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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-26-2005, 12:47 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 3
Hello All,

We are planning our first cruise (Princess Star to Western Carribean in April 06). I was wondering which is a better deal and/or more convenient: Booking your hotel (for the night before embarkation) through Princess and getting their included transport - or - booking your own hotel and your own transport from the airport and to the ship. We are going to be flying into Fort Lauderdale the day before embarkation to make it a little less hectic (we are coming from NY). Any tips? Any hotels that you recommend?

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Old 12-26-2005, 01:15 PM
Dave's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 18,001
Hi Katrinamp,

I have always liked cruises out of Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) because the airport is essentially across the street from the port. Well, not quite, but you are only a few minutes away!

While going with the Princess pre-cruise package will give you some peace of mind, it can be done more inexpensively on your own. Many local hotels offer a complimentary shuttle to the port - and from the airport to the hotel too - so you can get the tranportation out of the way for no added cost. But since the port is so close to the airport and most hotels, taxi rides are not too costly. I am talking in the $20 range.

Here is one hotel for you to consider: Cruiseport Hotel but there are many others.

Princess is a real champion when it comes to embarkation and debarkation, especially in Ft. Lauderdale. On one cruise they even hustled us onto one of their buses for the trip back to the airport - even though we hadn't purchased the transfers.

A word of caution should you let Princess book your air - these typically are not the most preferable flights and you could find yourself cooling your heels until a late afternoon or early evening flight. We always do our own air. Another consideration is that - although the airport is close and Princess will most likely have you off the ship in standing in the airport by 9 to 10 am - don't risk missing your flight by booking something that cuts it too close. There are lots of flights out of FLL around 10:30am or so, and these are tempting, but not realistic these days.

Although this is your first cruise, you have already made a decision like a seasoned cruiser! Getting to the port a day early is always the right choice in my opinion. You will not regret it.

More questions? Let us know!
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 12-31-2005, 10:55 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 21
OK -- some of these post r starting to get me worried
We r flying in from Toronto arriving @ 12.50 on the day of the cruise,,,,,no way of changing that now!
How do I know if the air is w/Princess or not ??
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 12-31-2005, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3,904
If you paid Princess to arrange your air flights, then your flights were arranged by the cruise line. If you paid the "cruise only" price and arranged for the airfare directly with the airlines, or your travel agent made the air arrangements directly with the airlines, then you air is not through Princess.

  #5 (permalink)  
Old 12-31-2005, 12:19 PM
LisaP's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 5,589
Regarding hotels... one other consideration is that the rates charged by the cruise lines are per person whereas the rates when booked on your own are typically per room.

As a family of three, this makes a big difference to us.
Happy cruising!
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 01-01-2006, 10:25 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 27
This year we are sailing out of San Juan on January 14,2006 on the Golden We let Princess make Hotel arangements For the day b/4

We used Flyer Miles to Get there
Also used Princess to get us from ship to Airport after cruise is over (as fo pre cruise included with Hotel Package

When Cruising out of Ft. Lauderdale We arange oure owne hotel day b/4 Cruise Hampton In includes Transportation from airport to Hotel and to ship

We always try to go the day b/4 as not knowing what the weather is here in the winter


  #7 (permalink)  
Old 01-02-2006, 03:40 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 157
I've compared some prices for hotels offered by Princess and in the larger cities such as Rome and NY the prices actually seem quite competitive.

For those destiations such as Florida, I would bet you could get a better price on both airfare and the hotel by booking your own. Not to mention going down the day before is SUCH a good idea - worth it for two reasons

1) You have the reassurance of getting there well in advance in case something should go wrong (weather issues etc)
2) You can actually rest and get a good night's sleep before the cruise so you won't pass out at 4pm on the day of disembarkation.

RCI Sovereign of the Seas 2005
Caribbean Princess 2005
Carnival Paradise 2004
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 01-02-2006, 08:16 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 142
Katrinamp – Since this your first cruise, I would recommend that you let Princess handle the air and hotel. Although it is almost always a better deal to arrange air/hotel on your own, there is some real peace of mind in having Princess arrange it. If Princess arranges your air, they are responsible for getting you to the ship should anything go wrong. (I have even seen the ship delay departure by an hour or two to wait for passengers who are using the cruise line’s air and had travel delays.) If you arrange your own air, you are responsible for any costs of catching up to the ship. Who needs to worry about that kind of stress on your first cruise?

On the first two cruises we took, we let the cruise line arrange the air and hotel. We learned about the entire process for air, hotel, embarkation, disembarkation, transfers, etc., when the cruise line was handling all the arrangements. After those first two cruises, we have always arranged our own air/hotel because of the cost savings.
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