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  1. Due to a family obligation, my children (15M/17F) and I will be in the UK next July, so, of course, I started cruise shopping in an effort to double dip and fit our vacation into this trip. I need to work within a two-week window and have narrowed my choices down to two itineraries, and they couldn't be more different. Option 1: Oasis out of Barcelona, with port stops in Palma de Mallorca (undecided), La Spezia (sightseeing tour of Florence), Civitavecchia (Rome food tour), and Naples (explore Capri). Option 2: Anthem out of Southampton, with port stops in Bergen (Bryggen Harbour and cable car), Olden (Briksdal Glacier/troll car), Flam (zipline, bike ride, and railway), and Bruges (explore a bit and canal boat tour). For some additional context, this past summer, we had a fantastic time on Odyssey out of Civitavecchia - our first trip to the Mediterranean. Our excursions included Rome, Positano, Sorrento, Pompeii, Ephesus, Santorini, and Mykonos with a morning in Delos. I see pros and cons of the Mediterranean and the Norway cruise. What gives me pause about option 1 is the heat. This summer, we sailed in late June and just missed a pretty bad heatwave. From what I have read, Spain can be brutal in the summer. We would also be visiting Rome and Naples two years in a row, though doing different activities. What gives me pause about option 2 is that we sailed on Ovation last summer (2022) to Alaska out of Seattle and really enjoyed it. I am concerned that Norway may offer a very similar experience. However, it does look amazing (I can thank Matt for the Norway bug)! I've been to Bruges before, but my kids haven't, and our only experience in Norway was a brief layover in Oslo this summer, so that doesn't really count. Both trips cost pretty much the same for a mid-ship balcony, with Norway coming out a few hundred dollars more. I put refundable deposits on both to hold the rooms while I make up my mind. I would love any and all feedback! Since I will be paying this off for the next year or so, I want to be sure I am carefully considering my options. I am of course Googling, reading blogs, and watching YouTube videos like crazy, but most of what I have learned about cruising I have learned here.
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