A Cruise Vacation That Can Include Airline Reservations
 by: Mary Hanna

An air-sea cruise is when your cruise vacation has been booked with airline reservations to get you to the shipís port and back home again. The cruise line buys its tickets in bulk from the airlines. They find out where you are coming from for your cruise travel and book you passage from a nearby airport to one close to the cruise ship's home port. Each cruise line has its own policy on how they deal with the sale of airline tickets, so here are some cruise tips in that area.

What is the cost of the tickets if I book them with my cruise?

The amount will be quoted when you book and will be shown on your bill.

If I need to cancel, are the refund policies different for the plane tickets than for the cruise?

No, as long as you cancel before the penalty phase begins.

Is there a service fee charged to have the Cruise Line issue my Airline reservations?

Only if you use their air deviations plan. The fee is around $50.00 each.

Do I have any choice in which Airline is used?

Yes, if you use there air deviation plan.

Can I get credit for my frequent flyer mileage if the cruise lines books my airline reservations?

No. You can use your frequent flyers if you book on your own.

Can I fly nonstop or have any control over the route that is taken, or do I just get what ever they find?

Here again, use the air deviation plan.

How do I get from the Airport to the shipís pier?

If you have booked an air/sea cruise vacation the cruise lines will supply you with a voucher for a shuttle bus. If you booked your own airline reservations it will be up to you to get to the port.

Is there a shuttle service available from the airport where youíll be arriving? Is there a charge for this service or is it included? Is the service included if you donít book your flight through the Cruise Line?

If you book your flights through the cruise lines, there will be a shuttle and you

use your transfer.

How and when do I meet up with Cruise Line personnel?

They will be standing in the baggage claim area and will hold a sign with the name of the ship. They will direct you to the shuttle.

How is my luggage handled, do I have to pick it up at the airport or is it automatically sent to the ship?

You will have to pick it up at the airport and then the shuttle will take it to the ship with you.

What accommodations, if any, are made if the Airline they use causes me to miss the ship?

If you have booked with the cruise lines they will accommodate you by getting a hotel room for the night and a flight to the next port.

There are many advantages to booking an air-sea package for your cruise travel. The cruise line takes care of the airline reservation. Since cruise lines buy in bulk and usually provide a discount package rate, the ticket price is generally lower than what can be found in the general market. The transfer of luggage is easier, and a free shuttle will take you from the airport to the docks for your cruise vacation.

The cruise line will have your flight information and will be able to track your flight in case of a delay. Others on the cruise might be on the same flight and they might just hold the ship waiting for you to board. The biggest advantage is that if anything goes wrong to delay you, the cruise line will generally become more involved in getting you to the ship.

There, of course, are disadvantages as well to booking an air-sea package. You might be able to find a better deal on your own, or you may have to fly an airline you donít like. You will not get credit for frequent flyer miles by going through the cruise line, and you might not be able to fly non-stop. Finally, you might end up flying a longer route than youíd pick for yourself.

You could book your own airline tickets, but only do so if you can get a better deal. The strongest consideration should be how confident you are in being able to make it to the ship for your cruise vacation on your own. If you are already flying in a few days early, know youíll be there on time and you can save over the air-sea on plane tickets and shuttle costs, then you might just consider going it alone. But, remember you are going it alone. In many cruise reviews it is recommended that you book your airline reservation with the cruise line.

The cruise lines will be more likely to make accommodations and work with the airline if their booking didnít get you to the ship on time. They will be better able to track your late flight and might even delay the ship if they know youíll only be slightly late. There have been many cruise vacations that have delayed the departure from port especially if there is a large group of cruise travelers on a late plane.

Depending on the circumstances, they might even rebate some of your cruise or give you a discount toward your next cruise vacation with them. However, the airlines are independent contractors. Most cruise conditions of carriage state that since the airlines are independent contractors the cruise line makes no warranty and assumes no responsibility for any failure or delay in their contractorís services. This is another reason to purchase a strong trip insurance package.

When you book your own airline tickets for your cruise vacation, if the route you picked to make it to the ship fails, you are on your own. Donít risk missing your cruise travel over a few frequent flyer miles. No matter how you get to your cruise vacation, try to avoid this situation by booking a flight that leaves you plenty of time to get you to and from the pier to the airport. It is recommended that your go on the internet and read the many cruise reviews on this subject.

Happy Cruising!

Copyright © Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved.

This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.


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