I'm wondering what experiences other have had with using the cruise lines to book
air travel. I've internet priced the air travel myself and its only $25 more to go through
the cruise line. What other pros and cons are there to using Royal Caribbean rather
than doing myself and saving (in this case) a small amount of money.
Only speaking from my personal experience with Royal Caribbean:
Only downside was after 4 cruises with them, they never booked us on a direct flight from NY to Florida.
I continue to book my air through Royal Caribbean though because:
1) they take care of all the details
2) they book you on flights with plenty of time to catch the ship
3) if the flight happens to get cancelled, as one of ours did after September 11, 2001, they rebooked us on a new flight no problem
4) if the flight they booked you on gets delayed, they will probably hold the ship for you. If you booked air on your own, you better hope that other people are on that flight that booked air through RCI othewise you might miss your ship.
Even though it may cost a little more to get air through RCI, peace of mind is worth the extra $$$...but like I said, all just my opinion.
I used to do the cruise/air, but then I finally figured out I could find better non-stop flights for cheaper by doing it myself. A good amount of the time, the cruise/air you will have a stop over and the last time we used cruise/air we had stops in Atlanta both ways. They had us fly in 2 hours before the ship left, we were literally the last people onboard, totally missed the muster drill. I've also done the air deviations when the cost was $25 each, that worked out well as long as they didn't charge more for the flights.
Its a good idea too, especially when doing your own air, to go down a day early, just in case of delays, bad weather, etc. Also get travel insurance.
Rather than book a cruise air package, I book air cruise packages. Buying your cruise through the airline (rather than the airline through the cruise) gives you the ability to choose your airline, your flight and advance seat selection (on some airlines). This way you have all the protection of booking a package, with the added bonus of picking and knowing your flights at the time of booking. (PS Normal cruise deposit rates applied, I didn't have to pay for my full airline ticket in advance).
Cost wise, the prices I got were +/- $100 from booking myself, depending on the cabin category (they had a special on category H at the time so I booked that and saved over doing everything myself)