Mediterranean Travel: Cruise vs. tour throw-down Part 2.

Map of Italian "Mare Nostrum" (Itali...

Map of Italian “Mare Nostrum” (Italian Mediterranean),… Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Welcome to part 2 of  our cruise versus tour throw-down.  This week we’ll take a more in depth look at touring  Mediterranean countries as opposed to cruising.  Want more than a taste of a country?  Touring gets you on the ground in countries like Italy, Spain, France, or Greece, as opposed to just cruising to a port for six to twelve hours.

Key experiences of a land tour in the Mediterranean:

  • plenty of time to explore as you wish during unscheduled free time
  • taste the local cuisine each day
  • INCLUDED visits to key tourist sites with minimal time waiting in lines
  • exposure to local culture
  • convenience of unpacking only once or twice on regional tours.

Concerned about frequent unpacking and long coach rides?  That may be an issue in a multi-city tour of Italy.  For an easier pace, consider a  a regional tour  focused on Tuscany, the South of France, or southern Spain which will provide plenty of time to settle in to explore one or two destinations.

Questions you need to ask:

  • Which costs more, the tour or the cruise?
  • Better question, What’s the total cost to come home from a European Vacation?
  • Best question, What would you like to experience?

Answers, at first blush the cruise looks less expensive, but is that really the case?  The cruise gets you to from port to port, but then what?  Let’s look at what is normally included in most tours:

  • the per day cost of an escorted tour may be less than the price of individually booking just a hotel room
  • breakfast each day and some featured dinners – in local restaurants perhaps with a host and wine
  • all transportation from start to end of tour (airport transfers may be included)
  • many must-see sites are included AND you will have a guide/host to interpret these sites with minimal waiting
  • check-in/check-out of hotels and most baggage handling is also lugging your bags from here to there!
  • TIME to linger at a side walk café and take it all in AFTER the sun goes down and the cruise people have left.

In closing, some more considerations about the experience you may have on a tour:

  • English speaking and knowledgeable tour directors remove any language barriers to ensure you don’t miss any highlights of your tour
  • achieve your own personal growth from a destination’s traditions, customs, or historical significance that you share with others.
  • travel with like minded individuals to share in the local culture with the chance to make new friends.
  • simplified travel arrangements for you as the big pieces are already included and planned out for you (hotels, logistics, baggage handling, many meals, and key sightseeing.)

This concludes our cruise versus tour throw-down.  What do you think?