Posted by: cruise2 | 26 May, 2008

Considering a European Holiday this Summer?

There are as many ways to see Europe as there are reasons to visit. There’s backpacking from country to country, staying in youth hostels and eating standing-up. There’s going to one city and staying in one hotel for the entire trip. And, there are villas and other accommodations available, which are as varied and different depending on country location and preferences for self catering or full-service.  But, for travellers, including families, who want to sample one of the world’s greatest travel destinations, including visiting multiple cities, often in different countries, it would be hard to find a better way to do it, or a better value, than on a cruise.

The reasons are numerous. To begin with, there is the inclusive nature of cruise pricing: for one price the traveller receives accommodations, all meals, entertainment, shipboard recreation and enrichment activities, and travel from city to city, port to port, country to country. There is the convenience of packing and unpacking only once, no matter how many places are visited, and of having a “home away from home” for the duration of the trip. There are no plane or train schedules to meet or hotel reservations to make. There is an English speaking staff to assist in making all sightseeing arrangements. And, there is the reassurance of travelling in a secure environment. All of these factors add up to exceptional value. But there is more.

Typically, North Americans pay for their cruise vacations in advance, in US or Canadian dollars. Given the current foreign exchange rate – roughly one Euro for every US$1.50 – Europe has become more expensive and payment in dollars provides a buffer for travellers against further fluctuations. In addition, 2008 cruise prices were calculated when the dollar was stronger; this means the cruise passenger already has a price advantage compared to current prices in Europe.

While it is difficult to make exact comparisons between cruises and land-based holidays in Europe because of the many variables possible, the value of a cruise vacation is far greater than a simple price tag, and a few examples of average costs are instructive. 

In July 2008, CLIA member lines will offer cruises all over Europe. There is an eight-day voyage from Genoa to London calling on Monaco, Barcelona, Lisbon and Le Havre, the port of Paris, with a starting price of US$949 per person.* Another seven-day cruise of Scandinavia, roundtrip from London, and featuring Amsterdam, Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsingborg, Sweden, is priced starting at US$1034. A 12-day itinerary from Venice to Rome featuring 11 destinations, including Ravenna, Split, Kotor, Corfu, Valleta, Messina, Sorrento, Corsica, Monte Carlo and Portofino, starts at US$1,799.

Of course, there are cruises at higher price points as well. At the luxury end of the market, there is a seven-day voyage between Rome and Venice calling at Sorrento, Taormina, Corfu, Kotor and Dubrovnik, priced at US$4995 per person. Typically, luxury cruise lines include complimentary wines and spirits as well as suite accommodations in the cruise price.

How do these cruises compare to land-based vacations in Europe? In Venice, a popular cruise destination and, in price, comparable to many major European tourist destinations, a typical three-star hotel in July is approximately $200 per night, double occupancy**. A typical four-star property is $450. One of the best known luxury hotels is $750 midweek, almost $2000 on weekends. According to Frommer’s Travel Guide of Italy, the minimum price for a prix fixe dinner in Venice is approximately $30 per person, without wine. For travellers who want to visit cities other than Venice, the Eurail Select Pass Saver, allowing unlimited travel by train for eight days to three bordering countries, costs US$618 per person or $1320 for a family of three. And, throughout Europe, a VAT, or Value Added Tax, on most purchases can be as high as 20 percent.

Using these average prices, an eight-day land-based vacation visiting three countries, including seven nights’ accommodations double occupancy in a three-star hotel, transportation and two meals per person per day could total $3116 per couple. As described above, an eight-day cruise on a premium cruise line visiting five countries can be found at approximately $2000 per couple.

“Europe is a fabulous vacation destination that, unfortunately for Americans right now, is increasingly expensive,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA. “For anyone who wants to see a lot, visit multiple cities and even countries, and enjoy it all in remarkable comfort and convenience, there is no better value than visiting Europe onboard a cruise.”

For more information on European cruises call The Cruise People, Ltd. on 1-800-268-6523.

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Responses

  1. Are there any cruises to Corfu Greece. If yes, any suggestions

  2. Hello Stefanos:-

    There are 342 cruises schrduled to stop in Corfu in the future. Pls call me to elaborate on what you’re hoping to do.


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