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 cruise line. Here are the main points to help you with your decision.
Advantages of Arranging Your Own Airline Tickets
Traveling to the departure port 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.
Many 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 cruise lines offer pre-cruise hotel packages.
Purchasing transfers through the cruise line is recommended.
Purchasing travel insurance is recommended. Be sure to read the insurance policy thoroughly and check for any flight-related restrictions.
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 than if you utilize the cruise line's air program.
Advantages of Using the Cruise Line's Air Program
The main reasons to let us book your air at the same time you reserve your cruise - through the cruise line's air department - are convenience, better access to flights that make easy connections to your ship. Cruise lines meet their 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.
And finally, sometimes unexpected things occur that 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 cruise line if you arranged your own airline tickets. However, if we secure your tickets through the cruise line, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your air purchase is protected and the cruise line will assist you in making alternate flight arrangements if an itinerary must be changed.
The bottom line
: Ask your Vacations To Go cruise counselor to quote air from the cruise line and compare that rate to the best rate you can find from airlines directly. If the rates are close, you're probably better off letting us book your airline tickets through the cruise line.