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NCL Reduced AIR-PHL to Barcelona or Rome?


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I know this question is really specific but I'm hoping someone can share their experience flying out of PHL to Barcelona or Rome on the reduced NCL airfare.   

 

We're trying to plan a med cruise out of Barcelona or Rome for 11 of us (our adult kids/spouses and 2 grandkids 6 & 9).   It's an expensive trip for such a large group and the reduced airfare at $699 is a significant savings, especially if they book you in standard economy vs basic economy, which seems to be the case from what I've read.  

I've pored over the boards, reviewing everything I can find on this topic and appreciate all of the helpful information outlining the pros and cons of using the reduced or free air.   I understand we have no control over the flights assigned and someone else's experience may be different then ours.  But it would be very helpful to hear from someone who has flown the same route we plan to take before making this decision.  
 

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It is alot cheaper for the timeframe we're looking at (June due to kids schedule).  If you want to fly non stop it's around $1500 for standard econ.  Oddly enough flights with a connection weren't that much cheaper unless you want to fly Aer Lingus with its 22 hr return.   

Edited by shelleymp
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The deciding factor is cost savings if you know the class of seat you will receive.

 

You estimate saving between $700-$800 pp.  I approximate the value of my idle time at $50/hr.  At that rate, I would be willing to add 14-16 hours onto my trip before the savings diminished to zero.  However, the value of my idle time increases with each consecutive hour - I might wait in line for an hour to save $50, but I will not do so for two consecutive hours to save $100.  So add $10 to compound for each additional hour.  That will put you at about 8 additional hours that you will tolerate to save $800, which is 1/2 a waking day on vacation.

 

If NCL schedules your flight and the total travel time is less than the direct flight time + 8 hours, then you come out ahead.  If it is more than the direct flight time + 8 hours, then you suffer.

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Thank you both for your input.  Even though we'd all be linked under the same reservation we know there's a chance we wouldn't be on the same flight.  We also know there's no guarantee how much additional travel time this will add and that will factor into the final decision. 

 

At this point I'm just trying to gather as much information for family members as I can so they can decide what makes the most sense.  I'm hoping that will include someones experience flying from PHL to Rome or Barcelona.

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Though I don’t have personal experience with it, I’d consider it a roll of the dice. If it’s a substantial savings, it might be worth it to have the potential of a longer layover, more stops, and/or separate flights from tavelmates, but if you’d only save $100 pp, I’d choose my own. I’d think you could come close to that price independently.

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Barcelona is the primary embarkation point for the Med cruises. Rome is a secondary point with the port being far from the airport. And you can always look to see if flying out of NY or DC (factoring in renting a passenger van or train) would offer you any better fares (discounted or not). 

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9 hours ago, BirdTravels said:

Barcelona is the primary embarkation point for the Med cruises. Rome is a secondary point with the port being far from the airport. And you can always look to see if flying out of NY or DC (factoring in renting a passenger van or train) would offer you any better fares (discounted or not). 

Newark is the place to check.  Easy to get to.

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Thanks everyone-appreciate all the input.  Rome is an option too but we did vacation with the family in Italy quite a few years ago and spent several days in Rome so Barcelona is our 1st choice.  We did check into Newark (best alternative for us- closer and way less of a hassle then NYC or DC).  We've flown out of there several times and after our last international flight decided future flights need to be a non-stop to make sense with the additional travel time/hassle/cost etc.  Its a VERY long day with a connecting flight. Prices/times aren't the best right now but we have alerts set up for Newark & PHL.  Agree that having control over your flights is the best option.  It's what we're leaning towards but we'd still love to hear of anyone's experience going from PHL to Barcelona, especially using NCL.  

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 I do not have any answers to your specific questions but did want to add to your research if you are looking at other options for departure airports. I would recommend doing some mock bookings on the NCL website to see what the airfare would be from the different airport options you can consider. It is possible you will see some differeing air add on fees.

 

For my cruise June 2020 that starts in Southampton, flights out of Buffalo, which is 40 minutes from my house are $1337.52 per person. But flights from Toronto which is 70 minutes away in the opposite direction are free. 

 

Easy decision for us....we are flying out of Canada. 😀

 

 

Rochelle

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Just out of curiosity I did do a mock booking for the Epic out of Barcelona for the first week of June, 2020. I can only see Canadian prices on my end but there was a significant difference in price based on departure airport. From PHl it shows the add on price of $935.86 Cdn. From Newark or JFK  the cost per person was $534.20 Cdn per person.  With a group your size that adds up to a significant savings.

 

I would be interested in learning what you can find for yourself in American dollars.

 

Also when you fly from Newark or JFK you are more likely to get direct flights because there are more available from those departure points.

 

 

Rochelle

Edited by rochelle_s
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We used the reduced air for our upcoming cruise out of Barcelona - but the air was $300 cheaper from EWR than PHL, so just decided to fly out of EWR.  We ended up getting non-stop flights on United, so we're quite happy! 

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On 9/18/2019 at 12:10 AM, kodesthemoose said:

Is flying with Norwegian Air an option for you - they often have really great prices.  I think they fly out of Newark. 

I would never recommend this. Are you up to date, at all  on the financial reports?   This is a company in big trouble.  

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14 hours ago, orimeep said:

We used the reduced air for our upcoming cruise out of Barcelona - but the air was $300 cheaper from EWR than PHL, so just decided to fly out of EWR.  We ended up getting non-stop flights on United, so we're quite happy! 

Thank you for posting!  May I ask what your return flight time was?

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On 9/17/2019 at 9:06 AM, billslowsky said:

Newark is the place to check.  Easy to get to.

We just did this reduced airfare with NCL. United  Airlines Nonstop Newark to Barcelona overnight in at 9am arrived a day early for the $25 fee. Return at 11:15am back at 2pm.

 

Mom lives in Philadelphia and drove to Newark. SNAP was a good offsite lot, indoor valet for about $10/day.

 

Don't use NCL transfer on return, book something private or taxis. NCL was low service,  90yo left to load luggage under bus.

Edited by Nola26
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I fly out of Philly and Newark (but live massively closer to Philly).  Unless you're flying in and out of different airports I don't think the NCL airfare is worth the stress... 

 

I also just booked cheaper air on Delta to Tokyo than what NCL was offering (several hundred dollars cheaper).  

 

What I tell everyone to do is to set a Google Flights alert and then see what Hopper says when trying to determine what's the best to buy.  The other issue with the NCL air (outside of not getting your flights closer to departure) is you can only go two days early, and I believe there is an additional charge.  

 

I would also REALLLLLLLY suggest checking out Newark... it's super easy to get to.  I try and get a ride to Trenton and then hop on NJ Transit, and it's a fairly painless experience (I do it as a single mom with a kiddo, we've been doing that jaunt since she was a little bit, now she's a teenager and actually helpful).  If you can't get to Trenton, then you can just hop on SEPTA and get out to Trenton that way or hop on NJTransit at Jefferson Station (can take SEPTA to any of the CC stations and then get to Jefferson).  Slightly time consuming, but flights have been half as much through EWR than PHL.  

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10 hours ago, xitappers2bx said:

I would also REALLLLLLLY suggest checking out Newark... it's super easy to get to.  I try and get a ride to Trenton and then hop on NJ Transit, and it's a fairly painless experience (I do it as a single mom with a kiddo, we've been doing that jaunt since she was a little bit, now she's a teenager and actually helpful).  If you can't get to Trenton, then you can just hop on SEPTA and get out to Trenton that way or hop on NJTransit at Jefferson Station (can take SEPTA to any of the CC stations and then get to Jefferson).  Slightly time consuming, but flights have been half as much through EWR than PHL.  

If you can get a ride, try to go up to Hamilton, much nicer station.  And with heavy bags, sometimes Amtrak is worth the difference.  NJ Transit senior fares begin at age 62, 50% off but not the monorail.

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We opted for the Rome embarkation point for the Mediterranean cruise we did last May. We flew in a few days early, then stayed a few days after the cruise as well. I didn't realize until after we were past the final payment date that this was a split cruise. Unless you're flying in early or staying late after the cruise, and that is why you prefer Barcelona over Rome, I would strongly suggest going in/out of Rome.

 

When we got on in Rome, we walked right on with no wait. Granted, it was late in the afternoon and most people were probably already on board, but there were no lines and no hassle. When we got off the ship in Barcelona for our tour, it was chaos. When we returned to the ship after our tour in Barcelona, it was chaos. I'm guessing it's at least a 70/30 split between people who embark in Barcelona vs Rome. So if you get on/off in Rome, you have much less crowds to deal with.

 

I guess I got lucky with flights, we found an amazing deal through Alitalia. JFK to Rome, nonstop was $500 each for the 3 of us. NCL didn't have the free airfare promo at the time, but with those prices and our 3rd passenger coming in our mini suite for 'free' it was a no brainer.

 

Not knowing your exact dates, but a quick search for flights from 6/24 - 7/1 from JFK to FCO shows a price of $835 on Alitalia for the ability to choose your seats with luggage included. For comparison, the best deal I see on Kayak out of Philly is for $1376 nonstop on American, but no bags or seat assignments included.

 

If NCL is offering you a flight from Philly to Rome for only $600.... I would jump on that. There's a very good chance it's the nonstop on American anyway. 

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