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By Megan Finley
Many of us find ourselves here in Europe with a laundry list of destinations we would like to visit before going back stateside. Determining which cities to hit first and when oftentimes proves to be a daunting task. Questions like where to stay, how to get there, and budgeting for meals and entertainment can leave a person wondering if planning a vacation is more exhausting than just staying at home. All too often, some of us find ourselves overwhelmed with the choices and end up doing nothing at all. Well now it’s time to consider cruising.
Cruises offer a great value for your vacation money because, with a little proactive thinking, travelers can easily plan for almost everything needed for an incredible trip, including food, lodging, entertainment and transportation. Europe offers several cruise lines where kids even sail free or travel at cheaper rates when sharing a cabin with two adults.
While discount cruise lines offer an option to purchase drink packages for soft drinks and alcoholic beverages upfront for a much cheaper rater, more exclusive cruise lines often include such amenities in the upfront rate. Additionally, more often than not, travelers can expect flight expenses to be included in the bundled price.
Cruises allow travelers to hit multiple port cities and leave their bags in one hotel room. No need to worry about where to have breakfast, how to carry your luggage or if your new hotel room will be as comfortable as the last. Cruising takes the guesswork out of travel.
Booking your cruise vacation is made simple by combining transportation, accommodations, itinerary, cabin and meals all in one transaction. No in-between coordination is necessary. Travelers can even enlist the help of a travel agent to arrange the details for minimal fees.
Once travelers decide to cruise, the most difficult task of planning is deciding where to go. Western Mediterranean itineraries typically include port stops in Spain, Monaco and Italy. Eastern Mediterranean cruises hit Italy, Croatia, Greece and sometimes Turkey or Israel. A Baltic cruise excursion visits Scandinavia, Russia and the Norwegian Fjords. Travelers also have the choice of venturing to the British Isles including England, Scotland and London.
Do not be afraid to venture away from the most popular ports, including Barcelona, Rome and Venice. Although these destinations do not disappoint, oftentimes travelers find great satisfaction venturing off the beaten trail. Destinations such as Villefranch-sur-Mer in the South of France; St. Petersburg, Russia; or Dubrovnik, Croatia, deserve some consideration.
Cruise lines exist for every budget. According to the website Cruise Critic, the price of Eastern Mediterranean cruises are dropping. Many travelers are not making the long trip to the Eastern Mediterranean with the current world events, causing prices to drop dramatically, especially with approaching departure dates. Cruise lines including MSC and Costa Cruises offer a large variety of destinations at a discounted price.