Many people turn their nose up at cruises but I honestly couldn’t recommend them more!
- You see 3/4 different countries in one holiday.
- You don’t spend hours waiting for trains / flights / buses – most UK cruises sail from Southampton. After a couple of days at sea, you literally go to sleep and wake up somewhere new everyday.
- Food is unlimited and included in the price of the cruise. In my experience it’s very good and the service is exceptional.
- They’re amazing for families with different generations holidaying together as there are things to do for all ages.
- You only have a day in each port which sometimes isn’t enough to see everything.
- Whilst there are nightclubs onboard, generally cruises aren’t full of 20 year olds (apparently the average age of people who cruise is 56!!)
I went on a 14 day cruise with a friend of mine and we visited:
- Malaga (Spain)
- Cartagena (Spain)
- Palma de Mallorca (Spain)
- Marseilles (France)
- Florence (Italy)
- Pisa (Italy)
- Rome (Italy)
- Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory)
I’m not going to go into too much detail about each place we visited as cruise stops vary and we didn’t see enough of each location for me to write in depth about what you should / shouldn’t do, but you’ll get a glimpse of how much you can see in 2 weeks without even feeling like you’re travelling.
1 – Malaga
Malaga was our first stop. There didn’t seem to be a massive amount to see there so we went straight to the beach. You usually arrive at a port in the middle of the night / early in the morning so you’re able to get off the ship as soon as you wake up to spend the day on land!
The ship typically sails away and sunset allowing you to take in beautiful views before dinner.
2 – Cartagena
Cartegana was unexpectedly captivating. You’ve got to see the impressive ancient Roman theatre which looks out over the city.
The streets in the city itself are lovely to walk around.
3 – Palma de Mallorca
A popular holiday destination for Brits, Palma de Mallorca did not disappoint. The massive cathedral looks out over the Bay of Palma and is a delightful view to take in!
4 – Marseilles
Also surprisingly charming, Marseilles is a port in Southern France. We walked up to the Notre-Dame de la Garde (a Catholic basilica) and enjoyed pretty views of the city.
Whilst there are many nice-looking buildings, you probably wouldn’t want to holiday there exclusively; a cruise is the perfect way to take Marseilles before heading to the next destination!
5 – Florence & Pisa
The cruise ship docks at Livorno and tours from the ship visit Florence and Pisa in the same day. These are arranged by the cruise company at an additional cost – there are lots of different options and some are relatively inexpensive. Prices vary depending on the trip!
All there really is to see in Pisa is the Leaning Tower so a couple of hours there on a coach trip is ideal. Make sure you get your prefect tourist in Pisa shot!
You definitely need more than a few hours in Florence – we were running around like crazy women trying to take it all in. I hope you enjoy my mature sense of humour (above!)
We didn’t have time to go into any museums, just admired the famous buildings from the outside.
6 – Rome
Again, the cruise ship doesn’t dock in Rome… the port is Civitavecchia and you take a tour organised by the cruise ship from there.
Here’s a separate blog on Rome… (I’ve been there 4 times in the past few years). Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day, but you can see a lot of it in one!
Our tour dropped us at each famous landmark and gave us an hour or so to explore before we had to be back at the coach to move onto the next place. This didn’t give us an opportunity to go into the Vatican (above) / Colosseum (below) etc., and we didn’t get to see all well-known landmarks, but we did tick off the main ones.
7 – Gibraltar
You definitely wouldn’t want to go on a long holiday to Gibraltar, but it’s a nice stop on a cruise. We had bad weather the day we were there – the rock has its own micro-climate and was covered by a cloud as big as it. However, it was still great to go up and see the impressive St. Michael’s cave and say hi to the cheeky monkeys!
When the weather is good, you get an amazing view of the Strait of Gibraltar from the top of the rock. (The Strait of Gibraltar is a strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Gibraltar and Peninsular Spain from Morocco!)
I also visited Gibraltar on 2 cruises I went on with my parents and the weather was a lot clearer (see pics below!!)
Being at sea…
I love being at sea! There’s a lot to do on the ship itself…
- If the sun is out you’ll spend your day sunbathing by one of the may pools. When you’re sailing the sun doesn’t feel so strong which is great for a usually hot and bothered sunbather like me.
- There’s a fitness and wellness centre if you want to burn off some of the food you’ve eaten.
- There is always delicious food available somewhere on the ship. You can fine dine for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you want (all included in the price), or you can grab some food from the buffet. (Or you can do both – we used to have a pre-dinner dinner!!)
- You can join as many activities are you like – pub quizzes, dance classes, film club etc. – there is constant fun to be had for all ages.
Below are some pics from being at sea on cruises with my parents. Each ship is different and there are many things to do! I particularly liked dressing up every night and having a sunset stroll around the ship before dinner.
The entire cost of our 2 week break was slightly over £1,000 per person for an inside cabin. This price included excursions to Florence, Pisa and Rome… AND alcohol!! There are packages which give you unlimited alcoholic drinks if you’re planning on drinking constantly, but we chose to buy our drinks as we went.
£1,000 for a 2 week holiday visiting the places listed above isn’t bad at all! You’re not going to be able to party like you might on land, and you may not be able to see every inch of each location, but if you want to tick some destinations off your wish-list at a reasonable price, look no further than a cruise.
There are SO many different cruises to choose from! On a cruise I went on with my my parents we visited:
- Barcelona (Spain)
- Cannes (France)
- Livorno (Italy)
- Valencia (Spain)
- Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory)
- Praia De Rocha (Portugal)
1 – Barcelona
CLICK HERE for an entire blog about Barcelona from when I visited with friends for a long weekend 🙂
2 – Cannes
Again, the South of France was the holiday destination of choice for my parents during my childhood and I went back with friends recently. CLICK HERE to read more on the French Riviera!
3 – Livorno
I can’t find any photos from this port. It’s an Italian port city on the west coast of Tuscany. It looks really pretty in pictures online!
4 – Valencia
On Spain’s southeastern coast, Valencia is a cute port city which is known for its City of Arts and Sciences (with is a science and culture park).
5 – Gibraltar
Read description above 🙂
6 – Praia De Rocha
A massive beach in southern Portugal.
As you can see, a cruise is well worth doing if you want to visit a few different countries without even feeling like you’re travelling at all 🙂