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lara h
June 19th, 2010, 06:58 AM
Has anyone had experience taking the AVE Train from Madrid to Barcelona?

Is it straightforward getting from Madrid Airport to the station, and then from the station at Barcelona to the port?

Did you purchase advance tickets or just wait until you arrived at the Madrid station?

Thanks

cruiseluv
June 19th, 2010, 08:37 AM
From what you say, you are taking the train the same day as the cruise leaves? If so, you should make sure you are in an early train especially if the cruise leaves in the afternoon. For sure, you should buy your ticket beforehand. Not only will it be cheaper , but you would avoid any possibility that your departure being sold out. You don't have a big window of time to play with! Frankly, if it was me, I would go the night before to Barcelona.

Editing as I just noticed you are flying into Madrid the same day of cruise! I believe it's too complicated to take a train under those circumstamces. If I were you, I would fly. There are many flights between Mad and Bcn. What airline are you flying into Madrid and at what time does your cruise leaves?

ssawjo
June 19th, 2010, 12:00 PM
Has anyone had experience taking the AVE Train from Madrid to Barcelona?

Is it straightforward getting from Madrid Airport to the station, and then from the station at Barcelona to the port?

Did you purchase advance tickets or just wait until you arrived at the Madrid station?

Thanks


As part of our post cruise, we are spending a few days in Barcelona and then FLYING to Madrid, before returning home. I have checked several internal airline web sites and Spanair has almost a shuttle service (like Reagan/LaGuardia) and is not that expensive. The above poster is correct. Your options may be very limited, especially if your plane is late into Madrid. Good luck.

hkto
June 19th, 2010, 01:40 PM
Has anyone had experience taking the AVE Train from Madrid to Barcelona?

Is it straightforward getting from Madrid Airport to the station, and then from the station at Barcelona to the port?

Did you purchase advance tickets or just wait until you arrived at the Madrid station?

Thanks
Don't bother with train. Fly directly from Madrid Barajas to Barcelona. You may have to switch terminals (add another 20 min). Spainair, Iberia and Vueling offer frequent flights. It's 1 hr flight and then another 30-35 min cab ride from Barcelona El Prat airport to cruise port.

lara h
June 19th, 2010, 06:57 PM
Thanks for your replies.

Should have made my post clearer. Sorry....

We are flying in from Dubai which only flys into Madrid. From there we wanted to catch the train as we will have over the luggage allowed on internal air services and that can add up to $100's. Plus the train will be another way to see a smidge of the countryside.

Don't worry...we will be there 3 days before....I just said the "port" as that is close to where we are staying.

cruiseluv
June 19th, 2010, 08:17 PM
Lara,

I am glad to hear that! It could have been a very close call! If you have never been in Madrid I would suggest to spend at least one day there. It's a very nice city.

In any event, transport from Barajas airport to Atocha in Madrid, and from Barcelona train station to port area is easy via taxi.

lara h
June 23rd, 2010, 10:39 PM
Decided to leave OZ a day earlier and stay overnight in Madrid. Saves the stress of possible delayed flights and then we can wake fresh to catch the train in the morning. It gives us almost another full day in Barcelona which will be great!

cruiseluv
June 23rd, 2010, 10:55 PM
Madrid is the city that never sleeps so hopefully you will be able to enjoy it.

candr
June 25th, 2010, 03:00 PM
Has anyone had experience taking the AVE Train from Madrid to Barcelona?

Is it straightforward getting from Madrid Airport to the station, and then from the station at Barcelona to the port?

Did you purchase advance tickets or just wait until you arrived at the Madrid station?

Thanks

We took the AVE train in the opposite direction from Barcelona to Madrid following a cruise two years ago. It is a short cab ride between the Barcelona station and the cruise terminal. Make sure you agree the fare in advance as our driver tried to collect double what it should be.

The Madrid station is centrally located just down the street from the Prado. We stayed at the Westin Palace which was a five minute cab ride away.

The train itself was very comfortable and right on time. Although we had been told the scenery was boring, we found it very interesting.

Boarding and departure were very easy even with our bags and hassle free. Plenty of time to board in advance of departure. The AVE high speed train is much better though more expensive than flying and much more hastle free.

We purchased our tickets in advance from the Renfe website. You can get a significant discount if you do it that way. They have directions in English. It is a little complicated and I recall there was a place where you had to enter the name of your credit card and what it wanted wasn't what our common sense told us to enter. I don't recall the details at this point. It took a couple of tries, but it saved us quite a bit of money. There were detailed instructions on a Trip Advisor post for the train as to how to complete the form, we found them very helpful.

lara h
June 25th, 2010, 11:24 PM
Thanks for your informative post Candor.

Actually with the amount of luggage we have the train will end up much cheaper. Not that we have heaps, just one suitcase, a carry on and backpack each, but it is over the weight allowed and you have to pay such a premium for anything over the allowance these days when flying.

What class did you travel? Just thinking it may not worth paying for the first class service when we are only on the train for a few hours, or do you have any thoughts about that?

cavcmy
June 27th, 2010, 04:32 PM
American Airlines changed our flights from Dallas to Barcelona and we are considering connecting in Madrid rather than Heathrow or sitting 5 hours in JFK. Which would you choose if your husband was in wheelchair?

cruiseluv
June 27th, 2010, 07:30 PM
American Airlines changed our flights from Dallas to Barcelona and we are considering connecting in Madrid rather than Heathrow or sitting 5 hours in JFK. Which would you choose if your husband was in wheelchair?

cavcmy,

To better answer your question, what would be the flights (times and which airlines) that you would take Dallas to Madrid connecting to Barcelona?

If it is American from Dallas to Madrid this will land on Terminal 4 . I'm assuming they would connect you with Iberia from MAD to BCN. These flights leave from Terminal 4S, which is a "satellite" of Terminal 4 . They are connected by a train. As far as I know if you request assistance they will take care of escorting you and your husband on a wheelchair. If this is the scenario I wouldn't want less than 2 hrs connecting time. The lugagge would of course be checked through to BCN. Terminal 4 and 4S are pretty new , around 5 yrs old and it is beautiful but it is big.

I wouldn't do Heathrow, it's a horrid airport . Waiting 5 hrs at JFK doesn't sound fun either.

dcinmb
June 27th, 2010, 09:35 PM
My parents will be taking the AVE train from Barcelona to Madrid this September and we're wondering if there are official porters that can help them get their luggage onto the train? They're perfectly mobile but in their 70s/80s, so hefting their larger suitcases onto the train may be challenging for them. They'll be traveling for three weeks (including a 12-day cruise) so each will have a carry-on and an 18" x 27" (46 cm x 69 cm) suitcase. I've read that the stations have attendants for disabled passengers but don't feel comfortable asking for their assistance as my parents are clearly mobile.

Also, their two larger suitcases will need to be left in the luggage compartment at the end of the car. As this luggage will be unattended, has anyone heard of issues with suitcases being stolen? Would it make any difference if my parents bought Preferente tickets instead of Turista?

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated!

Diana

cruiseluv
June 28th, 2010, 12:45 AM
Hello Diana,

Unfortunately, unless things have changed, there are no porters. I have parents who frequently travel to Spain and they have refrained from taking the AVE between Barcelona to Madrid for that very reason (they don't travel light!). I wish I had known about the attendants , as my dad always get a wheelchair at airports. Although he doesn't use a wheelchair in his normal day to day, on the long walking distances at airports he needs it. I am not sure what assistance they would offer to bring the lugagge up to the train. That to me is the biggest hurdle.

If you find otherwise, pls post here.I would love to be able to tell myparents about it!

Editing to add: I have traveled on the AVE (Regular class) and Eurostar (Regular and first calss). If they can swing it, Preferente would be better as there is more space for luggage(vis a vis number of passengers). We didn;t ahve any trouble, and I ahven't heard of people having any problem, but of couse, that doesn't mean that it couldn't happen.

cavcmy
June 28th, 2010, 01:39 PM
cavcmy,

To better answer your question, what would be the flights (times and which airlines) that you would take Dallas to Madrid connecting to Barcelona?

If it is American from Dallas to Madrid this will land on Terminal 4 . I'm assuming they would connect you with Iberia from MAD to BCN. These flights leave from Terminal 4S, which is a "satellite" of Terminal 4 . They are connected by a train. As far as I know if you request assistance they will take care of escorting you and your husband on a wheelchair. If this is the scenario I wouldn't want less than 2 hrs connecting time. The lugagge would of course be checked through to BCN. Terminal 4 and 4S are pretty new , around 5 yrs old and it is beautiful but it is big.

I wouldn't do Heathrow, it's a horrid airport . Waiting 5 hrs at JFK doesn't sound fun either.

The options we have for Madrid are American Airlines DFW 5:50pm to Madrid 10am; departing Madrid 11:45am on Iberia arriving Barcelona 12:55pm or American Airlines DFW 5:50pm to Madrid 10am; departing Madrid on Iberia 2:45pm arriving 3:55pm and other flights departing Madrid an hour or so after each one. Our trip isn't until November and we are using AA miles, so we have time to decide. And yes, we have requested wheelchair assistance. We haven't flown into/out of either Madrid or Heathrow so I've been trying to find which is the lesser of two evils. Our initial flight was perfect and who knows -- maybe it will go back to original in the next couple of months! I will appreciate all the input you can give me. Thanks!

cruiseluv
June 29th, 2010, 01:02 AM
The options we have for Madrid are American Airlines DFW 5:50pm to Madrid 10am; departing Madrid 11:45am on Iberia arriving Barcelona 12:55pm or American Airlines DFW 5:50pm to Madrid 10am; departing Madrid on Iberia 2:45pm arriving 3:55pm and other flights departing Madrid an hour or so after each one. Our trip isn't until November and we are using AA miles, so we have time to decide. And yes, we have requested wheelchair assistance. We haven't flown into/out of either Madrid or Heathrow so I've been trying to find which is the lesser of two evils. Our initial flight was perfect and who knows -- maybe it will go back to original in the next couple of months! I will appreciate all the input you can give me. Thanks!

IMO, unequivocally, the least of two evils is to fly to BCN via Madrid. Heathrow is the pits!

Although ideally I would like 2+ hrs transfer time, I think in your case, with assistance being provided, I would take the 11:45 flight to BCN. In the worst possible scenario, that you miss that flight due to delays in the original flight, they would put you on the next available flight. When is your cruise leaving?

cavcmy
June 29th, 2010, 12:11 PM
IMO, unequivocally, the least of two evils is to fly to BCN via Madrid. Heathrow is the pits!

Although ideally I would like 2+ hrs transfer time, I think in your case, with assistance being provided, I would take the 11:45 flight to BCN. In the worst possible scenario, that you miss that flight due to delays in the original flight, they would put you on the next available flight. When is your cruise leaving?


Thank you for all the great info! Our cruise doesn't sail until Nov 21st (NCL Jade Mediterranean) so more flight changes are likely...I'm going to watch and wait for a bit. Thanks again.

cruiseluv
June 29th, 2010, 01:07 PM
Thank you for all the great info! Our cruise doesn't sail until Nov 21st (NCL Jade Mediterranean) so more flight changes are likely...I'm going to watch and wait for a bit. Thanks again.

I hope you are planning to get to BCN at least the day before cruise. It will take a lot of teh pressure off regarding connections.

cavcmy
June 29th, 2010, 04:33 PM
I hope you are planning to get to BCN at least the day before cruise. It will take a lot of teh pressure off regarding connections.


Yes, two days in fact. We did "day of" once and that was enough for me. Even though we arrived in plenty of time, I was totally stressed out by the time we got there.

quivet c
July 30th, 2010, 12:47 PM
Is there any advantage to buying tickets ahead of time for the AVE from Madrid to Barcelona if your travel time is flexible?

Kerry's Girls
July 30th, 2010, 01:43 PM
Although ideally I would like 2+ hrs transfer time, I think in your case, with assistance being provided, I would take the 11:45 flight to BCN. In the worst possible scenario, that you miss that flight due to delays in the original flight, they would put you on the next available flight. When is your cruise leaving?

I'm not sure this is true. If the next flights are fully booked, I don't think they bump ticketed passengers to put on those who missed other flights. On our way back from Barcelona, a couple we met missed their connection at JFK and we learned later that they ended up having to stay overnight at the airport because they weren't able to get on any of the following flights.

Best,
Mia

cruiseluv
August 1st, 2010, 09:15 AM
Is there any advantage to buying tickets ahead of time for the AVE from Madrid to Barcelona if your travel time is flexible?



the main advantage is pay much less for the ticket. if you can get a web fare starting 60 days prior to your travel date that is 60% discount, the next best discount is Estrella fare which is 40%. These fares are capacity controlled and go quickly.

quivet c
August 2nd, 2010, 12:03 PM
Ending up booking a plane ticket as it was over $200 USD cheaper than the AVE train, it was a no brainer.

lara h
August 7th, 2010, 02:35 AM
Our train ticket ended up being $80 AUD and we have no excess luggage costs that we would have had to fork out if we took a flight instead. So it just depends if you can luck a discounted fare as "cruiseluv" wrote.

oysterdam
August 10th, 2010, 09:59 PM
the main advantage is pay much less for the ticket. if you can get a web fare starting 60 days prior to your travel date that is 60% discount, the next best discount is Estrella fare which is 40%. These fares are capacity controlled and go quickly.

So true. Book exactly 60 days prior on the Renfe website and you will save a bundle. We paid 45 euros each for second class in April going from Barcelona to Madrid. So much less stressful than flying, in my view.

To do a fair comparison between the train and flying, you need to calculate the cost of taxi fare to the airport, taxi fare from the airport, and airline luggage fees. Taxi costs from downtown Madrid to the airport is around 35 euros and from downtown Barcelona to the airport is around 25 euros.