Case Study–Cruising for $39/night! Finding it and getting there

39 night

As I am looking on the Vacations To Go website for cheap cruises, this is the kind of pricing that attracts my attention! (See my post http://www.plane2port.com/cheap-cruise-clinic-part-1/ on how to search for cruises for price per night). I am going to use this $39/night cruise to show you some of the steps in how to make this cruise happen!  I did the research for this cruise back in February, so the example shows a cruise from April of this year. The process still works, however!

Here are the particulars on this $39/night cruise on the VTG website.

vtg header

39 night whole strip

Yes, this looks promising. Fort Lauderdale is stateside, so it should be cheap miles-wise with award tickets, and I’m hoping I can use Avios for extra savings and flexibility (more later, see below). I know that the cruise is cheap, but I also want an interesting itinerary. Let’s check it out:

39 night itinerary

Ok, excellent! I like the inclusion of St. Kitts and Antigua, as I have never visited these ports.

Unfortunately this is a case study, and I cannot actually go on this cruise due to family responsibilities. Therefore, I will not go through the process of getting several bids on this cruise in this post. So to save time and space, I will go on to the next step of looking for award space on airlines where I have plenty of miles. I will be looking for award space from ATL. I will look for flights that will get me there on April 6, which is a day ahead of embarkation. I found these flights on US Airways using my AA miles.

39 night AA miles

This works, and because it is low-level space, I can probably get these flights for fewer miles using BA Avios.
Oops, my search shows no availability on Avios to FLL, but I can fly into Miami on Avios.

39 night avios

So, how would I get from MIA to FLL? Well, I could take a shuttle, OR I could do a one-way car rental. So I looked on Hotwire and found this:

39 night one way car rental

This is my first cursory look at a car rental, so I may be able to get a better price than this, but at least I know that I can rent a car one-way for $90, which would be may be more convenient and cheaper (for 2 people) than a commercial shuttle or taxi from MIA to FLL.

My next step is finding a place to stay and making sure that I can get to the port from the hotel. So next I look for hotel where I can use points, and that will provide a shuttle from the airport (if I have to drop off a rental car) and transportation to the port. I googled “fort lauderdale hotels with free shuttle” and found this:

39 night hotel list

The last step is getting home.

Yes! There is availability on AA coming home to ATL:

39 night AA miles return

At this point I would put flights on a 5-day hold on AA and then start booking the cruise. Wish I could go on this one! So many great cruise deals and so little time!

A version of this post appeared on Saverocity.com a few weeks before I started this blog. 

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