How early can I book a flight after 7:00 a.m. docking?

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virginia beach
132 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
I am on the Jan 15-25th Celebrity Equinox cruise. The ship docks at 7:00 a.m. in Ft Lauderdale and we have preferential disembarkation. I want to book a 10:05 a.m flight of Lauderdale. The taxi ride from ship to airport is very quick as I have done it many times before but never have taken a flight before 11:00 a.m. Has anyone out there ever booked a flight that early?
Chicago by way of Boston and NOLA
16,940 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by virginia beach girl
I am on the Jan 15-25th Celebrity Equinox cruise. The ship docks at 7:00 a.m. in Ft Lauderdale and we have preferential disembarkation. I want to book a 10:05 a.m flight of Lauderdale. The taxi ride from ship to airport is very quick as I have done it many times before but never have taken a flight before 11:00 a.m. Has anyone out there ever booked a flight that early?
The majority of the time you will make it, but there is some risk. Sometimes ships arrive late and (more often) there are delays with the ship clearing immigration. I just debarked from Equinox two days ago and was in the fifth group off and at the airport by 8:45am. However the sailing before us had a two hour delay being cleared by customs; people were still debarking up until about 12:15pm. FLL is located very close to the seaport, but FLL can be a very hectic airport with long lines, so if you arrive with moments to spare it might be hard to make it through security on time for your flight (especially if you have to check luggage). It really depends how much of a risk taker you are; if there are no delays with the ship arriving and clearing customs you almost certainly can make a 10:05 flight, but you do not have too much wiggle room in case things go wrong. Also keep in mind that most travel insurance policies will not help you out if you do not leave much of a buffer between a ship's scheduled arrival and your flight's scheduled departure.
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Welcome to Cruise Critic.

Do not book any flights until after NOON.

There are a lot of things that could go wrong -- the ship could arrive back in Ft Lauderdale late; the ship may not get cleared right away,etc.
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Joined Sep 2006
In the main ships arrive on time, buy bad weather will slow them down. You could take a punt and book before noon, but the companies suggest you leave a 5 hr window. We always have in the past.
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virginia beach
132 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Thanks a lot for the response! I just read your review of the Equinox and amazingly enough we too are booked in room #1608 for the upcoming cruise. Weird huh?! We were on Solstice in January 2009 and loved it so much we booked Equinox for Jan 2010.
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Joined Sep 2005
You are always taking a chance booking anything much before noon. Because Equinox (2,850 passengers) is the only ship disembarking in FLL on Jan 25, airport crowding is one problem you are not as likely to face. --

If you cam in on Jan 24 -with six ships offloading almost 18,000 passengers, it would definitely be a bad idea. But, since a lot of those 18,000 getting off on the 24th will be smart enough to not try a tight connection, many of them will be hitting the airport on your morning.

Give yourself a break - why get stressed immediately upon returning from a relaxing cuise? Shoot for a later (or even next day) flight.
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Fredericksburg, va. USA
83,749 Posts
Joined May 2001
If there is a later flight that you could change to (if you miss the 1st one!), I'd keep that flight, and try it! There's nothing worse than trying to kill hours after a great vacation!
For those 11am flights, what time did you arrive at the airport? It's your call!
Moon Township, Pa
23,173 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
On my most recent cruise, we didn't begin disembarking until nearly 9am. On the one before that, we didn't start until after 9am. There's no way I'd book a flight before 11am, especially during the busy cruise season in winter and spring.
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Greenville, SC, USA
52,226 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
If you book an early flight and miss it, you will be in for a long day, hanging around the airport. You will have to hope you can get a flight out. However, with all the ships coming in, the flights are full. There is a good chance you will wind up spending the night in Fort Lauderdale.
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7,280 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
I would never book a flight that early. I'd be worried sick the whole cruise.

Remember domestic check in is at least 1.5 hours before departure so you would actually have to be at the AP by 8:30 a.m. Do you really think you can do that?

If you want to try to leave that early, book a later flight just in case but move your buns on debarkation day & beg to fly standby.
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Cape Cod MA& Weirton WV
4,419 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
The cruise lines all tell you not to book before NOON and they mean it.

I have been on ships held up that did not begin debarking till almost noon, and many that did not start till 9:30 or so, always customs and Immigration hold ups.

and it can take up to an hour to get through Airport security.

booking 11:00 is just plain foolish.
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