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Airfare and booking directly with Cruise Line

Airfare and booking directly with Cruise Line

Old Sep 29, 19, 11:46 pm
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Airfare and booking directly with Cruise Line

Does anyone know if a TA has the same opportunity to get great deals on airfares in connections with cruises that the cruise line has? In particular, Mrs. Jonsail and I find that if we book a European cruise with Seabourn far in advance and are flexible as to arrival and departure dates and cities--we like to see some of Europe before or after the cruise--we can get great flight plans, all premium cabins for $2,000-$2,500 pp. which is far better than we could do on our own. My "consultant" at Seabourn claims that Holland American's travel department--Seabourn and Holland American are both subsidiaries of Carnival Cruise Lines--has enormous bargaining power. Seabourn has also been great in these two cases:
1) The airline changed the schedule making for a crappy flight plan and we were able to get new, better flights for the same price, and
2) We talked another couple into joining us on a cruise and decided we wanted a longer stay in the departure city and we made the change at no cost.

Therefore my Q: Would a TA booking me into Seabourn have been able to do the same?
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Old Sep 29, 19, 11:53 pm
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1) Rebooking customers at no cost after a significant schedule change is an obligation according to most airline T&Cs and many regulatory agencies. The cruise line didn't do a special favor or exhibit particularly good customer service here.

2) For all you know, the new itinerary would have been cheaper anyway according to normal fares offered by the airline(s).
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Old Sep 30, 19, 4:37 am
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Originally Posted by jonsail View Post
Does anyone know if a TA has the same opportunity to get great deals on airfares in connections with cruises that the cruise line has? In particular, Mrs. Jonsail and I find that if we book a European cruise with Seabourn far in advance and are flexible as to arrival and departure dates and cities--we like to see some of Europe before or after the cruise--we can get great flight plans, all premium cabins for $2,000-$2,500 pp. which is far better than we could do on our own. My "consultant" at Seabourn claims that Holland American's travel department--Seabourn and Holland American are both subsidiaries of Carnival Cruise Lines--has enormous bargaining power. Seabourn has also been great in these two cases:
1) The airline changed the schedule making for a crappy flight plan and we were able to get new, better flights for the same price, and
2) We talked another couple into joining us on a cruise and decided we wanted a longer stay in the departure city and we made the change at no cost.

Therefore my Q: Would a TA booking me into Seabourn have been able to do the same?
Yes. TAs can work with Seabourn and arrange the same flights, changes, etc.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 8:26 am
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"1) Rebooking customers at no cost after a significant schedule change is an obligation according to most airline T&Cs and many regulatory agencies. The cruise line didn't do a special favor or exhibit particularly good customer service here."

There is a tremendous difference between the way an airline does it and the way Seabourn does it. A while back whatever airline Seabourn had booked for me changed their schedule so that it showed an impossible connection from Stockholm to Las Vegas. I made the mistake of calling the airline and settling for a not very good correction. Then I was sorry I hadn't held out for something better and called Seabourn and was told that since I had contacted the airline directly, it was now out of their hands. Had I called Seabourn directly, they would have been able to offer me choices including all the airlines they work with.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 9:43 am
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I never heard of Seabourn having any $2500 cabins, you must have a great TA
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Old Sep 30, 19, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by satman40 View Post
I never heard of Seabourn having any $2500 cabins, you must have a great TA
I kind of wrote that off as the cost of the airfare but now I’m not so sure. Even with my pretty good discount from my TA about the cheapest Seabourn cabin I see would be around $2,800 per person for a 7-day cruise and that doesn’t include airfare. $2,500 per person for a cabin and including airfare even if just coach would be quite remarkable.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 2:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Randyk47 View Post
I kind of wrote that off as the cost of the airfare but now I’m not so sure.
Based on context, I'm sure that's what the OP means. Premium cabin = Premium Economy, Business Class, or First Class.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 3:34 pm
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We just finished a cruise on the Odyssey, and stayed in a Veranda Suite, from ATH, one always wonders if they paid too much.


It was a nice ship, but we use miles to ATH, and paid about 4500 pp.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Based on context, I'm sure that's what the OP means. Premium cabin = Premium Economy, Business Class, or First Class.
Now that I rereread I agree, he meant cabin class on the aircraft not a cabin on the ship and airfare combined. Depending on where he is flying getting business class round trips to the Med for his quoted cost is a pretty good deal.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by satman40 View Post
We just finished a cruise on the Odyssey, and stayed in a Veranda Suite, from ATH, one always wonders if they paid too much.


It was a nice ship, but we use miles to ATH, and paid about 4500 pp.
Cruise fare sounds about right. For years we used to build these fairly detailed Excel spread sheets comparing several cruise options. The sheet had several columns and weíd collect all sorts of costs like fares (air and cruise), transfers, pre and post cruise hotels, etc, etc. Today we figure out where and when we want to cruise and only check one or two cruise lines. It is what it is and if itís within our level of tolerance cost wise then we book it. While we watch fares once we book itís watching the line weíve booked with. Thatís more about making sure we got the best fare from them than watching other lines to see if we could have done better. Even thatís not a big issue as it once was as Silversea, our go-to line, has a fare guarantee program so if they lower the fare for our cabin category we will get the new fare.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 4:25 pm
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Originally Posted by jonsail View Post
Does anyone know if a TA has the same opportunity to get great deals on airfares in connections with cruises that the cruise line has?
Whether booking directly with cruise line or with a TA as an intermediary with the cruiseline, my understanding is that business-class fares are only provided for over-water (long-haul) portions of the itinerary. Is the the community's experience?

For those of you with American Express Platinum: There are two programs that help significantly reduce business-class travel: The IAP (International Airline Program) and Amex's deal with AA for cheaper rates on international fares. IAP rates can be up to 17% less expensive. Terms and conditions apply.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 7:56 pm
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So

Originally Posted by jonsail View Post
Does anyone know if a TA has the same opportunity to get great deals on airfares in connections with cruises that the cruise line has? In particular, Mrs. Jonsail and I find that if we book a European cruise with Seabourn far in advance and are flexible as to arrival and departure dates and cities--we like to see some of Europe before or after the cruise--we can get great flight plans, all premium cabins for $2,000-$2,500 pp. which is far better than we could do on our own. My "consultant" at Seabourn claims that Holland American's travel department--Seabourn and Holland American are both subsidiaries of Carnival Cruise Lines--has enormous bargaining power. Seabourn has also been great in these two cases:
1) The airline changed the schedule making for a crappy flight plan and we were able to get new, better flights for the same price, and
2) We talked another couple into joining us on a cruise and decided we wanted a longer stay in the departure city and we made the change at no cost.

Therefore my Q: Would a TA booking me into Seabourn have been able to do the same?

The answer is..it depends...the cruise lines often can offer great air prices that are superior to those published fares you would get on your own. (You should always compare, of course.) TAs will always be able to book these for you if you book the cruise through them (which with most TAs is no additional charge to you.) So, a travel agent should pretty much always to get that cruise fare and the cruise's airfare for you for the same cost as booking as your own.

As to other flights, TAs who belong to large networks will also have access to airline consolidator rates--which can be much better than published fares, especially on international fares. However, no guarantees as it depends on many factors. You just need to ask a TA willing to do a thorough search for you.

As others have noted, under scenario #1 that's pretty standard practice when the carrier makes the change.

Scenario #2 depends on the new price and what type of ticket you bought.

One general advantage to buying air through the cruise line is that they typically provide some sort of guarantee about getting you to the ship on time.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 11:51 pm
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On the issue of the $2,000-$2,500 premium cabin I meant airfare only: domestic first or international business. The only people who get cabins at that price on Seabourn that I have met are airline employees or retirees who get great deals on SOME Seabourn cruises (I guess if Seabourn is scrambling to fill up the ship.)

On the issue of TAs using consolidators for discounts on trans-ocean business seats, I don't know how that works with irrops and if any of the consolidators are doing things like using frequent flyer miles to buy tickets.

On Caribbean cruises with Seabourn I make my own airfare arrangements because I can usually do better if buying several months in advance than what Seabourn offers. As to the risk of my flight being late, I pick a cruise with a departure port on an island I like and arrive a couple of days early.
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Old Oct 2, 19, 7:56 pm
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Consolidators

Originally Posted by jonsail View Post

On the issue of TAs using consolidators for discounts on trans-ocean business seats, I don't know how that works with irrops and if any of the consolidators are doing things like using frequent flyer miles to buy tickets.
Usually consolidators are just buying up seats from the airline in advance at a substantially reduced rate--think of it as wholesale. For the consumer, it is the usually the same as if you bought yourself, just less expensive. There can be exceptions (which the consolidator should disclose), but the consumer usually earns frequent flyer miles and is treated as any other customer of that airline. IRROPs are treated same as any other passenger. As with any airfare, you should make sure you are clear on seat assignments, baggage fees, change fees, etc.

Generally, the best fares will be on popular international flights. Much less so on domestic flights.
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Old Oct 2, 19, 8:34 pm
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Originally Posted by jonsail View Post
if any of the consolidators are doing things like using frequent flyer miles to buy tickets.
Those aren't consolidators. Those are fraudsters, as that is against the rules of every frequent flyer program.
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