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Save More When You Travel: Combine an Airfare and a European River Cruise

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For travellers from New Zealand looking for discounted airfares to the UK / Europe, including discounted Business Class airfares, the start of the Earlybird season is the ideal time to save more by booking your airfares in combination with a European River Cruise.

In our earlier blog When is the Best Time to Book a UK / Europe Earlybird Airfare we addressed how the Business Class discounts on airfares to the UK / Europe generally unfold.  In this blog we cover how you can use the discounts on the Earlybird Airfares and River Cruise Earlybird discounts to save even more.

If you’re considering adding a River Cruise to your European itinerary, be sure to visit our Guide on How to Choose Your Cruise Holiday.

European River Cruise Earlybird specials


River cruises have become one of the most popular ways to experience Europe.  The appeal of unpacking once, travelling in comfort and well planned shore excursions has captured the hearts of many (we shared a first-hand experience in our blog on an Avalon River Cruise through France).

If you are planning to include a European River Cruise in your itinerary, combining the Business Class Earlybird specials and a Europe River Cruise Earlybird special is an excellent way to maximise your savings. Like the airlines, the major European river cruise lines are happy to entice you to pay a deposit early (and this has benefits for them and you).  There are two main types of specials that we discuss below.

“Air Credit” specials


Air Credit specials are an excellent way to maintain maximum flexibility in your choice of airlines. Paying a deposit on your River Cruise gives you access to the air credit that your Fine Travel Consultant can apply against the flights of your choice (Business Class, Premium Economy or otherwise).

So whether you want to fly with Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates or Qantas you have the flexibility choose the airline and airfare that best suits your needs.

Fly / River Cruise Specials

Alongside the Air Credit specials are “Fly / Cruise” offers where the cruise line has negotiated an discounted airfare to combine with specific River Cruise itineraries.  Generally the major airlines are involved so although you may not have the freedom of an Air Credit special, you are likely to be able to fly with the likes of Emirates or Singapore Airlines.

Viking River Cruises and APT are two major river cruise line to airfare specials which can include Fly Free, discounted Economy Class and Discounted Business Class airfares to connect with their European River Cruise itineraries.

The Fly / Cruise specials generally provide for an allocation towards the air taxes and in some cases there may be a surcharge if the actual taxes exceed the allocation.

Overall, taking the time to plan your airfares and your river cruise in advance provides you with an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the savings on offer.