FAQs : Airline Questions
A fly/cruise or air/sea cruise vacation package includes either free or much reduced airfare along with your cruise ticket. These money-saving options are available from most major North American cities and include transfers between the airport and ship as well as baggage handling.
Absolutely not. If you can find better airfare rates on your own or have frequent flyer points then you can certainly purchase your airfare separately. However, understand that if you have any flight delays on flights arranged apart from the cruise line, then you're on your own to catch the ship in the next port of call if necessary. Note, travel protection can cover a missed connection or travel delay claim. You are also responsible for your transportation from the airport to the ship and back. However, some cruise lines are now offering airport transfers at an additional cost for those passengers who elect to provide their own air.
First of all, a cruise line will always do their very best to get you to and from your port of embarkation on the most direct and convenient flights out of your airport gateway. If convenient flights are not available in the class of service in which they buy them from the airline, then the cruise line reserves the right to get you there any way they affordable can?
When you book your airfare through the cruise line, you will receive your flight schedule 29 days prior to travel. It can be on any airline on any flight schedule that will affordably get you to your port of embarkation before the ship sails. What do we mean by this? It means that if you're from Charlotte, NC and the the main carrier, USAirways, has a direct flight from Charlotte to San Juan you will more than likely get that flight. However, if the cruise line can't get affordable space on that flight they could fly you to Detroit first on Northwest. This is not an exaggeration and is an example (a rare one, mind you. It's only happened once in 6 years) of what happened to one of our clients.
An air deviation allows you to pick your airline and flights prior to making your final payment. There is usually a $35 - $50 non-refundable fee (per passenger) and there may be additional charges.
You should note that easily 95% of our clients decline air deviations and generally 90% of these clients report satisfaction with their cruise line assigned flight schedules. It is the other 10% that wish they had made one. You will most likely get a flight you can live with, however the chances are reduced during peak flying times: Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Easter, 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Spring Break, Fall Break, President's Week, and other major holidays. If you're flying during these periods, don't expect direct flights without a deviation.We make your air deviation request in writing at least 60 days before your cruise.Deviations give you a lot of flexibility. You can arrive early, stay extra days at the end of a cruise, or maybe build in a stop-over. You can also fly business class or first class. You may also be able to avoid strange routings that they sometimes pick. And you can get your seat assignments when you get the air deviations - assuming the airline assigns seat at that time. This alone is worth it at times, especially on long flights.
Yes. This is just another example of the flexibility of an air deviation. You may come in up to 2 weeks prior to your cruise departure or stay up to 2 weeks after your cruise. This depends on your cruise line. These requests must be made in writing prior to your final payment and an an air deviation charge will be added by the cruise line.
Every cruise line tries to use major commercial carriers when booking your airfare; therefore, you would qualify for frequent flyer points. However, on more exotic itineraries, the cruise line reserves the right to use a charter carrier for flights to Acapulco or other exotic itineraries where they're carrying a large number of their own cruise passengers to catch a ship. In these cases, you probably won't earn points on these flights but would qualify on other connecting flights.
It really depends on your airline, but historically the answer is no. The cruise lines usually book what they call "bulk rate" tickets. These are fares that are not available to the general public and are sold to the cruise lines at a volume discount. Because these tickets are usually lower than public fares, the airlines will decline frequent flyer or mileage upgrades. But nothing is written in stone. Simply check with your carrier once you we give you your flight schedule. Passengers electing to take advantage of air deviation will have their flights within days of their air deviation requests. Non-deviating passengers will have their flight schedules 29 days prior to travel.
The cruise lines submit names to the airlines 30 days in advance. We normally have your schedule 29 days in advance, but do not begin making seat assignments until we get your tickets two weeks in advance. With that in mind, what kind of seats are left 2 weeks in advance if any. Therefore, if your are particular about your seat assignments, you might want to consider an air deviation just to secure decent seats on your plane. If you can can handle a middle seat for 2 hours, then forget the air deviation, but if you're flying trans-Atlantic or cross country and must have an aisle seat, then your comfort my be worth $35 or $50 to have your flights 3 or 4 months in advance.
We will make every effort to secure the seats that you want, but we can never ever guarantee that you'll get them. An air deviation just increases your chances. Air deviations must be submitted well before final payment.
Yes, you can cancel your cruise; however you may be subjected to penalties imposed by the cruise line. These penalties are outlined in their brochures. We've always thought that it was never a coincidence that the cruise line seemed to give flight schedules one day after their big penalties kicked in. That way, you have a lot of money to lose if you cancel because of a bad flight schedule. Not liking your air schedule is not a covered reason for cancellation under most travel protection plans.
You could cancel your air after its been assigned and try to get a better schedule on your own. You would then be refunded for the air costs of your trip. You would sacrifice your transfers, but you would at least have the schedule you prefer.By the way, 90% of our clients are very satisfied with flight schedules they receive. The cruise line will make every effort to secure the most direct flight to and from your sailing port.
Most cruise lines are now offering one way and roundtrip transfers to their cruise only passengers who book their own airfare. Some lines will offer them complimentary, but most charge about the same as a taxi ride to and from the ship. These transfers include baggage handling to the ship. We can add your transfers once you give us your confirmed flight schedule and add the cost to your passenger invoice.
If you booked your airfare with the cruise line, the cruise line should make the arrangements to get you to the ship, even if it means flying you to the next port of call and putting you up in a hotel for the night or two. They may or may not choose to reimburse you for the unused portion of the cruise, depending on what you negotiate upon your return.
If you booked your own airfare, then you're on your own in every aspect of getting to the next port of call. The cruise line owes you nothing. Fortunately, travel protection bought separately from the cruise line should include travel delay and missed connection coverage. Read the fine print though, coverage will be subject to terms and conditions. Check with your agent when booking your airfare separately on what your travel protection plan will cover.