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Flying in day of cruise - a cautionary tale

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Never run with scissors, never take a 3 hour tour, and never fly in the day of the cruise. 
 
I had to work on the day before the cruise, so I scheduled our flight to FLL for the day of the cruise. I have never done that before, because you never know when a flight will be delayed.
 
We had to be on board the ship by 4:00. The plane was scheduled to land at 2:36. That gave me 20 minutes to pick up luggage, 20 minutes to get to the ship, 10 minutes to check in at the port  and 30 minutes of buffer in case anything happened. 
 
The weather was good, so the plane left on time. We landed at 2:30. We checked in with the HAL transfer people and then we grabbed our bags at 2:50. So far so good.We were walking to the bus, and it left without us at 3:00. Panic begins. Another bus shows up at 3:25. We arrive at the port at 3:35. Then we're in line for security. Then another line to check passports. At 3:45 we're checking in at desk. At 3:50 we're on the ship with 10 minutes to spare. At 4:00 we're at the muster drill. 
 
Next time I'll fly in a day early. 
 
I did have insurance and used Flightease.

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We only did it once. Before we even left Toronto they had to change planes, so well over an hour behind before take off, in Chicago that plane had problems, we now had to find the new gate for departure. Another long delay getting the luggage changed to the new plane, we're really late now. When we got to Seattle we're now a couple of hours late, it's a good thing almost the entire aircraft was made up of passengers joining ships. They held both ships for all the late arrivals. Now it's at least one if not two days early.

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Glad you made the cruise.  That is too close for comfort.

 

In all the many cruises we have done, we have only flown in once on the day of departure.  But our ship was scheduled to leave Sam Juan at 11 PM.  Had no problems as we arrived at the ship by 1 PM.

 

We always fly in 2 or 3 days before the cruise.

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Glad it worked for you, but ooohhh too much stress for me....................

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I did it once on a flight from Toronto for a cruise out of NYC and had no problems but it was summer time.  In the winter I would NEVER risk it.  You just don't know when a snow storm will cause delays.

 

Honestly, even with perfect weather and things going smoothly, it's still stressful flying out day of.  I would hate starting my vacation that way.  So much better to get in a day or 2 before, have an amazing dinner at a nice hotel ...

 

See that's another thing I won't do is go cheap on the pre night hotel.  You are about to embark on a 4 star cruise -- pay the extra to get a Marriot or Courtyard  instead of a Motel 8.

 

We actually have started staying a night after the cruise too.  Overall when you aren't rushing to airports it just makes the going and coming back part of the trip so much more relaxing.

 

 

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We are flying day of cruise for first time in December.  It’s the only way it would work. So we are. . .  We booked through HAL, flights and transportation and we have a very early flight arriving at 10:35 am.   We have insurance.  Fingers crossed it all works!  

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15 minutes ago, Gigi1977 said:

We are flying day of cruise for first time in December.  It’s the only way it would work. So we are. . .  We booked through HAL, flights and transportation and we have a very early flight arriving at 10:35 am.   We have insurance.  Fingers crossed it all works!  

 

Sometimes there just is no choice and it's the chance you take -- and most of the time it works out.  Said a quick prayer it works for you!  =)

 

At least you don't have to worry about snow storms lol.  Us folks from Canada and the Northern States that's the big elephant in the room.  In December you truly are rolling the dice if it snows where you live.

 

I think if I lived in the South I wouldn't worry about it so much.  I mean delays can happen but once you don't have snow to worry about your risk is way less.  Still, mechanical delays can and do happen but that's more of a super unlucky occurrence rather than being a could very likely happen thing like bad weather in the North.

 

Hey I'm flying out on a 4 PM flight the night before my cruise and I'm STILL worried about it -- I've got a large enough window that as long as we get out in the morning we will be fine, but it's not totally unheard of to have a bad snowstorm close down an airport for 24 hours.  The de-icing at Pearson International in Toronto is some of the best in the world so I'm not TOO worried --- but accuweather long range is calling for 6 cm (2.3 inches) of snow the day I'm supposed to go out! :classic_sad:    It probably won't be a problem -- I'd be a lot more worried if it was showing 10 cm (4 inches) or more.

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I suspect that if HAL thought that the OP's flight was too late to board that they would not have listed it on FlightEase.  It is my understanding that if you use FlightEase that they guarantee you will get to the ship.

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We always plan to arrive the day before; there are too many factors that could cause a delay (including an accident on the way to the airport).

 

The only time that we left home on departure day was for a cruise on the Maasdam, sailing out of Montreal. Even then, I worried that the train would break down, or maybe hit an animal on the tracks (it does happen), but we figured that in the event of a delay, we could always make it to the first port of call, which was Quebec City. 

 

Our table mates on a Med cruise out of Barcelona a few years ago almost missed the boat due to a delayed flight caused by a passenger who had fallen ill after taking too much anti-anxiety medication and who refused to deplane. So even in good weather, there could always be something else to throw a spanner into the works.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, USN59-79 said:

I suspect that if HAL thought that the OP's flight was too late to board that they would not have listed it on FlightEase.  It is my understanding that if you use FlightEase that they guarantee you will get to the ship.

Those flights on FlightEase assume the planes will arrive at their scheduled times.  The guarantee isn't that you'll make it to the ship prior to departure.  The guarantee is to get you to the ship "at the next available port of call" whatever that means. 

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28 minutes ago, bamelin said:

I think if I lived in the South I wouldn't worry about it so much.  I mean delays can happen but once you don't have snow to worry about your risk is way less.  Still, mechanical delays can and do happen but that's more of a super unlucky occurrence rather than being a could very likely happen thing like bad weather in the North.

 

Actually, snow can be a problem even in the deep south.  The plane you're to catch in Atlanta maybe snowed in on the ground in Newark.  

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1 hour ago, RocketMan275 said:

Actually, snow can be a problem even in the deep south.  The plane you're to catch in Atlanta maybe snowed in on the ground in Newark.  

 

I agree, and anyone who has lived in Atlanta knows about ice storms.

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I used to travel (air) all the time for business and I cannot tell you how many times we were late, sometimes minutes, but very often hours or even not in at all.  Not doing that now that I am retired - flying in the day before for SURE!

 

I do understand that not everyone can do this however.

 

 

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I live 2.5 hrs. from Ft. Lauderdale and we still come in the day before.  Don't want the stress of worrying about a traffic accident or road closure.  As others have said, not the way to begin a cruise.

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5 hours ago, taba said:
Never run with scissors, never take a 3 hour tour, and never fly in the day of the cruise. 
 
I had to work on the day before the cruise, so I scheduled our flight to FLL for the day of the cruise. I have never done that before, because you never know when a flight will be delayed.
 
We had to be on board the ship by 4:00. The plane was scheduled to land at 2:36. That gave me 20 minutes to pick up luggage, 20 minutes to get to the ship, 10 minutes to check in at the port  and 30 minutes of buffer in case anything happened. 
 
The weather was good, so the plane left on time. We landed at 2:30. We checked in with the HAL transfer people and then we grabbed our bags at 2:50. So far so good.We were walking to the bus, and it left without us at 3:00. Panic begins. Another bus shows up at 3:25. We arrive at the port at 3:35. Then we're in line for security. Then another line to check passports. At 3:45 we're checking in at desk. At 3:50 we're on the ship with 10 minutes to spare. At 4:00 we're at the muster drill. 
 
Next time I'll fly in a day early. 
 
I did have insurance and used Flightease.

 

 

 

You were lucky.  This really "threading with the pearls of Pauline."  In the winter sometimes I fly in two days early--just to be safe.

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I’ve done it twice.  First flight of the day on December 7th, BUF to FLL.  There was a light snow falling when we left our hotel but it quickly got worse.  All flights following ours didn’t make it out.  Midway through the cruise we met up with people finally boarding (pulling their own luggage) who had been stranded in Chicago.  They had Flight Ease.  I’m guessing everyone who didn’t have Flight Ease spent their cruise in Fort Lauderdale.

 

The other time was from a regional airport in England to Venice.  Boarded the ship around 2:30 pm.  There was no stress with that one because the ship was overnighting in Venice.  We got to see fireworks for some national celebration so that was pretty awesome.

 

The last time my parents caught a cruise (NYC to Southampton) their flight was to arrive at EWR, mid-afternoon, the day before.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t cooperating in NY so their flight kept getting pushed back.  About 9 hours later it finally departed, but all further flights were cancelled and everyone was put up in hotels overnight and they would have to wait standby until they could be accommodated.  Could you imagine that mess?  Sometimes even the day before isn’t enough time.

Edited by *Miss G*

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One time I was in Red Deer (little municipal airport in Alberta) … would always take a 10 seater plane to Calgary or Edmonton to fly back to Toronto.  One time mechanical delay and was going to miss my connection -- last flight of the night.  I actually had to hitch a ride with somebody else (who was going to be on the same flight) to Calgary lol.  Being offered a lift is something that would NEVER happen in Toronto (or any other major big North American city is my guess) so thank goodness for small town Central Alberta!

 

First time I'd experienced the dreaded delay in all my years of flying -- thankfully I wasn't heading out on a cruise but I remember thinking to myself how stressed to the max I would have been if it was a same day cruise.  As it was I was STILL stressed thinking I'd have to bunk in an airport.

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Good reminder. I toyed with the idea this cruise just because of work stuff but decided not to risk it.

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27 minutes ago, bamelin said:

One time I was in Red Deer (little municipal airport in Alberta) … would always take a 10 seater plane to Calgary or Edmonton to fly back to Toronto.  One time mechanical delay and was going to miss my connection -- last flight of the night.  I actually had to hitch a ride with somebody else (who was going to be on the same flight) to Calgary lol.  Being offered a lift is something that would NEVER happen in Toronto (or any other major big North American city is my guess) so thank goodness for small town Central Alberta!

 

First time I'd experienced the dreaded delay in all my years of flying -- thankfully I wasn't heading out on a cruise but I remember thinking to myself how stressed to the max I would have been if it was a same day cruise.  As it was I was STILL stressed thinking I'd have to bunk in an airport.

We were taking a two hour flight from Chicago to Boston to board the Maasdam for the New England/Canada cruise. Our flight had mechanical problems. All the next flights were solidly book and it looked like we were going to spent the night in Chicago. We did eventually get a flight that arrived in Boston around 11:30 PM. Fortunately, we planned two nights in Boston otherwise we definitely would have missed the ship. And this was not winter, this was the end of August.

 

Because I read the HAL board, years ago I saw a posting about someone from the DC area taking a flight to Buenos Aires and that the DC airport had been closed for five days due to a storm. The following year, we had a late January flight through DC and I decided to fly six days before our cruise. If I missed Buenos Aires due to a storm, the next port calls were the Falklands and Antarctica. I would not have met up with the Prinsendam until Ushuaia totally missing Antarctica, the reason for the cruise. As we were leaving DC for BA, the airport was again closed!!!

 

Our very first cruise in Europe was on the Rotterdam out of Venice in 2005. There were quite a few passengers who flew in the day of the cruise through Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. There was a baggage handlers strike and none of their luggage made the ship. The Rotterdam was picking up missing luggage throughout our cruise.

 

So now we always flight three or at least two nights before any cruise. It is definitely not worth the stress!!!

Edited by Storylady

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5 hours ago, RocketMan275 said:

Actually, snow can be a problem even in the deep south.  The plane you're to catch in Atlanta maybe snowed in on the ground in Newark.  

 

Not only that, but I've read several articles stating that flight delays due to weather are actually more common in summer than winter. Why? Thunderstorms. 

 

Those of us in Atlanta know that only too well...

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Just now, cruisemom42 said:

 

Not only that, but I've read several articles stating that flight delays due to weather are actually more common in summer than winter. Why? Thunderstorms. 

 

Those of us in Atlanta know that only too well...

Imagine what DFW is like in the summer.

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53 minutes ago, Storylady said:

Our very first cruise in Europe was on the Rotterdam out of Venice in 2005. There were quite a few passengers who flew in the day of the cruise through Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. There was a baggage handlers strike and none of their luggage made the ship. The Rotterdam was picking up missing luggage throughout our cruise.

 

The French are notorious for their strikes.  I go out of my way to avoid any connections there.

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I think my son and I were actually the last people to board in Vancouver for a Princess Alaska cruise a number of years ago. We flew in same day due to school conflicts:  ATL - YYZ - YVR.  Second flight was delayed but we made it. I'm pretty sure the cruise line will let you onboard if you are in line in the terminal by "deadline" time....  But don't really want to put it to the test again.

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