In other posts, this is the cruise we refer to as the “Prequel” to the main event, which is the 2023 World Jouneys cruise that departs from L/A. Right about now you are probably thinking we have gone somewhat “bonkers” – flying across the Atlantic, to cruise straight back again. To make matters even worse, the cruise only includes 2 ports, and it is followed by multiple flights home from Fort Lauderale, and an overnight in a Montreal airport hotel. Read on, as I assure you, we have a somewhat valid explanation.
If we aren’t “Bonkers”, why fly across to Europe, to then cruise back across the Atlantic, in December – shhh, I haven’t told Judi that the Atlantic may not be the smoothest ocean in December!!! We are actually flying over to Edinburgh in mid November, to spend a few weeks with my brother and SIL, during which time we will be having a quiet celebration of life for our dad, who passed a year ago. On November 30th, which would have been his 91st birthday, we will go out for a nice dinner, raising a glass in his memory. Also hoping to see our nieces and have both our kids attend.
While planning the return, rather than flying, we looked at additional options, so found that Viking Neptune was sailing from Piraeus (Athens) to Fort Lauderdale. She departs Piraeus on 24th November, which is too early for us, but departing Barcelona on 8th December was a perfect fit. Since we received “Future Cruise Vouchers” when we cancelled the Hawaii cruise, we used them to pay for this one. Even after paying for the tips and drinks package in advance, we still had a balance outstanding, which is lost if not used before boarding. Therefore, we also booked the Madrid extension, which includes the high-speed train down to the coast.
Since flights are not included with this cruise and our itinerary is somewhat complex for Cruise Line Air Services, we have elected to book our own flights.
With an extensive accrual of British Airways miles and a couple of “Companion” certificates, we decided to book business flights from Vancouver to Edinburgh, in mid November. As “Reward” flights normally go quickly, I monitored the BA site daily, waiting for the flights on our preferred date to be published. With the “Companion” certificate, I was able to book 2 Business flights from Vancouver to Edinburgh, at a cost of the points for only a single flight. Sweet deal.
Yes, BA is finally back in the game with Business Class travel. After being an original pioneer, they were sadly lacking with the older B747’s. Gone are the cramped back to back seats, where the window seat pax had to climb over the legs of the pax behind you, to reach the aisle. Welcome to individual pods, only 4 across. I will complete a full post on these flights and the new and improved BA Business Class, in November.
After the cruise, we arrive in Ft Lauderdale 22nd December, only a few days before Christmas, which is always a busy time to fly. We didn’t want to delay booking these flights, but had to make a decision on booking a reward flight, or using cash. For reward flights, we would have to use American Airlines. From previous experience, their First/Business Class throughout the US is poor, and we found their Business Lounge in DFW sadly lacking. Therefore, we elected Air Canada, via Ottawa. Unfortunately, we don’t have any Air Canada points, so had to use cash and pay in full, almost 1-year ahead – ouch!!!