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Early Arrival Embarkation Day


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To those of you who have cruised many times and fly to the port city:  

My flight is scheduled to arrive at 8:30am in Miami the day of embarkation.  Would you feel confident with an early flight the day of embarkation or would you still consider arriving a day prior?   

Your experience is greatly appreciated.  

 

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Given the airline horror stories  nowadays I think a day early is prudent.

if I fly to Miami in hurricane season I would be concerned about the weather there, so I’ve always gone a day early,. If I fly to Florida from NY I worry about the ice/snow here and leave a day early.  This past January I had to leave the night before my flight to be closer to my NY airport to escape an ice storm in my area.  
if you are “set” on day of Id  advise travel insurance. 

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13 minutes ago, Marsha M said:

To those of you who have cruised many times and fly to the port city:  

My flight is scheduled to arrive at 8:30am in Miami the day of embarkation.  Would you feel confident with an early flight the day of embarkation or would you still consider arriving a day prior?   

Your experience is greatly appreciated.  

 


Here’s an example from the Harmony cruise we got off last Sunday ……….. some people in our Facebook group for the cruise from Virginia planned to fly in Friday, spend Saturday at Disney, be at Port Canaveral on Sunday for the cruise …..

Friday their flight was cancelled ……… they posted oh well I guess we won’t be going to Disney, but at least we’ll make the cruise with the flight they changed us to for Saturday.

Saturday they posted that their flight was cancelled again and the only option they had left to to fly here and make the cruise was flying to Boston first and hoping the only flight that night from there to here wasn’t cancelled ………. There were no options to get them here Sunday morning ………

Saturday afternoon, they posted the whole family was piling in the car and driving to Florida from Virginia.

In the current environment of constant flight cancellations and delays ….. I wouldn’t trust a same day flight 

 

 

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We missed our cruise in April, due to canceled flights flying in a day early to Miami from Virginia. For our make up cruise in August we are flying in 2 days early, with a backup plan to drive, since the port is less than 5 hours away.  I purposely picked a closer port to home this time.  Air travel right now is so unpredictable. 

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Even before this years "Melt-Down" of airlines we all but once have travelled at least one day before the cruise was expected to leave.  The one time we flew day of, the stress was way, WAY, too much.  Luckily, we left from a hub airport, and the plan "moved gates twice" and was delayed at least 2 hrs.  I think we were the last few to board that time, this was our fifth cruise with RC about 15 years ago - and to this day, NEVER will we fly out day of again too much stress. 
 

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1 hour ago, Marsha M said:

To those of you who have cruised many times and fly to the port city:  

My flight is scheduled to arrive at 8:30am in Miami the day of embarkation.  Would you feel confident with an early flight the day of embarkation or would you still consider arriving a day prior?   

Your experience is greatly appreciated.  

 

I used to do same day flights as well - until I almost missed my cruise due to an airplane mechanical (thank GOD I was sailing from San Juan and they didn't leave until 11pm) and this was in 2018. So now, especially with the mechanicals/weather/staff issues, I will always fly in one day ahead of time and try to get the 1st flight of the day if possible. That will give me a full 24-hour window in case things go sideways. Being the overplanner that I am, I also have saved triptiks from AAA from Ohio to Miami, Orlando & Bayonne in case I need to drive through the night.

Taking an extra day of vacation/PTO isn't always feasible, but if you can, do it. I also take the same philosophy with flying home - give myself an extra day of vacation/PTO on the back end JUST IN CASE. If I don't need it, I have a day to recover from Vacation, do laundry and be ready to go back to work, instead of flying home, getting home in the early evening or night and then working the next day.

 

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Like @ChrisK2793we ran into several air cancellations for our April cruise and almost missed it as @HillaryG did.  I can only say it was a miracle that we made it!  I am driving to Cape Liberty for my August cruise and we have planned to arrive 2 days ahead for our Sept cruise out of FLL.  
I would have to say you really need to plan how and when you will arrive and then have an alternate plan if those original plans start to fall apart!

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“No plan survives first contact…”

We have multiple backups in place for our upcoming cruise in August.  I recommend everyone who is traveling nowadays do this. 
 

It would be great if our ttip from Maine to Galveston comes off without a hitch, but I suspect we’ll be dealing with something along the way. 

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Right now, the airlines are a hot mess. I'm not really sure that a day before is really safe.

Under normal circumstance, I would look at where you are flying from and how many flights a day make the same route.  If you are flying from NY to Miami, then there are a lot of backup flights available, and it would be better than an AM flight from Demoines where there are less options to get you to Miami later in the day.

Early, direct flights are always better because delays build throughout the day and things can be "reset" overnight.  Planes are generally where they are supposed to be by the time the first flight of the day happens.

The thing that is unique to cruising is that coming in late can mean that you miss the whole vacation, not just a day - often with no refund.  The bottom line is that it just isn't worth the risk.

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We can drive to the Florida ports so no issues there but the four cruises at other ports we have always arrived a couple of days early.  
 

I travel a lot for work and typically do over 100 flights a year.  In the past I was never too worried as I was pretty well practiced at making flight changes.  Lately it has not been quite as easy even with having airline status.  Things just are not as reliable as they once were.  (And that is saying something, since it wasn’t terribly reliable in the first place.)  

Time of day, frequency of routes, and number of connections are all things to consider in how complex your travel is and risks.  As long as you know what your alternate routes are and your options you might be able to decrease some of the worry and some of the days you need to possibly budget ahead of the cruise.

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I have been flying day of first flight out, with little to no problems. But I fly from ORD. As many people have posted, even flying in 2 days before can be an issue. I think there are certain factors. Weekend flights and holidays will require a lot more leeway and planning. If it is not a weekend or holiday, and you are flying direct from a hub, I think you will be fine.

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12 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

Given the airline horror stories  nowadays I think a day early is prudent.

if I fly to Miami in hurricane season I would be concerned about the weather there, so I’ve always gone a day early,. If I fly to Florida from NY I worry about the ice/snow here and leave a day early.  This past January I had to leave the night before my flight to be closer to my NY airport to escape an ice storm in my area.  
if you are “set” on day of Id  advise travel insurance. 

I completely agree with this.  We flew in the day before into Miami back in June for our Symphony sailing (first flight) and had heard later that day that the network was a mess and had the most cancellations on record.  We did see people getting on the ship at the next port as I would imagine they missed the ship.

 

The only time we do not fly in at least the day before is when the port is within 3 hours of our location.  We then leave plenty early that day for the area and get breakfast and sight see so that we have time in the event of any delays on our route that morning.  I would rather be tired and listen to my teenagers complain than miss the ship!

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As all have said, leave as many buffer days as you can schedule.  The airlines are entirely unpredictable at this point and while cancellations have become more frequent, delays are several times more likely and while you may still take-off on that day, any delay may end with you missing the ship anyways.

We flew from Boston to Miami on 6/24 for a 6/25 sail.  Our original schedule had us leaving in the morning.  A couple of months prior, it was moved to early afternoon.  The day of the flight, it ended up being delayed from 2:00 -> 4:15 -> 6:30.  At that point we started to get nervous, but were fortunate that we finally made it to Miami around 10:30PM.

Plan for problems.

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There have been quite a few threads on this topic Matt has even posted great information on the main page of this blog advising people not to fly in the same day your cruise departs. I would implore you to read not only this thread but the many other threads on this very topic because all it takes is a lengthy delay or a cancellation and your cruise is over before it even begins. 

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12 minutes ago, Moby Dick said:

If I'm within an 18  hour drive to the port, I drive.  If I have to fly, I book at least a day early.  Haven't missed a cruise yet.  Under no foreseen circumstances would I fly in on the same day as a embarkation, even pre-pandemic and this current airline debacle.   

According to google maps from my house in Chicago to PortMiami if I were to drive it would take me 21 hours and 27 minutes. Your post peaked my interest seeing that I've never driven to Florida and I was hoping it would fall within the 18 hours you prescribed.  However at over 21 hours I just can't see myself spending that amount of time behind the wheel of a car and it would be me driving because my husband is the worst driver I've ever met.  I let him drive once on our way to Wisconsin Dells we didn't even make to past O'Hare before I made him get off the expressway so we could switch. I don't know how some people got a driver license.

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18 minutes ago, JasonOasis said:

However at over 21 hours I just can't see myself spending that amount of time behind the wheel of a car and it would be me driving because my husband is the worst driver I've ever met.  I let him drive once on our way to Wisconsin Dells we didn't even make to past O'Hare before I made him get off the expressway so we could switch. I don't know how some people got a driver license.

Ah, just wrap the car in lots of bubble wrap and you'll both be fine! LOL! So how much did your foot hurt from constantly hitting an invisible brake pedal on the passenger side?

I actually envy those on this site that live within a reasonable driving distance of a port (or even several ports). I would LOVE to not have to fly every time we cruise. If we ever decide to cruise out of Baltimore again (9 hours) or Cape Liberty (10 hours), I'm definitely going to consider driving.

But, like it's been said so many times before, don't chance flying in day of, ESPECIALLY right now with air travel being in such utter disarray.

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10 minutes ago, JasonOasis said:

According to google maps from my house in Chicago to PortMiami if I were to drive it would take me 21 hours and 27 minutes. Your post peaked my interest seeing that I've never driven to Florida and I was hoping it would fall within the 18 hours you prescribed.  However at over 21 hours I just can't see myself spending that amount of time behind the wheel of a car and it would be me driving because my husband is the worst driver I've ever met.  I let him drive once on our way to Wisconsin Dells we didn't even make to past O'Hare before I made him get off the expressway so we could switch. I don't know how some people got a driver license.

LOL, yep you are between a rock and a hard place.  I used to drive truck for a living, all over this country, for about 3 years.  I had to itch that scratch, as a kid I always wanted to be a truck driver.  After I retired from the Army, I took care of that itch.  Anyway, I typed 18 hours just because with the cost of hotels going way up and up, I really don't want to spend more than 1 night in a hotel.  So, I'll do that 18 hours behind the wheel and spend one night in the hotel the night before the cruise.  I'm not adverse to spending $200.00 - $300.00.  But, for a bed that I probably can't sleep well in and for only about 6 hours, no, I'll pass as much as possible.  

BTW, Wisconsin Dells used to be a favorite vacation spot for us.  No longer.  Can't say why, here 🙄

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In my younger days, I drove MA to Palm Beach several times, it was always 24 hours.  And that was leaving in the evening so I could get through the I-95 corridor between CT and Richmond with little to no traffic, and just the occasional pit stop.  It's a tough ride.  I would gladly drive to New Jersey or Baltimore for a cruise.  Of course, Boston is perfection, but the itineraries are not appealing.

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1 hour ago, Moby Dick said:

LOL, yep you are between a rock and a hard place.  I used to drive truck for a living, all over this country, for about 3 years.  I had to itch that scratch, as a kid I always wanted to be a truck driver.  After I retired from the Army, I took care of that itch.  Anyway, I typed 18 hours just because with the cost of hotels going way up and up, I really don't want to spend more than 1 night in a hotel.  So, I'll do that 18 hours behind the wheel and spend one night in the hotel the night before the cruise.  I'm not adverse to spending $200.00 - $300.00.  But, for a bed that I probably can't sleep well in and for only about 6 hours, no, I'll pass as much as possible.  

BTW, Wisconsin Dells used to be a favorite vacation spot for us.  No longer.  Can't say why, here 🙄

Uh oh...we're heading to the Wisconsin Dells tomorrow for vacation. 😟

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Whether this was 2018, whether I was personally driving myself to the port, whether I had my own personal jet, if  I did not live in the port city, I would be there AT LEAST ONE DAY EARLY.  You may be an outlier and may have been lucky cutting it close, but given the odds, especially this year, I would not arrive the day of embarkation.

Matt has suggested to arrive at least a day early on many occasions.  Matt has also said that you are paying for the cruise, why not squeeze in a few extra hours of amenities, rest, relaxation, and fun by boarding early.  I cannot fathom a situation where arriving on the day of embarkation allows you to do this.

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I will NEVER understand the reluctance of cruisers to fly in a day or two early to start their vacation.

Likewise, I will NEVER understand cruisers who want to end their vacation early and buy a plane ticket for the absolute earliest time possible on the day of arrival.

 

And to top it off, these people come here and ask for pseudo permission.

 

<shakes head in disbelief>

 

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15 hours ago, Marsha M said:

Would you feel confident with an early flight the day of embarkation or would you still consider arriving a day prior?   

I would feel more confident about a first flight of the morning NONSTOP that got you to Miami at 8:30am than a connecting flight or one that is waiting on a connection to depart.

Really depends on what you are gambling on. If it's a super important cruise (rare vacation or big family event) then absolutely not. If you wouldn't be devastated to miss the cruise and have travel insurance to mitigate any costs to rescheduling if you did, then it may be worth the gamble.

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39 minutes ago, bobroo said:

I will NEVER understand the reluctance of cruisers to fly in a day or two early to start their vacation.

Likewise, I will NEVER understand cruisers who want to end their vacation early and buy a plane ticket for the absolute earliest time possible on the day of arrival.

 

And to top it off, these people come here and ask for pseudo permission.

 

<shakes head in disbelief>

 


Actually, it's not hard to understand at all if you are still working and have limited vacation days.  We did it this way for a very long time because we had to.  It is not ideal and it does add to the overall stress of the vacation but if you have a job that requires you to be back at a certain time PERIOD then you do what you have to do.

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We fly out on Saturday to Orlando for our Sunday Harmony cruise.  We cannot get a direct fly to Orlando from Louisville. So we fly to Atlanta and then to Orlando.  Hopefully, we won't have any issues but if we do, there are several flights that day.  Same thing in case our luggage doesn't arrive on the same plane, we still should get it the same day.  As a matter of fact, we will be driving to the airport a different way as they are doing a lot of construction on I-65 and there are many delays.  Our flight is 12:19 so plan on getting there 3 hours ahead just to have peace of mind. 

I am more worried about our Amsterdam flight in August though.

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23 minutes ago, whitsmom said:

We fly out on Saturday to Orlando for our Sunday Harmony cruise.  We cannot get a direct fly to Orlando from Louisville. So we fly to Atlanta and then to Orlando.  Hopefully, we won't have any issues but if we do, there are several flights that day.  Same thing in case our luggage doesn't arrive on the same plane, we still should get it the same day.  As a matter of fact, we will be driving to the airport a different way as they are doing a lot of construction on I-65 and there are many delays.  Our flight is 12:19 so plan on getting there 3 hours ahead just to have peace of mind. 

I am more worried about our Amsterdam flight in August though.

I'm on a Celebrity FB group and 25 people's luggage did not make it to their destination. (British Airways). This happened to a family of 16 on my February Anthem cruise out of NJ, the luggage caught up with them in Nassau when the cruise was half way over.  The number of people sharing the horror stories about luggage, flights etc is scary.  Someone mentioned how they have their clothing split between 2  pieces of luggage so in case 1 bag didn't make it they'd still have stuff.....well neither luggage made it!  Another talked about how they had the airtag in their luggage-which meant they could see where there luggage was, but it did not make it to their cruise.  Another talked about how while boarding they took their carry on luggage because of lack of room onboard, and that luggage was lost.   It was my plan to use a carry on luggage  and try to fit as much as I can into it.....I do always have a "grocery type recyclable bag"  folded and placed in the outside pocket of my luggage "just in case" and you know I would have stood there and took the majority of my carry on items out to stick into that bag!  Then there were the horror stories of connecting flightrs.  If you booked through Air2Sea program their numbers into your phone.  If you are booked with an airline get their app-  I'll be thrilled if I can make it to Europe on time for my cruise, I guess having my luggage make it would be a bonus, if they want to mess with my flights home-oh well.

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3 hours ago, bobroo said:

I will NEVER understand the reluctance of cruisers to fly in a day or two early to start their vacation.

Likewise, I will NEVER understand cruisers who want to end their vacation early and buy a plane ticket for the absolute earliest time possible on the day of arrival.

 

And to top it off, these people come here and ask for pseudo permission.

 

<shakes head in disbelief>

 

True!!!

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4 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

I'm on a Celebrity FB group and 25 people's luggage did not make it to their destination. (British Airways). This happened to a family of 16 on my February Anthem cruise out of NJ, the luggage caught up with them in Nassau when the cruise was half way over.  The number of people sharing the horror stories about luggage, flights etc is scary.  Someone mentioned how they have their clothing split between 2  pieces of luggage so in case 1 bag didn't make it they'd still have stuff.....well neither luggage made it!  Another talked about how they had the airtag in their luggage-which meant they could see where there luggage was, but it did not make it to their cruise.  Another talked about how while boarding they took their carry on luggage because of lack of room onboard, and that luggage was lost.   It was my plan to use a carry on luggage  and try to fit as much as I can into it.....I do always have a "grocery type recyclable bag"  folded and placed in the outside pocket of my luggage "just in case" and you know I would have stood there and took the majority of my carry on items out to stick into that bag!  Then there were the horror stories of connecting flightrs.  If you booked through Air2Sea program their numbers into your phone.  If you are booked with an airline get their app-  I'll be thrilled if I can make it to Europe on time for my cruise, I guess having my luggage make it would be a bonus, if they want to mess with my flights home-oh well.

My niece just told me that her friend is on a cruise in Europe (not sure which cruise line) and she didn't get her luggage.

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32 minutes ago, whitsmom said:

My niece just told me that her friend is on a cruise in Europe (not sure which cruise line) and she didn't get her luggage.

From the cruise line?  I’ve seen that happen here.  Sometimes the  luggage is held in the naughty room because of forbidden items inside. Other times, I cannot understand how it can disappear when it’s dropped off to the porter.  I’m seriously considering  2 roll on carry on bags for my trip….one can go with me into the passenger area on the plane and I can drag both onto the ship.  I’ll have to do some practice packing to see how it works

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16 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

From the cruise line?  I’ve seen that happen here.  Sometimes the  luggage is held in the naughty room because of forbidden items inside. Other times, I cannot understand how it can disappear when it’s dropped off to the porter.  I’m seriously considering  2 roll on carry on bags for my trip….one can go with me into the passenger area on the plane and I can drag both onto the ship.  I’ll have to do some practice packing to see how it works

The luggage didn't make the flight to Europe.  I think she was 3 days in (on cruise) and still didn't have her luggage.  Not sure how they would get it once you leave the original port for other destinations.

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