For our Radiance cruise in 2002, we flew Northwest and we had some problems. We flew from Milwaukee to Detroit and then on to Puerto Rico. We made it to Puerto Rico but we got on the ship right before it left. We prefer to make our own flight arrangements so we can get on the ship early on the departure day and then you get a whole extra day on your cruise.
Dolphin 5-96 Radiance 2-02 Monarch 1-03 Navigator 1-04 Enchantment 10-04 Rhapsody 10-05 UK & Jewel 7-06 Explorer 1-07 Empress 11-07 Italy & Legend 10-08 Spain& Navigator 10-09 Jewel 3-11Aruba 8-11
Hawaii NCL&land tour Dominican Rep land disneycruise&disneyworld
From my experience, it is worth paying the extra $35/person to be able to set your own flights connections (I think they still have this option). I've seen a lot of stories of bad connections/etc. But really, if you don't mind handling your own air/transports, you will probably come out cheaper and have more convenient flights to just book them outside of RCI.
RCI doesn't use any specific "company' to book their air. They contract with several different airlines, to do what they call "bulk ticketing". They will always search for the absolute cheapest way to get you to and from your cruise, and have lately been booking a number of "redeye" flights to get you there and back. All cruise lines do this. If you book your air through RCI, when you get your e-ticket, you will not see a price on it other than the taxes, and you will see "BT" on it. That's why it's worth paying the air deviation fee to get what you want. Best bet is to book your own air most of the time.
We took AirTran through RCI to one cruise and almost missed the ship. On the other cruise we took Northwest through RCI and had no problems.
Sovereign of the Seas 2/03
Navigator of the Seas 2/04
Adventure of the Seas 2/05
Serenade of the Seas 2/06
Monarch of the Seas 7/06
Liberty of the Seas 8/07
Majesty of the Seas 5/08
As a "Diamond" member I don't pay the air deviation so my T/A and I research what fits my needs. This past trip "RCI" beat the best price I could find on "AA" so we still got to pick our seats and get frequent flyer miles on our preferred carrier. Hope this tip helps someone else since it worked out great for us (just got back on the 28th from London).