Cruise Trips: Adventure over Relaxation (Part 4)

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013

Despite the relaxing image, a cruise trip can be as adventurous as any vacation, depending on the ship and itinerary.

Delos: This island, only accessible by boat, was once the capital of the Hellenic Empire before Athens. It was also a major trading port and the home of people from various cultures circa 500 BC. You will find examples of Greek, Phoenician, Egyptian and Minoan architecture as you wander the island, which is smaller than one square mile but full of the ruins of a once great cultural center. Definitely worth visiting, but not requiring more than a day.

Naples: Everyone has heard of the famous Italian city, but can you name one site worth visiting? There is really only one site close to the city worth the trip: the ruins of Pompeii. In the First Century AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered a vital Roman city in ash -- essentially freezing the city in time for future excavation. The murals, homes, baths and even human remains preserved there are awesome.

Monaco: Everything I have mentioned so far is a ruin, but there are other places worth a visit that can be fully experienced in one day, like the beautiful city of Monaco, Monte Carlo. The city is beautiful and intriguing with its Royal Palace and the church where Princess Grace was wed and is buried. But once you have seen those buildings, walked the shopping district and viewed the multi-million dollar yachts in the harbor, you are essentially done. You could rent a car and drive the famous cliffs, or you could don a suit and pay the extravagant cover charge to enter the casino, but if you do you will say, "Hmmm, not exactly as exciting as I envisioned."

The Nature of Cruise Trips I don't mean to say cruise trips are comprised only of places you wouldn't care to stay more than a day. In fact, many cruise ships will stay in special ports like Venice or St Petersburg, Russia, for two or three days. Many cruises start and end in cities where you might like to spend extra time, so you can get a hotel and dig into one location pre or post-cruise if you want. But there are many cruise ports vitally worth seeing where you don't necessarily need more than a day. Here are a few more:

Portofino, Italy Cinque Terre, Italy Gdansk, Poland Talinn, Estonia Crete Malta St. Tropez, France Marseille, France Madeira, Portugal Lisbon, Portugal Seville, Spain

Personally, I would even argue that Athens is not even worth more than one day, and I have spent several days there myself. All the sights you want to see, from the Acropolis to the Plaka and the Athens Museum, are within a short distance of one another.

With organization, you can see a lot more in one place than you might ever imagine. You will be exhausted at the end of the day, but isn't that the point anyway?

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