Question by HEYGIRL .: Senior Trip ; Plane or Cruise?
I’m planning my Senior trip and my place of choice right now is Italy (Tuscany). I’ve been looking online for cruises in the 2013 year that will dock in Italy and I’ve been successful but none have really docked close to where I’d like to visit specifically (They go to places like Rome, Florence & Venice). Also, none of the ports are in America so that’d mean buying plane tickets to either Spain, London, or Italy just to board the ship, which is not cheap, especially when you live in Texas!
I’m wondering if it’ll just be easier to fly to Tuscany and spend time there,? My mom gets discounts on all Hilton, DoubleTree, etc. resorts / hotels so I could stay in Italy at the Resort and roam freely for days instead of a few hours. The only downside is I don’t fluently speak Italian, I have no idea where to go or how to get around, and I’m afraid I won’t get to enjoy it because I’d be too busy getting lost! I’m going with my mom and my best friend, I’m just not sure which would be the better option.
Go by plane and spend a week in my desired location? Or go by ship and get to visit many different locations, not only Italy but places like Spain and Greece? Thoughts? Suggestions?
Thanks for your help!
Answer by luludoodie
Oh dear, we Europeans despair at Americans sometimes!
Going to Italy/Tuscany and even considering staying in Hilton, Double Tree hotels/resorts to save a few bucks is madness. You do your research and stay in little tavernas in the areas/towns YOU want to visit. Hire a little FIAT (not a US 4X4 gas guzzling monster and drive/enjoy the countryside! Fraction of the cost, million times better experience for NOT being standardised US controlled hotel or conducted tour regime!
Local food that (will not poison you!) should make you realise why we turn our noses up at McDonald’s, The bread and REAL (not Domino’s) pizza to die for!
The locals will greet you and embrace you if you ask their help and not think everything US is the only way.
As for a cruise, same applies. Monster Carnival, Royal Caribbean, etc. ships are not the way to explore this – or frankly any – region! A small ship pottering along the coast (all will have multilingual crew as English is the common language of the sea) calling at the small ports/islands will show you a lifestyle never seen by the big cruise ship masses.
Here is an example on your side of the Atlantic. Went on 100 person mini cruise ship Anchorage to Vancouver last August.
Never saw a big ship!
Never stopped at a tourist trap town!
No dancing girls or casino.
No crowds or queues!
Visited back of beyond small towns – bet you have never been to a hammer museum – we have now!
We spent most of the time out in the Zodiacs seeing the best show on earth – NATURE!
-In front of a glacier having a 10,000 ton calving (mini tsunami moved us all around).
-Standing in a salmon spawning stream with the fish swimming through our feet.
-Being one side of a river watching bears catching salmon on the other side!
-Spending 2 hours drifting with a pod of about 20 humpback whales bubble feeding – something
you never expect to see live other than on TV.
-Sea otters, Sea lions, humpback breaching about 50ft from us!
-Barbecued on a spit of land surrounded by nature/mini icebergs/Eagles!
-Drifting with a pod of Orca whales as we approached northern Victoria Island in
the Inside Passage.
-Total sensory overload all the time etc. etc.
-You don’t compromise comfort or good food! Yes they are more expensive – but worth it!
If you are really adventurous you can even try dog sledging just South of Anchorage. We drove down in a rental car, you get helicoptered up on to a glacier where the Alaskan Iditorod husky dogs have their summer camp. A trip round the glacier and playing with the puppies is a very memorable experience!
Go native, the experience will amaze you!
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!