Expedition Cruising Air Reservations
There are several factors to consider when it comes to traveling to and from your Antarctica cruise. One of the most important is deciding whether to arrange airline tickets on your own or use the air program offered by the expedition cruise company. Here are the main points to help you with your decision.
- Traveling to Antarctica involves an overnight flight; departure from the U.S. will be the day prior to the cruise departure. Allow extra time for connecting flights, especially between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, where delays are common. Be sure to pay careful attention to flight times.
- Most Antarctica sailings depart from Ushuaia, which requires a charter flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina, or Santiago, Chile. (Some expedition cruise companies consider the flight to and from Ushuaia to be part of the travel package and therefore included the cost in the tour price. Always confirm these details with your Vacations To Go cruise expedition specialist.)
- Choose an air carrier with a hub in your region.
- For international flights, airlines recommend that guests arrive at the airport at least 3 hours prior to their flight's departure.
- Consider arriving at least one day prior. In some cases, you'll need to fly a long distance to reach your port of departure. Arriving at the port city at least one or two days in advance of your expedition cruise will give you time to rest and get oriented before boarding the ship. Most expedition cruise companies offer pre-cruise hotel packages.
- Purchasing transfers through the expedition cruise company is recommended. They are often more convenient and cost-effective than a taxi.
- Purchasing travel insurance is recommended. Be sure to read the insurance policy thoroughly and check for any flight-related restrictions.
Advantages of Arranging Your Own Airline Tickets
The main advantages of securing your own airline tickets are that you will be able to select the airline you fly and you will have some control over the timing and routing of your flights. You may wish to fly a particular airline to use frequent flier rewards, or to earn frequent flier miles, or because that carrier has nonstop service to your port city. If you arrange your own airline tickets you will have more control over these variables. If you book your flights directly with the expedition cruise company, you may be given an air schedule with an overnight flight, multiple connections, and in some cases, a forced overnight stay at your expense.
Advantages of Booking Your Air through the Expedition Cruise Company
The main reasons to let us book your air at the same time you reserve your expedition cruise -- through the expedition cruise company -- are convenience and the peace of mind that your flight will make easy connections to your ship. Expedition cruise companies meet their air passengers at the airport and transport them to the pier. These transfers are frequently free of charge, but even if a charge is levied, it is typically less than what you would pay if you arranged your own transfers.
Flights with easy connections to departing and returning expedition ships often have high load factors, and you could have difficulty getting a low fare -- or a seat at any price -- as an individual, particularly for departure ports like Buenos Aires or Ushuaia. On busy days like Saturday and Sunday, you might have to fly into your port of embarkation a day early if you book your own tickets, adding a day's meals and lodging to your cost.
And finally, sometimes unexpected events can affect travel plans. Flight delays or cancellations, changes in cruise ship arrival or departure times, and cancellation of sailings altogether are some of the things that can force you to rebook at a later time or date, or seek a refund for your airline tickets. If any of these things should happen before or during your vacation, you will not be eligible for assistance from the expedition cruise company if you arranged your own airline tickets. However, if we secure your tickets through the expedition cruise company, you'll have peace of mind, knowing that your air purchase is protected and the expedition company will assist you in making alternate flight arrangements if an itinerary must be changed.
The bottom line: Ask your Vacations To Go expedition cruise specialist to quote air from the expedition cruise company and compare that rate to the best rate you can find calling airlines directly. If the rates are close, you're probably better off letting us book your airline tickets through the expedition cruise company.