Once the decision had been made to join the Majestic Princess in Rome, and to sail back to Singapore, the next thought was how to get to Rome and home from Singapore.
I checked various airlines that we have used in the past, and considered the cost via each one, but as one gets older one wants that little bit of ease and comfort.
The cost to fly in to Asia, and then over night, and fly daylight to Rome was higher than I expected, so I looked at flying direct from Sydney to the Middle East and then on to Europe.
Taking in to account the passenger comments on Skytrax I fancied Emirates Airline, AB 380, even though we haven’t flown with this airline before. The price was ‘right’ for a multi-stop ticket, and we would be able to break the journey.
From Sydney to Dubai, to connect with the Dubai to Rome flight, is a fourteen hours and fifteen minutes flight from Sydney. We had the choice of two take off times, 6.00 am or 9.10 pm. We do enjoy day time flying, which allows us to enjoy the whole experience rather than sleeping through much of the transit over Australia.
We picked the 6.00 am flight, which would require us to leave home at 3.00 am . . .
The advantage of flying business class with Emirates is that they offered us a chauffeured car that would pick us up at 3.00 am and have us checking in around 4.00 am, this sounded fine with us.
Once we have checked-in we will be escorted to the Emirates business class lounge at Sydney airport. Although they code share on many flights with Qantas they do have their own Business / First class lounge, which is in addition to Qantas’ own lounges.
Champaign breakfast and scrabbled eggs?
AB 380 business class seats on Emirates Airlines – plenty of stowage space and leg room, and it folds flat to make a bed if this is required.
If we get tired of sitting (14 hours . . )
we can visit the bar at the rear of the business class section.
Menu for breakfast & lunch on our outbound flight from Sydney to Dubai.
2500 TV and radio channels to help pass the time. I have hopes of trying to write, but being a film buff I’ll check the films first . . . .then maybe update the novel.
On arrival in Dubai we will be picked up and taken to a hotel (I believe it is Le Meridien) for an overnight stay. Our connection is 9.10 am the following day to Rome. A much shorter flight at 6 hours 15 minutes.
The cost of the hotel and transport is included in the airline ticket.
I might get the chance of a swim.
On arrival in Rome we will be met by another chauffeured car to take us to our hotel in Civitavecchia, which is the port for Rome. The drive is about 45 minutes.
We are looking forward to the whole experience.
The homeward leg starts in Singapore, after a two night stop over.
Emirates Airlines do not fly Singapore to Sydney, but they do have a code share arrangement with Qantas, so we will fly overnight from Singapore to Sydney with an Emirates flight number on the QF 82, which is an AB 300-300.
Qantas do not fly day time flights from Singapore to Sydney, so we didn’t have any choice but to accept the night flight.
Qantas don’t offer a chauffeured car for their business class passengers flying to / from Asia, which will mean that we will make our own way to Singapore airport, and from Sydney airport to home. This will not be a problem, but the difference in service was noticeable. Emirates Airline fly Singapore to Melbourne with their own aircraft, and if we lived in Melbourne, Emirates would have offered the chauffeured car, even though we are ‘short-haul’ from Asia.
The Emirates business class lounge in Singapore has recently be refurbished (it took six months) and reopened in April of this year. I assume that we can use this lounge with an Emirates ticket flying on a Qantas aircraft – we’ll see.
Emirates lounge – two pics above.
Qantas Singapore lounge – two pics above – we’ll be spoilt for choice.
Qantas business class seats on the Singapore to Sydney sector.
Business class seating area on Qantas AB 300/300
All of the above photographs have been downloaded from the net from both Emirates and Qantas web sites.
I will be commenting on how close reality the advertised services are, and how each airline matches, exceeds or fails, to reach my expectations.