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  #1  
Old June 14th, 2013, 11:12 PM
pdx13 pdx13 is offline
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Default itienerary advice

We are booked on 4321-4322, Rome to London, London to Boston, 28 days back to back with several sea days. Today I noticed 4318-4320, London to Rome with many stops in Spain over 23 days, and am considering this as an alternative. The second has only one sea day and does not end in the US, but provides many intriguing stops . This will likely be our only trip to Europe for some time and I wonder if we will regret not taking full advantage of a port intensive itinerary. Or will the relaxing sea days be a nice respite if we decide on the first cruise. I would appreciate input from those of you who are more seasoned cruisers.
Thanks
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  #2  
Old June 14th, 2013, 11:45 PM
joyous joyous is offline
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Default If I were you

If I were you and I could do the intensive ports, I would. We have cruised over and over again, thinking we would go back, and we have on many revisiting cruises. If you truly believe you'll go back, do the sea days, but if you are not truly sure go for it all the first time. j
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  #3  
Old June 15th, 2013, 01:31 AM
Seafairer Seafairer is offline
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On the other hand.. both combo cruises certainly offer a ton of port visits, but v4321-4322 (Rome-London-Boston) also has several sea days, so it gives you the best of both worlds, time to relax after a couple of weeks of more intensive touring.

Since it seems that you'd like to experience some relaxing days at sea, I'd suggest thinking carefully about the pace you're looking for on this nice long trip. If you take the port intensive v4318-4320, with only 1 sea day, will you spend most or all of the days touring? If so, do the ports provide the experiences you're looking for?

The one downside of cruising is that there's so little time in each port that it can be frustrating not to have the more extensive options of a land trip - it can sometimes feel like Travel Lite. Port visits are often less than 8 hours, and travel time can eat into that, as can the need to return to the ship at least 30-60 minutes before departure, reducing your actual time in a locale. It's helpful to examine each day's schedule so you can evaluate how much time you really have for tours and exploring, and maintain reasonable expectations.

If you booked through a travel agent, I'd suggest also discussing this with him or her, to help sort out the various attractions and variables, since both voyages are long ones, with a number of interesting ports. Breaking both trips down will help you see what's most important or attractive to you. And if you simply find that Spain is calling to you, you need to listen to that, too.

You're in the wonderful position of having a long, long voyage to look forward to, and both cruises will provide you with many wonderful stops along the way.

Last edited by Seafairer; June 15th, 2013 at 01:36 AM.
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  #4  
Old June 15th, 2013, 02:23 AM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is online now
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While I like the ports that are in the 4318 to 4320 itinerary the down-side is August. Some of those ports are going to be down-right hot and very crowded. So, I would think that out. I've been there that time of year and also in the Spring and the Fall and I really prefer visiting these types of ports in the Fall and the Spring when they are less crowded and the temperature is much more moderate. Just think this through.

Personally, I like 4321-4322. It gives you a nice mix of ports and sea days. Yes, a few of the ports at the beginning will be towards the end of the summer season and a few will be warm but then you will quickly head to ports with moderate temperatures. After lots of ports, you will have that crossing which will allow you both to relax and to enjoy the ship yet towards the end you get a few nice ports to close out the cruise with and you avoid a long haul flights.

In the end you have to figure out what works best for you and your wife. You need to factor in what you really want to see, future travel plans, how well you do in hot weather and a range of factors. Only you two can decide.

The good news is either choice would be good. For me, it would be the one you are on but you are not me.

In terms of having very few days and lots of ports have you looked at 4307-4308 or even 4307-4320. Lots of good ports and a nice time of year to see them in terms of the weather. We recently added 4307 to 4308 to our cruising plans. Just another option to consider.

Either way you won't go wrong.

Keith
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  #5  
Old June 15th, 2013, 04:04 AM
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artbcpa artbcpa is offline
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Any reply to your question would strictly be opinion more than advice. Having said that let me make the case for having more sea days (or checking out a different kind of alternative):

I have sailed on many different ships and cruise lines. Sometimes it has been the itineraries that have swayed me to sail on a specific voyage; sometimes it has been the uniqueness of the ship itself. For me, what makes Crystal so unique (and my favorite cruise line) are the activities, especially on the sea days. No other ship can match Crystal for the depth and variety of choices you will have.

My preference for port intensive cruises are the river cruises. That is a totally different experience from ocean cruising. but one I enjoy equally as much. If you haven't looked into that as an alternative, I encourage you to do so. Of course, the ports will be different and if the specific ports you are seeking are only available on an ocean cruise that brings us back to your original question. For me if I am choosing Crystal, I want to take full advantage of what it offers..having a cruise without sea days takes away from one of its biggest attributes.

Of course, the choices I am speaking about are only a question of perspective and degrees. I can't imagine you not having a fantastic time on any of those choices.

Enjoy,
Art
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  #6  
Old June 15th, 2013, 11:17 AM
pdx13 pdx13 is offline
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Thank you all for the valuable input. For us, sailing on Crystal is as important as our destinations so I am inclined to opt for some sea days that will afford us the opportunity to really appreciate the Crystal experience. While 4318-4320 sounds intriguing there is only one sea day out of 23. As much as we would like to visit some of the stops in Spain, Keith is right, it will be very hot and there are almost too many stops. I'm afraid we may be exhausted rather than refreshed at the end of that trip.
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  #7  
Old June 15th, 2013, 09:11 PM
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There will be other cruises that cover this territory, and the port selection may be even more to your liking than this one. [One of the great things about Crystal--which also drives me crazy--is that they don't repeat itineraries year after year.]

For example, this cruise doesn't do Mont-St-Michel, doesn't have an overnight in Bordeaux (so I could see the caves at Lascaux), doesn't stop at Gibraltar, does an overnight port stop at Barcelona (which is so easy to do at the beginning or end of a cruise), does have an overnight at St-Tropez (why not Livorno instead?). So if I did this cruise, I would still need to revisit this area to make up those missed attractions. But that's my bucket list; YMMV but surely there are ports along this great swath of Europe that you would rather see than something here.
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  #8  
Old June 16th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdx13 View Post
Thank you all for the valuable input. For us, sailing on Crystal is as important as our destinations so I am inclined to opt for some sea days that will afford us the opportunity to really appreciate the Crystal experience.
That wisely follows the approach to get the most pleasure from your vacation, instead of checking items off a bucket list. A lifetime of wonderful, happy vacations is my goal, even if it means that I've missed a few "must-see" sights when I'm done here on earth.
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  #9  
Old June 20th, 2013, 09:38 PM
Roland4 Roland4 is offline
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After much back and forth and trying to decide which itinerary gives us what we want, we have just booked 4321. We seriously looked at 4319/4320, but we just couldn't get our heads around 14 days on Crystal with no sea days. The sea days are so much a part of what makes a cruise on Crystal special and a cruise with none just doesn't feel right. This itinerary gives us a nice mix, with the added bonus that Rome and Southampton are the only "repeats". We thought about tacking on 4322, but we're doing a British Isles cruise (on Princess) in four weeks, plus the memories of last September's crossing are still too fresh to consider doing another one!!
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  #10  
Old June 20th, 2013, 10:17 PM
pdx13 pdx13 is offline
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After deciding to do 4321 and 4322 b2b I am hopint that our crossing will be uneventful (calm) and offernus the opportunity that so many have mentioned, to enjoy knowing that we will be lucky enough to stay aboard as most everyone disembarks from the first leg. Still not sure 26 days will be too many as most we have done is 12, but if all we have heard about Crystal is true I am thinking we will not regret a cruise of this length.
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  #11  
Old June 21st, 2013, 02:26 AM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is online now
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pdx13, wise decision. No one can guarantee the seas so the best is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst in terms of remedies should you encounter rough seas. Hopefully, you will both enjoy the longer voyage. We had the same concerns about a longer one until we did 24 days on the Serenity and then for us the rest was history.

Remember you can pace yourself not having the pressure to run to everything at once and that will be good for your first cruise where you will be busier with the ports.

Keith
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  #12  
Old June 21st, 2013, 09:19 PM
Roland4 Roland4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdx13 View Post
After deciding to do 4321 and 4322 b2b I am hopint that our crossing will be uneventful (calm) and offernus the opportunity that so many have mentioned, to enjoy knowing that we will be lucky enough to stay aboard as most everyone disembarks from the first leg. Still not sure 26 days will be too many as most we have done is 12, but if all we have heard about Crystal is true I am thinking we will not regret a cruise of this length.
Our first B2B was also 26 days and we had many of the same concerns. But the last night of the first cruise, while all around were scurrying to get ready to leave the next morning, we sat at the bar and chatted with the barkeep. Such a great feeling that we have done it twice more since! I have no doubt that on the last night of 4321, as we scurry around getting ready to get off the next morning, we will be supremely jealous of you!
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  #13  
Old June 21st, 2013, 10:05 PM
pdx13 pdx13 is offline
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This is a very rare and special opportunity for us, not something we will likely to be able to do again anytime soon, so we feel very fortunate. I'm sure we we feel somewhat guilty as many disembark but probably not for long. I do expect we will miss the friends we meet on board during the first segment, however.
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  #14  
Old June 22nd, 2013, 03:32 PM
Seafairer Seafairer is offline
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Congratulations on making what sounds like a wonderful decision. Your approach is really smart. Realizing that it may be some time before you can do this kind of trip again, you've chosen to go with a luxury line (smart!), to give yourself plenty of time for this trip (smart!), and to allow for a good balance of touring and relaxing onboard (really smart!). It sounds like a glorious experience that you'll look back on with great satisfaction.
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