I spend way too much time looking at cruise itineraries, but when I see something like this I just have to investigate. This post is about how I found and booked our next Mediterranean cruise for $386!
The extremely low price on this Royal Caribbean Mediterranean cruise is what initially caught my eye. I am eligible for the interline rate, which is a special rate for airline employees and their families. I will discuss interline rates in a future post. But as you can see, the regular rate for an inside cabin is only $42 more than the interline rate. Hopefully this cruise has a great itinerary? Here’s the route map:
It sails out of Venice! So much to see before and after the cruise! We’ve never been to Split, Croatia, and Mr. P2P hasn’t yet been to Dubrovnik or Venice. Game of Thrones was filmed in Split and Dubrovnik, and we would love to look for sites where the series was filmed. We have visited Rhodes, but we rented a car and saw the southern part of the island. We need to visit the Old Town next to the port. Kusadasi, which is the gateway to the ancient city of Ephesus, would be the only repeat for us.
So far the price was right, and the itinerary was good. But could we get to Venice? Round-trip air was $1250 in couch, but that would cost us $2500 for airfare for two, or about 4 times of the cruise price. I also don’t like to pay for flights–I haven’t paid for a flight since 2009. I wanted to use either American Airlines or Delta miles, since I have a healthy stash of both. No matter which European city I wanted to fly into, American wanted to route me through London on British Airways, forcing me to pay the horrendous surcharges. I looked at Delta next. I put in my preferred days of departure and selected “flexible dates.” Here’s the chart:
My preferred days of arrival and departure were available at the low rate of 60,000 SkyMiles per person round trip. My next step was to see if the flights are reasonable, ie., few connections, and fairly short layovers. Here were the choices for the outbound:
There is a seven hour layover in Amsterdam. This is not optimal, because I would rather spend that time in Venice, but perhaps we can take a canal tour or go to one of the “bars” while we’re on layover. I just have to snicker at the price Delta wants for business class–320,000 miles! Here’s the inbound options:
Two connections, which is not good, but at least the connection times are short, perhaps too short. Layover in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle is 1h20m, and Amsterdam’s layover is 1hr45m. These kinds of schedules are what you more often than not have to put up with when you are booking only a few months out. This is the trade-off for getting a cheap cruise. You can snag some excellent cruise prices last-minute, but you will either pay extra money, or be more inconvenienced when you book your flights.
At this point, I called Vacations To Go and put the cruise on a 24 hour hold. The taxes and fees added an extra $96/person. The total price for two would be $961.90 for an inside cabin. With the cruise secured I went back to delta.com and booked the flights–two round trip tickets in coach for 120,000 SkyMiles and $200 in taxes.
I immediately called up my cruise planner and put the $500 deposit down on the cruise. Now all the heavy lifting was done, and I could relax and thing about what we want to do on our port days!