Carpe Diem,seize the day! Carpe Deal,seize the deal!
The Scout and I were on our back deck enjoying our Friday afternoon ‘coffee break’ (a carry over from our 8–to–5 work-world; now just a relaxed time of sipping Starbucks and a bit of conversation) he off-handedly mentioned,
“I found a cruise you should take a look at.” (You know how The Scout is always scouting for deals and destinations).
|Athen's Acropolis from the Electra Palace Hotel|
Now admittedly it ends in Athens because Celebrity has pulled out of Istanbul as result of recent unrest there and it does have three days and nights in Israel and one in Turkey (Kusadasi). Each of those stops could still be could be changed on a moment’s notice as result of safety concerns, but then any port can be pulled for a variety of reasons on cruise itineraries, even weather. If so, some other interesting port would be substituted or we’d spend another day at sea. Not tough duty anyway you look at it.
|A balcony room on the Constellation|
|Sunsets at Sea can't be beat|
|Hora Sfakia, southern coast of Crete|
Then we talked about that pizza we’d eaten in Naples on our last cruise visit there several years ago. “Oh, there’s that wine bar near the Spanish Steps in Rome. We could go back there,” I suggested. The Scout noted that we’d have time in Crete to rent a car and drive down to the village of Hora Sfakia on the island’s southern coast and visit Greek friends there. Israel, with an overnight stay in the port of Ashdod puts us near Tel Aviv and all the attractions it offers visitors. Kusadasi is the gateway to Ephesus. . .
|Sea Days are among my favorites|
Before You ‘Carpe Cruise Deals’
There are deals to be had in Europe (land and sea) now. I checked and the deals are still available for this cruise if anyone is interested. We use a few filters before jumping on a deal - just to make sure we aren't blind-sided later. Here are some of our considerations:
|Basking in the Mediterranean Sun - Celebrity Constellation|
-- Cost of hotels? It is best to schedule your arrival for a cruise one day early as it gives you time to get over jet lag if coming a long distance, retrieve luggage that might have been delayed and simply enjoy the port city and not view it from the back of a cab racing to the ship. It does mean you’ll need to add the cost of a hotel stay to your projections. We've decided to stay two nights in Rome because of low hotel rates.
-- What is the real cruise cost? Does the price quoted include port charges and taxes? These can be significant additional costs. What are the terms of cancellation? (That's important if you change your mind as frequently as we do.)
-- What are the onboard benefits? We are receiving a $450 on-board ship credit (which can be used to purchase excursions, beverages, internet, for example), and had our choice of a beverage package for two, prepaid gratuities, or free internet. The on-board benefits represent significant cost savings.
-- Is a better deal available through a different agency? Now some of you are loyal to ‘your’ travel agent and would never change and we understand that. However we have found deals vary between on line agencies that specialize in cruises. We have used Cruise Compete to compare prices (as everyone can do) and we’ve seen differences of several hundred dollars in costs or on-board benefit packages. We routinely use Vacations To Go and Cru Con on-line agencies.
|Cabin location on a ship can afford interesting views - here we watched the refueling operation|
-- What is the category of the cabin and where is that group located on the ship? An ocean view room that is at the waterline won’t provide much view nor is a ‘view obstructed balcony/veranda’ going to be much fun either. Find out the category of the room, then go to a layout of the ship (found on the cruise line’s web site) and check for that category’s location and deck. Often times the agency has particular rooms on hold, so get the numbers, look up the location and then request a specific room.
-- Will you feel safe in the ports of call? A number of you’ve responded to recent posts, saying you aren’t comfortable with travel to certain destinations right now. So before booking a ‘deal’ make sure you really want to visit the places on the itinerary. If you aren’t going to get off the cruise ship, do you really want to take the cruise?
-- On your own or cruise ship excursions? Check the price of the excursions offered by the cruise ship – they are generally expensive and can add significantly to the total trip cost. You don’t need to participate in those groups, you can tour independently or find smaller groups being organized by fellow cruisers who participate in the on-line, Cruise Critic, a cruiser user-group.
|Lazy days at Sea|
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This week we are linking up with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Weekend Travel Inspiration
Wonderful trip ... Beautiful sceneryReplyDelete
We hope it will be - it sounds like it might be.Delete
As always, your post has beautiful images and so interesting infos. Since the last cruise presented by you, I saw that there are additional costs... (so, it is so good to be known these aspects before planning)ReplyDelete
Many thanks for sharing them with us; who knows, perhaps one day, i'll have the chance to go into a cruise. For now, it's a joy to share your experience through the your lovely travel posts! I always can observe and learn something new reading your articles.
Best regards and a good day!
Alexa, what a wonderful comment: 'it is a joy to share your experience' and I am so glad that you are traveling 'with us'. Thank you for a lovely comment - see you again soon! Jackie xxxDelete
Love your photos, Jackie!ReplyDelete
I like the idea of a cruise but I've only done one. (Aren't they just so romantic!)
We got off easy - my cousin planned ours and all we had to do was pay and show up.
Reading your post makes me want to do a Mediterranean cruise - especially one that ends in Greece!
And you know that if you ever do take a cruise that ends in Greece and if I am there the welcome mat will be out for you at The Stone House on the Hill!! (I do like the way you went about your last cruise -- a good cousin to have around!) xxx J.Delete
This sure is a great trip.ReplyDelete
We hope it will be Rejesh! Thanks for your visit ~Delete
Oh, the life you lead!ReplyDelete
When it is fun, it is really fun and when it isn't, it isn't! Thanks for the visit~Delete
This is SO exciting!! I love a change in plans. Plus how perfect to end in Greece, your second home.ReplyDelete
Well, it will be interesting to arrive 'home' in a new land, Gaelyn!Delete
Looks like an awesome trip ♥ReplyDelete
Thanks, Summer, I think it will be!Delete
Great advice on cruising and "scouting" the deals. While many say travelers don't cruise, it is an inexpensive way to get lodging, food, and transport to areas your are considering for longer term travel. Yes, you get entertainment too but I was never fussy about that. Once you are in port, you can visit any tourist site you might like or just hang out for the day and check out the local vibe.ReplyDelete
We use cruises, as you say, for scouting trips. And in this case like a 'weekend getaway' because we can have short tastes of some of our favorite places, and it is much cheaper than renting a hotel room and eating out (although we plan to eat in several 'favorites' while on shore in various stops).Delete
Oh what a glorious cruise!! I would love to follow in your footsteps ...or waves!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience!ReplyDelete
Well, as I said, the deal is still available so you wouldn't need to follow in our footsteps, you could be there with us - the cruise is still two months away ~ Thanks for stopping by, Marilyn.Delete
Enjoy the Connie! Sounds like a great itinerary and I like those prices. It's probably about time that the hubby and I got serious about ocean cruises. Thanks for all the helpful detailed info and costs.ReplyDelete
There are deals to be had right now in Europe - that's for sure. Glad you liked the post, Cathy!Delete
Good tips about evaluating the costs and value of a cruise. I look forward to hearing about your Mediterranean cruise.ReplyDelete
It should be interesting, that's for sure, Donna. Thanks for stopping by ~Delete
I really like that itinerary and the price of the cruise you found. We visited Ephesus last year and were very impressed by the extent of the ruins. We really felt as though we were in what had been a Greco-Roman city. I imagine that the spate of terrorist attacks in places that are traditionally tourist attractions have hit the cruise industry rather hard in Europe and the Middle East. Wishing you a bone voyage when the time comes.ReplyDelete
Aaargh. Damn you autocorrect. "Bone voyage" was obviously meant to be BON voyage.Delete
Aaargh. Damn you autocorrect. "Bone voyage" was obviously meant to be BON voyage.Delete
I think you are right, Suzanne. The spate of terrorist attacks have made European travel a buyer's market this fall. Too bad so many are too 'terrorized' to take advantage of the deals.Delete
Carpe deal indeed! It's such a luxury to be able to change direction and travel plans on a whim and at will and it looks like you've got a winner of an itinerary! A couple of years ago we were a day away from buying tickets to Malaysia and then - a housesit offer in Curacao followed by a trans-Atlantic cruise deal to Barcelona and a visit to Portugal ... And now, look where we ended up! It's all serendipity, Jackie! :)ReplyDelete
I so agree that much of our life these days seems to be serendipity-driven. And I am certain that will one day bring the four of us together somehow, somewhere in Europe.Delete
how amazing...yes, the prices on that cruise, wonderful...if you are in Rome...it is all out of our budget but love seeing all the wonderful places you visit..ReplyDelete
It really does make a difference in airfare costs; something we dreamt about but still can't believe we are able to hop a short and inexpensive flight and be in some fabulous European city a few hours later. Hope we make the most of our location! Thanks much for the visit, BJ, and happy week ahead!Delete
I am looking forward to one day no longer having to plan our vacations around school schedules. This is such a great deal, and I'm guessing part of the reason is that it's not peak travel season. I think the change of plans looks like a good idea. The Middle East can wait.ReplyDelete
Well, we've laughed when friends say this is a better routing (as they think it is 'safer' when in fact none of the Middle East cities have had reported problems with terrorism). It will be fun and it is nice to be flexible enough to take advantage of these incredibly low prices!Delete
My husband and I did a Windstar cruise in and out of Athens in early June, visiting the Greek isles as well as Kusadasi, the only port you'll be visiting on this itinerary, which looks like it will be great, and the price is a definite bargain! We loved our extra time in Athens, and would love to return someday to see more of Greece and the Greek isles. I'm wondering what the weather will be like for your November cruise, however. Could cooler and/or rainier weather perhaps be why the price is so low?ReplyDelete
Actually we checked the temperatures in all the ports of call and they remain in the 70's so it should be perfect for sightseeing. The price drop I believe is due to the continuing decline in tourism to Europe for fears of bombings and other dastardly terrorist deads. Last year we had a cold raining Oct. 31 in Greece - we recall because we did our first olive harvest then - but had warm, almost hot weather most of November. So it is difficult to tell what might occur. . .glad you enjoyed your Windstar cruise and your time in Athens. Do the islands by Greek ferry if you come back and spend time in the villages - a cruise stop isn't long enough!Delete
Thank you so much for these tips about booking a cruise! One of these days I'm going to take one, with or without my reluctant husband!ReplyDelete
You will love it when you do, Rachel. Just make sure you love it's itinerary before you book it!Delete
Wow, what a deal! I'd love to hop on that cruise, but we are still tied to school schedules here. Some of the stops on that cruise would be new to me, some would be places I'd love to go back to (oh, the pizza in Naples!). Have fun!ReplyDelete
Good on the Scout for finding the deals. They are all good stops - hope they happen for you.ReplyDelete