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European Cruising is HOT!?
We just returned from a river cruise in France, and sure enough, Europe is already off to hot start; even hotter than pre-2001 when security was less of an issue and the Dollar was stronger than the Euro. We saw tourists everywehere, including hundreds of students from United States. Paris and the other major cities are very crowded and will only get more so as the season progresses. Remember, not only are Americans returning, but relaxed travel rules in the European Union along with a very strong Euro mean that travel for Europeans is hotter than ever.
Our number one concern for you this year in Europe is the air travel. We met cruisers on our boat who had been bumped from oversold flights, and it was still just 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 thw 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 make sure 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.
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.