Travel

Cruise line airfare

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  • Mar 20th, 2017 9:52 pm
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Cruise line airfare

Just curious has anyone ever booked airfare with their cruise (through the cruise line). How does it compare in price to booking separately. I've just booked airfare separately but I was thinking that for trips in the winter it could be helpful having it booked through the cruise line since they will fly you to the first port if you miss the ship because of delays.
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I've never been on a cruise, but I've been looking at them the last few days. So far, everything I've seen has the included airfare being several hundreds more expensive per person. It's a small sample though as I'm only looking for last minute cruises/flights. That may or may not always be the case
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Momof3cuties wrote:
Mar 16th, 2017 10:16 am
Just curious has anyone ever booked airfare with their cruise (through the cruise line). How does it compare in price to booking separately. I've just booked airfare separately but I was thinking that for trips in the winter it could be helpful having it booked through the cruise line since they will fly you to the first port if you miss the ship because of delays.

They'll put you on the red-eye with 3 connections, and you'll pay extra. I think the best bet is just to arrive a day or two early, if your schedule permits it. I also try and avoid connecting through colder places, (There are no direct flights from Vancouver to Miami/FLL so I have to connect somewhere) but if you're from Toronto then I imagine you'd be able to go direct.
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We're not looking for last minute. We are considering another cruise possibly next winter.
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i6s1 wrote:
Mar 16th, 2017 10:38 am
They'll put you on the red-eye with 3 connections, and you'll pay extra. I think the best bet is just to arrive a day or two early, if your schedule permits it. I also try and avoid connecting through colder places, (There are no direct flights from Vancouver to Miami/FLL so I have to connect somewhere) but if you're from Toronto then I imagine you'd be able to go direct.
We would fly out of Toronto. We normally fly out of buffalo when going down south but not in the winter (plus the dollar is making it less of a saving).
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We've gone on two cruises and booked flights separately for each trip.
More flexibility overall to book your own flights.
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Unfortunately it depends on the cruise line, unless it is a transoceanic cruise in which case it is almost always cheaper to book airfare through the cruise line.

Your best bet is to ask for the cruise line's price and then compare, keeping in mind each cruise line has different payment policies for the air component booked through them. Some make you pay for the air at the time of booking the flights and some bundle the airfare with the cruise, so you don't have to pay for the airfare until the final payment date of the cruise (which is good because if you have to cancel the cruise before then, you aren't stuck with the plane tickets although you might have trip/travel insurance to cover some or all of it).

Some lines' air allow you to choose which flights you want and are priced pretty competitively (but keep in mind it is usually in USD) (e.g., Choice Air for the RCCL cruise family). Others are the dreaded you don't know what flights you have until they are assigned to you a month or two before the cruise, and the only requirements of the flight is that it should get you to the port city airport on the day you embark the ship (i.e., you may get assigned the red-eye, multiple/too tight/long connection(s) itinerary).
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We have taken 2 cruises where airfare was "included". One was a special deal and the second was a poor decision.
The second one was for a recent cruise and we accepted the flights but, the scheduling and routings were bad. When we asked to have it changed, there was an additional charge or a better route. Then we decided we wanted to stay in Miami after the cruise and there was another charge. Both these charges were far more then if we would have booked with the airline direct. In the end, we would have saved money doing our own bookings.
I have concluded that the cruise line chooses the cheapest fare does not care about the routing and we will never again use the cruise line air option.
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ShopperfiendTO wrote:
Mar 17th, 2017 11:42 am
Unfortunately it depends on the cruise line, unless it is a transoceanic cruise in which case it is almost always cheaper to book airfare through the cruise line.

Your best bet is to ask for the cruise line's price and then compare, keeping in mind each cruise line has different payment policies for the air component booked through them. Some make you pay for the air at the time of booking the flights and some bundle the airfare with the cruise, so you don't have to pay for the airfare until the final payment date of the cruise (which is good because if you have to cancel the cruise before then, you aren't stuck with the plane tickets although you might have trip/travel insurance to cover some or all of it).

Some lines' air allow you to choose which flights you want and are priced pretty competitively (but keep in mind it is usually in USD) (e.g., Choice Air for the RCCL cruise family). Others are the dreaded you don't know what flights you have until they are assigned to you a month or two before the cruise, and the only requirements of the flight is that it should get you to the port city airport on the day you embark the ship (i.e., you may get assigned the red-eye, multiple/too tight/long connection(s) itinerary).
Although I've yet to book cruise-line air in over a dozen cruises, everything here agrees with what I've heard (and experienced, the few times I've tried searching and pricing cruise air, usually for European itineraries).

My last cruise was on HAL's newest ship last spring, round-trip Rome; I wanted to check their flight offerings online, but they didn't have the option. Recently I tried searching EZ Air (Princess) and ChoiceAir (RCCL group), where even without a booking number, you can experiment with different airports and dates (as long as they're close to the cruise you selected), and see an actual list of routes with prices. Very helpful if you plan to extend your trip on either side of the cruise, or want to see if it would cost less to, say, arrive at a nearby airport or leave a day later. For the particular itineraries I tried, ChoiceAir had some amazing business class airfares (less than $2K CAD to France in May, flying Air France and KLM with one stop each -- the same flights were thousands more on the airlines' own websites), while EZ Air had ones that, while only slightly cheaper than the airlines' own, were flexible fares (actually cheaper than the non-refundable versions, for whatever reason).

I've always heard cruise airfares are especially good on open-jaw flights, including (maybe especially) for transatlantic or transpacific routes.
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Thanks for the feedback. We would just be going Toronto to Florida. So we'll just book our own.
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I booked my cruise, and then immediately after my flight to Puerto Rico, with Royal a few winters ago. I searched flights separate and then found the flights on the RCI portal. It's the same cost plus a $15-$25 USD admin fee per flight. For me it was worth the extra security because I was flying the day of departure and it was winter. We only booked a month out and needed to fly on specific days, so there weren't flight deals to be found. They also offered a price drop guarantee, so if the exact flight drops in price, you get the difference in on-board credit. My flight dropped around the cost of the admin fee, so I did call in for the credit. So for me it was worth it, but as other have said, it really depends on your circumstances.
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Toronto to Florida eh, I'm guessing you're doing a Caribbean cruise - in which case, the chartered flights of Air Transat, Westjet are the top two that everyone and their grandma uses to get down there for a cruise.

All 5 times we flew Air Transat, their flight schedules matches the departing time of the cruise ships perfectly, where you would arrive at least 4-5 hours before the cruise ships leave - which is typically around 5:00pm EST. Flight out of YYZ at 8:00am, land at FLL at 12:30pm. Taxi/bus to cruise terminals by 1:30pm. Check in and you're on the boat by 3:30pm at the latest.
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JKKim2983 wrote:
Mar 19th, 2017 11:11 pm
Toronto to Florida eh, I'm guessing you're doing a Caribbean cruise - in which case, the chartered flights of Air Transat, Westjet are the top two that everyone and their grandma uses to get down there for a cruise.

All 5 times we flew Air Transat, their flight schedules matches the departing time of the cruise ships perfectly, where you would arrive at least 4-5 hours before the cruise ships leave - which is typically around 5:00pm EST. Flight out of YYZ at 8:00am, land at FLL at 12:30pm. Taxi/bus to cruise terminals by 1:30pm. Check in and you're on the boat by 3:30pm at the latest.
That can be quite risky to do in the winter. All it takes is a big snow storm and you will be at risk of missing your cruise
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JKKim2983 wrote:
Mar 19th, 2017 11:11 pm
Toronto to Florida eh, I'm guessing you're doing a Caribbean cruise - in which case, the chartered flights of Air Transat, Westjet are the top two that everyone and their grandma uses to get down there for a cruise.

All 5 times we flew Air Transat, their flight schedules matches the departing time of the cruise ships perfectly, where you would arrive at least 4-5 hours before the cruise ships leave - which is typically around 5:00pm EST. Flight out of YYZ at 8:00am, land at FLL at 12:30pm. Taxi/bus to cruise terminals by 1:30pm. Check in and you're on the boat by 3:30pm at the latest.
Yes we're looking at Caribbean cruises. Want to go somewhere warm and we prefer cruises to all inclusives.

I would not want to risk arriving so close to the ships departure in the winter. Too risky. Also we like being on the ship early so we can start enjoying our vacation. The only thing that appealed to me was the guarantee offered with the cruise line airfare. But I think we will probably just do what we've done before (always gone in spring or summer) and just book our own flights arriving the day before.
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Shaner wrote:
Mar 20th, 2017 7:41 am
That can be quite risky to do in the winter. All it takes is a big snow storm and you will be at risk of missing your cruise
I agree. Way too risky to do it this way. Forget a snow storm. How about just any kind of delay for a couple hours could make things very stressful.

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