Tim, Sue Whitfield has posted in rtc about a debacle with Miami Air, a charter air service and Celebrity's response. Seems they don't have their act together in Aruba yet. I think air deviation would be the only way to go down there.
Am booked on the Horizon on 12/16. Ended up booking my own air for 2 reasons (1) Celebrity wanted $170 more than I could book on my own (2) Was afraid they would stick me on Air Aruba, which I hate. Thank goodness as Air Aruba has since gone out of business.
Why do you prefer air deviation to booking your own air directly with your preferred airline? It looks to me like you pay the greater of the cruise line's air fare or your preferred airline's fare plus the cruise line's air deviation charge by booking that way.
I have been booking my own flights directly with my airline of choice and buying only the transfer package (which include the cruise line's "meet and greet" service) from the cruise line, thus eliminating the cruise line's air deviation fee.
Debbie Elder contacted me by e-mail to ask me what rtc was. I replied and then sent a second e-mail to her forwarding the rtc message. Both e-mails were returned to me as undeliverable. So, rtc is rec.travel.cruises, a newsgroup. I was years on the internet before I discovered newsgroups. If you don't know how to access them, contact your isp because each program is different. Have your own isp tell you how to get to them and then subscribe to rec.travel.cruises. It's huge, not nearly as nice and polite as cruisemates, but there is a wealth of information there. The message I referred to was from a travel agent, Sue whitfield who'd had clients from Atlanta on the Horizon. They were booked on a Miami air charter. The flight to Aruba was fine, but on the way back the plane didn't show up. No Miami air reps nor Celebrity reps to be found. Eventually they found a Celebrity rep who arranged to have them bussed to a resort for dinner. Later, when the plane still didn't show up, they were bussed to yet another resort for the night. The next day the plane was still late. You get the picture. Not a word about the cruise, just the air transportation. I always say, unless you can get a non stop flight on a scheduled airline, get air deviation at $35.00 per person and choose your own flights.
I do both actually. When I took a Princess Scandanavia/Baltic cruise a couple of years ago my TA insisted I take Princess air. I did so with deviation. Her reasoning was that since it was high season for international air travel, Princess had more clout with airlines than the various insurance companies do. We had a chance to test her theory. Our British airway flight was cancelled while we were onboard. The next morning I contacted her, she contacted Princess and they got us on Martinair direct to Amsterdam, our first port. No complaints there. I would always take air deviation because I like to control the airlines I fly on. I did my own air to San Juan last year for another Princess cruise. Let's face it, there aren't a whole lot of places a plane is going to land between Miami and San Juan so I wouldn't have minded going down with Princess. I just got a great deal on the air. So you see Norm, it depends. I''m probably going to sail Golden Princess on the cruisemates cruise next September and I will use Princess air, with deviation again. The next time I go to the Pacific Northwest for an Alaska cruise I will do everything, air and hotel, by myself. I love Seattle a lot, have friends there and will probably go stay with them on Bainbridge Island for a few days.