After making reservations for my first Mediterranean cruise, there were lots of plans to be made such as how to get to Barcelona and would we have pre or post-cruise city stay.
I anticipated flights being the biggest expense with a cruise in Europe. Thanks to the advent of low-cost European carriers (Wow and Norwegian) there were very competitive prices to Spain.
Since I didn’t know it’d be a bargain year, I used airline points to get me there and back booking as early as possible. I used 45,000 American Airlines miles for an economy seat to Barcelona and then another 30,000 points to fly home on United Airlines.
Because of the award level for American, I could select main cabin seats which on my original flight gave me extra leg room. Then I paid $110 to upgrade to Economy plus for the Barcelona to Dulles flight segment on United.
The other travelers in my group don’t have points so they waited it out for bargains and boy did they come. One sister paid less than $500 to fly from Boston and the other two paid another $50 or so dollars to fly round-trip from Los Angeles. They then got domestic tickets to these cities for those bargains. Plus they get to stop in other European cities including London, Amsterdam and Paris!
If I had to do it over again, I think I would buy a bargain fare from Los Angeles and take the train up.
With four adults, we’d need a minimum of two hotel rooms and probably at least $750. Instead, we decided to rent an apartment using Airbnb.
We found a three-bedroom with great reviews, in a good neighborhood a block from a metro stop. The price? Less than half a hotel stay and that’s including the cleaning fee.
There will be a plane, train (metro) and automobiles trip. Because we’ll be moving three times with all our luggage, I arranged minivan shuttles to transport us.
Our first pickup will be at the Barcelona airport. Three of us ended up arriving on the same flight (after meeting in Philadelphia) and we’ll wait at a coffee shop for the fourth before taking a shuttle to our Airbnb apartment.
Once these essential plans were in place, we started finalizing what to see in Barcelona and each port. That’s a post for another day.