Europe 2012 - Preparation

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Monday January 7, 2013.

This is part of a series of posts about my family’s two week cruise in the Mediterranean in July, 2012. New posts will pop up every couple of days, or as they’re written, which as you might be able to tell, is a pretty slow manner.

This was easily the biggest trip either of us had ever planned. We are talking about twelve days of cruising to go along with a day traveling each way and a night each way in Las Vegas. All four of us. Suffice it to say that a week away with just the two of us in the past is the previous record, so this was a little bit bigger.

After actually booking the trip itself through Welcome Aboard Travel, we had to sit down and figure out what we’d do while on the boat. Did we want to buy any premium dinner packages, the wine package, soda cards, or whatever else they try to sell you to upgrade the trip. A couple of these were easy. No need to get any special dinners, sodas would only come in handy if we wanted to smuggle on some booze (which we ultimately didn’t do) and we simply weren’t sure about the wine. It was something we pushed to decide once we got on the ship. The biggest thing we had to book early, though, were the shore excursions.

From what we had heard, the shore excursions are a huge deal for a trip like this. And from our experience, I’d definitely agree. We kicked the idea around of doing shore trips on our own and not booking them through the cruise line, but as we discussed it we came to the realization that the reason we decided to take the cruise for this trip in the first place is to avoid any trouble we’d surely have by trying to navigate a strange place on our own. So we booked trips.

Trip excursion researchResearch: A look at the listing of shore excursion options for our trip. Photo by Ryan Jerz.I went through the website of Royal Caribbean to look at each port’s options. I only limited each excursion to city tours—no adventure stuff, no museum-specific stuff—and listed a top four or so in each place. Christy and I discussed, figured out how we think they code-worded certain trips to suit the older, less mobile crowd, and chose. We picked a trip in each city we visited, and tried to make it the one “can’t miss” tour for each place. For instance, at Livorno, we could have chosen to go to Pisa or to Florence. I’d love to see Florence, but I don’t think you can go there and not see Pisa and the Tower, right? So that’s what we did. Cannes, as another example, seemed to be pretty but offer mostly shopping (expensive shopping, I’m sure), so we chose to take a bus through the nice parts, enjoy them, and wind up in Monaco to take a walking tour through the city there and see as much as possible.

Our shore trips are listed below:

  • Cannes: Monaco and Monte Carlo
  • Livorno: Pisa
  • Rome: Imperial Rome
  • Athens: Taste of Athens
  • Ephesus: Highlights of Ephesus
  • Santorini: Village of Oia and Santorini Island
  • Naples: Exploration of Pompeii

With trips chosen, we were ready to go.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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