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einsteinboricua
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Vacation suggestions

Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:50 am

I would post this in the travel section but this isn't really aviation related.

So I thought about going to Europe for Christmas and New Years with a tour company (10 days visiting Amsterdam, Paris, and London). Price seemed reasonable until the caveats reared their ugly head:
1. The low price meant rooming with up to 5 other people (not exactly what I have in mind when it's a tour company designed for adults younger than 30...I'll be 29 and likely surrounded by the 18-22 year old crowd).
2. The solo accommodations plus insuring the trip pushes the price up to about $4400.
3. All modes of transportation are included, but only breakfast and 2 dinners (welcome and farewell).

So I thought let's find another decent trip. I found a transatlantic cruise (14 days on Norwegian Breakaway from Copenhagen to New York in October). Solo supplement and taxes push the trip up to about $2400, not counting the air fare, insurance, and spending money (all in all, should be about roughly the same price as the Euro trip, give or take $100 or so). The cruise starts in Denmark, makes stops in Sweden, UK, Ireland, and the Azores, before ending in New York.

Considering I need a vacation BADLY, should I attempt two cruises this year (one in the short term and another for later in the year) and forgo the transatlantic cruise/Eurotrip?

What would you recommend?
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
Ken777
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:01 am

My personal choice was to go solo before I was married, That let me set my daily pace and didn't worry about room mates who spent the night drinking and puking.

Prices should be dec decent for Europe this time a year as it will be low season.

If you haven't been to Europe I would pick cities that interest you. My list was London, Paris. Barcelona and all of Italy. You might want to limit each trip to only one or two cities in order to spend time looking around the place. Modest priced hotels will offer a free breakfast in many places which is a comfortable way to start the day.

For a cruise I recommend getting on a ship that has almost daily stops. Get a run of the ship option for the cheapest rate, You may get a less desirable cabin, or you may get a complimentary upgrade. Join the Loyal Customer club for better chances in later cruises. You can also get Singles accommodation if you are not traveling with a significant other,

The best thing you can do now is to hit the internet for places to visit and all the things associated with traveling.
 
DLFREEBIRD
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:58 am

my kids do a lot of couch surfing, It's a step up from hostels, good way to meet people and have a good time.
 
bennett123
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:35 am

Amsterdam, Paris and London sounds good. Do not spread yourself to thinly.

If you are coming now, best bring some warm clothes, it can also be wet.

I would fly economy, and use hotel chains like Travelodge or sites like Laterooms or Expedia. B&B should be about £50 a night.

If you are sticking to the big cities public transport will be fine.
 
sevenair
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:48 pm

My recommendation would be get to Europe as cheap as you can and save our pennies for arrival. Start in London, train to Paris then Amsterdam. Then get to the Mediterranean and get yourself on a week long cruise. They can be very cheap especially if you book them before you come to Europe. You get to see loads of places without the hassle of constantly faffing about with flying. You unpack once and away you go.

You can also do coach tours from the UK with Leger who do specialist tours such as the battlefields, France or even Italy. They’re good as you tend to have a base and then do numerous day trips from your base. I did the Rome area and Northern Italy and the Lakes. It’s a long trip there (30 hours) but it’s a great way to see Europe and watch the landscape change. All tours are in English too and they tend to include a lot in their trips such as the day trips once you arrive.

Happy travels.

If you do go solo try CitizenM hotel, easyHotel (a private room for €30-€40) or Generator hostels which seem to be a lot different to the hostels of my day. Getting around by train and plane is easy enough.
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cledaybuck
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:02 pm

I wouldn't recommend a cruise at all, but that is just my preference. I hate being on someone else's schedule with a bunch of other people.

As for two one week vacations vs. one two week vacation, it would depend. In general, I would prefer the two vacations just to give me something to look forward to in the short term and long term, but there are some trips which just need more time. I don't want to cram so much into a trip that I am just going from place to place checking of things to see and not enjoying the experience.
 
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northstardc4m
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:42 pm

Solo on Norwegian is great according to many... I'd take the cruise if you can. The Breakaway is a nice ship too, lots of activities but not too crowded.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:52 pm

northstardc4m wrote:
Solo on Norwegian is great according to many... I'd take the cruise if you can. The Breakaway is a nice ship too, lots of activities but not too crowded.

I want that transatlantic, but all the studio cabins are sold out. I'm just wondering if it's worth the plunge to go on a bigger cabin. Truth be told, I'll probably pay the same for a Studio cabin (give or take $100).
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northstardc4m
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:59 pm

See i wouldn't do a studio even solo... Once you go Balcony you never go back.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
bananaboy
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:45 pm

Depends on the cost but maybe it is worth taking the plunge..there's less studios on those ships than on the Epic and they seem to sell well. Bear in mind if you don't do the studio, you wont get studio lounge access, even if you are a solo traveller. May not be a deal-breaker for you, but worth knowing.

If you want to see a load of European cities, have a look at U by Uniworld. It's river cruises aimed exclusively at 21-45 year olds - very different from the rest of the river cruises on the market (I'm rather tempted to try it whilst I still qualify!). They've currently got two ships and a good choice of itineraries depending on what you're interested in seeing.

https://www.ubyuniworld.com/

Mark
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jetwet1
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:17 pm

If you are looking at cruises at that time of year, take a look at Royal Caribbean, they have a couple of sailings out of Barcelona on Dec 8th that will run you around $1k if they don't do a single supplement which is possible on this cruise.

If you can go in November there is one from Rome to San Juan that would run you a massive $799 for a 12 night trip, that leaves plenty of $$$ for a few days in Rome before and a flight from San Juan to home.

Edit :

Those prices are for balcony cabins btw...Really you want one for that length of a cruise.
 
bagoldex
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:27 pm

einsteinboricua wrote:
northstardc4m wrote:
Solo on Norwegian is great according to many... I'd take the cruise if you can. The Breakaway is a nice ship too, lots of activities but not too crowded.

I want that transatlantic, but all the studio cabins are sold out. I'm just wondering if it's worth the plunge to go on a bigger cabin. Truth be told, I'll probably pay the same for a Studio cabin (give or take $100).


If you want to do a transatlantic, I'd seriously look at Cunard.
 
B777LRF
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:51 pm

You want to do 3 European metropolis in the span of a week? I've been to London more than 10 times, in Amsterdam even more and about half a dozen times to Paris. I've but scratched the surface in either of those cities, and would suggest a mere couple of days in each would only leave you time to see the usual touristic bits, but not give you any real impression of the places.

I appreciate American preference for 'doing Europe in a week', but fact is you get no depth in your travel. Better to spend the entire week in just one city, and really get to explore it. It doesn't look as 'cool' on social media but, really, who gives a flying so and so?
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EstherLouise
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:19 pm

My favorite European vacations involved getting airfare and car rental days set in stone, then winging it the rest of the time. Oh... and buy your Eurostar tickets online beforehand.
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L410Turbolet
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:32 pm

Is there any particular reason you want to be part of an organized tour group when you are under 30? Is there any real added value to that?
Wouldn't it be better to do what you want, when you want and how you want, by putting an itinerary together yourself?
 
tommy1808
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:43 pm

einsteinboricua wrote:
likely surrounded by the 18-22 year old crowd).
2. The solo accommodations plus insuring the trip pushes the price up to about $4400.
3. All modes of transportation are included, but only breakfast and 2 dinners (welcome and farewell).


Unless there is a J-class ticket included somewhere that price is a rip off.

If it is really just 10 days accommodation in 3 cities that seems doablefor 3k USD including flight and in my twenties we managed that for less than 1k w/o flight (Amsterdam/Paris/London just happen to be the EU cities I visted most in my life) in real hotels and half that with hostels.
This is one of the rare occasions I totally agree with L410Turbolet. Unless an afternoon of planning is worth 4-digits USD, no need for a tour operator.

Best regards
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:07 pm

einsteinboricua wrote:
So I thought about going to Europe for Christmas and New Years with a tour company (10 days visiting Amsterdam, Paris, and London).
I fear nearly every reply so far has missed this point completely - perhaps you should have written it in a larger script?
I seriously doubt there will be any river cruises (e.g. Rhine or Danube) or anything in the Mediterranean either.
However, I would strongly argue against wasting your money on a vacation in cold, miserable Europe at that time of the year. Don't do it!

All modes of transportation are included, but only breakfast and 2 dinners (welcome and farewell).

This is a classic group tour, for people who want to be part of a group. You have already made your feelings about this quite clear. Don't do it!

Considering I need a vacation BADLY, ...

Er, how exactly does that fit in with planning a trip that is 10½ months away?

:spin:

I'm quite happy to offer some sound advice about seeing Europe on a budget, getting the most bangs for your buck, etc. But before that, you either need to re-fashion your agenda, or explain why we are all starting from a no-win situation. Is there any way you can re-schedule for between May & September?

p.s. as a very old-fashioned kind of guy, would it be inappropriate for me to ask if you are (for instance) a lone female who might have concerns about winging it in a strange city far from home? Or are you entirely happy to turn up without any flights or accommodation booked ahead....? (except for your return flight back home to the USA 10 days later)
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:56 am

L410Turbolet wrote:
Is there any particular reason you want to be part of an organized tour group when you are under 30? Is there any real added value to that?
Wouldn't it be better to do what you want, when you want and how you want, by putting an itinerary together yourself?

The only reason for that group was that everything is already planned. All I have to do is pay up and wait for the flight date. Having already traveled with that tour company, I thought it was safe to try them again.

You're right though. I CAN make my own schedule. I'm early enough that I can plan it all (even reservation). Maybe that will come out way cheaper than the tour itself.

bagoldex wrote:
If you want to do a transatlantic, I'd seriously look at Cunard.
I have. Too expensive for a solo traveler. A 7 day cruise is more expensive than the 14 day one with NCL.

jetwet1 wrote:
If you can go in November there is one from Rome to San Juan that would run you a massive $799 for a 12 night trip, that leaves plenty of $$$ for a few days in Rome before and a flight from San Juan to home.
I like the price and I've cruised with RCCL before. But I'd like to keep with NCL though. It's still an option for some other time.

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Er, how exactly does that fit in with planning a trip that is 10½ months away?
It's an option. I meant that I'm willing to take smaller breaks between now and December (i.e. staycations or local trips) to enjoy that Christmas trip.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
bagoldex
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:02 am

einsteinboricua wrote:
bagoldex wrote:
If you want to do a transatlantic, I'd seriously look at Cunard.
I have. Too expensive for a solo traveler. A 7 day cruise is more expensive than the 14 day one with NCL.


You get what you pay for, plus do you really want to be hanging out with the same potentially boring people for fourteen days?
 
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Channex757
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uee

Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:35 am

bagoldex wrote:
einsteinboricua wrote:
bagoldex wrote:
If you want to do a transatlantic, I'd seriously look at Cunard.
I have. Too expensive for a solo traveler. A 7 day cruise is more expensive than the 14 day one with NCL.


You get what you pay for, plus do you really want to be hanging out with the same potentially boring people for fourteen days?

The experience of a lifetime though, going transatlantic on one of the Queens. The Queen Mary is the one to experience, a true Cunard liner rather than a cruise boat.

Seven days of a truly memorable time is always going to be superior to fourteen days of mediocrity or generic cruising
 
bagoldex
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:05 am

einsteinboricua wrote:
bagoldex wrote:
If you want to do a transatlantic, I'd seriously look at Cunard.
I have. Too expensive for a solo traveler. A 7 day cruise is more expensive than the 14 day one with NCL.


You'd also do well to understand the fundamental differences in design, engineering and construction principles and standards between a run-of-the-mill cruise ship and an ocean liner. I'm not saying that the Norwegian Breakaway is going to fall out from under you but due to its design, build quality and comparatively weak propulsion, it could be an extraordinarily unpleasant(and long) experience if the sh** hits the fan out there.
 
bananaboy
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Re: uee

Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:56 am

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
einsteinboricua wrote:
So I thought about going to Europe for Christmas and New Years with a tour company (10 days visiting Amsterdam, Paris, and London).
I fear nearly every reply so far has missed this point completely - perhaps you should have written it in a larger script?
I seriously doubt there will be any river cruises (e.g. Rhine or Danube) or anything in the Mediterranean either.
However, I would strongly argue against wasting your money on a vacation in cold, miserable Europe at that time of the year. Don't do it!


I didn't miss that but the following paragraph then mentioned about another option that wasn't at Christmas and New Year. As for river and med cruises at that time, there's still choice. The Christmas markets are a big attraction on the rivers and the Mediterranean is definitely a year-round option. Clearly its not going to be hot in Dec but if you want at best pleasant weather plus the ability to sightsee without the discomfort of the summer heat, the winter is a ridiculously cheap time of year to see some decent places on a cruise.


Channex757 wrote:
bagoldex wrote:
einsteinboricua wrote:
I have. Too expensive for a solo traveler. A 7 day cruise is more expensive than the 14 day one with NCL.


You get what you pay for, plus do you really want to be hanging out with the same potentially boring people for fourteen days?

The experience of a lifetime though, going transatlantic on one of the Queens. The Queen Mary is the one to experience, a true Cunard liner rather than a cruise boat.

Seven days of a truly memorable time is always going to be superior to fourteen days of mediocrity or generic cruising


It is a memorable experience indeed and they are chalk and cheese. The customer profiles are so different, you could easily flip that around and say 14 days of fun, parties, great entertainment and no schedules versus 7 days of dress codes and formality...both of which are exaggerations on the truth. You almost couldn't get two products further apart..Cunard with all its tradition and heritage and NCL,an industry distruptor who threw out the rules when they introduced Freestyle Dining nearly 20 years ago.

I really like QM2. She's a beautiful ship, iconic, grand and with a sense of history that is probably unique amongst ships currently sailing. But I also know that the experience is not one I'd enjoy. Not yet. I can certainly understand how to many 14nts on Norwegian Breakaway would be preferable to 7nts on QM2. And, if I was travelling solo and the only one making the decision, I'd go NCL in a heartbeat.

Mark
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OA260
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:11 pm

jetwet1 wrote:
If you can go in November there is one from Rome to San Juan that would run you a massive $799 for a 12 night trip, that leaves plenty of $$$ for a few days in Rome before and a flight from San Juan to home.

Edit :

Those prices are for balcony cabins btw...Really you want one for that length of a cruise.


Totally agree. Having done this cruise last November it was a great option. Just the right amount of stops and then relaxing sea days. Smooth enough crossing and ok weather too. Never feel part of a group unless you want to and certainly do not feel confined to a schedule. Some pre cruise nights in Rome is a great idea too.

---

NCL are a good option but their prices have rocketed since they went All Inclusive with drinks. Unless you really are a big drinker of wines,spirits,cocktails it is hard to justify. Quite a lot are complaining about that who only have a few alcholic drinks a day.

As for Cunard its a wonderful experience and one I am repeating again soon. 7 nights TATL is just the right amount of time for those wanting to experience it and depsite what others say it is not too formal or stuffy and you meet some great people from all backgrounds. If on some nights you prefer not to dress up you can avail of alternative dining. Each time I go back on a Cunard sailing I notice more and more a younger crowd so the typical vision of 60+ is not what it once was. Personally age group does not bother me.
 
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:19 pm

OA260 wrote:
NCL are a good option but their prices have rocketed since they went All Inclusive with drinks. Unless you really are a big drinker of wines,spirits,cocktails it is hard to justify. Quite a lot are complaining about that who only have a few alcholic drinks a day.

They DO have non-inclusive fares. The price I'm being quoted includes one of their "free at sea" offers (namely, I chose the unlimited alcohol). When I first sailed on Epic, I chose the restaurant option and regretted it only because I was able to book one night only (I had 4 dinners and only used one...misunderstanding from my side thinking it was only one dinner) while wanting to enjoy a few drinks here and there. During some gatherings, I ended up paying up to $30 for 2-3 drinks. Sometimes, the splurge at the bar isn't a bad thing and I tend to be careful of not drinking too much either.

As to why I prefer NCL over Cunard or RCCL:
1. The freestyle option: not having to be tied to a schedule is very liberating. And trust me, I used to think it's overrated...it's not.
2. No formal dinners: again, no structure to the dinner option. On the few occasions they decide to dress up, they have other options.
3. The "free at sea" options.

I don't doubt that sailing on one of the Queens is an experience all on its own, but I'm personally not used to a formal environment. When I do sail on one, it's because I'm looking for pure rest and relaxation and because paying for the experience outweighs the activities or ports of call. Since Breakaway is making several stops along the way, to countries I have never been to, that's why it appeals more than Cunard. Maybe next year I'll want to take a week off for the sake of it and will sail on one of the Queens.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
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OA260
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:34 pm

einsteinboricua wrote:
1. The freestyle option: not having to be tied to a schedule is very liberating. And trust me, I used to think it's overrated...it's not.


RCI do have My Time dining which is same as Freestyle albeit by name. I had that on my last cruise and was able to dine at 2030 or a bit later. I am used to the Med way of dining and not the 1800 like a lot of Western Europeans. It also gave me freedom on port days to be flex also.

On Cunard I opt for second seating and manage ok. From what you are saying it certainly sounds like you are not ready for Cunard yet and no point doing it and coming off dissapointed.

MSC / RCI / NCL would be more appropriate. At least this time on NCL you would understand what you are getting. Some are getting caught out with the non All Inclusice fares too. They are seeing the basic price and thinking its AI as NCL have been putting out lots of adverts at least in the European market giving the preception that all fares are AI.
 
bananaboy
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:59 pm

OA260 wrote:

NCL are a good option but their prices have rocketed since they went All Inclusive with drinks. Unless you really are a big drinker of wines,spirits,cocktails it is hard to justify. Quite a lot are complaining about that who only have a few alcholic drinks a day....


Premium All-inclusive is only available in select markets. It was launched in German speaking markets first and then the UK & Republic of Ireland. Last I heard, all other global markets remain full board.

Mark
All my life, I've been kissing, your top lip 'cause your bottom one's missing
 
jetwet1
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:12 am

Actually, I forgot, a somewhat nice hybrid cruise maybe the Viking Oceans Trans Atlantic, leaves out out LIsbon I think Dec 8 or 9
 
kellyon
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:16 pm

Croatia. Competitive prices and beautiful sailing destinations. Last summer we found amazing yacht charter service Sailica with affordable prices and large variety of yachts for every taste and spent a few days sailing near the Dalmatian coastline. It was one of the greatest vacation I ever had.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:54 am

I would suggest the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo. The places are generally very cheap and quite exciting. Bucharest is my favorite.

kellyon wrote:
Croatia. Competitive prices and beautiful sailing destinations. Last summer we found amazing yacht charter service Sailica with affordable prices and large variety of yachts for every taste and spent a few days sailing near the Dalmatian coastline. It was one of the greatest vacation I ever had.


He did say next December though ;) But I can only agree that renting a yacht in Croatia is a great idea should you travel in the summer.
 
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:30 pm

I'm leaning towards taking the transatlantic in October and something local next month. If I go big now, I can't go big later in the year. After analyzing each trip, I get more money's worth from a transatlantic than from a 7 day cruise (of course, I'm just considering Norwegian and not other cruiselines). I've thought about a Carnival cruise in April, but again, if I spend on a cruise, the October trip will have to be reduced.

Europe for Christmas is officially off the table, at least this year.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
Kno
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Re: Vacation suggestions

Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:45 pm

May I suggest something totally different?

Go on to Southeast Asia, especially Thailand. I'm similar in age (a little younger) and just did a two week vacation to NYC (24hrs) Hong Kong (3days) Bangkok (week + country side day trip) and Phuket (3 days island hopped). The whole thing including airfare was about $2000 and I saw a lot, ate a lot, and lived like a king!!!! Including staying in an upscale room at the park plaza in bangkok. (If I was frugal and only went to Thailand it could have been closer to $1200) Plus the weather was beauitful - my main reason for going on an Asian adventure over Europe was that it seemed more exocitic I knew the weather would be much better and I'd get way more bang for my buck.

I'd love Europe too don't get me wrong, but since I live in Boston when it's winter I usually only travel to
Warm places.

I don't have as much advice about Europe but I would never consider doing a tour or being on a cruise for more than a couple days. Why would you want to have a manufactured experience if you're going to go all that way and spend all that money? Putting together your own intenerary and having your own unique adventure is the best way to experience a local culture and when you plan the logistics right you'll be able to see just as many if not more things. This also helps you choose what you want to splurge on and what you want to be frugal about - the planning is more work but it's worth it. But to each their own, for me travel is all about checking out the best local dining, sight seeing, venturing off the beaten path, meeting new ppl, trying new things and exploring local night life and music scenes on my watch.

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