Getting To and From Guadeloupe
Our family is looking forward to cruising from Guadeloupe on our most port-intensive cruise yet, so I was quite concerned when I realized that the round-trip cost that I was finding for flights between New York City (NYC) and Pointe-a-Pitre (PTP) was over $2000 per person! That doesn’t include checked bags, and we are traveling as a family of five!
In a family with at least one school-aged child, the school’s schedule plays a big part in when we choose to travel. We will be cruising during my son’s spring break.
Norwegian Air has the most reasonable non-stop flights between NYC and PTP (as well as Martinique, which is another option for embarkation on this particular cruise). Norwegian Air’s pricing for one-way flights between NYC and PTP can be as low as $79 per person, which is an amazing price! That certainly doesn’t add up to a round-trip cost of $2000 per person for a family of five. So, what’s the problem?
Well, our cruise from Guadeloupe is scheduled to leave two days after the last PTP-NYC Norwegian Air flight for the season. I know because, after seeing no later options on the airline’s website, I called the airline to check, and the representative verified that the flights I am seeing online are the only flights on that route for the season. So, now what? We could cruise the week before, because my son’s spring break starts the week before. However, the itinerary for the particular cruise we’ve chosen is more appealing because it has more new ports for us, and at this point in time, I like to cruise for the ports. I have a goal of visiting every Caribbean island, and I’m keeping a checklist, so when I saw the itinerary – Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Dominica, and Martinique – I was in love! Of the seven ports, five are new for our family. We have been to St. Lucia and Barbados before. Well then, if this is the cruise we want, I had a situation to figure out. We can fly to Guadeloupe on Norwegian, but how will we return to NYC?
By the grace of God, I’ve been in this world of travel since the age of four, so over time, I’ve learned a number of things about finding flights, yet this task was truly a challenge. I searched the major travel websites, as well as some not so major travel websites, and they all produced similar results: return flights to NYC requiring two connections, with layovers of 18 to 22 hours, and costing, at best, $1140 per person. Yes, that’s the one-way fare that Kayak, Expedia, and others provided. Some options were as much as $2500 per person, one-way, and no, the pricing was not the result of a glitch because those prices have stayed consistent for months. After realizing that the pricing for flights from PTP to NYC wasn’t changing on the sites that I searched, I decided to search different flight combinations. I know that smaller airlines fly between the islands of the Caribbean, so I searched for flights between PTP and other Caribbean islands, and found two flight options from PTP to St. Maarten/St. Martin (SXM) on our desired travel date. Additionally, there are a number of mainstream flights from SXM to NYC from which to choose.
So, instead of a ready-made package delivered by Kayak, Expedia, Priceline, and the like, I have customized our air travel. Our custom package is round-trip travel between NYC and PTP for five, which includes the allowance for one checked bag per person on each flight, totaling $2409.93, with one layover that is approximately two hours long in SXM. That’s about $482 per person vs. the initial rates of over $2000 per person. Over time, I’ve seen some of the pricing drop to $652 per person, which although more affordable than the initial quotes that I had found, is still inconvenient in terms of connections and layovers, and is much more than our customized deal, especially when factoring in that this is travel for a family of five.
If your travel dates are within Norwegian Air’s NYC-PTP season, then you can very well get round-trip airfare for a family of five for less than $1000 total when two of the five are children. So, my suggestion for travel between the United States and Guadeloupe is to first check Norwegian Air. However, if you’re like my cruising family, and have particular travel dates in mind, whether those dates are based on the dates of a cruise or some other determining factor, you too may find amazing deals to and from Guadeloupe or other similarly difficult-to-get-to places if you think outside of the box of pre-packaged air combinations, and instead, do a bit of individual research into what you would like.
Questions and Fun Facts:
Why is it so difficult to fly to Guadeloupe from New York?
Why do I want our family to visit Guadeloupe?
Along with the fact that our cruise sails from Guadeloupe, I have been researching Guadeloupe and I am now intrigued. The fun facts below answer both questions above.
Check out these fun facts about Guadeloupe:
- Over 80% of Guadeloupe’s tourists come from mainland France, over 10% come from the rest of Europe, and less than 4% come from the United States.
- Guadeloupe is actually France in the Caribbean. It is a French overseas territory, and the official language is French. Most people in Guadeloupe also speak Creole.
- As a French overseas territory, the official currency in Guadeloupe is the Euro.
I’m excited to put my French to the test!
Go ahead and look up flights between NYC and PTP for a selected timeframe. Other than Norwegian Air, what are the per person prices that you're seeing?
Have you ever cruised from Guadeloupe or Martinique?
Is there a difficult-to-get-to place on the list of places that you would like to visit?