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European Cruising is Hot!
We just returned from a river cruise in France, and sure enough, European tourism is already off to running start; even more so than pre-2001 when security was less an issue and the Dollar was still mightier than the Euro.
There are tourists everywhere, and major cities like Paris are very crowded already. Remember, not only Americans are returning, but relaxed travel rules in the European Union along with a very strong Euro means that more Europeans are traveling as well.
Our number one concern for Europe this year is the air travel. We met cruisers on our boat who were bumped from oversold flights, and it was still only the end of March! If you already have a reservation good for you, but be sure to reserve your seats at your earliest possible convenience.
Furthermore we suggest, under the current air travel conditions, that you make the most of your journey overseas by adding a few days before and after your cruise to enjoy your first and last ports (most likely major cities). You will have time to shake off the jet lag, and be sure that you don't miss your ship due to over-crowded flights.
Plus, if you have kinds of delays we experienced, you may not want to return "over there" for a few more years. If you don't have your flights yet, book them before the prices go up. Even better, shop for the air-inclusive cruise deals which are still very reasonable.
Also, remember that just because you book your air travel through the cruise line it does not guarantee they will get you to the ship if you miss your first port, unless you buy travel insurance from the cruise line. In addition, booking your cruise through a qualified, service-oriented travel agent will also help you tremendously if you find yourself in a bad situation. At least you will have someone to call and help you out of your jam.
And yes, the picture above is of Santorini. We have some pretty strong opinions about the MV Sea Diamond incident, but we are holding them for our editorial newsletter tomorrow.
Don't miss it.