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cruise with airfare package

Discussion in 'Know Before You Go' started by foss82, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. foss82

    foss82 New Member

    I am looking to book an Alaskan cruise and would like to find a package that will include airfare any ideas?
     
  2. Gayle V

    Gayle V Cruiser's Compass Editor

    Hello foss82,

    Well, we've never cruised Alaska, but in general you will usually do much better price wise, booking your airfare separately from the cruise. The air booked through the cruise line is notorious for multiple connections and lousy timing. Plus if you want to fly the day before you cruise or if you want to choose specific times/flights, you usually have to pay an extra fee.

    I recommend you do some comparison shopping. Get prices on your cruise with and without air. Then search for air separately. Don't forget to add in transfers to the equation. Often they are included in a cruise/air package. Make sure you're comparing apples to apples.
     
  3. Krazy Kruizers

    Krazy Kruizers Holland America Specialist

    keep in mind that the air flights that the cruise lines select are very rarely good as far as time schedules go -- i have read some horror stories of flights that people were given
     
  4. Jeanie

    Jeanie Well-Known Member

    Good point above
     
  5. iluvcruzin

    iluvcruzin Well-Known Member

    If you are going in and out of the same port (i.e. Seattle) then booking air seperate is better as far as pricing. Even if you are going Seattle/Vancouver it's still better to do it yourself. It's when you are doing a one-way cruise in which you would do a "jar" or "multi-city" flights where you may do better with a cruiseline airfare. In this case I would only recommend doing that with Princess. The other lines - it will be more expensive through the cruiseline than booking separately.
     
  6. BSeabob

    BSeabob Reinststed due to good behavior-Subject to change Staff Member

    Any travel agent will have that package to sell you in a flash. See comments above for alternatives.

    Package gives you comfort of not having to do all the searching and stuff but is generally a bit more expensive (except in Open Jawed itinerary where you leave from one Port and Arrive at another) So look around and find your comfort zone.
    Welcome to Cruise @ddicts.
     
  7. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Forever Remembered

    Welcome to Cruise @ddicts.

    Normally, I would agree with all the above comments about booking air separately, but IF one of your choices is Princess Cruises (Princess and Holland America have the longest track record for Alaska cruises and tours), then I would suggest you have your Travel Agent look into Princess' "EZAir" packages. Their air is very much different from most other cruise lines, allows YOU to choose your flights without 'deviation fees', and usually the fare is lower than booking direct with the airlines. The only catch is that, to guarantee the fare, you must pay in full at that time. At any rate, should you choose Princess, then DO check their air along with other (independent) flights.

    Best wishes!
     
  8. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    While the cruise lines offer cruise air, I will NEVER book cruise air. You have no control over the flights, the cruise lines are known for choosing a combination of flights that no sane person would book and typically I can get better prices on my own, even for one way fares.
     
  9. George C

    George C Well-Known Member

    I did it only once but it was a great deal that included air, a Athens to Rome 10 cruise, in 2001.
     
  10. BruinSteve

    BruinSteve Well-Known Member

    But also remember that "doing it longer" doesn't mean doing it BETTER...Personally, I'd take Celebrity over Princess any time...

    Now, times have changed regarding cruise line air...

    For example, when we did Alaska on Celebrity Millennium about five years ago, we wanted everything done in one nice neat package...We booked two Sky Suites on a Southbound Seward to Vancouver route on a 13 night "Cruisetour" package, added two extra nights post-cruise in Vancouver...and the Air round trip from/to LAX through Celebrity...Hard to get the package more complete...

    Celebrity got us onto great flights--same plane through to Fairbanks (one stop, no change) and nonstop home from Vancouver...The flight there was timed perfectly to meet the tour, the flight home an easy afternoon nonstop...

    There were some advantages to this...We didn't have to book and pay for nonrefundable tickets early...everything was cancellable right up to the final payment date...All of the transfers were included...and we didn't risk any of the logistics issues...

    But, as I've said, times have changed...

    When you go to book that same Celebrity Alaska cruise nowadays, they don't offer you "Cruise Air" in the old-fashioned sense...You have these options:
    " I do not need air transportation arrangement."
    " I will reserve later using ChoiceAir."

    "Why select ChoiceAir?
    ChoiceAir is ideal if you are looking for the best prices and options while receiving unparalleled support from Celebrity Cruises before, during, and after your cruise vacation. ChoiceAir allows you to reserve flights on any published airline schedule or fare, whenever you are ready to book. ChoiceAir ensures that the sailing requirements are met, while allowing you to select the airline and schedule that best meets your needs at the most competitive rates. Airport to pier transfers are also available at our standard pricing. For more information on our air programs, please call our Guest Air Programs Department at 800-533-7803, Option 1 or you can email us at choiceair@celebrity.com "

    I have never done this as of yet, but it sounds similar to what Mary Ann described with Princess...Seems to be the new thing--Booking through the cruise line, but with an automatic deviation...

    To walk you through this, I would definitely recommend finding a good travel agent who understands all of this...

    Now, OTOH, I know that Oceania still does all of their cruises with traditional CruiseAir....
     
  11. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    If Princess' air works in practice (rather than in theory) then that is great. Thank you for the update, since I was not aware of this.

    When do you get the airline booking number so that you can choose your seats? Is it right after final payment is made, or is it 30 days before the cruise?

    When are the tickets actually purchased? Suppose there are open seats nine months ahead of time, but not four months ahead of time - then what?

    Do you have some control of the fare class or or the class of service? For example, some airlines offer a first class seat for about double the coach fare. It is a coach fare, so if you transfer you are only entitled to a coach seat. However, if you actually fly on the flight you reserved (which I have done each time I've booked this fare) you get to fly in a first class seat. Or, United for example has economy plus. For a little extra you get a coach class seat with first class leg room.

    Are all these options available through Princess?

    Is Princess acting as your agent, or just booking the flight for you?
     
  12. Mbandy

    Mbandy Well-Known Member

    Royal Caribbean and Celebrity now offer "Choice Air" which is similar to the Princess EZAir program. You can choose your flights and the fares are pretty much the same a published rates.
     
  13. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Forever Remembered

    When do you get the airline booking number so that you can choose your seats? Is it right after final payment is made, or is it 30 days before the cruise? You get your airline booking number immediately upon payment. Remember that I've said there must be full payment to obtain the fares/flights quoted. It could be six months prior to your cruise, as long as payment has been made.

    When are the tickets actually purchased? When you pay for your booking. Suppose there are open seats nine months ahead of time, but not four months ahead of time - then what? IF you've paid, you'll already have your flights/seats. If you've waited until closer in to sailing, then you/your TA will need to look for alternate suitable flights.

    Do you have some control of the fare class or or the class of service? For example, some airlines offer a first class seat for about double the coach fare. It is a coach fare, so if you transfer you are only entitled to a coach seat. However, if you actually fly on the flight you reserved (which I have done each time I've booked this fare) you get to fly in a first class seat. Or, United for example has economy plus. For a little extra you get a coach class seat with first class leg room. You can designate class of service, choose most airlines (Southwest isn't one of them-sorry) and whether you want refundable (flexible) or non-refundable (restricted) fares. For a TA searching in behalf of a Client, a screen pulls up similar to what you see looking for flights on Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity to name a few. You have a very comprehensive selection of flights and fares. If there are no non-stop flights between your gateway and the destination airport, I can immediately eliminate flights that, in my opinion, have too short a connection time for comfort.

    Are all these options available through Princess? Yes - in my experience so far.

    Is Princess acting as your agent, or just booking the flight for you? Truthfully, I would have to check.

    As I stated earlier on, Princess' eZair is VERY different from the usual cruise line air programs with the dregs of flights and schedules. If you're cruising Princess, I simply suggest that you have your TA check out what flights you can obtain using eZair.

    Edited to add: BTW, Cruizer, so far my experience is that it works IN PRACTICE. Normally, I'd fiddle with the wording, but almost everybody knows what I do - I had a group on an Eastern Med/Holy Land cruise last Fall. Some originated in Hawai'i, the rest from various gateways on the Mainland. With their concurrence, we did the entire seamless package through Princess - air, hotels (with transfers), cruise. Fortunately, everything was flawless - including the flights that involved two changes of planes in each direction. Flying to Athens/from Venice isn't the easiest. The fares through eZair were several hundred dollars cheaper per person than anything else I could find independently - the total savings for air was substantial.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  14. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    I'll think about it on my next Princess cruise. Thing is, I normally book cruises well in advance, but usually don't book flights, hotels and rental car (if I'm getting a rental car) until about three months out (when I also buy my insurance). Doing everything through Princess this way would require purchasing flights well in advance, and I might have to wait to book my cruise since flights can only be booked 11 months in advance and I typically book my cruises more than one year in advance.
     
  15. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Forever Remembered

    Not necessarily, Cruizer. You can book your Princess cruise as you normally do, then start checking flights closer in. You don't have to do air at the same time you book your cruise.
     
  16. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    Okay, this is starting to sound real good - so what is the catch? :scratch:
     
  17. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Forever Remembered

    The only "catch", as I've been mentioning throughout the thread - if you see flight schedules and airfare you like, you must pay the booking in full to obtain that airfare. But if you don't start checking flights until about 3 months out, that's only 2 weeks earlier than the 75-day final payment deadline.
     
  18. nieciez

    nieciez Well-Known Member Community Sponsor

    Mary Ann, Just so I completely understand...."pay the booking in full" is paying the cruise portion AND air fare both? or just the full air portion and the cruise portion at normal final payment?
     
  19. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Forever Remembered

    Air and cruise, Denise. That's "the catch".
     
  20. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    Okay, what if you are on the other side of the International Date Line. Does the charge go in based on the date where you are calling from, or based on the date where the call was received? :scratch:
     

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