We are booked on the Carnival Glory departing out of Miami on March, 7th. We reserved the trip through Orbitz.com and stupidly opted into Carnival's Fly Aweigh program. Had I been actively reading these message boards I would have never made that mistake!
It turns out Carnival has us flying on Jet Blue out of Rochester, NY the morning of the 7th, connecting in JFK, and arriving in Ft. Lauderdale at 1pm! The ship departs from the Port of Miami at 4pm. We have also purchased airport to port transfers. Considering IF everything on the airline's end runs 100% on time (which is HIGHLY unlikely), we are able to get our baggage almost immediately after deplaning AND we run into NO traffic whatsoever on the 45 min drive from Fort Lauderdale aiport to the port of Miami we'll still only make it to the port, at the very earliest, 1.5 hours before the ship departs.
The sheer number of variables involved in this scenario have forced my partner and I to resign ourselves to the fact that there is a 99% chance of us missing the ship's departure and the first day of our cruise vacation. We have tried to book a pre-night with Carnival but there are none available and when an Orbitz representative called yesterday to check on air deviation possbilies, the fee + fare increase would cost an extra $297 a passenger. We are not willing to pay this considering that if we miss the ship, from what I understand, Carnival is liable to fly us to our next port of call (which is Cozumel, Mexico on Tuesday, March 9th). Still, I don't want to spend the first 2 days of my vacation in airports,airport hotels and on overbooked flights!
So now that you are all up to speed on our situation, here is my question; given that we will MOST likely miss the ship, what can I do ahead of time to make sure we don't epxerience any further delays once that happens? How can I be the best prepared for this situation? Who should I contact first and when? is it better to deal with the airline (loook into other airline's routes to Cozumel etc) or with the cruise line (everytime I call they tell me I need to contact Orbitz and have them contact Carnival for me)? Are we totally at the whim of seat availability and phone qeue hold times?
Please, any advice or past experiences with a similar situation would be GREATLY appreciated.