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Old November 21st, 2000, 09:02 PM
RTK
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Default airline tickets/deviation

We're booked on the Grand Princess on June 10th-June 17th--Eastern Caribbean. We have also booked at this moment the airfare with Princess.

We have been on several other cruises and dislike the fact that after a wonderful cruise, we are stuck sitting at the airport for the day or going on an excursion (which we have done more than once). We called & found round trip tickets for Newark/Fort Lauderdale that we like. The airfare is only $240. roundtrip. Princess charges $319. for the airfare. We are still 200 days from departure and our T/A tells me that all the Princess Newark to Fort Lauderdale seats are taken. Today he e-mails me back and tells me that they are available at the $35.00 deviation fee (which we have no problem with) but also an additional $79.00 per person or $114.00 per person charge. If this extra charge is for the Transfer Program, according to the brochure it is $5.00 per person to greet & meet you at the airport and provide the transfer to the ship. Why so much extra???? I don't mind the $319 for the assurance of getting on the ship but now an additional $114 when Princess can probably get it even cheaper than we can???

This is our 6th cruise with this travel agency (a large one) and we are getting an outside cabin with verandah on the Caribe deck--Category BA. We have been reading the other posts and decided to go all out for that Caribe deck. We even opted for the pre-cruise overnight stay at the Airport Hilton in Fort Lauderdale.

Should I call another agent and see what he/she says? I feel like I'm getting the shaft. I am just afraid to book my own airfare as there have been so many problems with the airlines/strikes/walkouts/slowdowns, etc. that I would rather make sure Princess gets us to the ship on time. Still looking forward to a great week.

Any suggestions out there?
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Old November 22nd, 2000, 03:18 AM
Carole Dunham
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Default RE: airline tickets/deviation

See if you can drop the pre cruise air and hotel. As you see, you can get the air for less and the Airport Hilton isn't much of a hotel. There are lots of hotels closer to the port that are much nicer and offer transportation between the airport and the hotel and the hotel and the ship in the morning. A taxi between the port and the hotel is around $10.00 and will take 5-8 minutes. You really don't need Princess for your pre cruise in this case. If you can't change, in the future, check out the air early. My daughter and I will be taking HAL's Amsterdam cruisemates' cruise in March. I got my air on Expedia at $100 less (Miami-San Jose, Costa Rica) than the HAL air. I got a senior rate on Lacsa. My daughter doesn't have her air yet. Usually her boss gives her mileage as a christmas present. If she gets it, she will use the mileage for her air, so you can always book cruise air later. If not, she will see what is best, the cruise air or her own, so you can buy cruise air at a later date. Whatever happens with your pre-cruise, just keep in mind you will be sailing a fabulous ship and you will have a super cruise and everything will even itself out.

Carole
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Old November 22nd, 2000, 08:08 AM
Deb Deb is offline
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Default RE: airline tickets/deviation

Drop the air from Princess and buy the air direct for $240.00. Stay at the Marriot Harbour Beach resort and ask for the AARP or AAA rate around $250.00 per night. Take a cab from the airport to the pier and save your self some money to put toward the balcony cabin.

Believe me I have saved thousands by figuring out the loop holes!

Have a great cruise!
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Old November 22nd, 2000, 08:47 AM
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Default RE: airline tickets/deviation

Ditto, book your own air & buy te transfers from Princess if you;re uncomfortable.
Since you want to go a day early& you are still in the US you are an excellent candidate to do it all on your own- taxi or shuttle to hotel of your choice & then again to the ship on your own> We just came home from # 5 and except for the first cruise from San Juan we have always booked our own air & bought transfers or just taken a taxi . . .relax, you've got lots of time to prepare.
happy Sailing web
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Old November 23rd, 2000, 12:06 AM
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Default RE: airline tickets/deviation

We always book our own airfare and save approx. $200/ticket. Check Amerisuites hotel on the web - we booked the hotel for $69/night and have free shuttles to the pier and to the airport.
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Old November 23rd, 2000, 01:23 AM
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Default RE: airline tickets/deviation

RTK,

I have always booked my own flights directly with my preferred airline, and have never had a problem making the connections. I usually purchase the transfers from the cruise line (which includes the "meet and greet" service). The only catch is that you need to have your travel agent provide your flight information to the cruise line so that they can arrange to meet your flight. (You need to do this anyway, as they also need the flight information to make proper arrangements for disembarkation.) I agree completely with the recommendation of other posters in this thread to drop the cruise line's flight option in favor of booking your own flights.

That said, I have two guidelines for arranging your own flights.

>> If you are flying to the port of embarkation on embarkation day, book flights that arrive around noontime or earlier if possible so that there's both plenty of time for the transfer of your luggage and plenty of time to recover in case of airline snags or delays en route (which, BTW, are much less likely on early flights).

>> If you are flying home on disembarkation day, book a flight that leaves after 11:00 AM. Although the ship arrives early, you need to allow time for the ship to unload luggage, to clear customs and immigration, and to transfer to the airport.

The figure of $5 per person each way that you quote as the price of the transfers, including the "meet and greet service" between the airport at Fort Lauderdale and the pier at Port Everglades is correct. If you fly into Miami rather than Fort Lauderdale, the figure would be $15.

If you decide to extend your trip with a hotel stay in the Fort Lauderdale area, you can purchase the transfer in just one direction from Princess. Just be sure that the travel agent specifies the transfer in the correct direction. As other posters have noted, many hotels will provide transfers to the pier as well as to the airport.

Finally, in booking your own flights, do understand that YOU are responsible for rearranging your air travel, possibly at additional expense, if a storm or other disaster forces a change in the ship's schedule.

Have a great trip!

Norm.
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