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MG16

Would you book your own flights?

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I am helping some friends find a Med cruise for this summer, when are the cruise lines going to sort out the flights? P&O seem to be the only company which cater for passengers outside of London. NCL are charging £450 per person for flights from Manchester to Barcelona!! Princess only have indirect flights from Manchester or Birmingham, when I look myself there are plenty of direct flights starting from about £60 return. I have tried to convince them to book their own flights but as it's their first cruise they want everything to be seemless.

Would you book your own flights for a cruise or do you prefer to be protected by the cruise line? I understand long haul there is more of a risk then flying to Barcelona, its so frustrating when you can see a flight but the cruise line wants to take you via timbuktu!!

Edited by MG16

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Hi  I recently booked a cruise on NCL to the Caribbean and wished to have a three night stay in Orlando to visit Universal Studios before my cruise.  I booked my flights, hotel and transfers to the hotel and to and from the port via the web and found no problems.  The only problem would be delays in the flights and missing the departure time of the ship.  If you allow sufficient time for transfers this shouldn't be problem.  If the cost of the flights is much cheaper and convenient it may be worth considering a short stay in Barcelona before the cruise.  However, if you book the flights through the cruise line and there is a problem it is their responsible to get you to the ship.

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With P&O they use charter flights most of the time ,and on Caribbean cruises booking your own would not save money and you could upgrade to a regular airline at a cost?

With the American based cruise lines you are probably better off booking your own flight which will get you flights to suit you and  save them money, you do of course take the risk of delayed flights .

It all depends on your preferences some are happy to DIY a trip others prefer the security of an inclusive booking...Davybe  

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We did 2 cruises with P&O embarking from Genoa and Venice and booked our own flights since we wanted to explore both cities before the cruise, everything was fine but you should fly at the very minimum at least 24 hours before you are due to board the ship, if your aircraft has a problem, or the French air traffic go on strike again, then you have a major issue if travelling the same day the ship departs.

Just remember you are on your own, you need to get to the ship from the airport/hotel and this all needs to be factored in, for some of us it's all part of the fun but from what you say, I think your friends might benefit from being under the cruise companies wing?

Also nights in hotels before and taxi fares eat into cost savings, as it's not your money go with what they want.

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We always book our own flights because we like to add stays before and/or after the cruise.  I find that cruise line hotel stays are expensive because they are usually priced per person rather than per room.  A bit of research will find suitable hotels and reasonably priced transfer options.  I would feel cheated if I went to an interesting port and got straight onto a ship without exploring the surrounding area.  As others have said, it is important to allow enough time for any problems with flights.

Edited by smtcan

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Whether I would book my own flights would depend on where I was flying to. To Barcelona I would certainly do my own as there are many different airlines operating the route so prices are competitive. Also the taxis from the airport to the cruise terminal do it on the meter and don't try to rip you off. From Rome, no, its a long way from Rome airport to Civitavecchia 

If it is long haul I always use cruise/air. The advantage, it's always scheduled airline (don't cruise P&O). RCI and Celebrity normally use British Airways or AA to the states and Emirates or Qantas for flights to the Middle east and beyond. MSC also use British Airways. Long haul can be affected by delays and if this happens the ship will wait. It also has the advantage that you usually have a day prior to boarding and transfers are included.

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1 hour ago, Oldworldtraveller said:

If it is long haul I always use cruise/air. The advantage, it's always scheduled airline (don't cruise P&O). RCI and Celebrity normally use British Airways or AA to the states and Emirates or Qantas for flights to the Middle east and beyond. MSC also use British Airways. Long haul can be affected by delays and if this happens the ship will wait. It also has the advantage that you usually have a day prior to boarding and transfers are included.

After a conversation with Celebrity I believe it is a fallacy to say that the ship will wait.  What they told me when I was considering booking air with them was that they will get you to the ship.  This can mean that they will get you to the next port, not that the ship will wait.  The cruise we were looking at was a Transatlantic out of Fort Lauderdale and the first stop was in the Azores.  We went with our usual plan and flew into FLL a day early.  In that case it cost slightly more, but we didn't risk missing half the cruise.  When a large number of passengers are on the same flight, it might be more cost effective for the ship to wait, but it is by no means certain that this will happen.

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51 minutes ago, smtcan said:

After a conversation with Celebrity I believe it is a fallacy to say that the ship will wait.  What they told me when I was considering booking air with them was that they will get you to the ship.  This can mean that they will get you to the next port, not that the ship will wait.  The cruise we were looking at was a Transatlantic out of Fort Lauderdale and the first stop was in the Azores.  We went with our usual plan and flew into FLL a day early.  In that case it cost slightly more, but we didn't risk missing half the cruise.  When a large number of passengers are on the same flight, it might be more cost effective for the ship to wait, but it is by no means certain that this will happen.

As I said in the last line of my post "It also has the advantage that you usually have a day prior to boarding and transfers are included". This way it allows for any delays.

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59 minutes ago, Oldworldtraveller said:

As I said in the last line of my post "It also has the advantage that you usually have a day prior to boarding and transfers are included". This way it allows for any delays.

FLL isn't long haul for us, and Celebrity wanted to get us there the morning of the cruise.  Flights in North America can be delayed for weather conditions in places apparently unrelated to the route.  Fog in Nova Scotia can delay the arrival of a flight into Toronto and consequently the departure of the same plane to Florida.  I have never taken a long haul flight with a cruise line, because if i am spending a lot of money to get to a distant location I want to spend some time there apart from the cruise.  I appreciate that our comfort level when travelling is not the same as many others, especially in our age group (70+).  We prefer to be as independent as possible and usually seek out the most cost effective way of doing things.  

Sheila

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We have always booked our own flights with the help of our TA especially as living on an Island we have to get to a cruise ship require flying at least two connections.

I always research the flights available and will have my TA modify the airlines purported   connection as they base it on expected on time arrival never taking into account  security, immigration time lines. Having said that after going through the experience of flying the same day for a cruise we now arrive 2-4 days prior to the cruise and overnight when the cruise is finished.

We used ship transfers a few times but now take the local taxi or arrange for a car to drive us to port or hotel.

If the cruise lines would stop the practice of double billing for the same hotel room we would stay at their hotel and use the transfer.

Cunard and some river cruising are offering good airfare advantages so it is always good to compare. Health and travel Insurance we do by ourselves.

As the flight to Vancouver Island from Vancouver or Seattle is always on a small plane then I ensure we have a two plane wait when arriving as sonetimes that Atlantic or cross country flight arrives late such you can miss the airlines recommendation. To my mind waiting at the airport is better  than running and seeing they offloaded your luggage   

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On 05/05/2017 at 0:23 PM, Land Ahoy said:

Hi  I recently booked a cruise on NCL to the Caribbean and wished to have a three night stay in Orlando to visit Universal Studios before my cruise.  I booked my flights, hotel and transfers to the hotel and to and from the port via the web and found no problems.  The only problem would be delays in the flights and missing the departure time of the ship.  If you allow sufficient time for transfers this shouldn't be problem.  If the cost of the flights is much cheaper and convenient it may be worth considering a short stay in Barcelona before the cruise.  However, if you book the flights through the cruise line and there is a problem it is their responsible to get you to the ship.

Not so, I'm afraid. We booked a flight and airport transfer to Rome. 2 days before, BA cancelled the flight and offered a flight the next day which would've meant us missing Pompeii, a place our friend much wanted to visit! We had to scrabble around for a flight and booked a Vueling one. On arrival we were told by the Princess rep that our places on the coach had been deleted as our flight was cancelled despite the fact that we'd paid for these transfers!?  Spectacularly unhelpful service from both BA and Princess so don't think that you're safe having used the cruise line for flights and port transfers. We have been told to claim against BA as their excuse that there'd been a fire at the airport 2 months prior and the fact that other passengers were allocated a slightly later flight as a replacement meant they were liable to pay compensation. The stress was unbelievable and getting money back for our flight and taxi to the port took some time. Beware!

Edited by janty1

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I've booked my own flights to Barcelona a few times, but I have always flown out the day before, just in case of delays. I usually stay at the "Ciutat Del Prat" overnight. It is a good quality airport hotel, with an indoor pool, rooftop bar and a restaurant. They have a free courtesy minibus that picks up at both terminals, and you can book a package including a transfer to the cruise port. I've also booked transatlantic flights separate from the cruise - but only flown at least two days before the cruise, and at least a day after.

In general, I have found that booking flights with the cruise has made it harder to prebook seating on the aircraft, which I have found to be far easier when I have booked directly with the airline, as well as having a better choice of extra legroom, upgrades, frequent flyer points etc.

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