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Rome to Catania: CHEAPEST Fare

Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 07:31 AM
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Rome to Catania: CHEAPEST Fare

You can travel from Rome to Catania for as little as 15 euros. No joke.

Autoservizi Salemi Bus Lines has a daily coach from Roma Tiburtina to Sicily at 20:00. The bus goes to the following towns, in geographical order: Messina, Catania, Gela, Licata, Palma di Montechiaro, Agrigento, Porto Empedocle, Sciacca, Menfi, Castelvetrano, Mazara del Vallo, Marsala. Arrival times at each town can be found on the website.

The crossing of the Straits of Messina takes place around 4:00 a.m.

At Catania (arrival 6:15 a.m.), you can connect by bus to Siracusa, Noto, Modica, Ragusa and Piazza Armerina.

(If your destination is Taormina, get off the bus at Messina and proceed by local bus or by train).

The 15 Euros is an advance-purchase promotional fare, and seats are capacity-controlled. There are other promotional fares of 20 and 30 Euros, and the "regular" fare is 41 Euros. Time of booking determines the lowest available fare.

You could of course fly from Rome to Catania for a very low fare, although no airline will fly you and your luggage there for only 15 Euros. In fact, when you travel by bus, no one will count your luggage or ask you to put them on a scale.

The lowest available advance-purchase fare by air is 19.99 Euros on Blu-Express, plus luggage charges, but fares during the holiday seasons are much higher. You must also add the cost of travelling to and from the airports at Rome and Catania.

By contrast, the cheapest fare by train is on the Intercity Night (ICN) train "Bellini": 35.20 Euros with the advance purchase "AMICA" fare. The overnight train takes 50 minutes longer than the bus, and the bus is more comfortable because you can recline your seat as on a Greyhound bus.

NOTE: This fare is valid until 12/13/2009, when a new fare structure will be implemented. Train schedules post 12/13/2009 have not yet been posted. There are reports that Trenitalia may discontinue direct train service to Sicily from mainland Italy in the future.

The overnight bus is clearly not for everyone. Indeed, it may be suitable only for a few people. But it is an option, and indeed a cheap option.

www.autoservizisalemi.it
www.ibus.it

www.ferroviedellostato.it

www.blu-express.com
www.volawindjet.it
www.alitalia.it

NOTE: There is also bus service from Roma Tiburtina to Milazzo, Tindari, Sant'Agata di Militello, Cefalu, Palermo and Trapani. This bus currently operates only on Monday and Friday evenings, but service increases during the summer. The fare to Palermo is as low as 20 Euros, and you can select your seat online. The operator is Segesta Bus Lines.

www.interbus.it
www.onbus.it
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 10:00 AM
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GAC. Do you have an idea when the flight schedules on Blu Express are posted for next year?
I am exploring all avenues for our trip.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 10:49 AM
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The schedules for Blu-Express are up through March 27, 2010. The summer schedules should be up by early next year, if not sooner (ASSUMING that Blu-Express will continue this route). The summer 2010 schedules for Wind Jet are already up.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 10:55 AM
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Here you have twolow-cost italian airlines:

http://w1.volawindjet.it/

http://www.blu-express.com
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 10:59 AM
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We are able to use FF miles from the States. But my partner airlines will not get me closer than Naples. The only major carrier I can find is Alitalia and it is not a partner with my program.
So I will decide from Rome or Naples. I may be locked into flights into and out of Rome because of availibility and my husband has already said no to the train or bus and my recent experiences on ferries have caused me to be seasick.
Again, thank you for the information.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 02:16 PM
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Just one more thing I would like to ask, for now.

If we fly into Naples, I think I read somewhere on this Forum that in May it would not be difficult to take the ferry at a short notice without advance reservations. Is this correct?

This appeals to me as I am always nervous about connecting flights where two different sets of carriers are involved in case of missed connections.

So if our flight into Naples would be delayed, we would be able to get essentially a walk up reservation on the ferry. The low cost carriers are usually have more attractive fares the earlier they are booked. And if you miss the connections problems arise.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 02:36 PM
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Assuming that you'll be "in the mood" to take a 10-hour ferry trip immediately after a transatlantic flight, YES, as a general proposition, in May you SHOULD be able to make a "walk up" reservation on the overnight car ferry from Naples to Palermo (or Catania) for same-day travel (especially if not travelling on the week-end) .... BUT, if cabins are sold out on BOTH ferries to Palermo (or on the sole ferry to Catania), would you accept a reclining seat on any of these ships, or would you check into a hotel in Naples instead?

CAVEAT: Certain tour operators (like Trafalgar) book scores of cabins on the Naples/Palermo ferry. If you should be taking the ferry on the same evening as one of these tours, you might have greater difficulty in making a last-moment booking. It's hard to guess about availability: there are nearly 600 cabins per night to Palermo on the two ships.

BEWARE: There are ONLY 78 cabins on the ferry to Catania!!!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 03:36 PM
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That gives me something to think about. Yes, we would be able to take the ferry after the transatlantic flight.
When we travel abroad, we always plan a full day the first day sometimes with a five hour drive to our first destination.
We do much better with jet lag if we go, go, go the first day as long as we can.
The plan would be to take the ferry the third week in May during the week. For now, I am planning on May 25 or 26. So that may up our chances. I did think Catania for the arrival, but we could just as easily plan for Palermo as you had pointed out the there is less difficulty into this city.
So this is a big help.
We could take a reclining seat, I guess, although I really would probably prefer a hotel in Naples. But a hotel would really mess up any reservation that we have in Sicily for the first night. And if we had a car rental planned that would really start to become a mess.
I am so glad you are pointing out all of this to us.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 04:32 PM
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Sometimes they have really good specials for cars+passengers on the ferries.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 04:42 PM
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kybourbon. Thanks much. I just spoke to Continental and they have flights to Catania for which I could use rewards through Lufthansa but nothing to Palermo.
So one leg would have to be either getting there or back some other way.
Of course, they have lots of flights to Naples. But on the front end of the trip, I will probably be excited to get there.
So I could fly directly into Catania and find something else to Naples from Palermo. What I am reading says sort of an open jaw for Sicily is the way to go. No backtracking.
PIT-CTA and NAP-PIT. Getting to Naples one of the other ways that have been suggested.
Wish me luck. And thank you for your suggestions. I always apprecitate all of the help I can get.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 04:58 PM
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I recommend that you rent the car once in Sicily, and NOT upon arrival in Naples. I see no good reason whatsoever to rent in Naples, unless you were planning to drop it there at the end.

If you don't mind running the risk of having to accept a reclining seat on the overnight ferry, I don't think you'll have a problem. There are "first class" recliners on Tirrenia Lines, which are more comfortable than transatlantic economy class. Plus, the odds are pretty good that there will be cabins available on one or both of the two ships to Palermo.

www.tirrenia.it
www.snav.it

Here is more information about the Tirrenia ferries to Palermo:

The Tirrenia twin ferries "Florio" and "Rubattino" were built respectively in 1999 and 2001, displace 30,800 tons, measure 590 feet in length, 85 feet in width, travel at 23 knots, and accommodate 1470 passengers and 625 autos.

Tirrenia's newly revamped website has color photos of the interiors of its ships.

TIP: Tirrenia's first class reclining seats are reputed to be much more comfortable than SNAV's reclining seats (they also cost more).

TIRRENIA ACCOMMODATIONS:

For those who might be interested, the Tirrenia ferries have a total of 289 cabins on two decks, as follows:

75 twin cabins, of which 43 outside
212 quad cabins, of which 72 outside
2 cabins for the disabled, each accommodating three persons

Total accommodations in cabins: 1004 passengers

Add: 195 first class reclining seats and 272 passengers in "passaggio ponte", i.e. no guaranteed seat, but may claim any available cocktail lounge seat or sofa. Total permissible passengers load: 1,471.

I have never been able to find comparable information for the SNAV ferries.


Here are some photos of the twin Tirrenia ferries on the Naples/Palermo route: the Vincenzo Florio and the Raffaele Rubattino:


http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/...php?lid=324252

http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/...php?lid=324251

http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/...php?lid=238065

http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/...php?lid=234344

http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/...php?lid=172820

http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/...php?lid=170108

http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/...php?lid=225184

http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/...php?lid=225184


This is a photo of the FIRST CLASS reclining seats on one of the Tirrenia Lines superferries which are very similar to those on the Florio/Rubattino twin ferries between Naples and Palermo. These seats are arranged in pairs, and are wider, have more leg room, and recline more than economy seats on transatlantic flights. There are a total of 195 first class reclining seats on these twin ships,(and there are no second class seats). Solo travellers and those on a tight budget should find the reclining seats adequate for the relatively short overnight crossing (under 10 hours), also considering that some of the time will be spent in the ship's restaurant or cafeteria, two bars, other public areas, and perhaps even watching a movie in the theatre. Early morning arrival in Palermo or Naples is a particularly enjoyable experience to witness from the ship's open deck. Even though the main lights in the reclining seat salon are usually dimmed after 11 p.m. (leaving on only dimmer lighting), for extra comfort, I recommend bringing eyeshades, ear plugs, and perhaps some reading material. The reclining seats are located on deck 7 (lowest of the three passengers decks), near the middle of the ship, in a single closed salon, and surrounded by sleeping cabins.

http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/...php?lid=220532
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 07:15 PM
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If we fly into Catania, we would rent a car and drop it off in Palermo.
I want to ask you about luggage on the ferries and how secure they are.
Obviously, they would have to be stowed somewhere.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 04:01 AM
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Your luggage stays in your cabin with you. If you don't have a cabin, you can secure your luggage with a metal cable to the metal frame of your reclining seat, or the luggage racks in the seat salon.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 04:34 AM
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Thanks
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