I generally book my own air since I want control over the flights. Plus, it has traditionally been cheaper to book your own air. That isn't necessarily true with the calamity one faces with the airlines today.
I just was looking at doing a short cruise at the end of August with RCI - with the only reason being it would push me into Diamond C&A status. I was surprised when I looked at the booking with cruise line air and without it. Flying from Huntsville to Orlando would cost me $621 (just me). The cruise-only price is $620 for the cabin category I want. This means if I do my own air the cruise will cost me $1241. But if I buy the air-sea package the total is $1102.
That is significant since the difference in price would cover my tips for the crew. The downside is the flights with the cruise line air will no doubt be early in the morning and the return probably not leaving MCO until after 6pm, where for the extra money I can be home by 3pm.
I forgot about the custom air option. And I get it for free with my platinum C&A level!
Plus another biggie - the cruise line air includes the transfers where booking my own air means I have to get myself to the ship and back. Granted, I hate the bus rides but I am looking for a cruise credit for as cheap as possible - which means I'll put up with some inconvenience (up to a point).
Wow, Dave, I cannot get over the airfare you mentioned. It would be much cheaper for me to go from California to Florida, and I am much, much closer. Would you save much by driving a couple of hundred miles and flying from a larger city? Just curious.
I could get cheaper air from Nashville or Birmingham, but I don't like the drives - even though they are only 100 miles or so away. It is hard to pass up a nice small airport like HSV (Huntsville) which is only 15 minutes from my house.
That is what is funny about airports in Alabama. The air to MCO is cheaper from Birmingham, however, I am flying to Pittsburgh next month and the flights are cheaper from Huntsville. I usually end up flying half of the time from Huntsville and half from Bham. Congrats on the C&A status, Dave. I have only been on one cruise with RCCL since becoming a Diamond and I am looking forward to going back to them soon. I have been working on getting my in-laws up to 10 cruises on Carnival (thank goodness for the Holiday!) then I can work on catching up to Sonny. That will never happen!