When considering a cruise vacation this is a very good question. The Cruise lines pre-book massive amounts of airline space. That allows you better access to flights, and many cruise lines pass on their reasonable prices to passengers whose travel agents book through them.
If you choose to make airline reservations on your own please select flight schedules that allow you enough time to get to the pier in time for the ship’s departure on the day of your cruise travel. That applies in reverse, leave enough breathing room to get to the airport with time to make your return flights after your lovely cruise vacation.
Two advantages of using cruise line provided airfare are:
- By purchasing cruise line airfare, you also receive transfers to and from the airport to the pier.
- If your flights are delayed and arrive past the time of the ship’s departure, the cruise line assumes responsibility for either delaying the ship’s sailing or getting you to the cruise ships first port of call.
You should let your travel agent book the Airline Reservations through the Cruise Line for safety reasons. This basically makes the Cruise Line responsible in the event of a flight or sailing delay or cancellation. Here’s a cruise tip, for a small additional “air deviation” fee, most cruise lines will attempt to book you on the airline or flights of your choice.
If you have frequent-flier miles be sure to book your flights well in advance to ensure your arrival on time. When scheduling your flight home after the cruise, be sure to take into account disembarking time from the ship and local transportation time to the airport. Leave plenty of time because some local airports may not be as sophisticated as those you might be used to. And in today’s world, security will make it even longer to board your flight for your cruise travel.
You should arrive at least a day before the cruise vacation, especially if you are flying a long distance to pick up the ship. That way, you can rest up and be ready to enjoy every moment of your cruise. You get the added benefit of not having to worry about a delayed or cancelled flight, causing you to miss the cruise. This was the best cruise tip I have learned over the years.
When you are flying to your cruise vacation you will have to consider baggage weight. Generally there are no restrictions on how much luggage you can take aboard ship, but do remember that if your cruise vacation involves a flight, airlines have their own baggage allowance restrictions. These vary on scheduled flights, depending on airline and route. Please note that the allowance may be less on international flights. When flying from New Zealand back to Miami after our millennium cruise vacation, Quanta’s airline was very strict about weight and charged us because we were over.
The cruise lines will generally supply you with its luggage tags which will be in addition to your personal ID tags. The luggage tags will be included with your cruise documents which normally arrive 2-3 weeks before your cruise vacation.
Here are some cruise tips we have learned through our cruise travel.
It is strongly suggested that you remove old airline flight tags to eliminate ANY possibility of confusion on the part of the airline.
An extra folded flight bag takes up very little room and it can be handy on your way home when you have more to carry then can be placed in your original luggage.
Be sure to keep your travel documents, identification documents, medications, valuables, a set of clean underwear, credit cards, cash and travelers checks on your person or in your carry-on luggage. Horror stories concerning lost airline luggage are well known.
When traveling outside the United States to pick up your cruise ship, make photocopies of your passport and cruise itinerary, place one set in each bag prior to checking them with the airline. This will ensure you that your luggage will catch up to you at some time during your cruise vacation.
When waiting in line or sitting in an airport, always have the strap to your carry-on luggage wrapped around an arm or leg, then it won’t disappear without your knowledge.
Be very careful using your telephone card in airports. People will stand behind you and watch as you tap in the numbers. And much to your dismay, a month after your cruise travel, you get a huge telephone bill. I know it happened it me. I was not responsible for paying the bill, but it was a hassle.
It is useful to take an overnight bag for the last night of your cruise vacation. Your cabin steward will be collecting all checked bags the night before disembarkation, sometime around midnight. If you have this small overnight bag you can use it for the clothes you wore the evening before. And as mentioned, it comes in handy for packing all the mementos you picked up along the way.
The most important cruise tip is to relax and enjoy your cruise vacation. You deserve it.