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My boyfriend and I are cruising on the Empress of the Seas from August 15-20. We are scheduled to land in Miami at 12:14pm, will this leave us enough time to get to port? We will be taking an Uber from Miami Intl to port -- transportation is not offered for this cruise. This is our first cruise, so any helpful insiders are greatly appreciated! We have read mixed reviews on the ship and are a little hesitant. 

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Yes and possibly no.   Its about a 30 minute trip from the airport to the cruise terminal.  Assuming your cruise leaves at 5 P.M.  and your flight is on time and not delayed or cancelled and you have all of your luggage and  traffic is moving you will be o.k. to a degree.   If the Uber breaks down they have no backup like a taxi or bus or limo etc.   Remember if you miss the boat you  are responsible for the air fare to the next port so as  to be able to get on the boat.    Not a great way to start your first cruise.    But all in all you should be fine.  If you can get an earlier flight do it.  Not knowing where you are traveling from would have helped as a smaller airport does not have as many flights as larger airports do.    We like to get to the port city the day before  so as not to have any issues especially during the winter months.  Unfortunately summer months can be as bad due to storms closing airports or diverting flights.   Just an F.Y.I.  Enjoy your cruise and hope you are able to  do many more in the future.  It"s an awesome way to travel.   You won"t be disappointed.  

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I wouldn't be too worried about reviews. The only thing I can say is it is a very small ship, but that's not a bad thing. A small ship has less people and offers a more intament and friendly environment. The ship is a bit older but she just went through a refurbishment.

 

Royal is very good at what they do, they will do their best to keep you happy, well fed and entertained.

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Are you sure they don't offer transfers to the ship? Every cruise I have ever booked has offered transfers, you have to ask for them, but they offer them. You would probably pay more for them through RCCL but I had an Empress booked, that was cancelled, and it offered transfers to and from the port. If a TA booked this you need to contact them, if you booked it call them and ask again. It could be you hit a rep that didn't know a whole lot. This way you are guaranteed to make it to the ship or they will bring you to the next port.

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One other thing to remember is that you must be boarded 90 minutes prior to departure or you won't be allowed on the ship. I'm leaving from Galveston in a couple of weeks and received word that our departure time had moved half an hour from 4:30pm to 4pm, which means we have to be on-board by 2:30pm. If, as a recent poster mentioned, the airport is only 30 minutes from the ship, I would hope that you will be well within the window. Good luck and have a lovely trip. 

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For future use, as someone mentioned above, it's a really good idea to arrive a day early for a cruise.  There are too many problems with air travel to travel the same day your cruise departs.  Plus, you get an extra day of vacation.  You can usually find a descent hotel for a good price in most of these cities.  Good luck.

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For future use, as someone mentioned above, it's a really good idea to arrive a day early for a cruise.  There are too many problems with air travel to travel the same day your cruise departs.  Plus, you get an extra day of vacation.  You can usually find a descent hotel for a good price in most of these cities.  Good luck.

 

 

Agree.  And although this may not apply to your cruise departing on Monday, for those Sat to Sat cruises, it can be less expensive to arrange a Fri to Sat flight than a Sat-Sat flight.  So the cost of a hotel night can be at least partially offset.

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I got notification today that our Harmony sailing out of FLL has been moved up by 30 min too.  Weird ??

Our Harmony GC got the same notification. Free 30 extra minutes of cruise time!

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I never fly in the day before. I am a solo cruiser and to get a hotel room for one person is very expensive and I would have to add in the cost of getting to the airport from the hotel. When you add the cost of air fare, cruise and a hotel, I can't do it. A good hotel in Fort Lauderdale is around $125 a night or more, Miami is at least $150 a night or more. Sailing out of San Francisco, I couldn't find a hotel for under $200 a night. I want to stay in a safe, nice hotel, it doesn't have to be a palace but hotel rates are sky rocketing and adding that cost to my cruise, I can't do it. 

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I always fly in the day before....in the winter sometimes 2 days before! I know it adds to the  cost, but I look at it like an "insurance" Plus a day or two in Florida is a lot of fun.

 

I would NEVER fly in 3 hrs before boarding time ends....wayyyy too risky. But to each their own.

 

Of course 99% of the time you will prob be ok...but for the ONE time that you miss a connection or your luggage is delayed or the flight is delayed for weather or..........

 

Also,often you can book a hotel that includes a shuttle to the port and airport etc so if that's the case, it basically pays for the hotel room.

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I never fly in the day before. I am a solo cruiser and to get a hotel room for one person is very expensive and I would have to add in the cost of getting to the airport from the hotel. When you add the cost of air fare, cruise and a hotel, I can't do it. A good hotel in Fort Lauderdale is around $125 a night or more, Miami is at least $150 a night or more. Sailing out of San Francisco, I couldn't find a hotel for under $200 a night. I want to stay in a safe, nice hotel, it doesn't have to be a palace but hotel rates are sky rocketing and adding that cost to my cruise, I can't do it. 

I'm glad you haven't been bitten by this up til now.  But if you take a look at Airline Travel On-Time percentages, it will eventually get you.  

 

There is a possible solution for those who can't or don't want to fly in a day early.  If you book your air through the cruise line, the responsibility to get you there (from a flight perspective) falls on the cruise line.  I think you pay more for it than booking on your own, but there is that benefit.  As for me, I'd rather pay a little less for the air, do it myself, and pay for a hotel in the departure city.

 

I should also mention an experience I had several years ago.  Our party was on a cruise out of San Juan that was supposed to leave at 8:00.  The ship didn't pull out until 11:30.  It was a bad weather day on the East Coast, and several airports experienced significant delays.  Certainly many of our fellow passengers where from many of those airports were involved.  The point is, that if there is a widespread issue, you probably aren't the only one running late, there is a chance the ship will wait.  However, it your issue is localized, you are probably screwed.

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