Fly/Cruise or Fly & Cruise…….. Do you know the difference?

Aeroplane above a cruise ship at sea

Fly/Cruise is a very common phrased in the cruise world, one I’m sure you’ve seen if you are on any of the cruise lines mailing lists and receive their special offer emails but did you know there is actually a huge difference between a Fly/Cruise and a Fly & Cruise holiday?

Option 1 – Fly/Cruise 

The first Option a fly/cruise is a full package with all of the components, flights, transfers & Cruise all booked as one directly with the cruise line. Currently only Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, MSC & Marella Cruises offer this option from Ireland, although Princess Cruises and NCL are looking into developing a fly/cruise option.

So how does it work? Well. the Cruise line will either have a deal done with one of the major international airlines and bought a group of seats to match up with each sailing or in the case of Marella who are owned by TUI they have a flight each week with TUI to match up with their sailings. They will have their own transfer companies scheduled to pick up all of the passengers and if you are staying overnight in a hotel before your cruise they will have selected specific hotels that they use for their passengers.


Option 2 – Fly & Cruise 

The second option a Fly & Cruise is where you or a travel agent will put the package together, taking flights from the airlines, transfers and hotels from another company and then adding on the cruise. This can be done with every cruise line except Marella and is probably the most popular option as not only is it usually quite a bit cheaper but the cruise line only hold a small number of seats for each date so once they are full the only option is to book your trip separately,


What’s The Difference I Hear you ask?

Well if you book a fly/cruise fully packaged with the cruise line, although it is usually slightly more expensive than the 2nd option it means you are protected should something happen your flight. If there is  strike, bad weather or just a delayed departure it is entirely up to the cruise line to look after you, either getting you onto the next port of call to embark the ship, delaying the sailing of the ship if possible or sometimes offering you a refund. Likewise if there is a problem with the ship and you can’t sail or the cruise has to be cut short then the cruise line is responsible for changing your flights, organising refunds, offering alternative sailings and compensation.

If on the other hand you package it separately it will normally work out at least a couple of hundred euro cheaper per person but if anything happens your flight, you are on your own! The cruise line has no obligation to assist you and it can work out extremely expensive to get to the next port of call to embark. If you miss your cruise completely you will not be due a refund from the cruise line or any compensation. Again, if there is a problem with the ship you will get a refund for the sailing but you may not get a refund for your flights as they were not booked with the cruise line.


How Can you Protect yourself?

There are 2 main things you can do to help avoid a catastrophe if you choose option 2.

The first and probably the most important option is to make sure you have good travel insurance AND take out Cruise Connection Insurance, Most insurance companies offer this as an add on to their policies and it will cover you for reasonable expenses for travel an accommodation to get you to the next port of call to embark the ship.

The second thing you can do is travel out to your port of call at least 1 night but preferably 2 nights before departure, this is a must on Caribbean Cruises as the flights from Ireland don’t arrive on time to join the ship on the day of the sailing but even in Europe look at pre-booking 1 night before your cruise in the city you are departing from. This can give you some flexibility and can mean you avoid a stressful start to your cruise.


However you Choose to Book, Happy Sailing


Love From

The Cruise Queen x

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