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Always, Always, Always travel the day before.  Murphy's law will always rear its ugly head if you don't.

That being said, here is a funny day of cruise travel story.  On our first cruise 20+ years ago we were travelling with my parents out of Detroit Metro to Miami to board the Sunsation.  At that time flights and transfers and pretty much everything was booked through the cruise company and they advertised that they would get you to the boat if there was a problem with the flight they booked, blah blah blah.  In any case, we show up at the airport for our 6:00 am flight on Northwest to Miami.  At that time, Northwest was flying 8 flights out of Detroit to Miami on Saturdays and Sundays before noon as Detroit was, and remains, a big hub.  As luck would have it, Northwest was having some employee problems when we were scheduled to go.  Planes would suddenly be called out of service because lavatory lights were not working and other such delays were causing havoc every day.  Anyway, we show up at the gate and there is no plane waiting for our flight.  You would have thought that the other folks waiting at the gate were trying to find an ambulance to get to the hospital.  I have never heard a gate attendant get yelled at as much as the poor lady checking folks in.  People were simply losing their minds because the plane had not been moved to the gate.  

After sitting off to the side for about 15 minutes my group of four was approached by the gate attendant who very quietly asked for our tickets.  My first thought was, well here he go we are not getting to Miami today.  After a few minutes she comes back and hands us back our tickets, smiles and says "thank you for being patient with us, I have bumped your group to first class."  I almost fell out of my chair.  It just shows that civility and keeping calm does sometimes pay off.

Of course I also had to listen to my mother, who had never been on a plane, keep telling me that flying was not so bad for the entire cruise.  She found out how things really work with the return flight in steerage!

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Just my two cents, but I am going to have to agree with the popular vote here.....I would not and can not fly in the same day.  There are FAR too many things that are out of your control that can go wrong.  I know how crazy things are and I can tell you that I am a planner and even getting there a day early I still carry some stress until we are curbside.   Flying in the day of the cruise would drive me absolutely insane!  I know for a fact that I would need to be heavily medicated in order to make the trip to the port that same day.I live about three to three and a half hours away from Baltimore and plan on cruising from there here soon, and I still would not leave it to chance....I know I am paranoid but I have been stuck on 95 for HOURS due to bad accidents or chemical spills.  To me being there a day early allows all of us to destress and relax prior to getting onboard, I consider it money and time well spent!  

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I will note that the two times I've flown day of for a cruise we had no issues. 
 

The caveat here is that the first cruise was around 89, we had charter flights, and it may well have been a charter cruise for a vacation company. 
 

The second cruise was in 2007, but probably more relevant. We went Toronto to Sam Juan with a stop in Dulles, and made it with zero issues. Even had time to explore old San Juan before sail away. But it was a little stressful thinking of what might happen should we get there late. 
 

Since then we've always flown in at least a day ahead. So much more relaxing. 

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If and when we cruise out of NOLA.. I think ill drive down.. Its a straight shot down I55 from STL..  Google maps has it at 9 hours and 35 minutes.. Ill bet I can beat that by 35 minutes lol... But ill drive down the day before or even two days before..  I need Boudin and some Crawfish Etouffee.. lol

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18 hours ago, cruisellama said:

Day early for domestic departures and 3 days in front of international bookings.  Driving distance, same day.

Depends on what you mean by "driving distance." Anything under 10 hours is a one day drive for me. Anything under 8 hours, total travel time to drive is less than to fly (given the need for connections to get anywhere).

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