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How far would you drive for "day of" cruise?


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I know people should not fly in on the day of their cruise. We are also not sure of flight availability and prices that far out. If our Port Everglades cruise is canceled, which I suspect it will, we will most likely have a Saturday cruise out of Port Canaveral as a replacement. We may have to drive down for it. In order to do that, we would make it down about 6 hours on Friday leaving 3 hours on Saturday morning. Most likely we will be in the Jacksonville area and on the road no later than 5AM but probably closer to 3AM. We would be in PC area very early which we can grab a bite or hit Ron Jon's. 

 

Just trying to gauge what people have done or managed?

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With trip insurance, perhaps.  We live in Rochester NY and often drive to NYC for cruises.  My brother has driven same day by leaving at 3 or 4am, but we've always left the day before and overnighted within 2 hours of the port.  I find a $100 hotel, and have breakfast the next morning and head to the port after rush hour, in time to be an early boarder.

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South side of JAX or even press on to St. Augustine and you should be okay.  The challenge with your route to PC is there are not many (any?) good options if there is a major wreck on 95.

 

We once left Orlando (early), dropped off a rental at MIA, made it onto a cruise ship out of POM, and were enjoying lunch and a drink of the day before noon. 😎

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Leaving from Dayton, Ohio for Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, or the Port of Miami, I am comfortable with what I have done for some time.  Dayton to Chattanooga , Chattanooga to either Gainesville or Orange Park, Florida, then on to my destination.  By doing so in such segments, I arrive at that destination with enough desire to have some time/energy to enjoy the benefits of that area.  

 

I am not comfortable if I don't arrive in the Port from which I sail with at least two nights hotel stay as a buffer.  

 

I had a scary experience as I was driving I-95 to Fort Lauderdale in West Palm Beach on the Friday afternoon prior to Christmas.  My low tire pressure indicator began to malfunction indicating that I had an issue.  A major one, so the indicator indicated.  With the help of Onstar, I was able to find a GM dealer who was able to "fit me in" for a check-up that mid-afternoon.  (I had visions of spending Christmas in West Palm Beach and not at sea.)  The tech found/corrected the issue and I made it to my hotel in Fort Lauderdale.  A good deal later than I expected, but I was THERE!

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16 hours ago, Mary229 said:

I am nervous about not being in town the day of departure.  Wouldn't you know with sufficient time to make alternative plans?   What time is your departure?

Unfortunately, my work schedule is set hours 8:30 - 5:15. I might be able to squeeze out at 4PM. It is a 9-hour drive. I could get 6 hours in which is about JAX. That leaves about 3 hours in the morning. I only sleep 3-4 hours, so we could be on the road again by 3AM which would put us in at 6AM. 

 

Even if I was able to get out at 3PM, we would not make it the whole way on a Friday. The assumption here is that I can't find Friday night flights which is still the plan. However, I like to have contingencies in place.

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1 hour ago, bigrednole said:

Unfortunately, my work schedule is set hours 8:30 - 5:15. I might be able to squeeze out at 4PM. It is a 9-hour drive. I could get 6 hours in which is about JAX. That leaves about 3 hours in the morning. I only sleep 3-4 hours, so we could be on the road again by 3AM which would put us in at 6AM. 

 

Even if I was able to get out at 3PM, we would not make it the whole way on a Friday. The assumption here is that I can't find Friday night flights which is still the plan. However, I like to have contingencies in place.

WAY to much BS, I highly recommend trip insurance, your going to need it. Good luck and looking forward to hearing how things worked out for ya😉.

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Come to think of it, I actually thought I was pretty good with math, not compared to you. Please for the sake of your costly endeavor come up with Plan C, D and E. Plan A and Plan B🤪. Just trying to help believe it or not. 

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8 hours ago, bigrednole said:

Unfortunately, my work schedule is set hours 8:30 - 5:15. I might be able to squeeze out at 4PM. It is a 9-hour drive. I could get 6 hours in which is about JAX. That leaves about 3 hours in the morning. I only sleep 3-4 hours, so we could be on the road again by 3AM which would put us in at 6AM. 

 

Even if I was able to get out at 3PM, we would not make it the whole way on a Friday. The assumption here is that I can't find Friday night flights which is still the plan. However, I like to have contingencies in place.

Like I said above, stay on the south side of JAX (Orange Park?) to avoid any possible traffic accident or road work issues, and you should be okay.  Getting up that early should avoid most of the potential traffic issues,  and will likely get you into the PC area in time for breakfast and poking around before you can board.

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1 hour ago, TTEllis said:

Like I said above, trip insurance lots of it.😉

Jacksonville👎WTH. Driving through good ol JAX I'd throw in a life insurance policy too. Good luck on that, your gonna need it.

I take it you are not from FL. I lived there for half my life. There are ways to manage it. 595 allows you to bypass and add about 15 minutes to your trip. Every time I have been on I95 at the hours I drive, it is usually minimal. On this trip in July, Friday will be tough in a few places between 4-6PM, but nothing for me to be overly concerned with. 

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25 minutes ago, bigrednole said:

I take it you are not from FL. I lived there for half my life. There are ways to manage it. 595 allows you to bypass and add about 15 minutes to your trip. Every time I have been on I95 at the hours I drive, it is usually minimal. On this trip in July, Friday will be tough in a few places between 4-6PM, but nothing for me to be overly concerned with. 

I lived in Tampa from 1980-1985 University of South Florida grad. My sister lived in Boca Raton in Boca Isles for a decade. My parents owned in Jupiter sold and bought a PHAT condo in Lauderdale by the Sea. Where you happen to reside I have no interest in and either does anyone else. 

Just make sure when you get back or go at all let us all know how it works out for you. As far as SOUTH FLORIDA is concerned your in the wrong league bro. Have a nice DRIVE, like I said if and when you get to go on your trip, tell us the truth when and if you return, let us know how it worked out for ya big dawg. Jacksonville I don't do Jacksonville as much as Delta SUCKS ASS, I'd take Delta any day all day long and do over Jacksonville 🤮. I-95 you gotta be kidding me. Have fun😁. Todd

 

 

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3 hours ago, JohninDC said:

stay on the south side of JAX (Orange Park?

 

That's my recommendation as well.  I stay in Orange Park en route to South Florida.  Several good hotel options in the area.  (I prefer Fairfield Inn.)  A large shopping center with a plethora of restaurants are a short drive away using local streets.  A very good, reasonably priced, local chain of seafood restaurants--Sam's St. John's Seafood Restaurant--is nearby.  (Put, alas, I just checked their web site and they are closed!  A casualty of Covid-19, I suppose.)  

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We would only drive if going to Port Canaveral. Miami and Port Everglades we would have to fly. I grew up in South FL long before it is what it is now and know traffic only got worse. That is why I drive at night time mostly. We have done the Disney World trips by car more than 20x. It is very consistent on times, but a cruise is different. There is little room if something should happen. 

 

Thanks for the feedback everyone. We are stuck waiting for our March cruise to be a go or canceled. I checked Southwest flights for our July cruise out of PC. Prices for flights are reasonable at the moment. We may buckle down and buy flights now.

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There was construction on I-95 through Jacksonville for years - not to mention that the road itself is full of curves and you need to watch the lane markings closely - and during that period we switched the route of our 6 time yearly drive to I-295 (East Jacksonville Bypass).  Then they started widening I-295 and connecting it directly to I-95 south of Jacksonville (a good thing) so last March on our most recent trip we stayed on I-95 and it was fine - the construction was over (at least for the moment) and we knew which lane to stay in.  We return to South Florida in two weeks and we'll do that again if we hit Jacksonville in daylight.  If it is dark we'll probably take I-295.

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7 hours ago, capriccio said:

There was construction on I-95 through Jacksonville for years - not to mention that the road itself is full of curves and you need to watch the lane markings closely

 

Oh!  Your post brought about a negative memory!  The lanes seemed to keep changing for through traffic and I found myself in an exit lane from which I could not extricate myself.  Where the h&@l am I?  Thank goodness for OnStar!

 

During one visit to the Jacksonville area, I wanted to visit the Amtrak station.  That proved to be an "interesting" excursion on local streets.  But, I met my objective and found my way to Orange Park for the evening.  

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On 12/22/2020 at 10:47 AM, bigrednole said:

I know people should not fly in on the day of their cruise. We are also not sure of flight availability and prices that far out. If our Port Everglades cruise is canceled, which I suspect it will, we will most likely have a Saturday cruise out of Port Canaveral as a replacement. We may have to drive down for it. In order to do that, we would make it down about 6 hours on Friday leaving 3 hours on Saturday morning. Most likely we will be in the Jacksonville area and on the road no later than 5AM but probably closer to 3AM. We would be in PC area very early which we can grab a bite or hit Ron Jon's. 

 

Just trying to gauge what people have done or managed?

Even though we drive down at least two days early we travel I-95 when we do.

 

Cape Canaveral is only 2hrs from Jacksonville.  Yes there used to be a lot of construction in downtown Jax, but that is pretty much over.  The lanes and signage are well marked so we have had no problems breezing right through.  If you could get away from work at 4pm you should be able to make it all the way to the port by midnight.

 

Everyone’s experience is not the same, but we have sailed from Canaveral 25+ times and have driven down from Georgia every time (1-2 days early)

Edited by GTO-Girl
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Probably 1.5 hrs is my max, even then I'd probably drive down he night before and stay closer to the port.  Anything to extend the vacation!  Plus, you just never know when there's going to be an incident that completely shuts down interstates or other major roads.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have always driven down the day before. I don't like the stress of getting everyone ready early in the morning. My friend cruised with me once and he met us in Orlando having left the morning of the cruise from Atlanta. I was very stressed by them. They even had to turn around at one point because they stopped for breakfast and his wife forgot her purse so they had to drive about 30 miles back to get it. Even with that we made it on board by about 1pm. 

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On 1/11/2021 at 2:47 PM, Jamesatgsu said:

I have always driven down the day before. I don't like the stress of getting everyone ready early in the morning. My friend cruised with me once and he met us in Orlando having left the morning of the cruise from Atlanta. I was very stressed by them. They even had to turn around at one point because they stopped for breakfast and his wife forgot her purse so they had to drive about 30 miles back to get it. Even with that we made it on board by about 1pm. 

You are a much nicer person than I am.  I would have left without them.

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My SIL lives in Jacksonville, near Jax Beach.  It's just a little over 2 hours from there to where we live, 2 miles from Port Canaveral.  We would probably drive all the way the night before unless we were too tired but I'd feel comfortable staying south of Jax to sleep for a few hours if needed.

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