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How To Choose A Cruise in Europe

Updated on January 25, 2015
How To Choose A Cruise in Europe
How To Choose A Cruise in Europe | Source

Looking For Some Help Choosing A Cruise?

Once you have decided to go on a cruise, you would think the sailing would be smooth. However, in today's cruising world there are so many choices to be made...that the choice can be overwhelming. This page is designed to help you choose a cruise.

You'll find a list of great reasons to cruise in Europe and a list of things to think about before you even start into the charted waters of picking a cruise. Plus you'll receive some recommendations for excellent travel guides to help you along the way.

As a disclaimer, I would like to tell you right away that I am NOT a travel agent. I am a mother of two teenage boys who has had the opportunity and pleasure to travel to a few places in our wonderful world. Each trip has taken considerable research and I thought I could share some of my experiences with you.

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The European cruise season is between April and November although some cruises operate in December and a few sail year-round. The shoulder season is April, early May, November and December. The rest of the season is high season.

Europe offers a wide range of activities including great sights, shopping, beaches, museums and a large range of cultures and languages.

There is definitely something for everyone!

Ten Things To Think About Before You Pick A Cruise Anywhere

A bit of thought before you start looking at cruises will prove immensely helpful. The following list was taken from The Complete Guide to European Cruises by Fodor's. The answer to each of these questions will steer you toward the best cruise for you.

  • Who will be going on the cruise?
  • What can you afford to spend for the entire trip?
  • Where would you like to go?
  • How much vacation time do you have?
  • When can you get away?
  • What are your interests?
  • Do you prefer a casual or structured vacation?
  • What kind of accommodations do you want?
  • What are your dining preferences?
  • How will you get to the embarkation port?

Why Choose A Cruise In Europe?

  • Ports are close together so you can visit several of them in a reasonable amount of time.
  • The seas in Europe are relatively calm.
  • The climate is moderate.
  • An easy way to get around Europe.
  • A comfortable way to travel.
  • Unpack just once!
  • Cruising is economical with your accommodations and meals paid for in a package.
  • A great way to see the highlights of Europe!

Types of Europe Cruises

  • Mediterranean Cruises ~~ Often feature Greece, the Greek islands, Turkey, Italy and Croatia.
  • Northern Europe and Baltic Cruises ~~ Often feature the cities of Stockholm, Berlin, Helsinki, Oslo, Amsterdam and Brussels as well as Bergen, Rotterdam and St. Petersburg.
  • British Isles and Iceland Cruises ~~ Often features ports of call in England, Ireland and Scotland.

If you are going to spend a lot of money on a vacation, make sure to spend a little bit on a good guidebook (or maybe even two!)

Fodor's European Ports of Call

Fodor's European Cruise Ports of Call (Travel Guide (3))
Fodor's European Cruise Ports of Call (Travel Guide (3))
This guide also offers everything you need to know to choose and plan a European cruise including information on itineraries, rates, cabins, crews, cuisine, activities and entertainment, children's programs, pools and spas, fitness facilities, passenger profiles and more. It has a more extensive listing of information on each port than the first book but (as mentioned before) does not give recommended excursions.
 

European Cruise Travel Guide Recommendations - (Or what I would do if I had it to do over again.)

Whenever I travel, I use Fodor's and Frommer's travel guides so I am pleased to say that the books recommended here met with my approval. All three of these books are great and, at less than $50 for the three, you cannot go wrong with any of them. (You could go wrong without them, though!)

  • If you have not picked a cruise yet, I would purchase both Frommer's European Cruises and Ports of Call and Fodor's The Complete Guide to European Cruises. I believe that each offers a bit that the other does not have and together they provide a lot of information to help you make a decision on your cruise.
  • If you have picked a cruise, I would consider purchasing Frommer's European Cruises and Ports of Call and Fodor's European Ports of Call or possibly just Frommer's European Ports of Call if you are willing to give up the recommended cruise line excursion information.
  • Do not make the mistake that I did and purchase Fodor's The Complete Guide to European Cruises and Fodor's European Ports of Call. The Complete Guide contains all of the information that is in the Ports of Call book so the second book becomes unnecessary if you are purchasing the first.

We based our decision about which cruise to take based on where the cruise went. My teenage boys wanted to visit Norway and the Baltic Cruise we chose included countries that my world-travelled husband has not been to. (That is no easy feat!)

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