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Driving from MCO to PC - when to leave?


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When we do eventually cruise, we will be flying into MCO the night before. Because of points and the time of arrival, we will be staying near MCO and renting a car. I wake up early no matter what time I go to bed. DW and DD like their sleep, but could sleep in a car for about an hour. I have 2 trains of thought here:

 

  1. Let the ladies sleep in a bit. I can head over to a WalMart near MCO if we need anything or go out and pick up breakfast. Then hit the road around 8AM - 9AM.
  2. Get the ladies up early, get on the road at 6AM, hit WalMart before crossing the bridges, then hit Ron Jon's for a bit before returning the car and making our way to port.

 

I know we know absolutely nothing about covid rules. Based on pre-covid embarkation, what would you recommend?

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Don't know what cruise like you are on, but are you going to be able to board before noon? Its a bit over an hour drive...call it two hours with returning the car. I can't see a reason to leave before 9am.

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Currently we are have 2 Carnival cruises booked. I fully expect the July to be canceled. The reasons to stay near MCO are that we arrive late on Friday evening for both cruises, I get free suites with points at hotels near MCO. After working all day, loading up to go to the airport, flying (possible delays), getting luggage, getting rental car, I don't want to make an hour drive and have to pay $150-$200 for a studio hotel room at around midnight. We can just hit a nice restaurant near the hotel, grab a drink and a bite, crash for the night, and head out the next morning fairly rested. I still want to get out to PC "early". This way we can manage any traffic delays, go check out Ron Jon's, maybe see the beach a little, get the car returned, and get dropped off at the terminal. 

 

From your response, no reason to leave by 6AM. Let the ladies sleep. If I need to make a WallyWorld run, I can do it when I wake up and bring them breakfast.

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Go with plan #1, and you might need to delay a bit more because I suspect the pre-virus boarding pattern to be altered significantly as more testing, checking and distancing will be required.

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2 hours ago, Cruisesfun65 said:

Your plan 1 is the EXACT plan I have for our October cruise!

Which car rental are you using? I picked Avis since apparently they're the closest to port?

Unless things have changed Avis is not the closest to the port, but we  have always been happy with their service and the shuttles to/from the port.

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Thanks for the info. I know covid protocols will throw monkey wrenches in the new embarkation processes. I will let the ladies sleep in, make a run to WallyWorld myself, then hit 528 some time mid morning.

 

As for rental car companies, I don't really care except price. I doubt I would even use the rental car shuttle in PC. We may just Uber from the rental dropoff because of any potential covid protocols.

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Thanks for the info. I know covid protocols will throw monkey wrenches in the new embarkation processes.

 

and HOW!!!

 

Some articles in the local Cape Canaveral press have already speculated that the boarding process will change SIGNIFICANTY especially the need to adhere to scheduled arrival times at the terminal so as to prevent crowding there.  If this proves true (and sounds VERY logical) your assigned arrival time might factor significantly in to your departure time . . . but you can ALWAYS chill at GRILLS Tiki Bar and UBER the last mile when your time comes up 🤣

 

AND if you never seen this warning b4: The drive from the MCO area to the port is a straight shot and about 45 minutes and no biggie UNLESS .... accidents routinely shut down SR-528 and then you can have issues <or fog or smoke from grass fires ... I've been stopped by ALL.>  If you know there's a problem (use a traffic app) the alternates can easily double your drive time or more.  If already on 528 there are stretches where an accident can leave you stranded on the road .... no exits available .. no where to go 'cept sit and wait . . . <routine = couple of times a month on average> WE had folks miss son's wedding in Canaveral area cuz they were accident stuck on 528 . . . 

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33 minutes ago, Capt_BJ said:

Thanks for the info. I know covid protocols will throw monkey wrenches in the new embarkation e. . . but you can ALWAYS chill at GRILLS Tiki Bar and UBER the last mile when your time comes up 🤣

 

 

Yummmmmy - I am dreaming of Grills! 🤠

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12 hours ago, Capt_BJ said:

AND if you never seen this warning b4: The drive from the MCO area to the port is a straight shot and about 45 minutes and no biggie UNLESS .... 

I laughed at this and know the issue. This was the same as Alligator Alley growing up farther south. That is part of the dilemma I have going through my head as well. Get through 528 early before there is a chance of accidents, do some shopping and sightseeing in PC, then mosey our way to the terminal. Or, sleep in a little, risk the traffic issues, and get there around 9AM. 

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On 2/3/2021 at 5:40 AM, JohninDC said:

Go with plan #1, and you might need to delay a bit more because I suspect the pre-virus boarding pattern to be altered significantly as more testing, checking and distancing will be required.

Plan one, you will still have time for a quick snack before boarding. The length of delay before boarding depends on what check in time you have.

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We live in Cape Canaveral and work in Orlando but have been working from home since March of last year.  Up until then, we drove that route twice a day and it very rarely took more than 45 minutes.  In almost three years, we only got caught in accident traffic a handful of times.  BUT it's no fun when it happens.

 

I agree with the Grills plan - we're at that tiki bar more often than I'm willing to admit.  😂 If you're able to pull up to your ship and drop off your luggage to be checked in before you drop off your rental car, even better.

 

At this very moment there are two Disney ships off shore within view of where I'm sitting in our living room - one is anchored and the other is leaving for their private island.  There's another Disney ship docked in Port Canaveral.  We had two Royal Caribbean ships here last week but haven't seen any Carnival ships here in months.  We're ready to cruise again and I miss sitting at Grills and watching the ships sail out with passengers on board.  I even miss seeing cruisers at Grills pulling their luggage around.  😆

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Thank you @cruisemom2. All I am doing is speculating now. We are 6 and 10 months from cruising now out of PC. I know there are high chances they get canceled. With nothing better to do, I am looking into the other things I can control. 

 

I wasn't aware I could drop the luggage off with the rental car. If that is the case, it makes life easier. I can drop the luggage off early (not sure time), drop the ladies off at Grills, take the rental back, and Uber back to grills.

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On 2/4/2021 at 6:57 PM, cruisemom2 said:

We live in Cape Canaveral and work in Orlando but have been working from home since March of last year.  Up until then, we drove that route twice a day and it very rarely took more than 45 minutes.  In almost three years, we only got caught in accident traffic a handful of times.  BUT it's no fun when it happens.

 

I agree with the Grills plan - we're at that tiki bar more often than I'm willing to admit.  😂 If you're able to pull up to your ship and drop off your luggage to be checked in before you drop off your rental car, even better.

 

At this very moment there are two Disney ships off shore within view of where I'm sitting in our living room - one is anchored and the other is leaving for their private island.  There's another Disney ship docked in Port Canaveral.  We had two Royal Caribbean ships here last week but haven't seen any Carnival ships here in months.  We're ready to cruise again and I miss sitting at Grills and watching the ships sail out with passengers on board.  I even miss seeing cruisers at Grills pulling their luggage around.  😆

Cruisenmom2 while not technically a cruise sighting there are a mass of cruise ships off of the coast by the Bahamas. Counted 13 Carnival ships one Disney and a few others. 

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On 2/6/2021 at 12:34 PM, skrufy said:

Cruisenmom2 while not technically a cruise sighting there are a mass of cruise ships off of the coast by the Bahamas. Counted 13 Carnival ships one Disney and a few others. 

There sure are!  There are always a lot there as well as some off the coast of South Florida.  There are actually several docked in Miami now.  I'm always checking the ship tracker app to find out names of ships we see from our balcony and can't help but check on the cruise ships a few hours south of here. 

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On 2/3/2021 at 6:24 AM, BoozinCroozin said:

Currently we are have 2 Carnival cruises booked. I fully expect the July to be canceled. The reasons to stay near MCO are that we arrive late on Friday evening for both cruises, I get free suites with points at hotels near MCO. After working all day, loading up to go to the airport, flying (possible delays), getting luggage, getting rental car, I don't want to make an hour drive and have to pay $150-$200 for a studio hotel room at around midnight. We can just hit a nice restaurant near the hotel, grab a drink and a bite, crash for the night, and head out the next morning fairly rested. I still want to get out to PC "early". This way we can manage any traffic delays, go check out Ron Jon's, maybe see the beach a little, get the car returned, and get dropped off at the terminal. 

 

From your response, no reason to leave by 6AM. Let the ladies sleep. If I need to make a WallyWorld run, I can do it when I wake up and bring them breakfast.

Getting in and out of  the  Walmarts in Orlando is a giant PIA.   I  would just go to Publix or anywhere else for that matter than Walmart.

 

I've never understood why people congregate towards Walmart so  much.  I'll do anything to avoid it.

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