Booking flights for cruise vacation

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#1
Minneapolis
112 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
My husband and I are super excited for our first cruise! We are booked on the Carnival Glory Thanksgiving week.

We have just started looking at flights, and there are very few non stop options from Minneapolis to Miami. So we are looking at taking a flight that has a stop in Atlanta. My concern is that most of the flights have a very short layover (60 mins or less), so I am concerned that our luggage will get lost! Carrying on our luggage probably won't be an option since we need more luggage room than what a carry on would allow. Has anyone had any experience with lost luggage before a cruise? Do you ever get it back while you are on your cruise?

We don't have the option of flying in a day or two early as we have 3 small children at home and my parents are only available for one week to watch them. Also, the nonstop options are super spendy (due to it being a Holiday week) so that may not be an option. Thanks for any feedback/tips you may have!
#2
3,502 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
First - what time does the ship leave? You generally have to be on board at least 90 minutes before sail-out. And of course, you have to factor in travel time from the airport to the cruise port.

I've only been thru Atlanta once years ago - I wouldn't want less than a 2 hour layover. Especially coming from Minneapolis in November. (BTW - our son and daugther-in-law live there.)

Is there any way you could do a red-eye leaving in the evening?
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#3
Greenville, SC, USA
51,196 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We have not had any problem.

An alternative would be to have you luggage shipped. Of course, this may bring the cost up to the non-stop price
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Paul
#7
1,137 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Hate to deliver bad news but your cruise is Sunday to Sunday the week surrounding Thanksgiving. Your problem isn't the so much the outbound from MSP but the return from MIA. The Sunday after T-day is one of the busiest airline travel days for leisure travel as everyone wraps up the holiday long weekend. I don't think flights will get much cheaper, more likely they will continue to go up as time goes by especially considering MIA will be crowded with cruisers and those returning from visiting retired Granny who now lives in Florida.
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#9
Palm City, Fl
3,677 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
60 minutes is plenty of time in ATL. It will be a little hectic, but Delta is the one that allows that scheduling. Their gate attendants are very proficient at getting you from one flight to another in time to board.

We have flown thru ATL many times, once had 20 minutes to change flights. No problem...and Delta took care of the luggage just fine.

Book your seats and relax!
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#10
Maryland's Eastern Shore
5,929 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Why not book the Red Eye? Maybe rent a car and do some sightseeing, or find a tour operator to take you around Miami. Just a thought.
Have a great cruise.
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#12
Michigan
2,385 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
You really should reconsider coming down the day before. Your weather is iffy, flights will be overbooked. At least be sure to online check in on the 24 hour mark to lessen your chance of being bumped from a full flight.
#13
NJ
7,255 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
If you don't have another choice, you don't have another choice. Realize, what you are doing is VERY risky. If there are weather delays you will miss the ship and then you will either lose your whole vacation or spend way more than the differnce between flying in a day early & flying yourself to the first port of call. But if this if your only option, it's your only option. To minimize your risk do the following:

1. Book the earliest flights possible.

2. Cross pack -- some of your stuff goes in his bag; some of his stuff goes in yours. Even if the airline loses 1 bag, odds are they won't lose both so you will both have something to wear.

3. Pack underwear, a bathing suit & 1 change of clothes in your carry on just in case.

4. Buy trip insurance

5. If there's a direct flight before your connecting flight, show up at the AP in time to try to fly standby on that direct flight.

6. If you are so inclined pray, or at least cross your fingers & think positively
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Trish
#14
New Cumberland,PA, USA
26,089 Posts
Joined May 2000
We do agree that your concerns (about luggage) are justified. Keep in mind that the earlier you get to your final destination (FL) the better chance that your luggage will catch-up even if it gets delayed. This is one reason (and there are several more reasons) why we always fly-in to our embarkation city at least one day early. In late November you also need to be concerned about the weather at MN which can cause delays or cancellations....which is another reason to go to FL at least a day early.

As to tight connections, there is not much you can do other then to choose different flights.

Hank
#15
1,137 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by trish1c
2. Cross pack -- some of your stuff goes in his bag; some of his stuff goes in yours. Even if the airline loses 1 bag, odds are they won't lose both so you will both have something to wear. 3. Pack underwear, a bathing suit & 1 change of clothes in your carry on just in case.
Cross packing is a good idea, but i would suggest the OP fully maximize their carry on allowance. Each person is allowed one carry-on and one personal item. A purse is considered a carry on so this is time to not be fashionable. Put your ID and money in your pocket (or your husband's pocket!) then use a backpack or some other shoulder bag as your "personal item" which will increase what you are allowed to carry on. Pack in your wheeled carry on your most versatile pieces that you couldn't live without. Maybe pack a sundress that could be dressed up or down, swimsuit, a pair of shorts and a few matching tank tops. Wear your walking shoes on the plane and throw a pair of flip flops and a pair of sandals in your carry on. Since you are flying from a cold weather climate be prepared to ditch the coat in your car and wear a few layers that could do double duty in the warm weather.

No one wants to have lost luggage so pack your carry on with the essentials that you could build a few looks from because if your luggage doesn't make your tight connection you could be living out of that bag for the entire trip
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#16
Connecticut
10,702 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
A seven day cruise on Carnival is not going to be that formal. If you each have a maximum size carry-on plus the "personal item" -- a reasonable sized back-pack -- you really should down-size your wardrobe. You will not only eliminate the risk of delayed luggage on the connection, you will save the time at Miami by not having to wait at the carousel to claim checked luggage, and you will save the checked luggage fee.
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#17
Georgia
2,723 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Since your cruise is from Sunday to Sunday, I would suggest taking the Red Eye Friday night and staying at a hotel on Saturday. This way if your luggage should happen to go missing, you have about a day and a half for them to find it and get it to you. I would also suggest looking into flying back really late the Sunday you disembark or Monday. Not sure, but maybe flying in and out that way would save a little bit? With the holiday, even if you fly home on Monday, you would still only use 5 days of vacation (unless Black Friday is a holiday too where you work - then only 4 days of vacation).

An hour layover in Atlanta is doable, but if you can, I'd go longer. Odds are good that you could have snow or some other freaky winter weather in Mpls and the plane will have to "de-ice" which could delay take off and arrival at ATL. Hartsfield is so big and so busy and you never know when you may have to go from Concourse A to Concourse D to change planes and just how many other people will get in your way who are not in a hurry to get anywhere! It could be like our one hour layover this summer in Minneapolis - we went from C Concourse to F Concourse and had maybe 10 minutes to spare before they started boarding the plane. Saving grace was that my youngest was on crutches, so he and I got to ride in a cart while DH and my oldest (with their long legs) used the moving walkways and got to the gate about 2 minutes after DS2 and I! We made it and so did our bags, but I would have liked a little more relaxed time - my fault in scheduling though.

Plus really - you're going on a cruise over Thanksgiving to get away from the bitter cold of Minnesota right? Why not fly in early and start taking advantage of the warm weather? Even if it's only 60 degrees in Miami, that could be at least a 30 degree swing from Minnesota! And you can start rubbing it in to all the relatives back home!
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#18
New Mexico
14,245 Posts
Joined May 2004
Originally posted by nolatravelgirl
Cross packing is a good idea, but i would suggest the OP fully maximize their carry on allowance. Each person is allowed one carry-on and one personal item. A purse is considered a carry on so this is time to not be fashionable. Put your ID and money in your pocket (or your husband's pocket!) then use a backpack or some other shoulder bag as your "personal item" which will increase what you are allowed to carry on. Pack in your wheeled carry on your most versatile pieces that you couldn't live without. Maybe pack a sundress that could be dressed up or down, swimsuit, a pair of shorts and a few matching tank tops. Wear your walking shoes on the plane and throw a pair of flip flops and a pair of sandals in your carry on. Since you are flying from a cold weather climate be prepared to ditch the coat in your car and wear a few layers that could do double duty in the warm weather.

No one wants to have lost luggage so pack your carry on with the essentials that you could build a few looks from because if your luggage doesn't make your tight connection you could be living out of that bag for the entire trip
I second this suggestion. You will be surprised at how much wear you can get out of key mix-match pieces, and how much you can get in one overhead bag and one underseat bag.

Here is one source with links to many others:
http://gogreentravelgreen.com/ultima...ten-your-load/
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#19
South Texas
6,149 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Do whatever you can to arrive one day early. You are facing many obstacles.

If something will go wrong, it will happen at Atlanta.
I avoid Atlanta at all cost these days.
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#20
104,722 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
We have no choice but to book connecting flights.

We either have to go through Atlanta or Charlotte.

One hour is not enough time. We have had 1 1/2 hours and by the time we changed terminals -- it was nearly time to board the next plane.

You also run the risk that if the first flight doesn't leave on time -- you may miss your connecting flight.

We are fortunate that we can fly in 2 days early which allows for any changes in plane schedules at the last minute.

Do the Red Eye.

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