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HELP! Booked European 9-day cruise from Dover, UK


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There was an offer today that was too good to pass up!  I was talking to hubby on the phone about the cruise, and he said we would discuss when he comes home.  I saw that the deal was disappearing (the balcony rooms were no longer available) so I jumped on it!  I'm very excited, but haven't been to Europe.  We go to Germany next month, but I know nothing about planning this trip.

1)  What kind of price should I look for for one-way airfare for 2 to London?
2)  If the cruise leaves early on Sunday, what's the latest you would arrive in London?
3)  Which airline(s) should I watch for cheap airfare?  Any websites you recommend?
4)  Stops are in Le Havre France, La Coruna Spain, Leixoes (Porta) Portugal, Lisbon Portugal, Gibraltar, Malaga Spain and ending in Barcelona Spain.  If there's anything that rings a bell and we HAVE to do or see, can you please let me know?
5)  I think my hubby is going to fly home from Barcelona while I'm going to go to Baumholder Germany (12 hours by train) to visit my son and his family.  They were just stationed there.  Does this seem like a plan or do you predict a problem?

6)  I read about transportation by National Express.  Should I take that from London to Dover?  I'm guessing Dover is cheaper to stay than London.  Unfortunately my husband won't have much time off for us to explore London.  Next time!

Thank you so much!!  I think I have lots of research ahead of me.  I can't wait!  322 days!!

Edited by duncmelsmom
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4 minutes ago, EMOSEA said:

Sounds like fun! I recommend getting emails from Scott's Cheap Flights. They send you notifications when there's a good flight deal (I see Europe deals all the time). 

 

Thank you!!  I see one can join for $49/year.  Do you think that's necessary?

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3 minutes ago, duncmelsmom said:

 

Thank you!!  I see one can join for $49/year.  Do you think that's necessary?


I haven't bought the premium membership and I still get good deal emails. 🙂  

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Can't say about most of your questions, but I will say something else about the airfare. 

 

If you are flying back, do not look at one way flights! Look at multi-city flights. In that case you will want to look for your flights separately. One being Home >> London, Barcelona >> Home and the other being Home >> London, Germany >> Home.

 

I was going to do what you were on our first Europe trip, went... omg $1500 pp for a flight just to Venice? I should reconsider this... by booking Home >> Venice, then getting off the boat in Genoa and taking a train for Florence for 2 days, I ended up with less than $3000 for flights, 4 nights of hotels in Venice and 3 nights of hotels in Rome and 2 nights of hotels in Florence through the airlines "Vacation Package" (aka there TA partner). Sure there was another $100 Euro's for trains in there (cruise was round trip from Genoa but as my DH said.. when will we go back?!? 2020 dear.... lol) 

 

I think any train is doable in Europe. I would suggest though considering taking just a carry on for your portion of the trip to visit your son so you don't have to drag it with you. Account for another checked bag flying back with your DH in costs to make like easier IMO. 

 

Have a blast! 

 

 

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Whatever you do, fly in the day before, or more, for the cruise. Recently we flew from Houston to Venice for a cruise with a change of plane in Amsterdam. This was booked through the cruise line. The Houston to Amsterdam was a 747 with an extremely long taxi out to the runway. We arrived in Amsterdam with just 45 minutes to spare to catch the flight to Venice. Luckily, they held the plane since many same cruise passengers were on the flight.  We arrived in Venice WITHOUT our luggage because the luggage didn't get transferred in time. Luckily, we were spending a few days in Florence before 5he cruise and airline delivered our luggage to us. Unfortunately, other passengers to catch the cruise that day from Houston were not as lucky.

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Hi, we are on this cruise with you.  I see you are from Georgia. I've been looking at multi-city flights out of Atlanta for a few months now.  (ATL-LON then BCN-ATL).  We are going to London a few days early then staying 2 night in Barcelona.  The best I've seen is about $1265 on American.  It's non-stop ATL-LON.  BCN-ATL stops in Charlotte.  Delta has a similar cost but it's a later arrival into London.  The Delta flight we want with an earlier arrival is much more expensive ($1800). 

These prices are for tickets with 1 free checked bag and ability to pick your seats.  There are cheaper options on both airlines but with 4 of us traveling, I don't want 4 middle seats.  

 

We are staying in London and taking the National Rail to Dover on Sunday morning.  

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If your cruise line offers an air fare program, check that out too. 

 

We have found great prices to/from Europe on Princess' EZ-Air.  For our June cruise from Washington Dulles to London Heathrow we reserved early (about 315 days in advance) and the price for non-stop flights was $682 each.  At the time United was quoting $1000 per person for the same flights.  With the Princess program (and I'm sure other cruise lines) payment need not be made until 45 days in advance so there is lots of opportunity to change to cheaper flights if you can find them in the interim.  At 45 days before out outbound flight the United fares were over $1200 per person!  Even better with United at least, they recognize your airline status (we get free upgrades to economy plus and can pick out our seats as soon as we make our reservations) and on our return flight we were upgraded to business class at the gate (I truly doubt that will ever happen again since we were traveling on such cheap tickets).

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I would fly  in at least  day or more  early

fly non stop if you can less chance of lost luggage

I use   http://matrix.itasoftware.com/  

to check flights & routings  use the Multi city  tab

if the cruise line offer air check them as well for pricing

 

Check the ports of call forums for info on things to see & do

 

Enjoy

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Look in the Ports of call on this site for information- lots to see and do; La Coruna is on a walkable peninsula with the Tower of Hercules at one point; in Portugal you must try their custard tarts; Gibraltar is more British than Britain; try the tapas in Malaga… and Barcelona is just wonderful!

So much to see and do in all of them... enjoy planning! ☺️

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On 8/10/2019 at 4:29 PM, duncmelsmom said:

1)  What kind of price should I look for for one-way airfare for 2 to London?

You should be looking for an open jaw to London and returning from Germany, not two one way tickets.

2)  If the cruise leaves early on Sunday, what's the latest you would arrive in London?

Friday at the very latest.  Get to London, see a couple sites, get over the jet lag before boarding.  That's a port intensive itinerary, I'm doing similar next year.

3)  Which airline(s) should I watch for cheap airfare?  Any websites you recommend?

You are in GA, Atlanta is Delta's hub.  They have a good hard and soft product to and from both of those countries.  Look at them and their code shares.  This is your first time going to Europe and it doesn't seem that you're a highly experienced traveler, sometimes paying a bit more for convenience and the known is the better option.  Whatever you do, I"d look at airlines with Alliance partners in case things go south--you'll have a lot more options that way.  

4)  Stops are in Le Havre France, La Coruna Spain, Leixoes (Porta) Portugal, Lisbon Portugal, Gibraltar, Malaga Spain and ending in Barcelona Spain.  If there's anything that rings a bell and we HAVE to do or see, can you please let me know?

 

It really depends on your interests.  We're going to rent a car and visit Normandy, Omaha Beach, etc. from Le Havre--you might be more comfortable just taking a shore excursion to the same places.  Porto (not "Porta") is Port heaven for me, I plan on doing some Port tasting and buying some well aged bottles of vintage Port.  


5)  I think my hubby is going to fly home from Barcelona while I'm going to go to Baumholder Germany (12 hours by train) to visit my son and his family.  They were just stationed there.  Does this seem like a plan or do you predict a problem?

I believe it far longer than 12 hours and will require several transfers. It's probably much easier and you might find considerably cheaper to fly.  
 

6)  I read about transportation by National Express.  Should I take that from London to Dover?  I'm guessing Dover is cheaper to stay than London.  Unfortunately my husband won't have much time off for us to explore London.  Next time!

Yes, it should be less expensive in Dover.  But keep in mind that you'll have to take the train into London form the airport and then transfer.  

 

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On 8/10/2019 at 10:29 PM, duncmelsmom said:

1)  What kind of price should I look for for one-way airfare for 2 to London?
2)  If the cruise leaves early on Sunday, what's the latest you would arrive in London?
3)  Which airline(s) should I watch for cheap airfare?  Any websites you recommend?

 

It's difficult to check for prices when I don't know the exact dates but I looked at the prices with British Airways for next summer.

 

I found Atlanta-London + Barcelona-London-Atlanta for  $1050 for one. (They call it Economy Standard and that include one checked bag.)

 

I should defenitely arrive in London as early as possible if you haven't been there before but Saturday morning should be okay if you don't have the extra time to spend in London.

 

 

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On 8/10/2019 at 10:29 PM, duncmelsmom said:

 

6)  I read about transportation by National Express.  Should I take that from London to Dover?  I'm guessing Dover is cheaper to stay than London.  Unfortunately my husband won't have much time off for us to explore London.  Next time!
 

 

National Express is okay but you can also take a train from London to Dover.

 

Hotels are probably cheaper in Dover than in London but I should book a hotel close to the busstation/trainstation and go to Dover in the morning on embarkation day. Then you will get at least a few hours in London and have time to do something in a really nice town!

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If you are boarding or disembarking the ship in Dover, there's a reasonably priced British chain of hotels called Premier Inn close to the waterfront. We stayed in the one near the dock area for a night a couple of years ago. Very pleasant and helpful staff, restaurant on site, and a good place to start out taking a walking tour of the area. Not fancy, but clean, modern facilities, comfy beds, nice quality linens and towels, modern bathroom.

We'd have no issues with staying there again if the opportunity arises. We'd like to go back and stay more than one night to take in more of the historical sites. 

We pre-arranged online for a car to pick us up at Heathrow and deliver us to the hotel thru one of the Dover area local taxi companies, which worked out very well for us. The next day the guy at the hotel desk called a taxi for us for the 10 minute ride to the pier.

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