Q. Is there any reason why I should buy airfare from my cruise line rather than through Expedia or whatever? It seems that the cruise lines’ fares are higher.

A. One reason is that if you buy the airfare along with your cruise, the cruise company might make more effort to accommodate you should your incoming flight be late or cancelled, or if the schedule is changed. (By the way, it’s always a good idea to arrive the day before your cruise leaves, rather than on the day, in case there’s a flight problem. Otherwise, you might miss the ship.) Also, cruise line fares might have more flexibility than the lower fares you’re finding on Expedia, etc. But maybe you don’t need to buy airfare at all, depending on the cruise line you choose. Carnival Cruise Lines now fields cruises, some year round, from 20 home ports, which are within a five hour drive of 50% of the U.S. population, including New Orleans, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and New York. By the way, if you haven’t cruised on Carnival lately, or thought it was down market, you might be in for a surprise. The food is among the best in the cruise industry, surprising considering how cheap Carnival's fares can be.

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