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dodgestang

I need help from seasoned travelers on cruises with air and best approach

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So I've made a reservation through the casino for an Aug 2020 cruise.

I'm nowhere near the final price on this yet though, I only made the reservation NOW because I wanted to secure the room I wanted.

 

In April I will end up repricing it and applying Prime Cruise for discount to it.

 

I also need air travel for this cruise from East Coast (PHL area) to Vancouver (this is an Alaska cruise)

 

So here's the question for the most seasoned of veterans

 

I can't book any air right now....because all the major only let you book out to first week Aug 2020...so I have to wait a couple weeks.  This also makes it very difficult to understand ticket costs....using estimates (fly out Aug 1 and return Aug 4) it appears it will be anywhere from 4k to 12k for 4 tickets to go either economy or first class with stops.  Do travel agents actually save you any money over buying air direct from discount place?  AKA would it be a viable strategy to wait till April when I reprice and then transfer the booking to an agent and use them to coordinate air and hotel as needed?  Would they even want a cruise I booked direct with the casino and discounted in that fashion?

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6 minutes ago, dodgestang said:

AKA would it be a viable strategy to wait till April when I reprice and then transfer the booking to an agent and use them to coordinate air and hotel as needed? 

Do air/hotel on your own - use the TA only to get extra perks on the cruise.

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24 minutes ago, Biker19 said:

Do air/hotel on your own - use the TA only to get extra perks on the cruise.

Agree.  Do what you have to do with the cruise/casino/TA thing.  Book your air and hotel on your own.  Don't over complicate things:classic_smile:

Edited by bouhunter

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Just trying to get the 'best' air price I can.....I haven't flown in years.....at 11 months out....I really want to get the air setup and done and out of the way...but at the same time I want to make sure I'm not getting gouged.

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7 minutes ago, dodgestang said:

Just trying to get the 'best' air price I can.....I haven't flown in years.....at 11 months out....I really want to get the air setup and done and out of the way...but at the same time I want to make sure I'm not getting gouged.

 

Im "in the same boat".  August 2020 cruise out of Seattle to Alaska. I havent flown since 1994.   Not really sure when the best time to book airfare is. Some people say as soon as you can and others say wait until two months out.  Im wondering if I book as soon as August 2020 opens up, if the rate drops, can I get a price adjustment.   First class is out of the question for me but Im really needing a non stop flight.   Its looking like Delta or Alaskan Airlines from ATL to SEA and back to ATL.  

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6 minutes ago, dodgestang said:

There are no directs for me from PHL to BC.......

So we will have at least 1 stop.

 

Flying to Vancouver can be very expensive.  Some fly to Seattle and take the train or bus to Vancouver.

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With two people we usually fly to Seattle and drive up to Vancouver but with four and luggage it would be more difficult.  Most PHL coach flights to Vancouver are in the $600-700 range right now but discount airline schedules probably won't be out until February.  You can book at 330 days from return flight.  August still has a lot of cruises going out so flights will book up earlier rather than later.  We book as early as possible but waiting until six months out isn't that bad.

 

You might want to book the  hotel now, since prices for hotels near Canada Place tend to go up as people book their cruises.  See the West Coast board https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/315-west-coast-departures/ for recommendations.

Edited by LeeW
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There is no way to get a cheap deal on airfare.  I looked for a flight from Reno to New Jersey for November for over 2 months.  Looked at Price Line, Cheap Air, and all the other discount sites.  After checking every day for several weeks I got the idea to book 2 separate one way tickets (for 4) and could get first class both ways cheaper than I could book a round trip in coach.  I have checked the same airfare a couple times since then and I still got a better deal than round trip.  My advise is to check your airline of choice and see what their cancellation policy is.  If you can cancel up to so many days out, book a flight and then check on a regular basis to see if it goes down, then cancel and rebook.  Even though we live on the west coast I have been watching Alaska airfare as we will be flying to Seattle for our Alaska cruise in Sept. 2020 and I know it is not really cheap for a 2 hour flight.  Good luck.

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Wow...what an excellent idea....easy to find non stop to Seattle....and first class tickets are an easy $400 less which means with 4 people that's an instant $1600 savings using a 1 way approach to get there.  A 4 hour train ride though....that's a long one

Edited by dodgestang

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You might also try looking at Royal's Air2Sea: www.choiceair.com

 

Be sure to compare two one-way trips to one round trip.

 

Air2Sea (old name ChoiceAir) might show some flights now, but will typically have many more once you are within 330 days of the flight.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, dodgestang said:

Wow...what an excellent idea....easy to find non stop to Seattle....and first class tickets are an easy $400 less which means with 4 people that's an instant $1600 savings using a 1 way approach to get there.

 

It's just going to take you more time.  I've read that the Amtrak ride is very picturesque, but remember with Amtrak you need to  give yourself extra time.

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Yeah....this is complicated ;).

 

Fly in Saturday.  Can get there at noon.

If I want to take a bus...can leave for Vancouver within 2 hours of landing.

If I want to wait for a train...it leaves at 7pm and takes 4 hours assuming no issues and we would have to deal will large quantities of luggage for a long period of time.

If I hotel in Seattle and take morning train...I don't get to Vancouver till Noon....

 

So I may be back to flights since i want to be in Vancouver the night before and be on board by 11am 😉

 

Until I get past this whole 330 day rule when planning flights my hands are tied....so I have to wait a week or two

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My internet connection is wonky today....I don't get a site at choiceair.com

 

Even though it is linked to direct from an RC info page

 

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Must be something up with my DNS.....I can get to websites (and new pages on those websites)/domains I have visited before...but I can't get to any new domains......nothing is ever easy

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Finally got Choiceair to load so I can start looking at that...still too early....need to wait a week

Edited by dodgestang

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Did a NYC to VAN flight for our AK cruise back in May. Air was about 1,200 or so for 2 people including the extra roomy seats. No direct flight to VAN stopped over in PHX on way there, 2 stops on way back from Anchorage (SEA and Charlotte). Plus a 2.5 to 3 hour bus ride from Seward to Anchorage which was about $125. Hotel in VAN was about 250 CDN. Flew in the day before. Booked everything in Jan for the May cruise. Also if you fly into VAN from USA you will encounter CDN customs when you get off plane. Cabs totalled about 60 CDN from airport to hotel and hotel to cruise pier. (cabs do take credit.)

Edited by WeLuvVacation

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I’m skeptical of any claim of when is the best time to purchase a ticket. It’s all a matter of supply and demand, and computers often adjust the price for no apparent reason.

 

In addition to the other advice, go over to the Cruise Air forum if you haven’t already. You may find some nuggets of information.

 

Also look into renting a car from Seattle to Vancouver. If you have Global Entry, it will simplify your return to the US. If you have NEXUS, it will simplify entry both ways.

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2 hours ago, Host Clarea said:

 

Flying to Vancouver can be very expensive.  Some fly to Seattle and take the train or bus to Vancouver.

 

https://www.boltbus.com/

 

cheap and easy. 

Edited by Tree_skier

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2 hours ago, dodgestang said:

Wow...what an excellent idea....easy to find non stop to Seattle....and first class tickets are an easy $400 less which means with 4 people that's an instant $1600 savings using a 1 way approach to get there.  A 4 hour train ride though....that's a long one

Don’t over-focus on that “4 hour train ride”.  Yes, it is 4 hours - but it is replacing a 2 hour flight, plus the minimum additional hour changing flights. And I would far prefer four hours sitting in an Amtrak coach over one hour cramped in a plane seat.  So you are really spending 2 hours to save $400 per - plus being able to go ahead with booking now. 

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33 minutes ago, cb at sea said:

I find airline pricing is best about 30-45 days out.....

You obviously have not done much flying recently.    Yes, if a flight is not selling well, it is possible that substantially discounted fares will appear about a month before — but in recent years that happens in perhaps 20% of the time.  The hard fact is: if you book about a month in advance the odds are about 8 to 1 that prices will only go up in the nine months before flying.

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7 hours ago, Host Clarea said:

I got airfare squared away....I ended up going direct with Air Canada because I did a mix of business class, 1 stop flights there, and direct premium economy for the way home.

 

At some point in the past you shared with me an email address for RCCL Excursions....where I asked them a question and they answered and everything worked out.....I want to email them again....but for life of me I can't the email address of conversation thread in any of my email accounts!

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4 minutes ago, dodgestang said:

I got airfare squared away....I ended up going direct with Air Canada because I did a mix of business class, 1 stop flights there, and direct premium economy for the way home.

 

At some point in the past you shared with me an email address for RCCL Excursions....where I asked them a question and they answered and everything worked out.....I want to email them again....but for life of me I can't the email address of conversation thread in any of my email accounts!

 

Shorex@rccl.com

 

How is it that you were able to book air, I though you had to wait a couple of weeks?

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