Q. We are thinking about taking a European cruise on Seabourn Cruise Lines next year. Should we buy airfare from the cruise line or buy it independently?

A. It's hard to say without knowing your itinerary. Sometimes cruise lines offer enticing airfares, especially to Europe, where fares have remained high and are discouraging consumers from cruising there. Last year, Seabourn had some remarkable air-inclusive European cruises at around $2200 per person; considering that airfare to Europe at the time was as high as $1400 per person, and that Seabourn is such a luxurious cruise line, that was quite a bargain. We've also seen some very inexpensive upgrade to business class offered by cruise lines. Often, however, we find that fares bought from cruise lines are higher than a sale fare bought directly from an airline. I suggest you sign up for Seabourn's email alerts, but also search the fares frequently on your own over the next few months and if something better than what the cruise line is offering pops up, book it.

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