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booking your own air, excursions, and getting deals


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So we are looking at booking a cruise next year on AMA. We need to get to europe from the states.

 

I noticed this past spring when looking through the catalogs I was getting every week (maybe more), that there were all sorts of offers: free air, 2 for 1 air, upgrade class, 2 for 1 excursions, etc. etc.

 

Pretty sure since they were in the spring for spring and summer cruises, they were trying to sell empty rooms. Haven't seen any enticements now for next spring cruises, don't know if they offer anything...

 

I am wondering if

a. Since I want to book now for a specific cruise if I can ask for these things, are there any discounts via TAs, or should I just book air myself.

 

b. the same question regarding pre/post excursions. Is it more expensive to use AMA or whatever cruise line for this vs. just doing yourself or TA?

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We cruised with AMA last Nov-great experience all the way. We booked our own air after looking at prices thru' the cruise line and the TA. For us, better pricing and better control by booking ourselves. Having said that, check out all the sources and then make your decision.

 

At first, we booked the pre cruise package thru' AMA but research showed me that we could make our own arrangements for significantly less. We cancelled that part of the trip and made our own arrangements. Again explore all your options. Some prefer to have all the details taken care of for them. If you DIY make sure you know how you will get to and from the cruise. We used AMA's transfer to the ship but made our own arrangements at the end of the cruise.

 

If you work with a TA experienced with European river cruises, perhaps he/she will know of offers and discounts that will apply. If you have a specific cruise in mind, the sooner you book the better chance that you will get the cabin category you want as there can be significant pricing differences among categories.

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Hi! Generally AMA will offer discounts and some air inclusions for the early Spring and late Fall sailings. July-Sept cruises have no problems filling up, so that is why you will not see any discounting for those months. You should check with your local TA to see what they can find for you .

 

As for air, you will have much more control over the timing of your flights if you do it yourself or through your TA.

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After reading some of the less than positive comments about connections and seats, I decided to book my own travel. I'm using miles so for me it was also a no brainer. We are doing pre and post but I'm planning all that myself. I am a bit of a control freak however.

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The cruise lines contract with the airlines for deeply discounted tickets that have many restrictions. They sell these tickets above their costs to make additional profit. When bookings are slow they are able use these tickets as additional fodder to attract cruisers by lowering prices. You can almost always get cheaper airfare from the cruise line but you do get tickets with many hidden restrictions. For a fee, most of he cruise lines will let you choose routing, dates and airlines but they are still selling you restricted tickets. If you are making comparisons between tickets purchased directly from the airlines and those sold by the cruise lines, remember they are not the same tickets. Many questions are answered on the Cruise Air forum.

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The cruise lines contract with the airlines for deeply discounted tickets that have many restrictions. They sell these tickets above their costs to make additional profit. When bookings are slow they are able use these tickets as additional fodder to attract cruisers by lowering prices. You can almost always get cheaper airfare from the cruise line but you do get tickets with many hidden restrictions. For a fee, most of he cruise lines will let you choose routing, dates and airlines but they are still selling you restricted tickets. If you are making comparisons between tickets purchased directly from the airlines and those sold by the cruise lines, remember they are not the same tickets. Many questions are answered on the Cruise Air forum.

 

Unless you buy a flexible fare, ALL discounted fares are highly restrictive. With AMA, you can book your flights with a small deposit and drop it up until time of final payment, losing only the deposit. Directly purchasing from the airline is far more restrictive.

 

Do your homework and decide what works for you. The airlines themselves are the source of so many changes and cancellations and to blame most of the time.

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We went through the same experience in May when booking our 2015 Grand Circle Christmas Market Nov 26 First river cruise. The prices Grand Circle (which I assume is similar to most others) quoted us for air seemed slightly better that what we could find on most search engines. We ended up booking our own air mainly for our peace of mind in knowing exactly when we would leave and arrive. Since May, our flights have been changed by Delta 4 different times :) so it makes sense that cruise lines don't have exact information months in advance. Still happy we did it ourselves.

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