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You are going on a cruise out of Rome (Civiatvecchia) or Venice, so you naturally assume that you must fly into one of these cities.
(1) First of all, you do not want to fly in the same day as your cruise leaves (if at all possible). You want a day for your luggage to catch up to you if necessary. Also, you want an unwind day before your cruise. You don't want to baord and go to sleep.
(2) Take a look at the cost of your entire trip. The airfare from the US/Canada is a very big percentage. You are spending that much money to get there - why not see more when you are there (if you can arrange the time)?
(3) In the US/Canada we pay a penalty for open-jaw flights. The are flight that go into one city and departure is in another city. This is not true in Europe. You do not have to fly in and out of the same city to get the best prices.
(4) Consider flying into Pisa or Florence, spending a day or two there, and then going on to Civitavecchia or Venice. Train service is readily available, very easy, and very economical.
(5) On our last two trips we spent 1-3 days pre-cruise on-land and 4- days post cruise on-land. It greatly enhanced our travel time in Italy. We will do it again, hopefully in Sep/Oct this year. In the meantime, the Baltic awaits!
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that you could consider what is called a stop over, or there is ... what's called breaking the fare ~ to use less expensive inter europe carriers or regional air passes and finally forcing an overnight in either direction.
For example we are using FF miles on American for our round trip Rome cruise We are being routed California-Chicago-Brussels-Rome and back
on the way to Rome we are stoping in Brussels for 4 days...Brussels is within a quick train ride to magical Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent..this give us a chance to decompress before we start our cruise
Breaking the fare...whatever your TransAtlantic carrier is..you utilize just over the water to their main gateway..for example British Airways to London, Air France to Paris, Lufthansa to Frankfurt etc etc. you book a round trip ticket just for that and then you book an inter europe flight to your cruise destination this can at times lower your substanially...just check your baggage allowances
many airlines have airpasses...where you can get 3 or more flight segments throughout Europe CHEAP
and finally forcing an overnight ...we have done this several times
Out of Venice we took the 8pm Air France flight out and then stayed at the airport hotel ibis at terminal 3 in CDG and then we flew out the next morning giving us a full day in Venice.
Going Through Paris on a Air France flight arriving from the USA we forced an overnight...so we arrived into Paris at 10am dropped our luggage at the airport Hotel Ibis and then took the train into Paris..
it was 25 minutes and we were wandering the street with a croissant in our hands..the next morning we flew out continuing to our destination
If you do fly into Florence you can easily spend a week there, make reservations in advance to all Museums and to climb the Leaning Tower.
The train ride to Pisa from Florence is almost 30 minutes. The train ride to Venice is about 4 hours and you will NEED TO MAKE RESERVATIONS in advance. Florence you can use for a base to visit Tuscany.
Taking a Baltic Cruise ....The airline called Air Baltic uses Copenhagen as a hub...I highly recommend flying on them to explore Latvia and especially Lithuania...
You need to make seat reservations on ALL inter-city trains in Italy. This is required.
The train ride from Florence to Venice, with the introduction of the high speed line in December is now just 2 hours. This makes a day trip to Venice do-able from Florence...
Hambagahle has sailed on:
1952 Union Castle Line (Southampton/Port Elizabeth); 1963 Cunard Line (New York/Southampton); 1969, 1971 Italian Line (New York/Cannes & New York/Venice); 2002 Hurtigruten (Bergen/Kirkenes); 2005 Viking River Cruises - Danube; 2007 Deilmann River cruises - Elbe; and
REGENT -- Mariner - 2004 Alaska; 2005 Panama Canal; 2008 Lima to Buenos Aires; 2010 Mediterranean, 2012 Trans-Atlantic Voyager - 2006 Baltic; 2006 Trans-Atlantic Navigator - 2009 Trans-Atlantic; 2011 Eastern Caribbean
OCEANIA -- Riviera - 2013 Western Caribbean; 2015 Trans-Atlantic
Another option for flying from Boston, Chicago, Dulles, New York is to use Aer Lingus. They have daily flights that generally require changing planes in Dublin where you can connect to flights anywhere in Europe. The bonus is that they allow stopovers (I believe its up to 2 weeks) in Ireland at no additional cost.