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Insider’s guide to cruising Europe

Advice, tips, tricks and, most importantly, lessons learned
By Carolyn Spencer Brown
MSNBC – updated 12:47 p.m. ET March 22, 2009

It’s no secret that cruising is an exceptional way to see Europe. First of all, seeing Europe by cruise is cheaper than touring by land.

Cruise fares typically cover accommodations, meals in main dining venues, kids club activities and entertainment, from enrichment classes to theatrical performances (though it’s important to note the extras, such as spa treatments, meals in boutique restaurants, fitness classes, casino gambling and cocktails and specialty drinks).

And don’t forget, too, that cruise fares include the cost of transportation between ports. On any given voyage, you’ll visit a variety of European cities (in some cases covering three or more countries). Some cruises combine two regions (such as Western Europe and the Baltic or the Eastern and Western Mediterranean). Most include what we classify as the “greatest hits” cities of Europe (such as Civitavecchia for Rome, Venice, Stockholm, Barcelona and Piraeus for Athens); some of these also offer tantalizing tastes of lesser-known places (including Tunisia’s Tunis, Malta’s Valletta and Estonia’s Tallinn).

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