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Retchiefcruiser

Early Flights Out of FLL

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So … What would be the earliest flight time you would be willing to take leaving FLL on a ship that docks in FLL? Most of the ships I've been on recently, people have been disembarking by 7:00am. What are your thoughts on a 9:05am departure?

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8 minutes ago, Retchiefcruiser said:

So … What would be the earliest flight time you would be willing to take leaving FLL on a ship that docks in FLL? Most of the ships I've been on recently, people have been disembarking by 7:00am. What are your thoughts on a 9:05am departure?

 

That would be too early in my book. We just did self-debarkation on Victory at Miami earlier this week (we are Platinum) and they didn’t start the debarkation process until 7:45 AM, even though we were docked at the port around 6:30 AM. Personally I wouldn’t count on being off the ship around 7:00 AM, although it is nice when it happens. 

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It can be so variable that a 9 am departure would freak me out. We were on the Carnival Dream once in New Orleans and were docked by 6 am, but were not allowed off the ship until after 8 because of a medical debarkation and then issues with customs. Other times, you can be off the ship by 7 am. To me it would be too much of a unknown and a higher likelihood of missing your flight and then having to beg the airline to accommodate you.

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Posted (edited)

I haven't book anything before noon. My June 2018 and January 2019 cruises both had 1:30ish flights home. Keep in mind 9:05 departure means pulling away from the gate. Boarding will begin at like 8:35am. Gate agent will close the door 10 minutes before departure at 8:55. Once the door shuts, you're (99% of the time) SOL.

Edited by JennyB1977

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The good news is that the airport is very close to the FLL port, maybe 10 minutes once you are off the ship.

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1 hour ago, Retchiefcruiser said:

So … What would be the earliest flight time you would be willing to take leaving FLL on a ship that docks in FLL? Most of the ships I've been on recently, people have been disembarking by 7:00am. What are your thoughts on a 9:05am departure?

 

I have booked flights for 11AM when cruising from FLL and using the nearby airport.  I've even been able to switch to a 9:00AM flight when I arrived at the airport at 8AM.

 

I can do Diamond self depart walk off and taxi to the airport.  I also have Global Entry, but that is pretty useless when I arrive so early that there are no security lines. I just wheel my carry on to the gate and board.  No waiting at my home airport either with just the 1 carry on piece.

 

Now can the OP do what I do?  Probably not.  With a regular self assist debarkation and normal USCB lines he might get to the airport by 9 or 9:30.   If checking luggage, there's an extra line to wait on.  Carnival recommends a noon departure or later.  I'd say if the OP is doing self assist walkoff and taxiing to the airport, an 11AM flight should be doable.  If the OP has checked luggage and doing a zone departure from the ship, then maybe best to stick with the noon recommendation.

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I recently got off the Allure.

Self carry luggage.

Left deck 17 at 0730 and was sitting at the gate at 0800.

I had a lot going my way though. I was a suite guest so got escorted off the ship. No people in line for debarkation, no people in line for Customs/Passport control. Immediately got into a cab, was flying First Class so no waiting to check luggage, had TSA pre-check.

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7 hours ago, Retchiefcruiser said:

So … What would be the earliest flight time you would be willing to take leaving FLL on a ship that docks in FLL? Most of the ships I've been on recently, people have been disembarking by 7:00am. What are your thoughts on a 9:05am departure?

The risk is that your travel insurance will not cover you if there is any claim because you missed your flight.  You need to follow the cruise line's recommended flight times.  FFL is unpredictable since you could be returning with 8 other ships.  I have gotten to FLL about 9 am and found a hour line to check luggage.

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We've also seen long security line.... And also long at the tsa pre check line. Airport is so close, yet I would not risk a flight that early.

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8 hours ago, evandbob said:

 

I have booked flights for 11AM when cruising from FLL and using the nearby airport.  I've even been able to switch to a 9:00AM flight when I arrived at the airport at 8AM.

 

I can do Diamond self depart walk off and taxi to the airport.  I also have Global Entry, but that is pretty useless when I arrive so early that there are no security lines. I just wheel my carry on to the gate and board.  No waiting at my home airport either with just the 1 carry on piece.

 

Now can the OP do what I do?  Probably not.  With a regular self assist debarkation and normal USCB lines he might get to the airport by 9 or 9:30.   If checking luggage, there's an extra line to wait on.  Carnival recommends a noon departure or later.  I'd say if the OP is doing self assist walkoff and taxiing to the airport, an 11AM flight should be doable.  If the OP has checked luggage and doing a zone departure from the ship, then maybe best to stick with the noon recommendation.

Best answer I have seen in a long time.

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I wouldn't take the chance on an early flight because so many things could delay debarkation. When we got off last spring, self assist were off, then when it came to group 2, we stood outside right by the gangway for 2 hrs. We saw the first groups at a standstill in the customs building. Apparently there was a shortage of agents and only 2 had arrived to clear the ship's guests . By the time we were allowed to proceed, another 4 agents were just starting to work and the lines started moving again. 

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10 hours ago, eagletwo said:

Best answer I have seen in a long time.

Only because they had a "perfect" scenario. EVERYTHING was in their favor. Most pax don't have that option.

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11am flights would be safe.  I wouldn't risk anything earlier than 10am.  I have been on a cruise where customs delayed disembarkation until 8:30am.

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On 8/16/2019 at 8:03 AM, beerman2 said:

Only because they had a "perfect" scenario. EVERYTHING was in their favor. Most pax don't have that option.

I was referring to the second part of the answer.

 

Now can the OP do what I do?  Probably not.  With a regular self assist debarkation and normal USCB lines he might get to the airport by 9 or 9:30.   If checking luggage, there's an extra line to wait on.  Carnival recommends a noon departure or later.  I'd say if the OP is doing self assist walkoff and taxiing to the airport, an 11AM flight should be doable.  If the OP has checked luggage and doing a zone departure from the ship, then maybe best to stick with the noon recommendation.

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41 minutes ago, eagletwo said:

I was referring to the second part of the answer.

 

Now can the OP do what I do?  Probably not.  With a regular self assist debarkation and normal USCB lines he might get to the airport by 9 or 9:30.   If checking luggage, there's an extra line to wait on.  Carnival recommends a noon departure or later.  I'd say if the OP is doing self assist walkoff and taxiing to the airport, an 11AM flight should be doable.  If the OP has checked luggage and doing a zone departure from the ship, then maybe best to stick with the noon recommendation.

 

If doing self assist, you are not getting to the airport at 9:30 unless you stopped at a restaurant for breakfast before the airport.  Even our last cruise we were far back in self assist, long customs line, didn't start until 7, and we were still home about 8am and live about 3x further than the airport. 

 

If you have an early flight, just get in line earlier.  I'd take a 10am or later flight, generally speaking. 

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You had better hope that the day you come into port that there are not 6-7 ships in port that morning. Way too many variables come into play. Many years ago we had a 1:30 flight out of FLL and were met at the airport by 1:30 security lines. Never again.

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19 hours ago, nhraformula00 said:

You had better hope that the day you come into port that there are not 6-7 ships in port that morning. Way too many variables come into play. Many years ago we had a 1:30 flight out of FLL and were met at the airport by 1:30 security lines. Never again.

 

All the more reason to self assist, EARLY, and take an early flight... Avoid the rush and lines. 

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25 minutes ago, nhraformula00 said:

We always extend our trips an extra day or two on both ends. Flights are cheaper also.

 

It's a great idea if you can. Especially since South Florida is a vacation destination as well. For people flying in, it's convenient to add a few extra days. We are doing the same with our Med cruise next year. 

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14 hours ago, nhraformula00 said:

We always extend our trips an extra day or two on both ends. Flights are cheaper also.

Not only do we fly in a couple of days ahead, but we also spend a few days in Florida after cruising. We rent a car and drive to Fort Myers to enjoy beaches and outlet mall on the Gulf side. We love Sanibel Island. It makes for a perfect vacation away from our winter weather back home.

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