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fg159
August 21st, 2005, 12:58 PM
I am booked on the June 20th cruise from Dover to Stockholm. The questions I have pretain to the air portion
I have enough FF miles to obtain my own air versus air provided by the cruise company.
Are their advantages or disadvantages of using one over the other? I would like to arrive a few days earlier and spend time in Dover.Is their a charge by the cruise company for deviating from their scheduled flights? Which airline do they use? I live in Los Angeles. Thank you for your responses.

Druke I
August 21st, 2005, 01:10 PM
We'll be doing the Baltic on Regatta 8-31-05, and used Oceania's free air included with their two for one pricing for our cruise; we did not explore possibility of making our own air arrangements, nor did we want an air deviation on this particular trip.

We fly United, San Francisco to Chicago's O'Hare, and SAS Chicago to Stockholm. Coming home, it is United, London's Heathrow non-stop to SFO.

sandy2004
August 21st, 2005, 03:01 PM
Find out how much credit you would receive if you did not use their air. Then see what you could purchase the fare for, and consider what future use you may have for your miles. We usually take the air credit, then use miles for the entire trip, or purchase coach tickets and use the miles to upgrade to business. If you are nervous about losing your miles since so many airlines are in a bit of trouble financially, that too may be a factor.
You cannot book FF tickets until 330 days out with most airlines.
Many options, so good luck.

jeanine
August 21st, 2005, 04:08 PM
Hi, I am booked on the June 20th Baltics cruise also. We decided to use our UA FF miles. Oceania deducted $800pp from the cruise price. We are going in one day early. Staying in Dover, Flying from Medford Or to SF then to Heathrow. Return from Stockholm is a 10a.m. departure to Frankfurt via Luftansa, then on UA to SFO then home. You should book today. My flights were limited on FF miles available. Jeanine

sandbag7
August 21st, 2005, 07:08 PM
I am also on that cruise. We used FF (UAL) miles, flying in to Paris a few days early. We'll take a train to the coast and a Ferry straight to Dover. Return is Stockholm (1:00 p.m.)- Frankfurt-Chicago on July 4. As Jeanine mentioned, credit is $800.00 pp; if you can use FF miles you should do so; otherwise it's a question as to whether you would like to see more of Europe; inter-European flights (to London) are inexpensive, or you could add on at the end of the cruise. Booking your own flights gives you some certainty as to travel times. The presumed negative is that because you're responsible for your own flight the ship won't wait for you if you're delayed. This is in my opinion a very minimal risk.

susiesan
August 21st, 2005, 11:48 PM
Since we don't live in an Oceania city and wanted to come in 2 days before the cruise and stay one day after, it would have cost me $200 to get to a gateway city plus $50 in air deviations with the "free" airfare. I took the $800 credit and am flying free useng ff miles from Kansas City to London on the days I want at the times I want in business class on Delta + Virgin Airways. The miles are from Delta and if they go bankrupt, once I have my paper ticket I can still use the part on Virgin even if I have to pay to get to JFK to catch the transatlantic flight. Even if you use Oceania's air you have to pay $100 each way for a transfer to/from Dover. I plan to take the train or get a car service. We are on the Insignia sailing June 26, 2006. Anyone else besides Frank?

sandbag7
August 22nd, 2005, 01:48 AM
Even if Delta files for Bankruptcy it will be a Chapter 11 (reorganization); they will not reject your booked flight FF based or not, and it is extremely unlikely that they would significantly change their FF program, which would make them less competitive.

seafish
August 22nd, 2005, 08:22 AM
For those of you that have used Oceania Air for the "Scandinavian Splendors" Cruise Stockholm to London from the East Coast...what type air arangements did you receive relative to air carriers, flight times, etc. I realize that each situation is different based on departure point, etc. Normally - we do our own air...but just curious if Oceania Air Program without Air Deviation is ok - or not a good idea. How is it with the optional Oceania Air Deviation? When is flight info/seat assigments available with Air Deviation? Thanks - SeaFish

nparmelee
August 22nd, 2005, 02:05 PM
We're going a few days early and spending a few days more after our cruise and also wanted to upgrade to business class with ff miles, so we're taking the credit and did our own airfare. We also live in a non-gateway city so with the deviation and to fly from here would have cost us about $500 more. My TA told me that if you want to use FF miles to upgrade, if you can get an airfare close to the credit, do your own airfare. We now have the flights we want and are just counting the months.....

drwong
August 24th, 2005, 12:36 AM
Even if Delta files for Bankruptcy it will be a Chapter 11 (reorganization); they will not reject your booked flight FF based or not, and it is extremely unlikely that they would significantly change their FF program, which would make them less competitive.

Funny you should mention Delta and Chapter 11 - UAL, the carrier on which you've booked your upcoming flight, is currently operating under Chapter 11 protection and it doesn't seem to have affected their flight schedules or the confidence of their customers!

sandbag7
August 24th, 2005, 11:10 PM
Well Dr., I just attended a seminar today on amendments to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code which will go into effect on October 17. Some of the amendments will significantly affect the rights of an airline to assume or reject contracts pertaining to equipment (i.e.,can they keep their planes?), and will also impose time limits on the Case which will make complicated plans and labor negotiations more difficult. As a result, we foresee a likely Bankruptcy filing by Delta, probably in the next several weeks. I DON'T think this is cause for concern, and I wouldn't hesitate to book Delta; even if they modify their schedule they or another airline by agreement will honor any tickets issued.

drwong
August 25th, 2005, 12:14 AM
Well Dr., I just attended a seminar today on amendments to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code which will go into effect on October 17. Some of the amendments will significantly affect the rights of an airline to assume or reject contracts pertaining to equipment (i.e.,can they keep their planes?), and will also impose time limits on the Case which will make complicated plans and labor negotiations more difficult. As a result, we foresee a likely Bankruptcy filing by Delta, probably in the next several weeks. I DON'T think this is cause for concern, and I wouldn't hesitate to book Delta; even if they modify their schedule they or another airline by agreement will honor any tickets issued.

Yup, Delta and other legacy carriers are extremely put out by UAL's filing, which has left them at a competitive disadvantage to UAL. While United gets special treatment as a result of operating under Chapter 11, the others are struggling to make aircraft payments, pay down debt, pay employee salaries, and contribute to the employee pension plans. It's a sad day when an airline is forced to declare bankruptcy just to stay competitive.

cruisin'cats
September 16th, 2005, 07:55 AM
just researched getting private travel insurance instead of using O's and both Access America and Travel Guard will not insure air on the carriers in financial trouble, no matter how much confidence one has in the ability of the airline to survive (see Continental's history to see how confidence can be beneficial). See the insurance cos. websites for the lists of who they WON"T cover before booking air and looking to insure you trip.

drwong
September 16th, 2005, 12:26 PM
just researched getting private travel insurance instead of using O's and both Access America and Travel Guard will not insure air on the carriers in financial trouble, no matter how much confidence one has in the ability of the airline to survive (see Continental's history to see how confidence can be beneficial). See the insurance cos. websites for the lists of who they WON"T cover before booking air and looking to insure you trip.

On the other hand, if you take Oceania's Free Air offer, you can let THEM worry about rebooking you IF one of their assigned carriers should cease operations.

I read a summary of NWA's bankruptcy filing and it looks like they want to immediately divest themselves of 13 aircraft and are asking to return another 102 to the lenders if they cannot renegotiate their leases on more favorable terms - that's about 15% of their fleet, but that might represent NWA's excess capacity. And since NWA operates a lot of the old maintenance-heavy DC-9s and the uncomfortable 757s, it actually might improve the quality of service!

timbo89
September 16th, 2005, 12:37 PM
Here's what we did on our last cruise out of Europe (Athens) this past summer...

I wanted to use FF miles because I can get into Business or First Class without paying huge fares. I had the most miles on USAirways, and wanted to use them. USAirways was (and still is) in Chapter 11, so was unsure of their ability to come through on the flights.

Here are the steps I followed:
1. I booked my cruise (over a year in advance) and accepted the free air
2. As soon as I could book FF flights (I believe it is 270 days in advance, but would have to check) I did. I called at 12:01 am of the first day I was eligible and secured Business/First Class flights. I made sure I was booked to arrive 2 days before the cruise in case of any last minute issues.
3. At final payment due time, I double checked as to the viability of the airline (at this time the merger with America West was in process) and, because I was relatively comfortable, I cancelled my free air with Oceania and asked for the credit.

Another way to avoid using airlines in bankruptcy, but still using their FF miles is to utilize an alliance they may have and use their miles to book with another airline. This is through OneWorld Alliance or Star Alliance, etc. For instance, you can use Delta FF miles on Air France, or USAirways FF miles on Lufthansa, etc etc.

cruisin'cats
September 16th, 2005, 12:59 PM
right now I'm totally in agreement with drwong but I can see how tim's idea can work. we usually travel with lots of ff miles but this year the majority of our miles were with DELTA, which isn't a big plus right about now. i actually have more confidence in US Air's possibilities now that that they've got the merger in the works.
as for air credit this time it's a no go proposition because O is not giving credit for this cruise (5-17-06) for some reason. we usually do book our own, and like I said, it's usually ff miles that pays for it.
the one thing I'd been hoping for was a reasonable upgrade to business class through O's air choice but that is kind of screwy too--$3 grand a person and not for the entire trip--only good for the portion over the water, literally. Oh well, I guess I'll diet and fit my tush into a coach seat...:-)

Bruin Steve
September 16th, 2005, 02:52 PM
I'm probably going to look into deviations with mine...keeping the Oceania air...
I live in the Los Angeles area (a "gateway" city), so no worries there...
Getting to and from Istanbul is not easy to figure out...there are no direct or even close to direct flights...and the return is out of Venice, so it's a "split" ticket...I've priced it and it's not better than using Oceania's air--even considering the deviation fee...

The only big question is whether Oceania will hit me with any surcharge in addition to the deviation fee???

The reason I'm looking to do this is that we'd like to arrive in Istanbul a couple of days early and stay in Venice a couple of nights post-cruise...

I would typically keep it simple and just book the hotels through the cruise line, but, in this case, I find the pricing on Oceania's hotel options to be WAY OUT OF WHACK...

The cheapest Oceania hotel option in Istanbul will run us $500 per night and the cheapest option in Venice (which isn't even in Venice proper--it's on Lido) is $700 per night...The hotels offered in Venice proper are $1000 and $1400 (Celebrity charged me a TOTAL of $359 per person for TWO nights and transfers in 2003)...

They don't have the two night packages posted, if any...but, assuming you double it and subrtract the value of the excluded transfers, I'll figure the four nights of hotels (staying in Istanbul and in Venice proper) on Oceania's deal would run me about $2800!!!

I figure I can find decent hotels on my own, pay the deviation fee, get my own ground transportation and come out somewhere around $1000 for the four nights...That extra $1800 will come in handy somewhere else...

Any idea what I can expect from Oceania if I ask for a deviation? (I've never done this before). Do I just tell them I want them to handle the arrangements but I just want to arrve two days before the cruise and leave two days after?

cruisin'cats
September 16th, 2005, 03:08 PM
when i talked to a person at O yesterday he told me that there was the deviation fee plus any cost differential that would be added on as well. of course, if it's crazy out of line you can always tell them that you'll stick with their plans. i'm reading all these posts right now and i seem to be finding that the ride home can take over a day in itself if booked through O! I sure hope not! I live on the opposite coast near the PHL gateway but I would assume that the trek home could be interesting. my husband had an impossible time finding flights with ff seats (we're going in may) and we were hoping for business/first upgrades but not for $3 grand pp! I've read your posts about the hotels and I mentioned it to the guy on the phone yesterday--and he said it was all about lacking buying power--new cruise line, not a lot of people to guarantee discounting, etc. i've booked european vacations online doing my own research in the past and you usually have lower costs on your own if you look hard and well enough.

Andee
September 16th, 2005, 06:26 PM
When we cruised Oceania in October, I didn't like the flights they gave us, picked the exact ones I did like, made all the arrangements via emails with their air deviation department, and paid just the $50pp deviation fee, no extra for the flights.

For our cruise in November, we're arriving two days pre-cruise and staying two pays post-cruise. This time the travel agent communicated with Oceania. They offered us decent flights, which we accepted, and we paid the $50pp deviation and $50pp for the additional cost of the flights.

drwong
September 16th, 2005, 07:20 PM
Much of it depends on when you want to travel and what categories of seats are available. It appears that Oceania's seat selection searches for any excursion ("Q" class) seats available that will get you to the port city prior to your boarding time, regardless of convenience or connection time. You'll likely to be booked on a large US-flag or foreign carrier like Lufthansa, BA, or AF, with lots of transAtlantic capacity. Some passengers flying into Stockholm found themselves booked on Icelandic via Reykjavik.

If you can find alternative flights with "cheap seats," you'll likely only have to pay the $50/ticket deviation fee. But if the seats are more expensive, Oceania will naturally expect you to cover the difference. So far, we're batting around .666 on finding alternative flights with available Q class fares. Having a good travel agent with access to Sabre, Amadeus, or other online booking engines helps in finding alternative flights. United Airlines' website shows the number of fare classes and the number of seats available in those classes via its online reservations search engine, but that means you may have to fly United. Sure, it's a bankrupt carrier, but nowdays, who isn't? :)