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Cruise airfare on transatlantic
Old 06-23-2013, 09:27 AM   #1
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Cruise airfare on transatlantic

I am hoping there are cruisers following this travel forum. Airfares are impossible to get at reasonable prices when taking a TA from USA to Europe, and back home. The one way price for example, from Barcelona to Philly may be 2 to 3 times as much as a round trip. We would fly to Florida first to pick up the ship. This defeats the good price for the cruise. I know I can buy a round trip and just not take the return trip, but that still defeats the deal. I have been to the cruise critic forums, but even there, I can't get good answers. Even the cruise lines airfares are no better. Just curious if anyone has been able to solve this issue.
Thanks,
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:36 AM   #2
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Two ideas:

1. Take a cruise both ways
2. Buy a return ticket and forfeit the return flight.

Disclaimer: I have not researched or executed this maneuver.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:45 AM   #3
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My reply

1 Also too expensive for two people to drop the return leg.
2 Return cruises back are not avalilable until the next season.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:19 AM   #4
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3: Stay there until the next season.
4. Stay home.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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We have taken several TA cruises. We usually fly American Airlines (since we are located in Dallas) and we book a round trip and do not use the reverse leg. It seems silly to have to do that but that's the way the game is played.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:41 AM   #6
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5. Book a return flight. While you are abroad, change the return flight to a flight you want. Cruise home.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:48 AM   #7
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5. Book a return flight. While you are abroad, change the return flight to a flight you want. Cruise home.
I wish it was that simple.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by sailfish View Post
Even the cruise lines airfares are no better. Just curious if anyone has been able to solve this issue.
Thanks,
I haven't priced airfares recently on cruises, but are the cruise-priced one-way airfares really that uncompetitive? Even from a major gateway (New York, DC, Chicago, etc.)? Often the cruise line will have a chartered flight filled with cruisers, so the prices aren't crazy out-of-line, and will be one-way, depending on your starting and ending port of call. Also, a big plus for booking through the cruise is that usually if your flight is delayed, they'll get you on the ship at the next port (or hold the ship if lots of people are late on their sponsored flight) at their cost.

If I were flying internationally booking my own flight with 2 or 3 plane changes in foreign countries, I would be a little nervous about a "just-in-time" flight arrival at the departure port, so I would plan on arriving a day earlier, which would require a hotel stay and some meals...which would end up raising the flight cost probably above what the cruise add-on fare would be.

You have to remember that during peak season, airfares are all going to be higher due to simple supply and demand. If you can, flights in later August or September should still have a nice climate but have less demand and perhaps slightly lower prices.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:45 PM   #9
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Airline miles (if you have enough of them)
Most major airlines allow one way "award tickets", which are half round trip price.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:07 PM   #10
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Airline miles (if you have enough of them)
Most major airlines allow one way "award tickets", which are half round trip price.
United and American are good choices for this, and easy to pick up enough miles for a one way on either one with the current cc offers.
I'm flying award seat one way to UK on United and the same on a return from South Korea--except, ooh laa laa, Business Class on the return!
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:00 AM   #11
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In 2012 I paid for a Caribbean cruise using Aeroplan points. Of course I had to fly to Florida to get on the ship. But I paid for my return flight with Delta Skymiles.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:43 PM   #12
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One way international air fares involving USA is just nuts; I have no idea why and really hope someone on this thread can explain it to me. (One way within the USA used to be almost as nutty; but, that seems to have changed over the past few years.)

#1 suggestion I have heard so far: Use airline miles if possible. This will likely be your best value even if you have to play some games to get up to the number of miles you need, pay a co-pay + miles, etc. (Warning: I have a lot of miles and status on two alliances yet can still have trouble finding the flights I want without a lot of calls, using American Airlines miles on British Airways for example.)

A close #2, assuming you will fly more than once during the year: Book the round trip and then change the second leg immediately after finishing the first leg. You will likely pay a change fee of around $150/ticket; but, I have done this successfully on several occasions. But, I believe you do run some risk of the airline disallowing the change at this point. This has never happened to me; but, that is my understanding of some of the ticket terms.
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:38 PM   #13
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A close #2, assuming you will fly more than once during the year: Book the round trip and then change the second leg immediately after finishing the first leg. You will likely pay a change fee of around $150/ticket; but, I have done this successfully on several occasions. But, I believe you do run some risk of the airline disallowing the change at this point. This has never happened to me; but, that is my understanding of some of the ticket terms.
A corollary of this suggestion is to try for a twofer.

I think those TA repositioning cruises that are so cheap are USA-Eur in the spring and Eur-USA in the fall (in order to winter in the warm Caribbean).


If you know you are headed Eur-USA in the fall on a cruise, then book your round trip ticket from your local airport to Europe for the fall. Then with the return leg flight (Europe-USA), book for a likely return date in the spring that would line up with a transatlantic USA-Eur cruise in the spring. Something like a May 15-20th ish return date.

Sure, you are stuck on 2 transatlantic cruises, and you may have to travel half way across Europe to use the second half of the ticket if you get the destination airport in Europe wrong. But there are sooo many worse things than having to partake of a 2nd transatlantic cruise or bum around Europe.

Or toss the return trip in the trash if you can't use it.

My personal plan to take advantage of TA cruises is to use my airline miles for 1 way flights. That may require temporal or spatial flexibility. But I'm ok with that once I hit FIRE.
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