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zitsky

Fly early to meet a cruise?

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I have done several cruises and never thought it was necessary to fly earlier.  I'm looking at a cruise in December going through Newark, NJ.  The flight would arrive at 4:30pm.  The ship leaves at 8:30pm.  I think 4 hours is enough padding, but what do you think?  We could go a day early and stay in a hotel near the airport or cruise terminal.

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I don't cut any winter flight that close, usually they have been ok, but we have had delays due to storms. 

I would also go in a day early.

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I would go  at  least  1-2  days in advance ,  connecting through NJ in December can be 'iffy'  as to weather but we all  know flights get cancelled for all sorts of reasons and my late DH and I always  got  to   embarkation port early and almost always did a post cruise stay for fear of the ship clearing late and I did  not want   stress  ab out getting   to the airport and clearing TSA
in time.  Those lines can be so long.

 

 

JMO

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, paul929207 said:

Too risky for my blood. I would go in a day early.

 

 

I Totally  Agree  

 

 

 

 

I don't   want that kind of stress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You usually need to be on board at least a couple hours before ship departure and that would leave you virtually no leeway in case of any delays, air or traffic, along the way. Way too risky IMO.

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I have done several cruises and never thought it was necessary to fly earlier.  I'm looking at a cruise in December going through Newark, NJ.  The flight would arrive at 4:30pm.  The ship leaves at 8:30pm.  I think 4 hours is enough padding, but what do you think?  We could go a day early and stay in a hotel near the airport or cruise terminal.
Not sure if you talking about a flight connecting in Newark, or sailing from Newark, but either way, is there not an earlier flight? I prefer to fly in a day early, but that's just not always possible. If I must fly in the day of the cruise, I take the earliest available flight.

Also highly recommend travel insurance that covers for flight delays, cancellations, etc.

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I travel a lot and have experienced delays more often than on-time flights, so there is no way I would ever fly in the day of a cruise.  Even a direct flight can be cancelled for issues other than weather. Anyway, your flight is a calculated risk. If you are ok with possibly missing your cruise due to unexpected delays, then maybe it's worth the risk to you.  Since I plan my cruises months in advance, schedule vacation time, and put a lot of effort booking everything, then missing the cruise would be a big deal to me and the risk would not be worth it.

One time our flight was delayed and we missed our layover flight.  The airline had no other available seats on any flights going to any of the Florida airports (we would have taken one and then driven to the port).  We got the last available seats on a Southwest flight.  This all happened the day before our cruise, so if we had flown the day of our cruise we would have missed it.   We have spent the night in cities, had flights cancelled, and many flight delays.  It is always surprising that people are willing to take a risk with their cruise, but maybe their schedule is more flexible and missing a cruise isn't as big of a deal to them.

Edited by TNcruising02

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No way would I attempt to fly across an ocean and half way over a continent with a schedule that close.  Everything would have to go right:  From your originating flight taking off and arriving on time, to your connecting flight arriving on time.  That it isn't rescheduled or cancelled due to late incoming equipment.  That there isn't a mechanical issue.  That you're not grounded due to weather.   That you are not caught in some traffic backup between the airport and the cruise terminal.  That your luggage isn't lost. 

 

The majority of posters will say, "Fly in at least the day before because things can and do happen."  Others will counter, "I don't have that luxury."  What is your tolerance for risk and your "Plan B" if you miss the ship check-in cutoff?

 

I had a non-stop to Hamburg, Germany that was scheduled to arrive more than 8 hours before the checkin cutoff.  I still flew in the day before.  Had I flown in the day of sailing, and anything had happened to that flight, I would have been screwed as any other flight would have arrived too late. 

Edited by BlueRiband

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I think you'll find almost everyone recommends getting there a day early.  Especially in December and flying from the North. And you need to get from the airport to the cruise ship.

We will be driving to Miami in a few weeks with our grandchildren and will still leave a day early!  We could leave very  early in the morning and rely on GoggleMaps  which tells us the drive is less that 8 hours, but what if we have car trouble or there is bad traffic.  And we know we never make it in 8 hours.

Spend the night at the hotel, have a nice dinner, sleep in, get your breakfast, take a drive and have a late lunch at a beachy restaurant and take your time.

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No way. It can be bad weather anywhere and you could easily be delayed hours. I had friends flying from Nashville to Jamaica, with a stop in Orlando this past winter. Everything was fine when they left Nashville, but weather in the upper NE turned and they ended having to spend the night at a hotel in Orlando. Since they were renting a house it wasn't like they missed the ship, but it sure affected their trip.

 

That said, some people are willing to risk it and figure they will come out ahead in the end. A lot like travel Insurance.

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I was flying in 2 days before and at 11 pm the night before they cancelled my flights. Couldn't get me out until the next day so had to book last minute on another carrier. Wouldn't risk it especially in the winter. Besides you're going out of San Juan (guessing by the 8:30 departure) so always fun to explore OSJ the day before. Also if you are on the Summit, they have changed the Muster Drill to about 4:30 pm instead of 7:45 so you would be required to probably go to a special one for those that missed the scheduled one.

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16 minutes ago, hapster85 said:

Not sure if you talking about a flight connecting in Newark, or sailing from Newark, but either way, is there not an earlier flight? I prefer to fly in a day early, but that's just not always possible. If I must fly in the day of the cruise, I take the earliest available flight.

Also highly recommend travel insurance that covers for flight delays, cancellations, etc.

The same question occurred to me.  I did a quick check and did not see any cruise leave from Bayonne, Brooklyn or Manhattan this December sailing at 8:00 PM - they all seemed to sail at 3:00, 4:00 or 5:00 PM;  which suggests OP is talking about a flight, connecting in Newark, due to arrive at 4:30 PM at a port where there is an 8:00 PM sailing.

 

That idea seems too risky for someone who claims to have cruised several times to consider. It is hard for me to take it seriously - while it is possibly a genuine question, I think I sens a troll.

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Ok.  I will look at going a day early.  Yes I do trip insurance.  I have some times stayed overnight.

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Just now, navybankerteacher said:

The same question occurred to me.  I did a quick check and did not see any cruise leave from Bayonne, Brooklyn or Manhattan this December sailing at 8:00 PM - they all seemed to sail at 3:00, 4:00 or 5:00 PM;  which suggests OP is talking about a flight, connecting in Newark, due to arrive at 4:30 PM at a port where there is an 8:00 PM sailing.

 

That idea seems too risky for someone who claims to have cruised several times to consider. It is hard for me to take it seriously - while it is possibly a genuine question, I think I sens a troll.

 

You're a bit rude.  Thanks.

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Just now, zitsky said:

Ok.  I will look at going a day early.  Yes I do trip insurance.  I have some times stayed overnight.

Just curious: what ship and which departure port.

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@zitsky What cruise line? What port? You said through Newark, did you mean to Newark? Does that mean you're leaving from Cape Liberty? Is your flight the first flight out of the day? Is it direct?

 

I have flown to FLL (direct from IAD) and MOB (one stop in IAH) the day of with no issues. 

 

 

Edited by JennyB1977

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1 minute ago, zitsky said:

 

You're a bit rude.  Thanks.

You’re welcome.  

 

If if you read your original post, it does raise some real questions.  I would be interested in hearing the ship and departure port.

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As an experienced cruiser, I assume that you do know that if the ship leaves at 8:30, you have to be on board at about 6:30.  That leaves you 2 hours from the hoped for  landing time to get your luggage and to get from Newark Airport to the ship.  BTW, is your flight a nom-stop or do you have connections.  Also, what is the probability of a weather issue in December anywhere in the US?

 

DON

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For those that are curious, and to prove I'm not a "troll", the options are - United RDU-EWR-SJU or RDU-IAH-SJU.  Neither are preferable so I'm looking at American RDU-ATL-SJU and maybe a few others.

 

To those who answered my question, thank you.  But I thought it would be useful to compare notes with others as I don't normally travel during the winter.  Yes I'm aware there can be all kinds of weather issues, ice, snow, ice and snow.  

 

Because I have United miles, if it were just up to me I'd bite the bullet and go through IAH even though it's the wrong way, to avoid any winter weather.  But I have to convince my partner that it is worth the extra time.

 

We will probably end up going through ATL or MIA.

 

 

 

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I avoid ATL like the plague! Delays, cancellations, etc. seem to be the norm at that airport. Especially in the winter I'd fly to IAH. I just did IAD-IAH-MOB in January and IAH was easy peasy. I took a United flight out at 0600. Arrived at IAH at 0826. Departed IAH 0955 and arrived MOB 1124. 

Edited by JennyB1977

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I don't remember the specifics, but since IAH is the "wrong way" that would add maybe 2 hours to our trip.  But it does (probably) avoid any bad weather (ice/snow).  I have been through IAH a few times and haven't had a problem.  I'll take another look at United's schedule.  Maybe IAH won't be such a bad idea.  At least we'll get to use miles instead of dollars.

 

Thank you.

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51 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

Just curious: what ship and which departure port.

 

 

IF FLL< baggage claim can be ridicuously slow....    Remember to factor luggage claim if you want to have your suitcase on your cruise.,   assuming you are not doing   only carryon.   

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, zitsky said:

I have done several cruises and never thought it was necessary to fly earlier.  I'm looking at a cruise in December going through Newark, NJ.  The flight would arrive at 4:30pm.  The ship leaves at 8:30pm.  I think 4 hours is enough padding, but what do you think?  We could go a day early and stay in a hotel near the airport or cruise terminal.

 

I assume that you are non stop from  RDU to  Newark. The weather in December, even in Raleigh can be iffy.

 

Note: After posting this I saw a much later post by  OP saying that he is cruising out of SJU. That made me change the response.

Edited by zqvol

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14 minutes ago, JennyB1977 said:

I avoid ATL like the plague! Delays, cancellations, etc. seem to be the norm at that airport. Especially in the winter I'd fly to IAH. 

 

Totally opposite of our experience. If I am flying I want to go through ATL,  rarely do we see delays or cancellations.

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