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Shore Excursion and Port Reviews

Welcome to Europe, The Continent. I think everyone has an affinity for visiting Europe. So many of our forefathers came from Europe and the history, culture, beauty and intrigue motivates us all to discover more about this fabulous region touched by cruise ships. It wasn't long ago that taking a cruise in Europe would have had an exclusive image attached to it. Today, dozens of ships ply the water ways of Europe calling on some of the most interesting ports in the world

Cruising in Europe is especially pleasurable as one can blend a cruise vacation while still absorbing the best Europe has to offer. Start in one city and then visit a region ending up in a completely different country where you can continue your exploration. The best way to plan your European cruise is to plan a pre cruise journey, then the cruise, and then a post cruise experience. Travel to Europe can take its toll so just flying to catch the cruise is inadvisable. Always plan to arrive at least one day before the cruise departs (just to catch your breath) but 2 to 4 days is much better. Most European cruises leave from very interesting ports, so taking a few days to explore your departure and debarkation port makes lots of sense. With that said, here is a look at the various kinds of cruises that are available within Europe. Note that the River barges are not included here, just the major cruise itineraries and ports.

Baltic Cruises: Cruising the Baltic is an experience in diversity. Baltic cruises will include the Baltic States (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, as well as, possibly Estonia, Latvia and/or Russia. If they do not originate in the Baltic they may also include Germany and/or Poland as well. These are great cruises for folks of Scandinavian descent and folks looking to experience the cultures of the Baltic region. Including St. Petersburg, Russia on any cruise is reason enough to do the cruise as the experience is overwhelming.

Western Europe Cruises: These cruises tend to focus on Western Europe and the British Isles. These cruises are great for first time European cruisers and also first time International cruisers as English is widely spoken and the ports are quite comfortable for Americans. Many of these cruises leave from either London or Dover in England, which makes for a very comfortable departure or arrival.

Mediterranean Cruises: There are really two different types of Mediterranean cruises you will probably take;

Western Mediterranean Cruises: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean Islands and some Northern African countries are the target of these cruises. While there is substantial history available for those wanting to touch the past, there is also excellent shopping, great beaches (by European standards)

Eastern Mediterranean Cruises: These cruises generally include ports in Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Israel and other Eastern Mediterranean countries. They offer a view into the very essence of history on mankind on Earth and are extremely interesting no matter who you are. Eastern Mediterranean cruises also share the flavor of the exotic and unusual and are stimulating for all. People who would like this type of cruise the most are interested in history, different cultures and tend to be well traveled.

Trans Atlantic Cruises: Cruising to or from Europe is a tradition centuries old. Weekly crossings during the summer are available as are a good number of trans Atlantic repositioning cruises offered on ships that are repositioning fro their winter homes to spend the summer in Europe offering one or more of the above itineraries.

Whatever itinerary you are selecting, cruising in Europe is a rich and rewarding experience and you will find yourself planning the next itinerary the second you debark from your cruise.

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