Of all the hundreds of questions we have seen throughout the year, these are the most common that cruise guests are curious about when planning and booking a cruise vacation.
So we thought we would gather them all together in one place so they can help you with your next cruise booking.
1. Which is the best reasonably priced pre-cruise hotel in Barcelona?
There are many good options for pre-cruise hotels in the center of Barcelona for cruise guests spending a few nights in the city before joining a cruise from the port of Barcelona. Here are a few well-priced options.
Hotel Jazz: Located in the heart of Barcelona, this 3-star hotel offers comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. It is within walking distance of many of the city’s major attractions, including the Gothic Quarter, the Picasso Museum, and the Sagrada Militia. The hotel also has a rooftop terrace with city views and a 24-hour front desk. Prices start at around 80 euros per night.
Hotel 1898: This 4-star hotel is located in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, just a short walk from the port. It offers stylish rooms with modern amenities, including a private bathroom, air conditioning, and free WiFi.The hotel also has a restaurant, a bar, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city. Prices start at around 120 euros per night.
Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza: This 4-star hotel is just a few minute’s walk from the port. It offers comfortable rooms with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and free WiFi. The hotel also has a restaurant, a bar, and a rooftop terrace. Prices start at around 100 euros per night.
Hotel NH Collection Barcelona Podium: This 4-star hotel is located in the heart of the city, just a short walk from the port. It offers comfortable rooms with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and free WiFi. The hotel also has a restaurant, a bar, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views. Prices start at around 100 euros per night.
These hotels offer good value for money, being well located in the center of Barcelona, within easy reach of the port and the city’s major attractions. Visit our Barcelona page for more detailed information about starting a cruise from Barcelona.
2. What is The best way to get to Ravenna from Venice?
There are several options for cruise guests from Venice to Ravenna for visiting Venice before embarking on a cruise from the port of Ravenna. Here are our recommended options:
Train: the train journey from Venice to Ravenna is easy and well-priced. There are frequent trains from Venice Santa Lucia station to Ravenna, which take around 2 hours. You can purchase tickets in advance on the Trenitalia website or at the station. Expect to pay about 25 euros per person. Select the fastest journey on the regional train when booking. You may be required to change trains in Ferrara or Bologne.
Bus: Another option is to take a bus from Venice to Ravenna. Several companies operate this route, including Flixbus. The journey takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes, and tickets can be purchased in advance on the bus company’s website. Most buses depart from Tronchetto bus station on Venice island. Tickets cost around 10 euros per person.
Private transfer: this is the most convenient way to travel but also the most expensive. It is a more hassle-free option. Book a private transfer before you leave home for pick up as close to your hotel as possible directly to your hotel in Ravenna (or the cruise port if you opt not to spend a night and one day in Ravenna before your cruise. A transfer can be arranged through a supplier such as Viator or Get Your Guide. Prices vary depending on the type of vehicle and the number of passengers but expect to pay around 100 to 200 euros for a one-way private transfer.
Your best option for getting from Venice to Ravenna will depend on your personal preferences and budget. All of the options here are viable, but the train and bus are the most cost-effective options, while private transfer works well if you are a small group and can share the cost.
3. Is it worth staying in Trieste before the cruise starts?
Trieste is a beautiful and historic city located on the Adriatic Sea in northeastern Italy. It is known for its rich culture and stunning architecture. There are also many exciting things to do in the surrounding region, including visiting nearby Carso National Park and the Miramare Castle.
If you only have 24 hours to spend in Trieste, here are some suggestions on how to spend a day in Trieste:
- Head to the heart of the city center to explore the Piazza dell Unita d’Italia, a large square home to some of Trieste’s most iconic buildings.
- Take a stroll along the Molo Audace, a promenade that offers panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea.
- Finish your day with a visit to the Trieste Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic-style cathedral located in the heart of the city, and finish your day with a drink or meal at one of Trieste’s many outdoor cafes or restaurants.
4. I want to explore Italy after my Rome cruise – how much can I see in 5 days?
If you are starting your trip to Italy from Rome and want to see the best of Italy, there are many different options for planning your itinerary. Here are a few suggestions for how to make the most of your trip.
Transportation between major cities is easy using the trains. An extensive network connects all the major cities. It is a convenient and comfortable way to get around. A rental car is also an option if you want the flexibility to explore smaller towns and villages along the way, but keep in mind that driving in Italy can be challenging, with narrow roads and chaotic traffic.
Rome to the Amalfi Coast
From Rome, head to the stunning Amalfi coast. We like to base ourselves in the city of Sorrento. The towns along the Amalfi coast are easy to explore by bus or local ferries. You can also take the boat from Sorrento to visit the island of Capri.
The Amalfi Coast to Florence
Head north to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. It’s a long train ride but a great way to see the countryside. You will most likely change trains in Naples if traveling from Sorrento. While in Florence, visit the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo and stroll through the city’s charming streets and over the Ponte Vecchio.
Florence to Venice
Back on the train in Florence and head to Venice. Book a train ticket to Venice island and get off at Santa Lucia train station. If you book a hotel within the Santa Croce district of Venice, you should be within walking distance of the train station. While in Venice, take a gondola ride through the city’s canals and visit St. Mark’s Basilica.
Venice to Milan
Finish your trip to Milan, known for its strong cultural and artistic traditions. The city is home to many world-class museums and galleries and, of course, fashion and design. Many international fashion houses have headquarters in the town, and it’s the haute couture capital of the world.
Be sure to read our tips and information about an Italy cruise package for more ideas on planning your cruise vacation in Italy.
5. Looking for a well-priced hotel in London before a cruise. What is the best way to get from London to the cruise port in Southampton?
London is expensive, so often, the number of days you spend in the city before you start your cruise will depend on your budget. Try looking for hotels in the Paddington/Bayswater area for better prices while staying very central.
For recommended hotels and how to spend time in London, visit our Cruise from London page for great tips.
To get from London to Southampton cruise port, you have a few options to choose from:
Train: There are frequent trains from London Waterloo to Southampton train station. Before you travel, check train websites for information about rail strikes or cancellations. From the train station in Southampton, you will need to take a taxi to your hotel or the cruise port.
Bus: We can recommend the National Express coach company for comfortable bus travel between London, Victoria, and Southampton. The journey is around 2 hours, and you have to charge stations in your seat and free WiFi onboard.
Private transfer: Book a private transfer if you prefer a door-to-door service. Expect to pay around £130-£150 for a one-way journey between London and Southampton.
6. What are your best tips for shore excursions from the port of Livorno, Italy?
Livorno is a deep-water port located on the western coast of Italy, and it is a popular stop for large cruise ships. Livorno is the gateway to some of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Although the port is industrial and not picturesque, a shore excursion will allow you to see the fantastic surrounding areas.
To help you choose the shore excursion from Livorno that best suits you, visit the Top 5 shore excursions from the port of Livorno, Italy.
7. Is there a good hotel close to the cruise port in Amsterdam?
Many good hotels in Amsterdam are recommended for cruise guests. The great thing is that the cruise port is close to the city center, so you are well-placed not only to get to your cruise terminal on embarkation day but also to be able to explore the city easily on foot.
Our favorite hotel close to the cruise port is the Mövenpick Hotel. For more options and detailed itineraries on how to spend your time in Amsterdam, visit our Cruise from Amsterdam page.
8. What are the best excursions to do in Bergen, Norway?
Bergen is a beautiful city located on the west coast of Norway, and it is a popular stop for cruise ships. Here are a few suggestions for shore excursions when visiting Bergen:
- The Floibanen Funicular: The Floibanen funicular takes you to the top of the Floyen mountain, offering stunning views of the city and the surrounding fjords.
- Bryggen: Bryggen is a historic area in Bergen with charming, colorful houses, narrow streets, and authentic shops selling local products. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a great place to explore on foot.
- The Fish Market: Bergen’s fish market is just a short walk from your cruise terminal and a lively place to visit with a wide variety of fresh seafood, souvenirs, and local crafts.
- The Troldhaugen Museum: The Troldhaugen Museum is a beautiful 19th-century mansion that was once the home of the composer Edvard Grieg. It is now a museum dedicated to Grieg’s life and work.
- The Bergenhus Fortress: The Bergen Fortress is a historic castle located in the city center, with a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. It is now home to several museums and is a popular place to visit.
9. Where is a good place to stay before starting a cruise from New York?
New York has three cruise ports, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, The Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal (New Jersey), and the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. Knowing which cruise terminal you must go to on embarkation day is essential.
We always recommend that cruise guests spend a few nights in New York before starting a cruise, and then you may want to be in the heart of it all, in Midtown Manhattan. For tips, advice, and detailed itineraries about spending time in the city, read our Cruise from New York page.
New York has an excellent public transport system through underground and overground trains, making reaching your cruise port easy. Plan and leave plenty of time to get to the cruise terminal in good time on your day of departure.
10. What is the best hotel in Fort Lauderdale for a family of 6 with a free shuttle to Port Everglades?
When you are a large family starting a cruise vacation from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, it can be a challenge finding the right hotel accommodation, especially if you have young children and want to share a family room.
Here are some options to explore:
The Westin Fort Lauderdale: This upscale hotel is located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale and offers spacious rooms and a range of amenities, including a pool and a fitness center. The hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle to Port Everglades.
Fort Lauderdale Marriott North: This hotel is located north of Fort Lauderdale and offers comfortable rooms, breakfast included in the price, and a shuttle to Port Everglades.
Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina: This hotel is located on the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale and offers comfortable rooms and a range of amenities. It is only a 6-minute shuttle ride to the port.
Holiday Inn Fort Lauderdale Airport: this is a good choice if you are flying into Fort Lauderdale for your cruise from Port Everglades. Large family rooms are spacious, breakfast is included, and there is a free shuttle to the cruise port. Be sure to book your shuttle ride when you first check-in.
11. How many days do you recommend in Sydney before my cruise starts?
Sydney is a large and vibrant city with many things to see and do, so the number of days you spend before your cruise will depend on your interests and how much you want to see. Here are a few suggestions for how to spend your time in Sydney.
If you only have a few days before your cruise, you may want to focus on the city’s top attractions, such as the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, and Bondi Beach. The Rocks is a great place to stay for a few days, with a local market and some of the best restaurants in the city with a world-class view.
If you have a little more time, you may want to explore some of Sydney’s neighborhoods, such as the trendy Darlinghurst or the picturesque suburbs of Manly.
With a week or more, take a day trip to the Blue Mountains or the Hunter Valley wine region. Overall, how much time you need in Sydney before your cruise depends on your budget and your interests. It is a beautiful city, so plan your trip well and see as much as possible in the time you have. For more tips on where to stay, what to do, and how to get to your cruise port, read our Cruise from Sydney page.
12. What are the best cruise destinations in the Caribbean?
There are many great destinations in the Caribbean which is why this region offers one of the most popular cruise itineraries year-round to cruise guests.
The Bahamas: Nassau and Freeport of the most visited ports in the Bahamas, and there are many exciting shore excursions to choose from, including snorkeling and swimming with dolphins.
St. Thomas: Located in the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas is one of our favorite destinations in the Caribbean, with beautiful beaches and great shopping.
St. Maarten: This island is Dutch and French and offers a charming mix of European and Caribbean cultures. Explore beautiful beaches and snorkel in the clear blue water.
Aruba: Aruba is at the top of our list when choosing a southern Caribbean cruise. We never tire of the beautiful beaches and clear blue water. It feels like a safe destination to explore yourself in the Caribbean.
13. Best ways to get from Fort Lauderdale airport to Miami without breaking the bank?
There are several budget-friendly options for traveling from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to Miami:
Train: The Tri-Rail commuter train operates a service between FLL and Miami, with stations at Miami International Airport and downtown Miami. The fare is $2.50-$5.00, depending on where you disembark.
Shared ride shuttles: Several companies offer shared shuttles for a fixed price. These can be cost-effective options if you don’t mind sharing a ride with other travelers.
Taxi or Uber: If you are a group of 4 or more travelers, then you can share the cost of a taxi or uber. Expect to pay around $80 for a one-way journey which makes this the most expensive option but more viable if you share the cost. Plus, you get a door-to-door service.
14. What is a good family hotel close to cruise port Canaveral that offers a shuttle bus to the port?
We can recommend the following hotel options for hotels near Port Canaveral that offer shuttle services to the cruise port. Some good choices for families include:
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral: This hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the cruise port, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a complimentary hot breakfast.
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach: This hotel has a free shuttle bus to the cruise port and modern, good-sized rooms with extra beds for the whole family.
Residence Inn by Marriott Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach: This hotel not only has family rooms but suites with fully equipped kitchens, which makes it super convenient for families looking for self-catering facilities.
When booking your hotel near Port Canaveral, we recommend you book your seats on the shuttle bus simultaneously. Especially if you are a large family or group traveling together, the buses can get busy with cruise customers.
15. Which cruises include a shore excursion to Paris
Several great cruise lines offer shore excursions to Paris as part of their itineraries; some options include:
Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity offers several cruises to the Mediterranean that include a stop in Paris, such as the 7-night Paris & the French Riviera cruise on Celebrity Edge
Royal Caribbean International: Royal Caribbean offers the 8-night “Paris and the Normandy Beaches” cruise on board Vision of the Seas
Princess Cruises: Princess cruises offers the 14-night Paris & the Heart of Europe cruise on Crown Princess.
If you live in the U.K. and are looking for a weekend cruise that includes Paris, read more about this in our article The best weekend cruise with a shore excursion to Paris.
These cruises typically include various shore excursions, such as guided city tours, landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, and culinary and cultural experiences. Be sure to check with the cruise line how long the ship stays in port, as it can take an hour or more to reach the city.
16. I’ve never been to Portugal, so how can I make the most of my visit to Lisbon before my cruise begins?
Lisbon is a beautiful city with a rich history, delicious cuisine, and vibrant culture. If you have a few days before your Mediterranean cruise departs from the port of Lisbon, here are a few suggestions for how to make the most of your visit:
- Book a walking tour with a knowledgeable guide to get a feel for the city’s layout and learn about its history and culture. You can also tour the town in one of the many tuk-tuks available.
- Visit the Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery, two of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks. These 16th-century structures are located in the Belem district, to the Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
- Explore the Alfama neighborhood along the narrow streets, full of colorful houses and lively Fado music.
- Try local cuisines, such as pastel de nata (custard tarts) and bacalhau (cod fish). Lisbon is known for its seafood, so be sure to try some fresh fish while you’re there. Visit the Time Out Market, a food hall featuring a variety of local food stalls.
- Ride the famous Lisbon trams, which offer a unique and scenic way to get around this hilly city. And stroll along the Avenida da Liberdade, a tree-lined boulevard known for luxury shopping.
- Visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge, a castle on a hilltop overlooking the city. On a clear day, the sunset views are breathtaking.
And finally, if you have time, take a day trip to the charming town of Sintra. Sintra is home to palaces and gardens, including the Pena Palace and the Quinta da Regaleira.
17. What is the best way to spend the day in the Marseilles cruise port?
Marseilles, a big and bustling city, is a mix of cafes, restaurants, street performers, and outdoor markets. The vibrant neighborhoods of Le Panier and Noailles are known for their narrow streets and unique boutiques.
For the best views, we recommend visiting Notre Dame de la Garde, a Catholic basilica on a hill overlooking the city. Or, if you are looking for a day at the beach, try Plage des Catalans, located just a 15-minute walk south of the cruise port. Don’t expect it to be relaxing; this beach is packed during the busy summer.
Many cruise guests take the opportunity to explore the spectacular scenic surrounding of Marseilles during this port stop. The most popular shore excursions from the port of Marseilles are:
- Aix en Provence
- The Luberon
- The Calanques
- Chateaux D’If
18. I can decide! Cinque Terre or Portofino as a shore excursion?
Between the famous ports of stops of Genoa and La Spezia on the Italian Riviera are two popular destinations for cruise guests, Cinque Terre and Portofino. The best shore excursion for you depends on your interests and what you hope to get out of your visit. Let’s compare the two to help you decide:
Cinque Terre is a group of five small picturesque villages located along the coast. The villages are connected by hiking trails that offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. A shore excursion to Cinque Terre is an excellent option for travelers who enjoy hiking, nature, and beautiful landscapes. The area can easily be explored using the local train, which stops at the villages. You’ll need to be able to walk hilly streets and be easily mobile to enjoy this destination.
Portofino is a bucket list destination for many wanting to visit the Italian Riviera. Portofino is known for its beautiful harbor, high-end boutiques, and celebrity visitors. It is an excellent option for travelers who enjoy luxury and glamour, as well as unique shopping, exceptional cuisine, and fantastic scenery.
Using the local bus or a ferry from the harbor, you can also visit the equally quaint town of Santa Margherita Ligure.
19. Which cruise lines include Malta on their itinerary in the Mediterranean?
Most of the major cruise lines operating cruises in the Mediterranean during cruise season (March through October) offer at least one cruise itinerary that includes Malta as a port of call.
Malta is a small island nation known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, and warm climate. As a visitor, even for just one day, you can enjoy ancient temples and fortresses, picturesque harbors, and small, golden-stoned villages. The welcoming locals will be keen to share the diverse culture and cuisine and the natural beauty of their island.
A cruise stop at port Valletta, Malta, is a fantastic destination and one of our favorite stops in the Mediterranean.
Mediterranean cruises typically depart from ports in Italy, Spain, France, and Greece. Some of the most popular cruise lines that include Malta are MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
20. We have cruised a lot and are looking for a new experience; what are the best adult cruises available that are slightly different?
There are many different types of adult cruises available, and the best one for you will depend on your interests and preferences. Some of the most popular adult cruises include:
Luxury and ultra-luxury cruises are known for their opulent amenities and high level of service. These cruises tend to be more expensive than other cruises, but they offer a more upscale and personalized service experience. Luxury and ultra-luxury cruises often have smaller passenger capacities and offer a more intimate atmosphere.
Cultural cruises are geared towards travelers interested in immersing themselves in the local culture and history of their destinations. These cruises often have educational lectures and activities on board and offer excursions to cultural sites and landmarks.
Adventure cruises, also called Expedition cruises, are designed for travelers looking for a more active and adventurous vacation to visit off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Singles cruises are a great choice if you opt to cruise solo and want to meet like-minded guests. The cruises are often more laid-back, with a casual and social atmosphere with events specifically designed for singles. Many major cruise lines are getting better at offering single cabins designed for one person without having to pay for an extra single room supplement.
21. What is the best luxury cruise line? We’re celebrating a special occasion and want a small ship experience.
There are many luxury cruise lines to choose from. Some of the most highly regarded luxury cruise lines include:
Seabourn is known for its small, ultra-luxurious ships and personalized service. Its ships can hold up to 450 passengers, creating an intimate and exclusive atmosphere. Seabourn’s itineraries visit various destinations, including the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Northern Europe.
Regent Seven Seas
Regent Seven Cruises is an ultra-luxury cruise line that operates a fleet of small to mid-sized ships. Its ships can hold up to around 750 passengers. Look at their itineraries for cruises in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and Alaska.
Silversea is a luxury cruise line that operates a fleet of small to mid-sized ships. Its ships can hold up to around 600 passengers, making for a more intimate experience. The cruise line offers a wide range of destinations, including the South Pacific.
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