Just returned from a great trip to Peru!! We visited Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and of course Machu Picchu!! My travel minute videos are up and give you tips on how to get to MP, save money while you're there and avoid altitude sickness! I'm slowly but surely adding my reviews on tripadvisor as well! Check back soon for an updated post!!
Had a FANTASTIC trip to Havana Cuba! JetBlue was having a phenomenal sale with direct flights to Havana from JFK and we figured why not explore a country that has been off limits to Americans for nearly 60 years?
We are so glad we did. We only explored Havana for 1 week and wished we had a few more days there! My upcoming Travel Minute videos will explore the process of how to independently travel to CUBA since up until now you could only travel there either illegally via Mexico or Canada or legally as part of a tour group who has an approved license to go and would charge you an arm and a leg for the trip! My husband and I traveled there independently under the educational license—watch the upcoming Travel Minute for more information.
From cigars to vintage cars – it’s a country one should not hesitate to visit. But be aware –Cuba’s way of doing things may not be what you’re accustomed to – everything is on Cuban Time! Wi-Fi is there but to access it you need to buy an access card and then find a Wi-Fi spot.
You should also know that Cuba does not accept American issued credit or debit cards – so bring enough cash with you for the entire trip. If you don’t – you’re out of luck! Plus the country has 2 currencies – the one for locals -- CUP and the one for tourists -- CUC. So when you exchange money as an American tourist, you’ll receive CUC and be charged a 10% penalty fee for the exchange. The only way to avoid the fee is to find locals who can exchange the money for you as opposed to doing the exchange at an official exchange house.
I have even more useful tips in another upcoming Travel Minute! So stay tuned!
As for accommodations – we went with a Casa Particular -- which is bookable on Airbnb or you can stay at a hotel. I personally found the hotels to be too expensive – for example the Hotel Nacional was charging around $400 per night. My casa – which was a studio apartment, was about $30 per night! Yep – I have another travel minute on that too! :)
If by chance you have a Cuban ancestry like my husband and want to see where your relatives lived – make sure you have as much information with you as possible. Cuba’s archive system is not digitized and different offices have different information. Some addresses no longer exist & some street names have been changed. If you’re lucky and the building still exists, you’ll get to see where your relatives lived. Be aware though that the current occupants may be suspicious of you and understandably so since they may think you want to get your family’s home back! But all in all -- they are very welcoming and want to help you find out more about your relatives and maybe help you meet some you may not be aware existed!
Cuba is definitely a bucket list trip and if I were you I’d go sooner as opposed to later just in case our current President overturns the current policy and reinstates the travel ban.
Total cost: We spent about $1800 total for 2 of us for one week – that includes airfare, accommodations, meals, attractions and souvenirs!
Toronto & Niagara Falls
So my husband and I decided to go to Toronto & Niagara Falls for our Anniversary in October 2016! Do we drive or fly was the first question! 8 Hours on the road or 1 in a plane? Well when I used Kayak to price check - the plane tickets came out to about $150 r/t on Air Canada so we decided to fly from LaGuardia!
We spent a total of 6 days and 5 nights in Canada. We stayed at an apartment and not a hotel which saved us money! We used the Toronto City pass during our stay to also save us money on attractions -- you can watch this travel video to see which ones!
We also did a day trip to Niagara falls which I wished we had expanded into an overnight b/c there's was much more to see than just the falls -- yep I have another video coming explaining that! For the Niagara trip we used the highest ranked tour company on tripadvisor but I think you'd be alright with any company you choose or maybe better yet just rent a car and do it on your own since it was only a 1.5 hour drive away from Toronto!! All in all -- a great trip! Highlights included The Hockey Hall of Fame, Casa Loma, CN Tower and some great food!
Total Trip Cost: $1234 for hotel & flights and add another $500 for food & attractions!
In September of 2016 we headed to Orlando to celebrate my father-in-law's 70th birthday at Disney World- yep he still loves Disney and although he's been there a ton of times -- that's where he wanted to celebrate!
Since Disney can be so expensive -- My husband and I decided to stay at a Best Western across from Universal which was soooo inexpensive and nice to stay at. You can check out my tripadivsor review! We rented a car and were able to sight see for the first 4 nights of our trip! PS -- we had dinner one night at a place called TU TU Tango - GREAT FOOD!!
Then we met up with family and stayed at the Coronado Springs inside Disney for the next 3 nights. By the way, Disney does have specials that include hotel, tickets & a meal plan. I have to tell you that we paid more at the Disney hotel stay than for the whole rest of the trip - flights & Best Western hotel included -- We also had to be on the meal plan which also can inflate the price! I guess if you are going to utilize the resort a lot - then you get your money's worth. We didn't use the resort's amenities since everything was scheduled for us - - lunch, dinner, activities, etc -- so I didn't think the hotel stay was worth the price. Nevertheless - we still had a great time with family which was the most important! If I had to do that trip all over again - I would try to convince the entire family to save thousands and stick with the Best Western as our main hotel for the ENTIRE trip!
Total Trip Cost: $1800
India & Dubai
What a trip! We went from poverty to luxury and it was only a 3 hour plane ride between both countries in February 2016!
The trip started in Delhi and all I can say is wow! I have never seen as much poverty as I did in Old Delhi -- trash all over the streets, some people living on the traffic medians -- it was overwhelming! One co-worker mentioned to me that perhaps I was just not used to seeing urban poverty -- I actually am but never saw it to that extreme where disease seems to be free flowing. It was however very interesting to take in. People have said that India is an assault on the senses and now I totally understand why!
Delhi was the base for our Golden triangle tour -- after seeing the tourist sites in Delhi we were off to the Taj Mahal in Agra and what a sight it was! Absolutely magnificent -- it changes colors at different times of the day depending on how the sun is hitting it -- that was the highlight of that area plus some shops!
We were then off to Jaipur -- this was the only place where I wasn't super happy with the hotel I picked -- not central enough and I could haven gotten more for my money elsewhere! All in all -- India is not for everyone but we were really glad we explored it!
Keep in mind that India is very inexpensive -- we hired a driver & tour guide for the week and that cost about $500 - that's it! The rest of the money was spent on ticket fees, hotels, eating, shopping and plane tickets!
After India, we jetted off to Dubai and it was crazy luxurious! Of course we didn't stay in a luxury hotel -- too expensive -- but in a really nice, centrally located hotel across the street from the mall. Doing that allowed us to save money and put it towards renting a car and touring Abu Dhabi at our own pace, stopping by most of the tourist attractions of Dubai using their excellent Metro system and eating to our hearts content -- the most memorable being a camel burger! It was a wonderful & relaxing end to our vacation.
Total spent -- around $3800
I've been going to the DR since childhood -- that is where my father was born and raised. So I was not looking forward to taking a vacation there as an adult believe it or not! I was used to fighting off mosquitoes - sleeping under a mosquito net, no a/c, etc!
I must say -- traveling there as an adult, not visiting relatives 24/7 and staying at an all inclusive resort -- changed my mind real quick about not enjoying the DR!
Back in 2008 my hubby and I stayed at an all inclusive in Puerto Plata -- although it was isolated - you couldn't walk from there to somewhere else -- it was all we needed! You get your hotel, entertainment and food rolled up into one!
A lot of travel sites are pretty cheap as well with booking a package to the DR! We booked ours thru JetBlue.
I went again in 2015 and rented an apartment thru air b&b in the town of Santiago -- that was also a home run! Only negative on this trip was transportation options. Its a town where you need a car or need to understand their public transportation system to get around. Walking is an option but it is hot and you have to walk quite a bit if you're not centrally located. Thankfully the taxi's were cheap, reliable and just a phone call away!
Total cost: The plane tickets in 2015 were crazy inexpensive and only cost $200 r/t from JFK!
On both occasions -- I only stayed about 4-5 nights and spent around a grand ($1000) total for 2 people for EVERYTHING!
Egypt, Jordan, Israel & Istanbul
My dream trip to the Middle East! I had been dreaming about seeing the pyramids since I was a kid and finally made it happen in 2015!
First tip I'd suggest is to play with the multi-city airfare -- it worked out to be $1200 each per plane ticket for us to start in Jordan than fly to Egypt and then fly back to Amman and take a bus from Amman to Jerusalem. We flew back home from Tel Aviv! Sounds crazy -- I know -- but it was pretty easy! If I had booked the flights originating in Cairo or Tel Aviv it would have been double the money -- not sure why!
Another tip -- we flew Turkish Airlines and had a 13 hour layover in Istanbul which was great b/c we got to do some extra sightseeing there. They have a program where if your flight arrives by 9 am or 12 pm you get a free tour! Our flight didn't land between those hours but we were able to take the Metro and tour Istanbul on our own since the major things to see are within walking distance of one another and the Metro stop -- Haga Sofia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, etc.
Then we were off to Jordan! Jordan for me is about 2 things -- Petra which was amaze balls -- and the desert (Wadi Rum) where we stayed in a tent overnight. Keep in mind that my husband and I are not campers and we really enjoyed the tent experience. Its one of those things that you have to experience at least once!
My husband who was skeptical about the entire trip -- thinking that at any moment we would be killed -- couldn't get over how much he loved Petra and the desert -- especially when you see the familiar part of Petra from the Indiana Jones movies or from the classic film Lawrence of Arabia!!
Egypt was crazy awesome as well!! I'll start off by saying that I made a big mistake by not staying at Mena House -- an old grand hotel right across from the pyramids. We decided to stay in downtown Cairo to be by the nightlife &restaurants instead. To our surprise -- it is very hard to cross the street in downtown Cairo without almost getting killed! We stayed at the Hilton which was very nice in every way but for some reason -- in that area -- it is very difficult to cross the street. When I eventually go to South Africa -- I may fly thru Cairo just to stay at the Mena House for a few days to make up for not doing it on this trip!
We hired a tour guide & driver while in Egypt -- different tour guide and driver in each city -- worked out to be pretty cheap to at $320 for the entire week in Egypt -- we paid entry ticket fees separately.
Pyramids were AMAZING -- going inside them is interesting but no big deal since there's nothing to see inside but is still pretty cool. What's crazy is that years ago there used to be lines of people waiting to go see all that Egypt had to offer -- now there are no lines whatsoever which is sad -- great for the few tourists -- sad for the Egyptian economy and people.
Luxor was nice but annoying -- loved our luxury hotel at $35 a night -- they could have been charging $200-$250 -- but again the economy is affecting all of the hotels there. I say Luxor is annoying b/c everytime we left the hotel to wander around -- there were people begging us for money or trying to hustle us. I should have picked a more remote hotel that had even more to offer than the one we stayed at -- since you really didn't have a reason to leave your hotel anyway after you see the tourist attractions in Luxor.
FYI -- Although we were safe at all times -- I will say that there were 2 bombings while we were in Egypt -- they happened either days before or after in places we had visited. No tourists were killed or injured in those attacks and I would visit Egypt again in a heartbeat!
We then made our way to Israel. Even though the country is the size of NJ -- they have alot going on and seemed like they loved to party -- which was fine by us!
Jerusalem was great -- chock full of history. I went to Catholic school growing up and everything I learned about was right there in person -- actual stations of the cross (Via Dolorosa), Garden of Gethsemane, etc. It was very interesting to see all of that in person. The last part of our trip was spent in Tel Aviv and we happened to be there during gay pride -- they are very pro LGBT which surprised me. Its has a great beach scene as well! There was even a beach just for people with dogs which was cool!
Israel was super safe. People with machine guns EVERYWHERE -- which didn't bother me and I found reassuring!
Going to the Middle East was a bucket list trip for me and although my husband --who thinks I'm crazy --was along for the ride and loved every last minute of it as much as I did! The only disappointment for me was how I was looked at when I didn't have my head covered -- or if I wore shorts. Women in many parts of the middle east are Muslim and covered head to toe. I did dress properly when I was supposed to but when its 100 degrees out -- sometimes you've just got to wear shorts - and I did wear modest ones.
Argentina, Uruguay & Brazil
What a trip this was in 2014! We started in Buenos Aires & stayed in a central hotel that was walkable to several tourist sites and to Buquebus -- the ferry that takes you to Uruguay! Buenos Aires is a European type city with great food & culture! We were only there a week but saw a lot -- including Evita's tomb, tango in the streets and did I mention great food like steaks & believe it or not pizza!!!
After Argentina, we were off to Uruguay. We only stayed for 2 nights in Montevideo but it was such a nice town! Not a whole heck of a lot to see or do -- but eating was fantastic & there were antique outdoor flea markets! I walked away with a 1943 Movado watch and a gold ring with an aquamarine stone for $100 which supposedly belonged to a former UN diplomat! My husband bought a sword made of whale bone and recycled furniture bits!
After Uruguay we made our way back to Buenos Aires for a night then headed to Iguazu and saw the falls from the Argentinian side! Only there for 2 nights but again --what fun & culture! Bought great wood/silver items for our home, experienced a crazy wind storm and saw some interesting animals out in nature like the Coati!
After Iguazu we caught a flight to Rio and pretty much relaxed on the beaches of Copacabana while taking in some tourist sites along the way! A great trip with a few pitfalls here and there but if I had to do it again -- I'd only change our hotel in Iguazu b/c it was not central enough to the main part of town although it was a great place to stay that I would recommend if you want to be away from the action!
We saved money on hotels by booking thru online hotel sites and in Rio we rented an apartment!
Flights were all thru LAN Airlines -- and the rest of the money was spent on entrance tickets, food & shopping!
Total spent on hotels, flights & etc: $4500
So my husband decided to surprise me on my birthday with a trip to Montreal! We drove up from New York City - -took about 5 hours which wasn't too bad and he reserved a hotel outside of Montreal in the less touristy area of Brossard (I taught him well!) to save us money!
Everyday we'd drive around and go to downtown Montreal - park the car in a cheap lot we found in Chinatown and we toured everywhere we could. We even made it to the Casino which was fun!
Montreal has a very European feel to it and was really pleasant to just walk around in. Plus it was nice on the wallet!
Total cost: not sure since it was a birthday present but I'd say around a grand including meals, gas and our hotel for 5 nights!
The land of pink sand! Such a beautiful Island that my high school friend had been living in for years! So I decided to surprise my hubby for his 40th birthday with a trip here for a long weekend -- Thursday to Monday and see my friend as well! Airfare was great at $225 r/t and we stayed in an air B&B type place which was a little bungalow across street from the beach at about $125/night! I found it on bermudarentals.com
Food and entertainment on the island are a bit more on the expensive side but since we were there for such a short period of time & for such a special occasion we didn't mind spending $$! It was a great trip!
Total cost: $1500
Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore & Japan!
Yep -- we did all of those countries in one trip thanks to a Holland America Cruise in 2013 and it was awesome!! We left at the end of January and the cruise itself was 2 weeks long. We bookended the trip by spending 4 days in Hong Kong at the start of the cruise and 4 days in Singapore at the end. Plus there was a major snowstorm in NYC that year -- so we got 2 bonus nights to explore Japan!! We toured Narita & Tokyo with our extra time!!
You should know that this was the first time I bought travel insurance since I knew we didn't speak any of the languages -- and that worked out to our benefit with the snowstorm that forced us to stay in a hotel in Narita! The insurance paid for our extra nights in the hotel and food costs that we incurred.
We saved even more money on this trip thru the cruise by booking our own excurisons with like minded travelers before we left thru the cruise critic message boards! This tactic allowed us to pay half the money that the cruise was charging for their excursions.
Another reason we traveled via ship -- besides the fact that we love to cruise -- was the food element - - we knew we would always have a great meal on board if we didn't feel comfortable eating something outside the ship!
Flights were free b/c I used my United miles -- we only paid for the cruise which totaled $2400 for both of us and our hotel in Hong Kong! We stayed with a friend in Singapore.
Total cost: about $3100
Costa Rica & Nicaragua
This trip was only a week long but it made a huge impact back in 2012! We started off in Tamarindo and stayed at a great hotel which at the time was $60 per night. It was within walking distance of the beach and town. Plus their was a grocery shop on the corner if we needed anything!
The first 3 nights were great - howler monkeys & iguanas on the premises, lazy days at the beach -- lazy shopping and eating! Awesome! (look at my tripadvisor reviews to see which hotels we stayed at)
Next 2 nights we hopped on a bus to Granada Nicaragua -- some people do this as a 12-14 hour full day tour -- we decided to stay overnight & it was great! We stayed at a little cozy place which looking back was ok - nice & clean and cheap ($35 per night) But I would have paid more ($50-70 per night) and would have gotten a hotel with a pool...but I digress!
While in Granada - we visited a bat cave, saw volcanoes and visited the Doña Elba cigar store!
Then we bused it back to CR and stayed at Hacienda Guachipelin which is a working ranch were you could zipline, milk cows, swim in waterfalls, white water raft and spend time in the mud in their hot springs! The hacienda was pretty remote so I don't suggest it if you want to be out and about in Costa Rica or by the beach but it was a lot of fun! Great for couples and/or families! I do believe centrally located hotels do take people here for day trips.
Our flights were really low -- about $300r/t from EWR to Liberia!
Total cost of the trip: $1500
England, Germany, Belgium & France
This was another cruise/land vacation we took in November of 2011. We started the vacay in London and stayed at a quaint B&B for a few days and bopped all around the city and eventually headed to Southampton where we embarked on a Fred Olsen Cruise.
Prior to the cruise we left our luggage at a pub by the port so we could visit Stonehenge -- and that pub was a tourist site on its own with its interesting cast of characters -- it was the Stonehenge version of CHEERS!
After leaving the pub, we headed to the cruise port and my husband thought we were at a casting for the remake of the film COCOON -- we were actually on a senior citizen cruise which I knew when I booked it -- but I didn't care since I booked it for the ports! My husband must not have been paying attention when I mentioned that to him weeks before we left! Many passengers actually thought we were the entertainment on board b/c of our youthful appearance!
The cruise was AWESOME -- seniors and all -- although the food wasn't always top notch - the ports on the other hand were! We cruised thru Hamburg & Antwerp where we stayed overnight in both! The other day was spent at a winter zoo in Bremerhaven which was "cool". We saw some great Christmas Markets, ate horse meat in Belgium (sorry vegetarians) along with some great waffles and almost got arrested in Germany - - long story short -- just don't go to foreign country strip clubs!
After the cruise we disembarked in Southampton -- caught the train to Paris and stayed there for a few nights where we hit lots of the tourist attractions courtesy our feet and/or the Metro -- one of my favorites being the catacombs!! Another fantastic 2 week trip!
Total cost: $2500
Morocco, The Canary Islands, Portugal & Spain
I love me some cruises and this trip was done on the Norwegian Jade back around January 2011! It was a nine night cruise that took us thru Spain (Barcelona & Malaga), Madeira Portugal, the Canary Islands and Morocco!
We got to see soo much in such a short period of time and we loved it! I have to say what I enjoy most about cruises is that everything is rolled up into one experience -- hotel, food, transportation, entertainment, etc.
We loved Barcelona so much when we first went in 2007 -- that we jumped on the opportunity to go there again and stay a while. So we spent a few days before and after our cruise there and got a great deal on the hotel using my sister's RCI points and we saw some touristy places we didn't get to see last time, revisited some favorites and just spent time living and enjoying Barcelona! It was awesome and we would go back there again in a heartbeat!!!
For the other countries -- we made no plans and toured around on our own when we disembarked which was very easy to do in Madeira and the Canary Islands. In Casablanca we walked where we could walk to and cabbed it everywhere else. In the other Moroccan port -- Essaouira. -- we were part of a cruise critic tour that saved us money from the Norwegian's tour! Another money saver -- on this particular cruise was the cruise cost -- about $700pp including taxes for 9 nights! All of the ports were in their off season!!
Total cost: 2k for a 2 week vacation!!
Finally my childhood dream of seeing Graceland came to fruition! It was a quick 3 night trip in 2011 that I booked for about $200r/t from NYC to Memphis on United (Continental Airlines at the time)!!
I booked a room on hotwire for about $50/nt and it was within walking distance of most of what we did! If you don't mind walking - the hotel was a great deal! It even had a shuttle to Beale Street BUT to be honest I would have preferred a hotel a few blocks closer to the action!
We started off our vacay on Beale Street -- checking out all of the interesting places they have to offer! Then we ate like pigs at Rendevouz -- we had to roll ourselves out of there and back to the hotel. That 10 block walk came in handy b/c it helped us with digestion!
Next day we went to my shangri la -- Elvis' home and it was just like I imagined -- frozen in time! I wanted to see more of the home but unfortunately a lot of it is off limits -- but the first floor and an annex are open to the public in addition to the Lisa Marie (private plane) and a museum with lots of his items. I got tickets at a discounted rate on travelzoo and that saved us some $$ and pretty much that entire day was devoted to Elvis.
Next day we went to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, saw Sun Studios & watched the Ducks at the Peabody Hotel . Every day we ate something fried - pickles, strawberries -- you name it - & if it can be fried -- we ate it and it was DELICIOUS!
On our last day before our flight -- we took the bus to the Memphis zoo and enjoyed the animals there. It was a really nice short and sweet trip that I'd recommend even to non-Elvis fans like my husband who by the end of the trip was a fan of TCB (Elvis fans know what this is)!!
Total Cost: $1000
So a friend of my husband's was getting married in PR and we made a vacation out of it! Airfare was around $240 each on Delta and I booked the San Juan part of our trip thru Hotwire and got the Sheraton Old San Juan for about $75/night. Right off the bat -- we were saving money!! We stayed there for a few days before the wedding and toured around the area. We then rented a car to drive to Isabela where the wedding was taking place and we stayed at a beachside wedding hotel. It was a very sunny pleasant week in the Caribbean!
Total cost:$1500 for one week & that doesn't include the wedding present!
Las Vegas, Nevada
My husband had to go to Vegas for work and of course I tagged along! This was one of the cheapest vacations ever taken b/c we only had to pay for my airfare since the hotel and his airfare was already paid for! I actually had a $99 companion ticket that I had to use on Delta and use it I did! Great week playing Texas hold 'em, going to a gun range and just having a great time! I regret not making time to go to the Grand Canyon though!! That's somewhere I hope to be writing about soon!
Total cost: $299 plus tax for a 6 night vacation (we stayed 2 extra nights and paid for the hotel room)!
Guatemala, Belize, Mexico & New Orleans!
We visited these countries on a cruise that was round trip out of New Orleans back in 2010. We were lucky enough to be in town when the Saints took home the Superbowl championship that year. New Orleans was fun to revisit -- I had been there before and it was my husband's first time! We met up with friends, ate, watched a parade, got beads in the French Quarter, hung out on Bourbon Street - you know -- the regular touristy stuff and we had a ball!
Fortunately the dock was within walking distance of all of that and we got our fill of Mardi Gras before and after the sailing!! We sailed on the Norwegian Spirit for 8 days and the cruise was alright -- we ziplined for the first time ever in Belize - which was soo much fun and went helmet diving in Cozumel -- those were the major highlights!. The other stops were kind of blah...at least they were for us! Since we didn't break the bank with the trip -- the experience was definitely worthwhile!
Total Cost: around 2k for an almost 2 week vacation! Cruise was around $500pp and flights were $250pp...
Montego Bay, Jamaica
So my nephew was graduating from high school in 2009 and my sister and his dad decided to celebrate with a family trip to the all inclusive Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay!
While we enjoyed the resort and its amenities (its a fantastic family resort) -- we also toured around a bit with stops at the Appleton Estate and the glistening waters/Luminous Lagoon -- which is quite a sight to see and swim in! Montego Bay is a place I wouldn't hesitate going back to again and again! Yea mon!
Total cost: $500 for the flights -- my sister & her hubby paid for everyone's stay at the resort! I'm lucky to have a sister like that!
ABC Islands, Colombia & Panama
We visited all of these places on a Royal Caribbean cruise that was round trip out of Colon Panama. Since we landed in Panama City we needed to get a ride to Colon and we hired a driver who took us sightseeing and then dropped us off in Colon so we could embark on the ship!
The stops in Colombia were Cartagena -- which we loved and want to go back to while the other was Santa Marta which neither of us cared much for.
The ABC islands pf Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao were fantastic and I can see why people have timeshares in any one of them. Will definitely make a trip back there at a later date!
When we returned to Panama -- we took a cab back to our hotel in Panama City and enjoyed 2 more nights in Panama at our leisure. All in all -- a really good trip!
Total cost: Around $1800 including flights, cruise, hotel & extras!
Greece, Italy, Malta, Croatia & Turkey
This was my honeymoon! We spent nearly a month exploring several countries that are on the Mediterranean Sea. We flew from NYC and landed in Rome where we stayed at a B&B in the city center that was rustic & delightful. We were within walking distance of the Colisseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps, etc. For about four days we toured the ancient city and then made our way to Civitavecchia to get on our first cruise -- the Costa Concordia (yep that one! -- it was a very pretty ship) The highlights for us were Sicily, Malta & Barcelona, Spain. We loved Barcelona so much that we've been back there twice since we took this cruise. The other ports -- Palma de Mallorca, Savona and Tunisia were one time visits for us. We just weren't impressed with them.
When we got back from that 7 night cruise we walked on over and embarked on a 12 day cruise from the same port on the Star Princess -- another beautiful ship with fantastic food!
It was a heavy Greece itinerary which we loved and the Non Greece stops included Dubrovnik Croatia, Kusadi Turkey, Naples Italy and Venice -- where we disembarked and then headed home! It was a remarkable honeymoon and we were lucky to not only get almost a month off to enjoy it -- we were also able to use miles and not pay for airfare!
Total cost: About $4500 for cruises, hotels & extras!