This is going to be our first cruise-Enchantment in Dec.
We are confused with the whole airfare thing. Can you please help!
Can you explain the differences b/w booking with the cruisline vs. booking on our own? How does air deviation work? What are the pros and cons? If our flight is delayed or canceled does the ship wait or are we on our own?
You can save money by booking your own airfare, most of the time. You can cancel your airfare without penalty at any time and then rebook at a cheaper rate. You can take any airline you wish, and any route you wish, from any airport you wish.
That being said, if you have any problems with your flights, you are on your own. The cruiseline will not do anything to help.
If you book your own flights, it is always best to arrive a day early just in case of mechanical or weather delays. Or get a really early A.M. flight if you are just taking a common commuter plane that runs frequent turn arounds. Then you don't need to worry about missing the embarkation time schedule.
If you book the cruise/air package and choose to do a flight deviation, you pick the airline and flights, then the cruiseline will try to do those. In some cases besides the fee for doing a deviation, they may charge you more for the flight. I've done those in the past, but you can usually find air yourself for cheaper and hopefully go down a day early too.
We have done it both ways and I much prefer going to the port city a day early. When the cruiseline booked us, our flight was delayed for whatever reason. We got into the airport 2 hours late, had to be rushed to the ship by cruiseline staff, got there in the middle of the fire drill chaos and totally missed the welcome party. We were starved, but there was no food available since it was put away and dinner was being prepared. Having never cruised before, we didn't know to call room service to get something to eat. It took us at least a day to calm down from all the chaos of getting there and start enjoying our cruise...all because of a flight dalay. The up side to that is if we had totally missed the ship, the cruiseline would have flown us to the next port....still missing a couple days of the cruise.
Booking the flights ourselves saved us at least $400 for 2 of us plus we flew down the day before...had a nice leisurely evening the eve before, had a nice easy morning, got to the ship about 11:30am and was in our cabins by 12:30. We had lunch on the ship and a whole afternoon to acclimate ourselves to where things were and we felt like we had a whole other day to enjoy our cruise!
We are cruising in July again and definitely will book our own flights.
Just my personal opinion / experiences ~ I ALWAYS book my own air, and I ALWAYS fly to the port city a day ahead of the cruise. I learned this the hard way (years ago). Due to flight problems, my family & I, missed our first night / day on the cruise. We had to fly to the first port to meet the ship. HUGE nightmare! As for airfares, I would suggest that you try www.sidestep.com, www.travelaxe.com, www.priceline.com, as a guideline. These sites will allow you to see which airlines fly to your embarkation city. Once you see which airlines fly there, you can then go to each airline's individual Website and check for Internet specials. Good luck! Have a wonderful cruise.
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