I would DEFINITELY make my own arrangements as I am sure U will get a much BETTER flight schedule than thru Princess unless U are lucky. As for being protected by the Princess Air ... Well Maybe Yes and Maybe NO. Even though U make flight arrangements thru them tehre is NO guarantee. I have read and thru close experience KNOW that any of the Cruise Line Air connections made thru Cruise Lines might get some considerations like potential help with a delayed cruise that made U miss your flight. They also have been known on more than their fair share of chances with these types of situations to turn their head and pass the buck. The BEST guarantee U can have is with your travel insurance. Just my =twocents worth on the topic.
I would recommend booking book your own flights and fly in a day early for peace of mind. Princess offers to book your flights as a convienance only. The cruiseline holds no liability if there are any issues with your flight. If things occur such as weather delay/cancellation you must deal with the airline itself.
E is correct. Travel insurance is your best bet for protection. Click the above link in yellow called "travel insurance" and it will take you to a site where you can compare policies and get coverage for the cruise portion, hotel and the air.
It depends on what you are willing to pay and your situation. This will be the second time we are using Princess Air so we will see if we still like it. Granted, you can get a lower air price by booking on your own but sometimes you don't. You need to shop around. In our situation, we got the Princess travel insurance and wanted to book our flight as soon as possible so we paid the air deviation fee. If we need to cancel our cruise for an allowed reason, our air is covered. If we were to have booked it on our own, our air wouldn't be covered and we would have to pay a certain $ fee and use our tickets within a year which might not be convenient for us. It's protection for us but at a small, manageable price. However, there are areas we can cut back on so it balances out.
DH and I went on Carribean cruise Nov 2006 (2nd cruise). We used Princess to make flight arrangements both cruises - first one inside passage Alaska. We had no flight issues for the Alaska cruise, but for the Carribean cruise, we flew from Omaha, NE to Memphis, TN, then Memphis to Ft. Lauderdale. We were to be in Ft. Lauderdale at noon, so we had plenty of extra time. Well, the plane in Memphis was very, very late, and they the airline had to get a new crew, so we ended up missing our first day. I thought exactly the same thing - if princess books it, they will wait for you. But the ship can't stay in the port indefinitely, and the ship will not wait for 2 people. A group of 50 also was in Memphis with us, going on a Royal Carribean cruise, and the ship was trying to get an extension to stay in port longer. We did buy the insurance, and I'm waiting for payment on that still. I will ALWAYS book my own air in the future and book the day before and stay overnight. The service I had from the insurance company (calling in the airport letting them know the plane was late, late again, then not coming) was good, but the insurance said the airline needed to get us to our next stop, and the airline said it wasn't their responsibility. Our ins. covered $500.00 per person, but to get from Memphis to Nassau, Bahamas was $450.00 a person (leaving us $50 pp for food and hotel). I finally got the airline to take care of the tickets to the Bahamas, and we used about $400 - $450 in Bahamas just that night - taxi, dinner and hotel. It made for a very stressful situation. Oh, and also, being nice to those airline employees made the difference between me paying for the tickets and them taking care of it. I was frustrated, but I kept telling them I understood they didn't cause the problem and I just wanted their help to make it better. Hope this info helps!!!
One thing I forgot is that we always go in one or two days ahead of time. This way, in case of flight delays, lost luggage, etc., we will hopefully have time to work them out before we get to the ship.
We always go a full day early because its better to be safe than sorry. Next February We are staying two days in Orlando and staying a day and a half in Ft Lauderdale. So I will definitely shop the prices between Princess air and reserving it myself. Anyone know when the best time to check on flights? Is it better to reserve your flights early or wait until the last minute?
We have done several cruises with Princess and we always take their air, but pay the divation fee to fly the airline we choose. We also always come in at least one day early to avoid any problems. It gives you the chance to take a look around the port city and get your feet under you before broading as well as leaving a grace period for your luggage if it decides to vacation elsewhere.
This just offers us peace of mind and makes the vacation that much less stressful.