Because of recently announced airline cutbacks for 2012 and some unprecedented “early bird” discounting from cruise lines, the Automobile Club of Southern California is advising travelers that they should make their 2012 cruise bookings before the end of this year.
To assist travelers with early booking, the Auto Club’s 79 Southern California branches will be celebrating National Cruise Vacation Week from Oct. 17 to Oct. 23, offering exclusive AAA benefits and discounts in addition to the deals being offered by cruise lines. Both members and non-members can book travel with the Auto Club, but members may receive additional benefits or discounts on their vacation.
“Cruise lines are concerned about high airfares cutting into their business, so in return for early bookings, they are now willing to slash their own fares – often more than enough to compensate for the additional flight cost that travelers may incur,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “These bargains will probably not be available after the end of the year, however. Also, travelers who wait too long to book may not be able to get a convenient flight to their cruise port because the airlines have announced they will continue to cut availability in the next year.”
Andre said that Auto Club travel agents have been calling to advise their customers of the need to book earlier than usual for a 2012 vacation if it involves any flights, particularly international flights. In September, Delta, American, United and Continental all announced they are reducing the number of flights they will be offering in the next year.
Auto Club travel agents also recommend that if a flight is booked separately from a cruise or tour, travel insurance should be purchased to cover both the flight and the vacation. “That way, you will be reimbursed for your cruise or tour if your flight is cancelled and you are unable to get to your destination,” Andre said.
When booking a cruise or tour with the Auto Club, full payment is typically not required at time of booking – a deposit will hold the reservation, giving travelers extra time to pay the full cost over several months.
The Auto Club’s National Cruise Vacation Week celebration features the following specials:
- An onboard credit of up to $500 per stateroom
- Savings of up to $100 per person
- AAA member additional onboard credits and savings
- AAA member complimentary specialty dining
- Free onboard photos for AAA members
All major cruise lines are participating in the Auto Club sale. For more information, visit or call the Santa Clarita office at (661)288-5570.