How do I Book My Cruise Airfare?
You can buy an ‘Air/Sea’ package direct from the cruise line that includes airfare or you can arrange flights on your own – through a travel agent or online. We recommend either a TA or the ‘on your own’ option – as both almost always result in greater choice and lower fares. In this article you will find out how to: cruise booking
* Find the Best Deals
* Plan for Contingencies
* Work with a Travel Agent
* Book with Frequent Flyer Miles
* Drive to the Port of Departure
* Plus Learn the Background & History of Cruise Air
Finding the Best Deals Online –
Pros -The fare display is extremely flexible and user friendly. With Kayak.com it is very easy to limit results to a particular airline, to specific departure and arrival time frames, to scan multiple dates or to return to the original input form for modification. theprerollguys
Cons – Kayak.com is a data aggregator and does not actually sell tickets – once you have chosen the flights you want – you are directed to another site – often the airline’s own proprietary site – to complete the sale – you don’t know who you will be dealing with until you are ready to purchase.
Pros – Like Travelocity and Expedia, Tripfinder is a true online agency – and well suited for all your ancillary cruise booking – airfare, pre/post cruise hotel, car rental, etc. Deeply discounted hotel packages are automatically offered as an option to air itineraries – a real convenience and time saver if you are going to be looking for a hotel deal anyway. The user interface is as friendly – or more so – than any other online reservation service. Plus, Tripfinder offers a hotel ” Best Rate Guarantee”. meridianshrooms
Cons – While excellent for domestic travel and trans-Atlantic flights, Tripfinder is weak when a multiple destination itinerary is required.
Orbitz.com, Fly.com & Hotwire.com
We are still accumulating data on these systems, however, we do know that Orbitz.com tends to get high marks from consumers for consistently low prices – while Hotwire.com seems to be the front runner in the “User Friendliness” category. The newest of the three is Fly.com which, like Kayak, is an aggregator of information from other sites but has the added convenience of displaying premium fares (first and business class) next to economy. This is a real time saver for people wanting to see at a glance just how much extra it would cost to ride up front in comfort. universalblogs
Pros – Specializes in international airfares and is especially good for visually oriented searches – one can just click at a location on a map rather than type in city names or airport codes. Nice.
Cons – No advantage over other sites unless you are just thrilled by seeing a map with flight paths superimposed. Plus, you cannot purchase a last minute ticket on Vayama.com. Travel must be five days out or more.
Plan for Contingencies –
Unless yours is a very short flight, say Tampa to Miami, it is almost always best to schedule arrival at the port of departure a day or two prior to the ship’s sailing. Why? If you are late to the port for ANY reason, the ship is not going to wait. You will be on your own for all costs related to catching up with the ship at the first port stop. And the cruise line is not going to compensate you for days that you were not on board.
The best strategy is to book a flight arriving the day before the ship sails, grab a hote near the pier or in an area that would be fun to explore for half a day. Then sleep easy with the peace of mind that you are not likely to miss your ship. slot gator
When returning for disembarkation allow for unexpected contingencies, such as a customs or immigration instigated delay in clearing the ship for one reason or another- or a weather related delay to the ship’s arrival in port, etc. A good rule of thumb – if you are catching a flight home on the same day the ship gets in, don’t schedule your departure any earlier than mid-afternoon; even if the ship is scheduled to arrive at 7am and the airport is only a stone’s throw away – such as in Ft. Lauderdale.