cruisemates newsletter

7.18.2007

Shore Tours Rule!
As I write, I am still aboard the beautiful, brand new Emerald Princess. Cruising
has changed so much since my last Mediterranean cruise on Princess. This
12-day cruise has but one full day at sea! This is not just a cruise, it is actually an European tour.

All experienced cruisers know the cruise skeptics say ridiculous things like, "I don't want to be stuck on a boat for my whole vacation." If they could see this operation they would be astounded. A tour of the Collisseum and St. Peters Cathedral one day, dinner and bedtime, a tour of Florence, Italy's Uffizi Gallery and the Leaning Tower of Pisa the next, dinner and bedtime, an 8:00 a.m. tour of Pompeii, near Naples, the next morning. And so on...

Day after day like this - day-long tours, including Athens' Acropolis, Ephesus and the tomb of St John the evangelist, Delos (once the capital of the Athenian empire), without having to spend a single day just traveling, without looking for hotels, trains or taxis. And no packing or unpacking, ever.

Okay! I know I have written this before, but this is for the unconvinced. This is the best way to travel -- ever!

Maybe 10 years ago a typical cruise tour meant a bus ride, with a short stop for picture taking and a shopping place picked by the guide. No more. Today's tours are comprehensive, with professional guides. They give you earpieces and wireless devices so the guides can talk right into your ears even in crowded places like the Louvre or Versailles.

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Bottom line, you can do Europe on your own, but why? Why deal with all the arrangements, and having to read guidebooks to figure out what you are seeing. The tours on this ship are comprehensive, youth oriented, intelligent and convenient.

Meanwhile, it is all pre-paid in U.S. dollars, and we get delicious food, a comfortable bed, and a stateroom cleaned to perfection twice a day.

We have never heard so many first-time cruisers say to us, "We had no idea how great this would be, and we can't see traveling any other way now."

And rest assured, Europe will be even more popular as a cruise destination as the years go by. Next year it will be even bigger than this year. There will more ships, and more unusual destinations.

Meanwhile, even though there is a 110 degree heat wave in Athens, our ship is kept at a cool 70 degrees. We purchased a cruise-long pass to the sauna suite, which includes steam rooms infused with eucalyptis, mint or lavender, heated beds, rainflow showers, and a dry sauna. What a way tro recover from a long tour just before bedtime.

I have said it many times, I am a traveler more than a cruiser, but I always choose cruise ships as my means of travel conveyance. All in all, this is one of the most satisfying cruises I have ever had.

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new feature articles

The Luxury Lineup - Part 1
An in-depth comparison of two luxury cruise lines with the largest luxury ships at sea, Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas. Both great cruise lines, with enough differences to take note. blue arrows

Looking for Luxury
What constitutes a top-end cruise line? Gourmet cuisine, tips & drinks included, exotic ports and more. The latest in a series. blue arrows

Best Cruise Cusine for Teens
Our teen editor evaluates onboard food favorites, line by line. blue arrows

Ship's Excursions vs. Private Tours
Which is best for you? Cruise Director, Kuki, analyzes the benefits and pitfalls of each so that you can decide. blue arrows

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Reader Contributed Cruise Reviews!
We have thousands of cruise reviews written by people like you. This week's review:
Caribbean Princess by Ed Fait! The food was always good, and we really liked all the seafood that was available throughout the week.
- - We also wants articles by aspiring travel writers. Get More information.
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