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Air/Sea Package, yay or nay? Cruise from Fiji to FP

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Hi guys, we are set on the itinerary for our honeymoon---Fiji, Tonga, Cook Island and FP. Now we are undecided whether to include the air/sea package or not. Do you guys have any advice/experience in this matter? This is our first time to book with PG... no clue if it's better to do the package or not. Thanks in advance! 

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My husband and I are cruising for our 3rd time on PG in September and I always book the air/sea package.  Yes, it’s more expensive but more convenient and safer.  PG takes care of all flight arrangements and transfers to and from the ship and any pre or post cruise land packages and transfers.  Completely worry free.  If you don’t know the area, booking on your own carries some risk and being in a foreign country, even more.

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It comes down to personal preference with this.  The journey to French Polynesia started with Hawaii in 2015 before actually traveling there in 2017.  I planned every last detail for the 2015 Hawaii trip (my notes were 11 pages long at the time of leaving for the trip).   This carried over to the 2017 French Polynesia trip where my notes were 16 pages long.   Anyways, if you are the type that wants simplicity and  everything being taken care of then book the air/sea package.  Now this is totally my opinion and YMMV, as much as I wanted to like the air/sea packages as being as a nice way to cover the details.... I kind of just ended up disliking the packages in the process.  Deviation fees if you want to extend stay, pricier than hotel rates, if you don't extend stay they usually put people on the last flight of the night on the day the cruise departs..... We ended up booking cruise only, took out an IHG credit card (which is an absolute must for this trip.... it was a lifesaver for us at one point and got us upgrades in both LA and FP), used the points of the credit card to get three nights free at Intercontinental.  The transfers that PG handles are just as easily obtained by walking out of the airport and flagging down a taxi to either IC Tahiti or Ferry pier or called at the desk at the resort (both will likely be in the ballpark of $25).  We also saved about $300 a ticket to the islands by flying Air France over the included Air Tahiti at the time.

 

Now again this is coming from someone that likes to plan trips meticulously and I spent a good amount of time on here researching.... credit where credit is due to Tahitianbigkahuna.  

 

Simplicity: go for package
Otherwise: DIY.... you will save money, have more options, and enjoy the planning phase of the trip more which I personally think is a big part of the experience.

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We prefer to book through PG for our air from LAX. It makes us worry less to know that the ship won't leave without us. That makes us feel good enough to not worry about booking our own flights from LAX, even if we could find one for a few hundred dollars less.

After our first trip, we also book at least one night pre and one night post through PG cruises, since it makes it a lot more relaxing  on both ends of the cruise.

For us, this is an expensive vacation, so we aren't worried about a small savings here or there as part of the cruise experience.

But, we also need to get to LA and back from SW Florida at each end of the trip, so it's not the same as being from the LA area. We do try to not spend excessively in the LA area. We've spent a few days in a rental car, killing time between a hotel room before, or a red eye back to Florida, or both. We've found quite a few great places to visit in the LA area, and have even met people for lunch that we lost touch with long ago. We spent an hour walking through a Whole Foods store, and comparing prices and selections to our store in Florida. It was cheaper in California, and had a better selection. I love to go to grocery stores wherever we travel so this was actually enjoyable for me.

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16 hours ago, SWFLAOK said:

We prefer to book through PG for our air from LAX. It makes us worry less to know that the ship won't leave without us. That makes us feel good enough to not worry about booking our own flights from LAX, even if we could find one for a few hundred dollars less.

After our first trip, we also book at least one night pre and one night post through PG cruises, since it makes it a lot more relaxing  on both ends of the cruise.

For us, this is an expensive vacation, so we aren't worried about a small savings here or there as part of the cruise experience.

But, we also need to get to LA and back from SW Florida at each end of the trip, so it's not the same as being from the LA area. We do try to not spend excessively in the LA area. We've spent a few days in a rental car, killing time between a hotel room before, or a red eye back to Florida, or both. We've found quite a few great places to visit in the LA area, and have even met people for lunch that we lost touch with long ago. We spent an hour walking through a Whole Foods store, and comparing prices and selections to our store in Florida. It was cheaper in California, and had a better selection. I love to go to grocery stores wherever we travel so this was actually enjoyable for me.

 

 

Hi, seems like you have experience booking air/sea before... I guess my main concern is the type of flights they book. I don’t want to be stuck in a flight that lands so late... maybe that’s just an issue when landing in PPT from LAX, I think there are two flights that day most PG guests mention, one arriving at 5:30am and the other one at 11:30pm? Not sure. It might not be an issue if we are arriving in Fiji and departing in Tahiti. But anyway, back to my concern... did they ask you for your preference when they booked your flight? And also seat assignment preference? And how far out before the trip did they confirm the flight info? I’m anxious that they might do it last minute and select leftover seats. We booked a cruise for June 2020 and they said it’s their “busy” and “popular” month... I just want to make sure we get the best possible options we can for our trip while it’s still early. Thanks for the advice!

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On 7/24/2019 at 5:12 AM, vjr said:

My husband and I are cruising for our 3rd time on PG in September and I always book the air/sea package.  Yes, it’s more expensive but more convenient and safer.  PG takes care of all flight arrangements and transfers to and from the ship and any pre or post cruise land packages and transfers.  Completely worry free.  If you don’t know the area, booking on your own carries some risk and being in a foreign country, even more.

 

 

Did they ask for your flight and seat preference? When did they confirm your flight reservation? I hope they don’t book it last minute and just give us left over seats. I guess that’s my biggest concern. 

 

 

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On 7/24/2019 at 7:31 AM, Notion_of_the_Ocean said:

 if you don't extend stay they usually put people on the last flight of the night on the day the cruise departs..... 

 

 

 

This is my biggest concern... what if I do not like the flight they put us on? 

 

Pre or post cruise stay is not an option because I’ll run out of vacation days! Lol #firstworldproblems. A week before the cruise we are flying to Italy to get married.

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We booked through our travel agent.  I did tell her that we wanted the red eye flight and business class and she was able to book this for us.  I didn't ask for specific seats, but I am sure that she would be able to change our seat assignments if we were unhappy (if they were available, of course).  I think it's all a matter of early booking, and the quality of the travel agent.  We've had our cruise booked since Nov 2018, and she was able to get us the flight times we wanted, the pre and post cruise arrangements and onboard credits as well.  I have also checked with both airlines - Fiji Airways and Air Tahiti Nui - our e-tickets have been issued and seat assignments verified.

 

Are you on the Sept 2019 itinerary or a later one?

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1 minute ago, vjr said:

Are you on the Sept 2019 itinerary or a later one?

 

Our trip is not til June 2020 (so excited!). We booked our cabin the other day... just doing some research on the flights to get an idea if air/sea is the way to go or not. 

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The new planes that Fiji air has are quite nice...at least in business class.  The full recline seats are great. We did the Fiji to Bali trip two years ago and used their air package.

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That's great!  You will love this cruise!  As I said earlier, this is my 3rd time on PG.

 

It sounds like you are booked early enough that you may be able to request flight times and/or seating on the plane.  If you are booking through a travel agent - he or she may be able to accomplish this for you.  It's too bad that you don't have time for a pre or post cruise - they are fantastic.  Maybe next time!

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2 hours ago, Sailwithbars said:

 

This is my biggest concern... what if I do not like the flight they put us on? 

 

Pre or post cruise stay is not an option because I’ll run out of vacation days! Lol #firstworldproblems. A week before the cruise we are flying to Italy to get married.

I would always prefer DIY.  You are then in complete control of what flight you are on and is usually cheaper or you may be able to use points.  Taxis are easily waved down there or called... PG handling the transfers is just a sales line for the package as it is no burden to wing that piece.  Hope that helps.

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We do DIY, but not sure what we'd do if we were embarking in Fiji.  We do it ourselves because we prefer Premium Economy, or Business if we can swing it, and I believe such upgrades with ATN are hard to come by, expensive, or impossible (don't know about Fiji--would you fly to NZ then Fiji?)

 

If you're content with Economy seats, then Air and Sea is the way to go, for sure.

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Wow, this has become a really popular topic.

Just because you choose to take the included PG flights, doesn't mean that you can't pay to upgrade to premium economy or business class. You still have the ability to selects seats. We've always had the option to do that, and for the first time in September, we upgraded on the way to Papeete since the new planes have 3 seats in economy, and we don't want to sit with a stranger for that long. We did this even though PG booked us on a great flight leaving LAX late afternoon, and arriving at 9:30PM for 2 overnights at the IC Tahiti.  If you can't do a pre or post stay,  you're unlikely to get the best flight times assigned by PG. You don't get to choose your flight selections if you use the PG flights.

At the end of our Tahiti to Fiji cruise in September,  we're on Fiji Air after a 3 night post at Fiji IC. It's also a great flight time back to LAX. The plane has 2-4-2 in economy, and we were able to get great seat assignments at the front of economy. We'll be awake most of the way based on the flight time.

In April 2020, we're doing PG from Figi to Bali. We're hoping to do 2 nights pre in Fiji, and 2 nights post in Bali. We haven't been able to book anything other than the ship so far for this cruise through Paul Gauguin. We're hoping to get the rest of it booked by the middle of next month, since we expect to upgrade our airline seats, and need to book our flights from Florida to LAX.

 

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We prefer to book ourselves and we leave for Tahiti tomorrow 😀. For a cruise that starts in Fiji and ends in Tahiti I would be very reluctant to book myself.  Buying a one way fare may be challenging and expensive.  While Air France will sell a one way to or from PPT for half of the cost of a round trip, Air Tahiti Nui charges almost the same for a one way as a round trip.  I’m not sure what Fiji Airs prices are like.

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You can always pay the extra fee for a flight deviation and pick your own flight. Usually the seat assignments can be booked directly with the carrier after you book with PG.

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Do the PG air package. You won't get a better flight time and seats are not left overs. As I recall (we have enjoyed this itinerary) all of us had the side seats. Unless you have cc points, it's not worth the extra trouble. We flew into Bali with the PG and the ship was slow in refueling and the PG gave us all a great tour to help fill up the time. 

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