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Old 02-15-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
luv2sleep
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How to find decent RT airfare from LAX to Europe?

I'd like to take a DCL Med cruise but the airfare seems cost prohibitive. Any tips on how to get to and from Europe for less money?
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:01 PM   #2
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The frequent flyer boards (like the DIS) FlyerTalk.com has a section for low cost flights, some of which are to/from Europe. it may be worth your time to look in there. Some of the travel bloggers at Boardingarea.com post about sales to Europe, as well.

Of course, I always advocate using The ITA Matrix to find airfares
http://matrix.itasoftware.com/

Another option would be to offset your flight costs with credit card offers that have miles as a sign up bonus or have companion certificates as part of their benefits.

Good luck!
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greysword
The frequent flyer boards (like the DIS) FlyerTalk.com has a section for low cost flights, some of which are to/from Europe. it may be worth your time to look in there. Some of the travel bloggers at Boardingarea.com post about sales to Europe, as well.

Of course, I always advocate using The ITA Matrix to find airfares
http://matrix.itasoftware.com/

Another option would be to offset your flight costs with credit card offers that have miles as a sign up bonus or have companion certificates as part of their benefits.

Good luck!
Thank you! I had no idea where to start.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
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I took a Med. cruise last summer (Princess). Prices were slashed in order to fill the ship. High airfares was one of major reasons.

First price airfare from DCL. I think it's around $1800. You now know what price to "beat". Kayak is good place to check airfare. www.hipmunk.com is another meta search site that people seem to like.

I picked some random dates in July. $1200 might be available.

JMO but I wouldn't pay the airfare for just a 4 (or even 7) night cruise. I'd be looking at a 12 night cruise and a couple days in a hotel before the cruise. Consider one of the cruises which starts in Venice and ends in Barcelona.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lewisc View Post
I took a Med. cruise last summer (Princess). Prices were slashed in order to fill the ship. High airfares was one of major reasons.

First price airfare from DCL. I think it's around $1800. You now know what price to "beat". Kayak is good place to check airfare. www.hipmunk.com is another meta search site that people seem to like.

I picked some random dates in July. $1200 might be available.

JMO but I wouldn't pay the airfare for just a 4 (or even 7) night cruise. I'd be looking at a 12 night cruise and a couple days in a hotel before the cruise. Consider one of the cruises which starts in Venice and ends in Barcelona.
We booked a 7 night for next summer and one of the reasons was that it was so much cheaper than the 12 night. For the difference in price, we can practically buy 2 business class tickets from LAX to BCN! -- Suzanne
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SuzanneSLO

We booked a 7 night for next summer and one of the reasons was that it was so much cheaper than the 12 night. For the difference in price, we can practically buy 2 business class tickets from LAX to BCN! -- Suzanne
Wow! What a difference!
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:59 PM   #7
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My suggestion to consider a longer cruise was a general suggestion to get value from expensive airfare and travel time.

I wasn't aware of DCL pricing. The 7 night cruise is no bargain. Normally you'd expect your per night cruise cost to go down, or at least stay the same, the longer the cruise. DCL 12 night Med cruise pricing is crazy.

Med cruise is more about the ports then the cruise experience. I suggest at least considering other cruise lines.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SuzanneSLO View Post
We booked a 7 night for next summer and one of the reasons was that it was so much cheaper than the 12 night. For the difference in price, we can practically buy 2 business class tickets from LAX to BCN! -- Suzanne
Alternatively you can also either arrive early or stay in Europe and do stuff that's not accessible from a cruise ship (and of course will be outside the Disney "cocoon") We are doing a week in Provence before our cruise.

I agree with Lewis.... there are LOTS of options and Disney tends to be a very high priced option and doesn't always have the best ports (when you are a small player and come late to the game... for example they have a much worse port for Florence if you actually want to go there, it's not bad for some other places, but they advertise it as Florence)

The only reason we are doing DCL was I used by DVC points.. otherwise it would have been another line!
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lewisc View Post
My suggestion to consider a longer cruise was a general suggestion to get value from expensive airfare and travel time.

I wasn't aware of DCL pricing. The 7 night cruise is no bargain. Normally you'd expect your per night cruise cost to go down, or at least stay the same, the longer the cruise. DCL 12 night Med cruise pricing is crazy.

Med cruise is more about the ports then the cruise experience. I suggest at least considering other cruise lines.
DCL is unique in so many ways. Just like I can visit Busch Gardens and have a nice time but it's not WDW. I would not go home with the warm/fuzzy feeling of spending a week in WDW. Just saying...
We're doing the 7-nt mostly because I can only get one week off work in the summer. By chance a part-timer chose the week before mine, leaving Thurs & Fri available. Who knows when this would ever happen again?

Also the longer cruises, even on other lines, means more $ needed for excursions which gets really expensive for a family.

We'll have 2 nts in Barcelona pre-cruise so at least we're getting 9 nts in Europe for our airfare. Not the best value for a RT flight but it's as long as I can do.
We're using FF miles for 3 out of 4 seats. We've been saving them for around 7 years now. (Though switched to the SWA card for the past few years.) It may not be enough time for OP to earn enough miles that soon, I would definitely sign up for ff miles for whatever airline you do fly. That's a lot of miles to throw away if you don't.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greysword View Post
The frequent flyer boards (like the DIS) FlyerTalk.com has a section for low cost flights, some of which are to/from Europe. it may be worth your time to look in there. Some of the travel bloggers at Boardingarea.com post about sales to Europe, as well.

Of course, I always advocate using The ITA Matrix to find airfares
http://matrix.itasoftware.com/

Another option would be to offset your flight costs with credit card offers that have miles as a sign up bonus or have companion certificates as part of their benefits.
Good luck!
Yes, I believe USAirways offers that. Well, they used to a few years ago. It was something like buy a seat that was $250 or more and up to 2 companions fly for $99 each. Of course, this was back in the days when we could fly Philly to MCO for $99 & our kids were young so I never used my certificates. They've probably adjusted the $ amounts.

eta: Wow, the amounts are still the same. For $89 that's a great deal!
http://www2.usairways.com/en-US/divi...s/default.html
FWIW, I entered LAX using my August dates to BCN. It was $1449 or so. Not bad considering they want $1210 from Philly and you are flying so much further. It has gone up since I bought so if you're looking at 2014, start watching prices as soon as they release your dates.
Also, OP, I would double check with DCL but I've heard on the cruise boards (and confirmed with my TA) that DCL docks back in Barcelona late at night on the last night of the cruise so it's cleared by customs in the wee hours of the morning. DCL is good about getting guests off the ship in time for early flights. Someone mentioned a special continental breakfast the last morning for guests with flights before 9am. Ours is at 10:45am. Another reason I love DCL. We'll be home by 2pm that Saturday & I'll have Sunday to rest up before going to work on Monday.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by OrangeCountyCommuter View Post
I agree with Lewis.... there are LOTS of options and Disney tends to be a very high priced option and doesn't always have the best ports (when you are a small player and come late to the game... for example they have a much worse port for Florence if you actually want to go there, it's not bad for some other places, but they advertise it as Florence)

The only reason we are doing DCL was I used by DVC points.. otherwise it would have been another line!
You could have rented your points and had the luxury of selecting whatever cruise line and itinerary you liked. Could have even booked Disney, not sure if you would saved money or spent extra renting your points and booking DCL.

I thought you were kidding. I checked. You're right. The normal port for Florence is about an hour drive, the port DCL uses is about 90 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruadisneyfan2 View Post
DCL is unique in so many ways. Just like I can visit Busch Gardens and have a nice time but it's not WDW. I would not go home with the warm/fuzzy feeling of spending a week in WDW. Just saying...

Also the longer cruises, even on other lines, means more $ needed for excursions which gets really expensive for a family.
.
Med cruises are port intensive. The cruise experience is secondary. Sort of like staying at the GF but spending your vacation at Busch Gardens, Universal, KSC etc.

I suggest getting Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports book. Get it form your library if you want to save a few dollars. Many ports can be done without spending $$$ for ship excursions. A family can rent a car or book a private tour for less money, and get a better experience, then a ships tour. Decide which ports you'll use a DCL excursion, which ports you'll book a private excursion and which ports you'll do it all on your own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruadisneyfan2 View Post
I've heard on the cruise boards (and confirmed with my TA) that DCL docks back in Barcelona late at night on the last night of the cruise so it's cleared by customs in the wee hours of the morning. DCL is good about getting guests off the ship in time for early flights. Someone mentioned a special continental breakfast the last morning for guests with flights before 9am. Ours is at 10:45am. Another reason I love DCL. We'll be home by 2pm that Saturday & I'll have Sunday to rest up before going to work on Monday.
That's not unique to DCL. Princess docks at Barcelona at 5a and says any flight after 9:15a (international flight) is good to book. Any cruise line will have food available for passengers who leave early. Special would be a cruise line which offered room service or an early dining room breakfast on disembarkation day.

A word of caution. Frequent flier seats, and maybe even companion seats, are limited. The "geeks" on boards like FT will tell you to be prepared to split up your family and take long connections.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:42 AM   #12
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You've all been so helpful. I can see there's no more reasonable way to fly unless you have FF points, etc. I've given the idea of the Med up for now. Other cruise lines are definitely less expensive but not by thousands. It still doesn't make up for airfare being $1200-1500 pp. That's just crazy to me right now at this stage in life. That's a month worth of nanny pay in my world.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Lewisc View Post
Med cruises are port intensive. The cruise experience is secondary. Sort of like staying at the GF but spending your vacation at Busch Gardens, Universal, KSC etc.

I suggest getting Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports book. Get it form your library if you want to save a few dollars. Many ports can be done without spending $$$ for ship excursions. A family can rent a car or book a private tour for less money, and get a better experience, then a ships tour. Decide which ports you'll use a DCL excursion, which ports you'll book a private excursion and which ports you'll do it all on your own.



That's not unique to DCL. Princess docks at Barcelona at 5a and says any flight after 9:15a (international flight) is good to book. Any cruise line will have food available for passengers who leave early. Special would be a cruise line which offered room service or an early dining room breakfast on disembarkation day.

A word of caution. Frequent flier seats, and maybe even companion seats, are limited. The "geeks" on boards like FT will tell you to be prepared to split up your family and take long connections.
Thanks, I did get the Rick Steves book last year when I first start considering a Med cruise. Also booked our non-stops (PHL-BCN) with all of us sitting together. I can't speak for using the companion certificates.

The only other lines I'd consider besides Norwegian would be Royal Caribbean.
I just rechecked pricing just for comparison sake. Our deck 7 balcony is costing $4140 for 2 of us. (Teens across the hall.) Same size balcony cabin on the Epic is $3844. A difference of only $296. RCCL wants $3869.
To me, that's worth sticking with DCL, a guaranteed awesome time. (We have cruised RCCL twice.)
A coworker cruised the Norwegian Epic and enjoyed it but says she didn't know anything about early debarkation and had to stay another night in BCN post cruise. I can only get 1 week off work in summer so I'd need to be back to work by Monday.

I always rebook onboard for a 10% discount and $200 per cabin onboard credit. Also our TA matches that so we'll have $800 OBC. This brings DCL back to costing less than other lines and we'll still have a fun time at dinner and a DCL show after if we still have the energy.


It was the same situation for our Alaskan cruise. DCL is a newbie there and not the greatest itinerary. We still loved it and back then DCL would give $350/cabin OBC for platinum cruisers. With 2 cabins & what our TA gives it came to $1100 in OBCs. That makes DCL a no brainer.

If the OP hasn't sailed DCL yet or isn't getting onboard booking perks, it may be a harder choice.

Lewis, have you ever sailed DCL? just curious...

OP, regardless of what line you cruise, www.romeinlimo.com is highly recommended on the cruise boards & on tripadvisor.com. We'll be splitting the cost with my parents but even if you have no one to share with, they have a web page where you can sign up to share with another family. It saves a lot of $$ and while not 100% private, semi private is still better than being with a group of 50 on a DCL-led bus. jmho.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:44 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ruadisneyfan2

Thanks, I did get the Rick Steves book last year when I first start considering a Med cruise. Also booked our non-stops (PHL-BCN) with all of us sitting together. I can't speak for using the companion certificates.

The only other lines I'd consider besides Norwegian would be Royal Caribbean.
I just rechecked pricing just for comparison sake. Our deck 7 balcony is costing $4140 for 2 of us. (Teens across the hall.) Same size balcony cabin on the Epic is $3844. A difference of only $296. RCCL wants $3869.
To me, that's worth sticking with DCL, a guaranteed awesome time.
A coworker cruised the Norwegian Epic and enjoyed it but says she didn't know anything about early debarkation and had to stay another night in BCN post cruise. I can only get 1 week off work in summer so I'd need to be back to work by Monday.

I always rebook onboard for a 10% discount and $200 per cabin onboard credit. Also our TA matches that so we'll have $800 OBC. This brings DCL back to costing less than other lines and we'll still have a fun time at dinner and a DCL show after if we still have the energy.

It was the same situation for our Alaskan cruise. DCL is a newbie there and not the greatest itinerary. We still loved it and back then DCL would give $350/cabin OBC for platinum cruisers. With 2 cabins & what our TA gives it came to $1100 in OBCs. That makes DCL a no brainer.

If the OP hasn't sailed DCL yet or isn't getting onboard booking perks, it may be a harder choice.

Lewis, have you ever sailed DCL? just curious...

OP, regardless of what line you cruise, www.romeinlimo.com is highly recommended on the cruise boards & on tripadvisor.com. We'll be splitting the cost with my parents but even if you have no one to share with, they have a web page where you can sign up to share with another family. It saves a lot of $$ and while not 100% private, semi private is still better than being with a group of 50 on a DCL-led bus. jmho.
This would be an OBB.

The limo thing makes me wary. There's only 2 of us and one is a small child. It would be a good idea if we joined another DIS family though. Thanks for that info. I tend to like DCL excursions for the service and the ability to let go and not plan. Planning excursions on your own unless its a quick transport to a beach resort is always a headache IMO. More than likely DCL would get my port adventure $$ or I'd join a DIS person who had planned group excursions for everyone.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:56 AM   #15
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This would be an OBB.

The limo thing makes me wary. There's only 2 of us and one is a small child. It would be a good idea if we joined another DIS family though. Thanks for that info. I tend to like DCL excursions for the service and the ability to let go and not plan. Planning excursions on your own unless its a quick transport to a beach resort is always a headache IMO. More than likely DCL would get my port adventure $$ or I'd join a DIS person who had planned group excursions for everyone.
I totally get how easy DCL makes it but Rome in Limo makes it pretty easy too. They pick you up right at the port and let you know exactly what tickets to buy for when such as "Get tickets for 10am Vatican entrance." or "If you want to climb the tower in Pisa, get 2:30 pm tickets." They offer a variety of preplanned excursions or you can alter to whatever you wish.

I agree it's harder to justify with little ones. Mine are in grades 10 & 7, and love history so they are eager to see so much of what they've learned in school. Soon we'll be up to our necks with cars & college so for us it's now or wait 10 yrs.
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