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Old April 1st, 2014, 04:45 PM
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Question Airfare to Puerto Rico

I just booked a cruise on Adventure of the Seas leaving San Juan on Feb 15th, 2015. Starting to look into airfares even thought many Airlines are not selling that far in advance yet. I have a few questions for people who have flown to PR. We can leave from Philly or Newark. Atlantic City has Spirit but they only have one stop flights that leave either too early on 2/11 or too late on 2/12. Plus we would prefer a non-stop.

First question. When is the best time to book???

More questions, Has anybody used Royal Caribbean to book their air??? How does that work? What airlines do they use?

Thanks in advance!
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Old April 1st, 2014, 07:20 PM
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First, let your agent help you with this - it'll make your life easier.

I read a story just the other day that said the best time to get the best rate for airfare was 54 days in advance. I found that rather strange, but for most of us, we like to book it a bit earlier to make sure we get what we want.

Normally, I start looking 6 months in advance because this is when most of the discount airlines post their rates.

Personally and professionally, I do not suggest booking air through the cruise lines. It's much better, easier, and usually cheaper to do it yourself. I've heard horror stories from people who booked through the cruise line, but the latest was published in the Washington Post just this past Sunday. A couple booked a cruise, insurance, and airfare through the cruise line. Two months before the cruise, the wife died. The husband filed a claim to get a refund and got one for the cruise, but not for the airfare. The cruise line said the airfare was a non-refundable fare. However, the airline provided a refund to the cruise line!! But the cruise line would not provide a refund to the passenger! Long story short, it took quite a while and threats of a lawsuit before he finally got his money back. But the moral of the story is NEVER book airfare through the cruise line! And second, NEVER purchase the travel insurance through the cruise line! They are in the business of selling cruises and they're good at that. But it's like going to your auto mechanic and asking them to clean your teeth while they're working on your car!

As for your flights, US Airways is the only one doing non-stop flights from Philadelphia. But you have a multitude of non-stop carriers from Newark and you'll usually get better rates because of that.

As for when to go, many people like to go into San Juan the day before their cruise. Makes like easier and gives them a chance to relax before getting on the ship.

However, the ship does not leave until 8:30pm, so you don't have to be onboard until 7:00pm at the latest. There are flights available that will arrive around noon, which gives you ample time to get on the ship if you want to fly in the day of the cruise. The airport is only about 20 minutes by taxi to the pier ($16 per taxi plus $1 per bag), so it's cheap and easy.

We absolutely love the Southern Caribbean, so I know you'll have a wonderful cruise!

Pete
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Old April 1st, 2014, 07:21 PM
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Choice Air through Royal Caribbean gets high satisfaction scores from guests, especially when it is used in conjunction with cruises departing from non-continental U.S. ports. I personally plan to use it for my upcoming transatlantic cruise on the Anthem, and would also use it for a cruise from San Juan.
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Old April 1st, 2014, 07:33 PM
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Thanks for the input. We are flying several days early so we can sightsee and relax in PR. We exchanging our time share.
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Old April 1st, 2014, 07:34 PM
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Had clients use them to Europe, against my better advice, and not only did they get a terrible routing, but their bags got lost in Philadelphia. Because there were two different airlines involved and the cruise line was absolutely no help whatsoever, they called us from Europe begging for help. We spent 2 hours on the phone, finally found their bags, and got them routed so they arrived about an hour before the ship left port the next day.

After that experience, as well as hearing alot of horror stories, and reading the story this Sunday, they may get high grades from some, but I'll stick with doing my own reservations directly with the airline so I don't have to rely on someone else or have another hoop to jump through should things go wrong.

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Old April 1st, 2014, 07:51 PM
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I too get a little nervous when booking any connecting flights. Seems there is always a chance of delay, or lost luggage. It never hurts to start checking yourself and look for the direct flights, IMO, worth the bit extra fare. Beware, the cost of flights to SJU are not cheap, but since you are coming in a few days early, you have some flexibility...


I too love cruising the Southern route, some great little islands to visit, usually the seas are calm and beautiful.
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Old April 1st, 2014, 10:22 PM
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I like being in control of my flights, vs the cruise line booking me through timbuktoo, to get to the port, which has happened to me, a couple of times early on in my cruising history.

Historically prices are high to SJ,often higher then the cruise itself when they offer great pricing. At least that has been what I have seen from Boston.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 12:20 AM
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Amen on the "not cheap" part.. One would think that flying out of the busiest airport in the world (Atlanta) that you could get a fairly decent price to SJ.. Not the case... a few years ago we actually stayed 2 days in SJ after the cruise so at least we would get something for the 1000.00 it was going to cost us to fly home on Sunday... YIKES!!!! The fares seem to be a little better now.. We just paid 700.00 for 2 RT to SJ from Atl 2 weeks ago.. Watch the fares on Kayak on Wednesday mornings.. that is where I find the best rates.. I got a killer deal to Vancover in August and then back from Fairbanks.. on a Wednesday... I've never booked through the cruise line so I don't know about that... I like having the flexibility of doing it myself..
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 05:14 PM
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We have been paying about $375-425 round-trip from central Ohio. You should be less if you leave from phl. (assuming you can get out on time as Philly has a bad rep for travel delays). For us, it doesn't seem to make a difference when you book you air as far as costs go. It makes more sense to make certain that you are not going to cancel your trip before you buy your plane tickets. Many cruise lines offer a complete refund if you cancel with 90 days of departure. We've used that little fact to get better rates when cruise lines offer lower rates to fill the ship. A good travel agent will know how to take advantage of that type of situation.

We travel to San Juan exclusively when we cruise the Caribbean. We love to rent a car and travel around the island prior to the cruise. Our favorite cruise line by far is Celebrity. They do things right!

We just got back from San Juan after being on board the troubled RCI adventure of the seas. We wanted to go Aruba and Curacao but the ship broke down. RCI only offered us $150/person for a truncated cruise on a broken cruise that only included 2 of 4 planned ports 2 other minor ports that they needed to stop at in an effort to fix the ship enough to limp back to San Juan in time for many passengers to miss their flights.
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