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My family has a big European trip planned for next summer (2022). We’re visiting Paris for a few days and then taking a train to Switzerland. I’ve booked two apartment rentals, one in each country. While I’d like to visit more cities, the thought of constantly moving hotels/apartments doesn’t appeal to me.
I’m already planning ahead to 2023, and we are aiming for another trip to Europe. We hope to spend a few days in Russia, but we’d also like to see more countries. It’s hard to pick a second home base with so many choices that are a short plane ride away from Russia. So, we are considering taking a European cruise.
Pros of a European Cruise
Convenience: On a cruise, we don’t have to change hotels. We sleep in the same bed every night. Transportation from city to city (and country to country) happens while we enjoy evening shows and sleep overnight. We wouldn’t have to figure out planes/trains/automobiles to get to multiple cities.
Cost: A cruise is mostly all-inclusive. It includes lodging and most food and entertainment. With two teenage boys, having access to included food could save us money. Eating out in Europe isn’t cheap.
See More/Do More: Most European cruises are port-intensive, often visiting a new port/country every day. This would allow us to maximize each day we are in Europe and see a variety of places. If we fall in love with a place, we can always plan a subsequent land vacation.
No Cooking: When we rent an apartment on vacation, I still end up shopping for meals and cooking. It’s not truly a vacation for me. But on a cruise ship, everyone (including me) gets a break.
Cons of a European Cruise
Not as Immersive: Seeing Europe on a cruise ship is not as immersive as seeing it on land. Eating breakfast and dinner on the cruise ship means we would miss out on experiencing local food. Visiting a city for one day isn’t the same as staying overnight for several days.
Not Customizable/Flexible: On a cruise, we can’t pick and choose the cities we visit. We have to choose from itineraries set by the cruise lines. We have to adhere to a strict schedule while in port, which means we don’t have as much flexibility with tour times and durations.
Long Distance from Ports to Attractions: Some of the Mediterranean ports are located 1-2 hours from the main attractions (like Rome and Florence). This translates to a lot of time on a bus and makes for a very long day.
While 2023 seems like a long ways off, many cruise lines are already selling European cruises for that summer. Disney and Royal Caribbean are the only two lines that don’t yet have their Summer 2023 itineraries available. We likely would not pick Disney Cruise Line due to the cost, but I am excitedly awaiting to see Royal Caribbean’s European itineraries.
Have you taken a European cruise? How did it compare to a land-based vacation in Europe?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.