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We are flying back from Anchorage after an Alaskan cruise with Princess in May and have just got our flight details. We fly from Anchorage to Seattle with Alaskan Airlines then Seattle to Heathrow with BA, we then have another flight from Heathrow to Manchester and looking at the flight times we will be travelling over 24 hrs. Before the cruise we are taking a land tour and fly from Heathrow to Calgary.
I think we are doing the same trip as you. We leave Manchester tomorrow 13th June. I'd love to know what you thought of the whole trip before we go!
We have done this too and found that Alaskan Airlines were fine. Princess have also put us on Canadian Airlines and BA for our cruise last year. The flights have all been fine but the thing that we find annoying is that Princess book us as part of a large Princess block on the flight so we were unable to get our locator number for BA and couldn't book in online. On Alaskan Airlines they had even split up our party of 5 so that our seats were scattered through the whole party. At the time I spoke to BA, Princess and to our travel agent but nobody could give us the locator number to book online.
I can only comment from my experience. I booked a cruise with Princess which departed from Sydney. As I live in Perth (the other side of Australia) I also booked the flights (for 5 of us) through Princess. We were given flights details through Qantas leaving at a reasonable time (can't remember exactly but I think about 7.00am) and the cost was AUD$660.00 per person. When we got a tickets we had been switched to Virgin Blue (budget airline) leaving Perth at 0.55AM. When I checked the price of the tickets with Virgin they were AUD$420.00 per person. Of course its in the fine print that Princess reserves the right to change airlines/flight times without notice. Obviously Princess kept the extra we paid as we certainly didn't get a refund even though we queried it through Princess - we were referred to the fine print.
We arrived in Sydney at about 6.00AM but we couldn't check in until after 12.30pm. We were taken to a large "hospitality" room in a Sydney hotel which had hard dining room type chairs around the perimeter and free tea & coffee available. It was freezing and the staff couldn't work out how to turn the air conditioner off. After a night without sleep it definately was disappointing. A couple of sofas would have been appreciated! We left and wandered around Sydney until we could board. Unluckily for us it rained the whole time!
Due to this experience for my next cruise in August, which leaves from Southampton, I have booked flights myself. We will arrive a week or so before the cruise and fly home a week or so after the cruise finishes. I don't think I'd use a cruise line organised flight again unless I had to arrive and depart the same day as the cruise.