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Old 08-03-2008, 03:40 PM
Hank Hank is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 751
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Great topic Dave. Here is my take. Years ago, most of us took the cruise/fly packages because the cruise lines had great prices, transfers, etc. But, in the past 5 years, the cruise lines stopped passing along savings on most of their packages and often gave cruisers awful connections and flights. So, many of us frequent cruisers started doing our own air, flying in at least one day early, doing our own hotels and our own transfers. And guess what. We got the flights we wanted and saved money. In our last 20 some cruises (over the past 5 years) we have used cruise air only once, and that was because Azamara had a great package on a relocation cruise starting in Brazil. I still urge cruisers (when I am asked) to always explore their own air (use websites like Kayak and Sidestep). In most ports, its cheaper to use a taxi than cruise line transfers, and you can usually get a pretty good deal on a pre-cruise hotel if you shop on-line.

The current situation is that the cruise lines can no longer get the guaranteed long term contracts with airlines like in days past. So, not only do they want to make a profit on selling air, but they have to be extra cautious on promising air fares (some lines will no longer guarantee a fare until you make full payment). I think we are going to see some of the cruise lines (particularly Oceania and Azamara) start using more charters for their air packages. This makes a lot of sense for European, South American and Asian cruises. As to the US ports, most are going to find that they can get better prices on their own.

Hank

Hank