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Tips for a transatlantic newbie?


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Hey all, long time lurker here. I ran across a really awesome deal through my VIFP that gave me a transatlantic cruise from Portugal on the Pride (I have a soft spot for the old gal) + $200 OBC + drinks on us all for the low low price of 453 bucks! (100 for each guest in the room, and 253 in taxes, etc). I'm pretty stoked as I have never been to Europe, and I see this as a sort of adventure. Sails on Oct 30 2022.

 

Does anyone have any tips about getting good airfare and hotels for the trip? Also, does Carnival have transportation from my hotel to the ship? (depending on the hotel obviously).

 

Any advice would be appreciated!

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Usually cruiseline transportation is only the day of the cruise. After the cruise would work better if you fly in early.

 

Cant give booking sites, but there probably is a cc place for your port to look for hotel names.

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Be prepared that your airfare will be far more expensive than all cruise costs, combined!   We booked a Mediterranean cruise based on the low Carnival cost.  Then we learned the airfare was horrendous.  We flexed:  flew into London and attended theatre, took a bus to Paris (under the Chunnel) and saw the main attractions,  enjoyed the TGV to Barcelona (great city; watch your purse/billfold extremely closely) and boarded the ship.  Great cruise that finished in Dover, where we took the bus via Canterbury to London and flew home.  RT air is cheaper than "open-jaw."  Amazing 3+ week European tour.

 

What I learned on my only trans-Atlantic was that you need to be on a ship larger than 83,000 tonnes or sea-sickness is a real concern.

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18 minutes ago, Out of Iowa said:

What I learned on my only trans-Atlantic was that you need to be on a ship larger than 83,000 tonnes or sea-sickness is a real concern.

 

Well, the Pride is 88,500 so shouldn't be an issue there. Yeah I know the airfare is going to be a ball buster, but I have almost a year and a half to take care of that, so it shouldn't be too bad to deal with. Found a few hotels right across from the cruise terminal that were decently priced.

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First of all you're WAAAAY to early to book airfare and hotels. A couple of questions to start. 

Are you ok with all the sea days? What kind of cabin do you have? How much time can you allocate for this trip? You should be flying in no less than 3 days before the start of the cruise. This way you can tour Lisbon on your own before embarking on your cruise. Are you sure you can't go on the April, 2022 Transatlantic? It has much better stops than the cruise you're taking. 

 

I'll be VERY frank with you. That particular TA is really only stopping at two other ports, both in the Azores, which are on an Island off the coast of Portugal and Africa that's belongs to Portugal. So TBH you're really not going to see Europe, per se, on your cruise. That's why it's IMPERATIVE that you fly into Lisbon AT LEAST 3 days ahead so you have time to see Lisbon. 

 

I personally would not have advised someone who's never been to Europe to take this cruise. The expense of flying to Lisbon to take this cruise and you're only seeing two other stops, both in the Azores, which beautiful, they aren't really Europe in the sense you're thinking. 

 

My heartfelt advice is to either 1) add on the cruise before the TA and make it a B2B or 2) take the cruise before it  which is a 9 day cruise from Rome to Lisbon. THAT cruise you will see Europe, not the on you booked. I'm very sorry to say that.  

 

 

 

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We have received some really good prices on airfare to Europe using Carnival's Fly to the Fun.  We have had two Europe cruises cancelled during the pandemic, and received a full refund of our airfare that was booked through Carnival.

 

Carnival used to book hotels and transportation to/from them in Europe, but no longer does this.

 

I second the advice given by kwokpot to also book the cruise prior to the transatlantic if your schedule and budget permit.  We typically travel 2 or 3 days before the cruise to spend time touring prior to the cruise.

 

There are travel agents that specialize in European vacations that can help with hotels, ground transportation and excursions before and during your cruise.

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Posted (edited)

I'm not so much really in it to see much of Europe, more of just a long stretch of time to unwind and have fun. The Azores look ok, nothing really interests me, but I do like the stop in Bermuda, and I have already been to Grand Turk 3 or 4 times, so meh there. I'll more than likely fly in 2 days before, maybe do a little sightseeing around Lisbon, but other than that, i'm not really planning anything. If I want to see Europe, i'll set up a tour that doesn't involve a cruise ship. This is merely a getaway flying solo 🙂. I absolutely appreciate the insight though!

 

I'm an interior, which isn't really my bag these days, but how much time am I going to spend there? I actually like sea days more than port days (am I weird?)

Edited by pogoism9
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4 minutes ago, pogoism9 said:

I'm not so much really in it to see much of Europe, more of just a long stretch of time to unwind and have fun. The Azores look ok, nothing really interests me, but I do like the stop in Bermuda, and I have already been to Grand Turk 3 or 4 times, so meh there. I'll more than likely fly in 2 days before, maybe do a little sightseeing around Lisbon, but other than that, i'm not really planning anything. If I want to see Europe, i'll set up a tour that doesn't involve a cruise ship. This is merely a getaway flying solo 🙂. I absolutely appreciate the insight though!

 

I'm an interior, which isn't really my bag these days, but how much time am I going to spend there? I actually like sea days more than port days (am I weird?)

I was going on what you posted in your initial post, which is quite different than what you're saying now. That's why it's always important to give people as much info as possible in your initial post so people can give you good advice.

As long as you know what you're getting into,that you're not really seeing any cities in Europe besides the embarkation port of Lisbon,then TA can  be very relaxing voyage.  In Lisbon you shouldn't stay near the port,there's no reason to. You should find a hotel in the Old Town section. On the day of embarkation you'll take a taxi to the port. Same thing when arriving at Lisbon airport.

Where will you be flying from? Air Portugal,or TAP,will be your best bet on a one way flight to Lisbon. I flew them in November,2019 and they have beautiful, comfortable brand new planes. 

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I will be on this cruise with you, and I must say I'm a little jealous of your price. But then again, we got one of those great deals over this Christmas and New Years, 14 day B2B out of Galveston in an inside for the same deal you got. Can't wait!

 

I agree with the advice about getting to Lisbon early. That way you get over jet lag before the cruise starts, and also you won't miss the ship if you miss connections or have other travel problems. When we went to Europe in 2018, Carnival's air was cheaper than anything else I could find.

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52 minutes ago, kwokpot said:

Where will you be flying from? Air Portugal,or TAP,will be your best bet on a one way flight to Lisbon. I flew them in November,2019 and they have beautiful, comfortable brand new planes. 

 

More than likely Dulles since its the closest to me (aside from Richmond, Va which is almost always more expensive). I'm kind of lucky in a way, since I have 5 airports within 2 1/2 hours of me, so I can kind of shop around.

 

33 minutes ago, JeanieTheMom said:

I will be on this cruise with you, and I must say I'm a little jealous of your price. But then again, we got one of those great deals over this Christmas and New Years, 14 day B2B out of Galveston in an inside for the same deal you got. Can't wait!

 

Small world! It's funny, I found it through rate code FJ1 that I had in my VIFP section, but it said it was for select "up to 5 night" cruises. I scrolled far enough down to find this gem all the way at the bottom. I thought it was a mistake, but it let me go through the booking process and all that, so I guess I just got lucky. I did notice after the fact that I somehow have FTTF on it as well.

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10 minutes ago, pogoism9 said:

More than likely Dulles since its the closest to me (aside from Richmond, Va which is almost always more expensive). I'm kind of lucky in a way, since I have 5 airports within 2 1/2 hours of me, so I can kind of shop around

You're in luck, Air Portugal flies non stop from Dulles

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2 minutes ago, kwokpot said:

You're in luck, Air Portugal flies non stop from Dulles

 

Seems so! I know its a long way out, and i'm sure it will go up, but if I book 1 way from Dulles in Late October this year, its less than 400 bucks. 

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3 hours ago, Out of Iowa said:

What I learned on my only trans-Atlantic was that you need to be on a ship larger than 83,000 tonnes or sea-sickness is a real concern.

 

Unfortunately, the size of a ship has nothing to do with seakeeping ability. The design of the hull and scantlings determine how well she handles seas. Suggest checking out the thread in "Ask a Question" Board about this subject.

 

I spent many years on 15,000 to 20,000 GT ships that could handle seas way better than any of the current ships, except QM2.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not sure if anyone mentioned this but you can save on airfare if booking as a multi-city booking rather than one way. Book to Portugal, then "return' flight from Miami (or wherever you are disembarking) to your home airport.

 

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  • 1 month later...

We have done three transatlantics and prefer flying to Europe, doing our touring and taking our TA cruise home.

Best way to get flights are two options, most cruise lines will book your oneway flight for your at competitive prices.

Also, we usually use miles to purchase our one-way flights to Europe.

 

For checking on hotels and or rental car, suggest using TripAdvisor.com and Kayak.com for finding good prices (use map feature on TripAdvisor for finding great locations.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

We have booked with ships cruise air and have been able to go days ahead of the cruise. I would suggest to never ever plan on arriving on sail day. That is just crazy.

 

And whoever talked about getting a bigger ship that 88,000tons to avoid sea sickness....dont even give that a thought. For the large majority of our 19 trans atlantics the sea has been very calm. I think one could cross in a canoe. Just enjoy it.

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22 hours ago, spunks said:

For the large majority of our 19 trans atlantics the sea has been very calm. I think one could cross in a canoe.

 

My trans-Atlantics have also been at times when King Neptune had been having good days.  There are guests who were on Rotterdam VI and Italian Line's Michaelangelo, et  al. who discovered otherwise.  

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On 9/14/2021 at 1:40 PM, spunks said:

We have booked with ships cruise air and have been able to go days ahead of the cruise. I would suggest to never ever plan on arriving on sail day. That is just crazy.

 

And whoever talked about getting a bigger ship that 88,000tons to avoid sea sickness....dont even give that a thought. For the large majority of our 19 trans atlantics the sea has been very calm. I think one could cross in a canoe. Just enjoy it.

 

I agree the size of the ship has little to do with the seakeeping ability in a seaway. The design and scantlings are the important factors.

 

However, having completed quite a few more crossings of the Atlantic, at all times of the year, I can assure you it isn't mostly smooth sailing. Spending 40 yrs at sea taught me to keep a healthy respect for the ocean.

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