I was going to because at least the cruise is responsible for changes in travel and holding the ship for you, but my TA told me I wouldn't know which airline or what time I would have until 2 weeks before the trip. I thought that was a little alarming, so I booked myself and travel down the day before.
Has this worked well for you?
Carnival Inspiraton, Feb 2006
Carnival Glory, Aug 2007
Carnival Liberty, Aug 2009
Often more expensive than airfare purchaced by itself, Cruise Air is designed to get you from "Point A" [your home] to "Point B" [the ship]. It doesn't matter whether nonstop or via some strange connection[s]. The few times I've used it have seen me arriving anyime between 9am-3pm; departting anytime beween 11am-7pm. While you'll know more like 45 days in advance...you might not like to know what you know. Since the flight can take a bizarre route to the port--or family members msy be seated in different parts of the plane.
They will only "hold" the ship for a period of time. Not all potential circumstances
I would NEVER book airfare again through the cruiseline. Past experience - return from Ft. Laurderdale to New York City - we were a group of 8 couples. Six of the couples were put on a non-stop flight leaving around 12 noon and arriving home around 3 PM. We and one other couple were booked on a flight leaving Ft. Lauderdale at 7PM- connecting through Atlanta - and returning home around midnight. As anyone knows, Atlanta is probably the biggest airport around. We almost didn't make our connecting flight. From now on, I buy my own plane tickets and go the day before.
Booked cruise air to San Juan, it was about the same as we could get on our own, and we could book a decent itinerary ourselves. Worked out great for us, but would not usually book through the cruise line.
I think the airlines pre-buy certain blocks of air which is probably Leyla's friends got such a good routing, but she & the other couple did not. Cruise line probably had 12 good seats and had to go back out on the market to get four more tickets.
I think it is a common misconception, mine too, that the ship will wait for you if you have cruise purchased air. While they might for a little while, they are under no obligation to do that. (As jleq pointed out).
If you book the the cruise line still get travelers insurance so you can 'catch up' if necessary.
All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; John Masefield
Carnival: Glory 2004, Destiny 2008, Splendor 2009, Freedom 2011, Valor 2012, Dream 2013
Celebrity: Summit 2011
Princess: Ruby 2010, 2014, Caribbean 2013, Coral 2014, Regal 2014
Star Clippers: Royal Clipper 2015
I've found that booking my own airfare is much cheeper that the cruiselines. I know that i am responsible for getting to the cruise ship. I always go in a day early to handle the unexpected. Plus you have more control over your flight times. IMO it's the only way to go.
I'd rather book my own airfare. The cruiseline just gets you to the ship, they use neither the cheapest nor the most direct flights. People are under the impression that if the cruise line schedules the flights and you arrive late, they will hold the ship for you. This is not necessarily true. They will hold the ship for a certain amount of time, but if necessary, they will get you to the first port of call to meet the ship. Under these circumstances you could miss a day or two of your cruise.
Many times you can fly west to go south, as I did once, something I was not too happy with, since I am not a great flier.
Years ago, I booked cruise air, to get to Fll, so I could relax and enjoy, before we cruised...RCI booked us to arrive in Fll. after 6pm...how I knew this was I called a few airlines, and gave them our names, and soon found which carrier we were on and the times etc...
This would probabaly never happen now, but, I called RCI, and complained that I was losing the entire day, with this cruise/air. After a while they did change my flight to an accepted time line..
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I almost booked cruise air once. My Cruise was a TransAltantic cruise from Miami to Rome. But I wanted to take the train to Venice. The extra charges for that were silly. I checked open jawed and one way. The one way tickets were the best price. I cancelled the cruise air and booked on my own.
I have a question the swine flu happened and the cruiselines offered for people to change the date of the cruise instead of doing the new ports. However, there was nothing for airfare. If you booked cruise air could you have changed that along with the cruise date without additional fees? Or would Carnival have charged you extra? If I book a cruise with cruise air how close to the cruise date can I change it without a charge? I was thinking if the swine flu people booked the cruise with cruise air then waited until 2 weeks before the cruise it may have protected them. They can have cancelled the cruise air and moved the cruise date. Does that make sense.
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Freedom of the Seas 2012
Carnival Splendor 2010
Carnival Freedom 2008
Carnival Elation 2007
Celebrity Infinity 2006
Carnival Ecstasy 2005
Carnival Paradise 2004
Star Princess 2002
Viking Serenade 1994