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Old 02-03-2013, 05:16 PM   #1
LeslieG
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Anyone else find Europe intimidating?

I'm waiting for the 2014 schedule to come out to see what DCL is offering in Europe, but I'm a little intimidated about going. Money conversion, different languages, foreign cultures. I'm not a fan of big organized tours, so I'd rather not go that route in the ports. Help!
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:42 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieG
I'm waiting for the 2014 schedule to come out to see what DCL is offering in Europe, but I'm a little intimidated about going. Money conversion, different languages, foreign cultures. I'm not a fan of big organized tours, so I'd rather not go that route in the ports. Help!
It's not really scary. The touristy areas are used to tourists. A lot of people who work and live in those areas speak English are very accommodating. I went to Italy once for a week alone. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. It was great. In regards to money you can search travel sites to figure out exchange stuff. I just waited until I got there. If it were me I'd do organized tours only because there's only a few hours in port each day. On my trip to Italy I only did one organized tour that lasted a few hours. The rest I did on my own. I had a lot more time though.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:50 PM   #3
mkmommy
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Europe actually scares me less than Caribbean Islands, miss the ship in Europe the next port is only a short train ride away.

Public transportation is extensive and frequent so it is easy to get around. My kids loved taking the Metro in Barcelona. We found the ticket vending machines all had an English option. Have stayed in 3 hotels in Barcelona and everyone we had to deal with spoke excellent English and were helpful.

We did mostly DCL excursions, and I must have good luck as they were all excellent and that makes it so easy to tour, just show up and someone makes sure you get were you are supposed to be.

Lots if info on line, the street view on google maps is a great help

Do lots of research in advance and you will be fine.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieG
I'm waiting for the 2014 schedule to come out to see what DCL is offering in Europe, but I'm a little intimidated about going. Money conversion, different languages, foreign cultures. I'm not a fan of big organized tours, so I'd rather not go that route in the ports. Help!
I went to Europe with my college roommates when I was 20 and again a year later and then after my first child. If I could do it as a baby adult, you can do it! We had an absolute blast! Just get a good guide book for each country, learn the names of the money (although now most are on Euros, so that's easy!), and make a plan of what you want to visit. The beauty part is you don't have to book hotels, train/plane tickets between countries you're visiting, and all that. I distinctly remember trying to book a Viennese hostel over the phone--just be glad you don't have to yell over a bad connection and pray you're in the reservation book when you show up! We no doubt made fools of ourselves mangling the language and trying to get some blessed ketchup and ice, but it's not like you'll ever see any of the people again. And maybe I'm weird, but I love stepping off the train, plane, ship and not being 100% sure of what I'll see next. Just yesterday as I sat outside the French bakery at Epcot, the smell hit me and reminded me of the first time I entered a patisserie in France. That's the kind of memory that you'll treasure forever.

Figuring out the intricacies of public transportation may or may not be your best bet if you're cruising, so also find out how taxis work (tipping or no?, common words to look for or phrases to say to a driver).

Really, you'll be fine! And it will be a trip to remember forever. Happy cruising!
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:06 PM   #5
super mike b
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Nothing to worry about.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieG View Post
I'm waiting for the 2014 schedule to come out to see what DCL is offering in Europe, but I'm a little intimidated about going. Money conversion, different languages, foreign cultures. I'm not a fan of big organized tours, so I'd rather not go that route in the ports. Help!
I had a lot of fun planning our 2010 Baltic cruise and part of that was due to the great tips and advice from the people on this board.

We actually wound up doing every port on our own and everything went very well

There are so many DISers that love to plan every detail of their cruises. Just read the trip reports and the different threads with regard to planning and if you don't see anything related to your specific question just ask

I was a little overwhelmed with the hotel options in Barcelona and thanks to a fellow DISer I found a good hotel that fit our needs.
Also it was easier to jump on a good airfare since I knew what was a good price based on what others were posting they were seeing.

Also a good travel agent can help you with details as well.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:13 PM   #7
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I think it's important to travel, step out of your "norm" and make yourself uncomfortable! Don't be intimidated; be excited!

At least on a cruise you don't have to get yourself from place to place...that makes it easier!

But it's one thing to read about places, it's another entirely to see them yourself! You won't regret it
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:15 PM   #8
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I spent 2 weeks in Europe last summer with my niece. We went to Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany. Without exception we found the places & people to be lovely. If you don't use organized tours just do your research. I found some apps that were invaluable, GPS type apps. In any case our biggest complaint was not enough time.
As far as money goes charge most things (but investigate your cc fees up front). We usually hit an ATM for pocket money and charged everything else.
Go& have a great trip!
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:18 PM   #9
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No worries, most speak pretty good English in tourist areas and money conversion is easy. We take a little cash with us, mostly use AMEX, but find an ATM, if necessary.

BTW..charades is always a fun way to communicate, if all else fails.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:32 PM   #10
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no, not at all!
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:33 PM   #11
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All of the DCL European ports use the Euro as the official currency, with the sole exception of those that make a one-day stop in Croatia. So, money is not nearly as difficult as it was, say, 15 years ago when each country had its own currency. As others have said, use a credit card where accepted, and hit an ATM at your first stop to withdraw Euro for pocket money.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:24 PM   #12
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DH was really worried about language barriers til I pointed out that Americans are the only ones who don't speak a 2nd language.

A lot of places in europe accept credit cards, so if your credit card gets a decent exchange rate, just use that and you won't need to convert very much $$$ to another currency.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:29 PM   #13
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Do the ABD add-on! Virtually everything in port is included, besides souvenirs. Made it *really* easy, as everything on the ship is in US dollars. Also, we had the Adventure Guides with us to handle language differences, cultural questions, etc. It was *the* way to go!

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Old 02-03-2013, 07:48 PM   #14
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I have only been to Paris so far, but for being a city 'known' to Americans for being 'snooty', I did not encounter a single person like that!

Europe is great and so are its people. Anyone from there that I have met has been very friendly and they all seem to know English. My tip is to learn a few things in each countries native language. Hello, good bye, thank you, where is, how much, etc. the phrases you will use most. If you even attempt to use their language... They open up even more to you if they are hesitant to at first. But most are very willing to help.

Most ports should have a train station near by, the trains over there are the perfect mode of transport. Very easy to get around on your own! I have researched Italy ports quite a bit in hopes of doing a med cruise. I assume their airports and train stations are like Paris... While all signs are in their language, they also had English translations on many if them.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:50 PM   #15
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Nothing to worry about.
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