Flight arrangements for a cruise

This item appears on page 51 of the August 2010 issue.

We take a couple of cruises a year and like to make our own flight arrangements. The key is to leave a few days early and not only get our jet lag under control but have time to see the port. Leaving early also helps if weather causes delays or luggage is lost.

Our first question is ‘How much is the cruise line charging for flights?’ Then we use the ITA fare-shopping search engine (you have the option of logging on with a password or logging on as a guest; I always log on as a guest) and the Kayak search engine to get prices and times. Only once has the cruise line had a better price!

In booking a trip for October ’09, our frequent-flyer-mileage points would not cover the flight out of Cape Town and home via Singapore. A consolidator, Airfare.com, was able to get us a good rate to Cape Town through London using United Airlines and South African Airways. We have worked with several different consolidators found on the Internet and have never had problems.

We use a taxi or shuttle from the airport when we arrive, but we use the ship’s land transport back to the airport upon disembarkation.


San Jose, CA