Virtual Balcony, and even cheaper than the Solo Oceanview.  I know there’s no oceanview but the itinerary only has 1 sea day and pretty long port times on most of the other days so I don’t think I’ll be in the room as much as I might be on a Caribbean sailing.

Central Park view

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