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Planning for 2010..should I cruise to Europe or TS/Hotel?

lprstn

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Well I am trying to figure out a worry free trip to Europe that I can pay on for 2yrs. I was wondering if anyone cruised Europe (I worked out that it would cost me $16,800 for all 6 of us (2 adults 4 kids) including airfare if I booked now for the cruise. I can pay on the cruise/air monthly for the 2 years until the trip date, get $$ back without penalty within 60 days of travel.

I called to do an ongoing search and was very discouraged by the RCI rep...(is it possible to get France (Paris) / London (england) via RCI trade?)

What should I do - Transatlantic Cruise? Try my luck on an RCI trade? Get a hotel room (book a tour)?

Which is less stress?

Which is less expensive?

Which experience would be more enjoyable?
 

andrea t

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I've done several European cruises. They offer a nice sampling of cities and are pretty stress free. I always add 3 nights in the city where the cruise leaves from. That way I have had the chance to see more of Barcelona, Venice and Athens. I thoroughly enjoyed my Med cruises.

On the other hand, cruising does give you limited time in cities and you may find yourself rushing around quite a bit to see as much as you can. Also, you limit the opportunity to soak in more of the culture of a particular area and sample the cuisine.

By the way, look over Transatlantics carefully. They may not be as port intensive as you would like, and if traveling with kids, all those sea days may be too much.

I think European cruises look expensive, but offer excellent value for your money.

Which will you enjoy more? I have done it both ways. I think you would love it which ever way you choose. Only you know which is a better fit for your family.

Happy planning!
 

lprstn

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Which cruise line best accomadates kids? I am wondering if the 12 day cruise with Carnival would work...the kids will be 16/13/10/7 at the time and the cost would be $11455 (saving for 24 months @ about $470 a month to my vacation club account to pay off the cruise - I don't believe I am giving up a new car for this...I must be a vacation nut). Should I aim for a shorter cruise with them? I just figure that I will get more for my $$ for a longer cruise.
 
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andrea t

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Two of the most family friendly lines are Disney and Royal Caribbean. Can't say enough good things about their kids clubs, and teen activities. Side note...no casino on Disney if that matters to you. All my Med cruises were on Royal Caribbean. I've never done one from Southampton. You'll have to scan itineraries on their websites, but keep in mind that not every line has 2010 itineraries available. I would look at Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Sea...this year she did a few shorties and the much longer cruises. She's out of Southampton. Amazing ship for everyone in the family! Recently cruised on her sister, Liberty and we had a great time!

The Carnival ship in Europe is beautiful! Have you checked Cruise Critic for others experiences?
 
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elaine

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kids and cruises

WE have taken kids on all but Princess. RCCL and Carnival would be good for your ages. Celebrity is prety good for kids (and the food is divine). For cost, I would look at RCCL and CArnival and pick the cruise based upon the ports you want to see. I would not do transA--too rough and too much sea time.
We are going on a 12 day Carnival European/Med soon. I will tell you how it is. I priced out land/travel/restuarants vs. cruise and found cruise to be more cost-effective for 2 persons--don't know about 6 persons. Also, Carnival is ditching some of its Med sailing next year, I believe. If gas keep up the price, there is a risk other cruises might pull out by 2010.
Also, cities are quite $$$. London will cost us over $700 for 2 days hotel, food and transport to/from airport--and that is not even a fancy hotel. It is tough to book a TS in prime cities.
 

x3 skier

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One thing to remember is the Med Cruises sometimes stop at locations a long way on a bus from most major cities, like Monaco, Rome and Florence for example. Others like Venice, Naples and Greek Isles are near the heart of the city.

If you do cruise, make sure you understand where you will be debarking and how long is it to the major sights.

For what I consider a better experience in European cities, you might look into river cruises on the Rhine or other big rivers.

Cruises do offer the best value for money as they tend to stay a fixed price regardless on the currency fluctuations and no worries about restaurants and a place to stay. Check Cruise Critic as suggested for some good info on cruising.

All of that said, if you really want to, take a package tour through the major cities of Europe if you can stand the bus rides with 4 kids.

Finally, getting a time share in major cities is almost impossible which is why I bought one at the Allen House in London. :whoopie:

Cheers
 

beejaybeeohio

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Here's a thought...

If you can do this with points, by putting in an ongoing search now for specific resorts you want in Europe, you just may get them for 2010. In the meantime, put your deposit on the cruise you want at the price you want. If the timeshare comes thru before final cruise payment is due, then you can cancel the cruise.

Personally, I would choose a cruiseline for Europe that was port-intensive. I notice that Costa & MSC often have less than 8 hours in port, which is not enough time to enjoy the port!

I would ignore the RCI guide's discouragement. It would seem to me that with the resorts & points you have, you could procure the Royal Regency in Paris. London would be more difficult, but you could stay in the English countryside. With your planning ahead, no matter what you decide, you & your family will have a trip of a lifetime!
 
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philemer

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I wouldn't do a cruise IF you really want to see the cities you stop at. Friends of ours just returned from a Med. cruise and they only had 6-8 hours in each city. They said it was too hectic & they didn't see much.

I'd recommend flying to one location and spending a week, or so, exploring that area (be it London, Paris, Rome, Munich, etc). Rent a car and immerse yourselves in the culture. I'd just rent hotel rooms or condos. Exchanges are too hard to get in the popular European areas. Just my .02. :) Your kids will remember a trip like this for a long time.
 

lvhmbh

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Remember that the Euro is high! On a cruise you know what you're paying. I would also look at the cost of ships excursions vs. private for cost as there are six of you. We went private with our friends and we could say "forget that or add that" and stop whenever we wanted. I would love to go back to Venice but right now the way the Euro is........:eek:
 

lprstn

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If you can do this with points, by putting in an ongoing search now for specific resorts you want in Europe, you just may get them for 2010. In the meantime, put your deposit on the cruise you want at the price you want. If the timeshare comes thru before final cruise payment is due, then you can cancel the cruise.

Personally, I would choose a cruiseline for Europe that was port-intensive. I notice that Costa & MSC often have less than 8 hours in port, which is not enough time to enjoy the port!

I would ignore the RCI guide's discouragement. It would seem to me that with the resorts & points you have, you could procure the Royal Regency in Paris. London would be more difficult, but you could stay in the English countryside. With your planning ahead, no matter what you decide, you & your family will have a trip of a lifetime!
:banana: I am in a freakin state of shock!!! I took your idea, deposited a 70pt week from Wyndam to RCI and got a 3 br/2 bath cottage in England :eek: ! I can't believe my good fortune!!!! Its at the end of April,2010. I'll have to take the kids out of school but I am so happy.. Resort number 2932 - full spa on site?! a 2 hr train ride to London and we can spend the day in London, leave London for Paris and stay 2 days then fly home...

Thanks you all soooooooo much! I love my TUG family!!! :cheer:
 

Paumavista

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Car in Europe

We are also a big family......relatives recently traveled to Europe staying in villas....the MOST difficult factor was transportation!! - - first off it was impossible for them to travel with six people in one vehicle.

If you think gas is expensive here....wait till you get there!....Everywhere they traveled they had to take two vehicles (twice the gas) and it totally took away from the experience with mom in one car and dad driving the other....we have much bigger vans here in the US and once they added luggage it was impossible for them to travel together. (the vans SAID they'd seat six......but they did NOT....and you're not talking about babies with your group!)

Anyway....you might want to check this out very thoroughly and speak with other travelers before you commit.....of course there's public transportation....but be sure you understand the limitations.

My daughter (18) & her grandmother did a cruise last year on Princess. It was a wonderful European introduction.

Have a great trip.
Judy
 

Anne S

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:banana: I am in a freakin state of shock!!! I took your idea, deposited a 70pt week from Wyndam to RCI and got a 3 br/2 bath cottage in England :eek: ! I can't believe my good fortune!!!! Its at the end of April,2010. I'll have to take the kids out of school but I am so happy.. Resort number 2932 - full spa on site?! a 2 hr train ride to London and we can spend the day in London, leave London for Paris and stay 2 days then fly home...

Thanks you all soooooooo much! I love my TUG family!!! :cheer:

I don't want to rain on your parade, but resort #2932, Barnsdale Country Club, is a pretty easy trade. We traded a one bedroom SA week for a 3BR/2 bath cottage, in June '06. Found it setting on-line. We spent three nights in London (hotel) prior to our timeshare, and then rented a car. You will definitely need a car if staying at this resort. Gas is about $9 a gallon right now.

In your initial post you said that you wanted London and Paris and those are, indeed, very difficult trades. But if you are willing to stay in the British countryside there are many possibilities, especially if you are looking two year's out, and putting in an ongoing search.

Another area that always has lots of availablity is Costa del Sol, in southern Spain. You can do lots of day trips, such as Granada, Seville, Gibraltar, and Morocco.

I
 

GrayFal

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I don't want to rain on your parade, but resort #2932, Barnsdale Country Club, is a pretty easy trade. We traded a one bedroom SA week for a 3BR/2 bath cottage, in June '06. Found it setting on-line. We spent three nights in London (hotel) prior to our timeshare, and then rented a car. You will definitely need a car if staying at this resort. Gas is about $9 a gallon right now.

In your initial post you said that you wanted London and Paris and those are, indeed, very difficult trades. But if you are willing to stay in the British countryside there are many possibilities, especially if you are looking two year's out, and putting in an ongoing search.

Another area that always has lots of availablity is Costa del Sol, in southern Spain. You can do lots of day trips, such as Granada, Seville, Gibraltar, and Morocco.
A 70K deposit cost OP under $350 in MFs (my costs are closer to $290) so a week in a cottage for that plus exchange fee - under $550 for the week.....her car rental will be more expensive then the week!!!
GREAT Deal!

I have some friends who did the Disney Transatlantic cruise last year along with us....and they rented 2BR flats in Paris rather inexpensively for a few nights....if u want, I will try and get the website they rented thru (please PM me). Much more comfortable then a hotel.

Sounds like a fabulous trip!
 

beejaybeeohio

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I am glad for you, LPRSTN! As GrayFal says, you made a very good deal.

As far a renting a vehicle, we have traveled the British Isles with 6 adults in a minivan and the only difficult aspect was the from & to airport drive with us and the baggage. Once we were unpacked it was very comfortable traveling with us all. And the minivans in Britain are decent-sized compared to those we have rented in Ireland.
 

lprstn

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Well I kinda was thinking of the plan...

By the way thanks for all the tips and explainations...I was really worried about the van thing. Also realized that not many of the cruise lines really took me where I wanted to go. Talked to the kids and they said they much preferred this than the cruise, as they would get to tour the city at a more leisurely pace (this coming from my well traveled 11 yr old / 7 yr old and 13 yr old - boy TSing has spoiled them, as I never traveled this much before).

As for this being an easy trade...thanks for telling me as ...I am so glad it was! as it took very little points to get it (and I didn't have to use my sheraton vistana of which I pay a lot more in mf's to get it....makes me wonder if I could have gotten it with a 28K point trade ....hmmm)

Tell me if this is feasible. Fly to Birmingham, England drive to resort and stay for 5 days, drop of car and ride train to London, stay in London for 1 night, take train to Paris (via Eurostar) for 2 nights, then the train to Disneyland Paris (I have to go here as I am a Disney lover) for 2 nights. Now, I was thinking if I could stay in Paris and just go to Disneyland for 1 day I would save a lot of money by not staying on Disney property....but I figure I won't be doing this trip for another 4 years so I may as well do what my heart desires and stay on Disneyland Paris property...and just do a day tour trip from the resort to Paris if its offered.

Is this feasible? do you know what train goes from the resort to London? What's it called? What are some nice hotels in London? Paris? Is staying on property at Disneyland Paris out of the way? Oh the planning...DH just shows up and ask for the printed out itenarery I give him and the kids....
 
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Danette

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I don't know if it's feasible, but it sounds fantastic!

Danette :)
 

andrea t

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Oh the planning...DH just shows up and ask for the printed out itenarery I give him and the kids....

LOL....Sounds like my home! I think you have a great plan, but London for only 1 night? Can you squeeze in at least 2? We were there for 5 and I felt really cheated. Just my 2 cents. Travel always requires compromise, doesn't it?
 

beejaybeeohio

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The great thing about your 2010 trip is that you have the luxury of time to research exactly what you want to see in London & Paris which will then guide the number of days/nights needed in each of the cities. Trip Advisor forums will be a wealth of information.


Enjoy your planning!
 
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