Well, my better half and I just spent the last few weeks in Yurp, visiting Rome, Athens, Turkey, Greece, Israel and multiple points in between. This trip was a once in a lifetime splurge, traveling first to Rome for three days, spending Good Friday in Vatican City, then cruising the Mediterranean, winding up in Athens.
Travel is certainly a broadening experience. Cruising has got to be the best way to see anything. I knew, but didn't appreciate, the convenience involved. Over the years, we've traveled a bit, but usually in our fifth wheel (small and expensive) sailing our own boat (small and expensive) or just flying to a destination and staying in hotels. Luggage issues were always a hassle, as well as the time lost just riding some vehicle.
Riding on a cruise ship is expensive, but, frankly, no more expensive than fifth-wheeling, driving, flying, etc. But, it's a lot more convenient. We boarded our cruiser on a Saturday in Rome and disembarked two weeks later in Athens. By the time we'd pay for transportation, meals, tours, food, etc on the same trip, cruising actually saved us money.
And nobody loses their luggage on a cruise liner, although my luggage was lost this time at Sea-Tac airport. Happily, my bag and I were reunited in Rome before we left for the cruise. But once we were on the ship, all was managed in one effort for 14 days. The ship cruised at night while we slept and docked during the day for tours, etc. All food and non-alcoholic drinks were free and available around the clock. Try doing that in a fifth-wheel.
We never could have afforded this when our kids were small. We were lucky to afford a tent and a pick-up. But as a salty old lady, it occurs to me that traveling with small children on a cruiser might be easier and cheaper in the long run if family funds permit it at all.
We're home now, and I've got a world of laundry to do. I've got weeds to pull, a diet to start, friends to see and stories to tell. I'll write more later about individual stops. Turkey IS beautiful and the most under-appreciated tourist destination and Israel is fantastic - seeing Jerusalem's Old City was staggering. But I'm glad to be home!