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Ed Kaye

Boarding in foreign country

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7 minutes ago, Ed Kaye said:

Any tips for traveling to and boarding a ship in a country whose language I do not speak? We just booked a cruise out of Italy.

Welcome to the boards @Ed Kaye! I'm cruising out of Italy as well next year and have been doing some exploratory contact via email with hotels and such and have had no problems with a language barrier. I think more than ever English is a pretty universal language these days and unless you are going to more remote parts of the world, you should have no problems.

Welcome and happy cruising!

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English is a very widely taught language throughout Europe. I learned of this while stationed in there during my military years.

More than anything, local citizens appreciate when you at least attempt to speak the local language, so maybe look into learning a few phrases. The effort is appreciated and seen as a sign of respect that makes people that do speak English more willing to assist you.

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3 minutes ago, SPS said:

English is a very widely taught language throughout Europe. I learned of this while stationed in there during my military years.

More than anything, local citizens appreciate when you at least attempt to speak the local language, so maybe look into learning a few phrases. The effort is appreciated and seen as a sign of respect that makes people that do speak English more willing to assist you.

Agreed. I'm going to learn at least "please" "thank-you" and "where's the bathroom" 😂

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15 minutes ago, Matt said:

Agree with this.  Learn a few basics and that goes a long way.

Effort should be made. If you show up, and make zero effort, they wont either. If you make an effort, and they see you struggle, they will come to the rescue (if they can).  Ive been on both sides of this....and its just MY experience, and opinion. 

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18 minutes ago, SteveinSC said:

Effort should be made. If you show up, and make zero effort, they wont either. If you make an effort, and they see you struggle, they will come to the rescue (if they can).  Ive been on both sides of this....and its just MY experience, and opinion. 

I purchased a program for learning Spanish for my visit to Madrid last year.  I liked the instructor's approach to language learning for tourist - "don't get caught up with all the grammar, tenses, and conjugations.  Just learn to communicate... they'll figure out what you want to say"

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other helpful words/phrases for italy:

entrance:  ingresso
exit:  uscita (pronounced "oo-she-ta")
excuse me (while trying to get through a crowd):  permesso
excuse me (apologizing or to get someone's attention):  mi scusi
the bill/ check (i.e. at a restaurant):  il conto

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1 hour ago, FManke said:

What's your cruise date and what ship?

Sounds like my plans as well; I'm on Rhapsody leaving May 23.  Venice, Croatia, Montenegro, Santorini, Katakolon, then back to Venice!:5_smiley:

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We sailed out of Barcelona last October with stops in France & Italy.  We had zero issues communicating.  We even flew in early & stayed in Barcelona.  Everyone speaks English - even most restaurants have their menu listed in Spanish & English.  On the ship, there were no issues at all - even on embarkation day.  Be sure when booking your shore excursions to book the English-speaking tour guides. 🙂  

If you are flying into Italy & getting your own transportation to the ship, be sure to do your research.  For instance, in Barcelona, the taxis are owned & operated by the government & are the cheapest way to travel.  Our taxi driver didn't speak great English, but I had the address of the port printed out so I could hand it to him.  He got us there with no problem.  

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We have cruised out of “Rome” (cruise lines call it Rome but is about an hour away) and had no issues with communication. We travelled down from the Cinque Terre by train to catch the ship. Italian trains are disorganised but they will get you there. We had an allocated carriage for our trip but the carriage was not attached to the train when it arrived. They just put us on another carriage where we had to stand most of the way.

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Never had a problem, even on a Baltic sailing. Italy was always the easiest, seemed everybody understood some English.

On sailings that visit multiple countries, don't make it tough on yourself trying to learn different languages.

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On 9/19/2019 at 2:48 AM, Ray said:

You shouldnt have any issues in Italy, the only country there is really a problem talking English is in France. 

If you are in the tourist areas (predominantly Paris) then they generally all speak English. They just dont want to.

If you follow the advice given earlier and show respect by attempting their language and saying "Bonjour... parlez vous anglais?" (good morning... do you speak english) then you are usually fine.

I hate to say this (considering most people on this forum are from the US) but about 10 years ago I was on a round the world holiday and had been in NYC before heading to Paris.  As a result, my wife and I were wearing NY caps and _some_ locals were quite rude.   They said "are you American...?"  and I said " No... Australian".

They just smiled and spoke to me in perfect english from that point on.

I never wore those hats again in France! 🙂

Back to the original question though..... You will be fine in the main parts of italy.   only 2 years ago we drove from Florence to Sicily and there was only 2 small towns in the whole trip where language was a concern.

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