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Missed the Millennium today - Reminder to NEVER fly on the day of the cruise!


Tapi
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Not me, but I witnessed as a 78 year old lady, traveling by herself this morning to St. Maarten to board the Millennium, missed her connection, with zero chance to make it there before the ship sails tonight. 😢
 

It absolutely broke my heart, just thinking about all the preparations, and anticipation after so many months without cruising, go down the drain.

 

So I just wanted to throw this out there, and remind everybody to never fly on the same day of the cruise, no matter how many times you’ve done it without issues, or how many backup flights there are, etc, etc. 

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You are soooo correct-I’m on Infinity from Lisbon to Rio in December and I’m flying into Lisbon the day before sailing. It’s costing a bit more because of the day of travel, but the extra day before sailing is well with the cost. 

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This is our policy if we have to connect or it's longer than a 3-hour flight to the destination. If we can fly directly to the port city, we are comfortable with day-of travel as long as we are on the earliest flight out. From NYC, that means we are fine flying day-of for all East Coast and Florida departures, but we would definitely go a day ahead for Caribbean or West Coast departures, probably New Orleans/Galveston as well. Our policy may change once we start traveling again, though, since there are fewer flights available these days.

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That is just so sad.

 

Had to fly to FLL day of cruise once, it was unavoidable, but I can tell you, I held my breath until we landed in FLL.  It was nice, however, going straight to our cabin once we arrived at the ship.  We always fly direct, no matter our destination.

 

We usually drive to Cape Liberty, NJ (from northern Virginia) day before as well.  You never know what the traffic will be like.

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How sad!

 

I've never missed a ship, but flying into San Juan, Puerto Rico, the day of the cruise, one Christmas season, it was close.  There were Christmas tree lots everywhere near the port, and people were double and triple parked to load trees onto their cars.  Complete grid-lock.  I was going crazy.  But we made it.

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Flying in the day before is my #1 response when asked for tips for new cruisers. Sure, it's a couple hundred dollars tacked on to the cost of an already expensive vacation, but the piece of mind is worth every nickle.

 

Also, it's nice to get a chance to "gear down" the day before embarkation and slide into vacation mode before you even set foot on-board!

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The absolute latest I've ever flown in for a cruise is 18 hours before it sailed.  Arrived 10:00 PM the night before a 4:00 PM sailing the next day.  And even then I was sort of sweating a bit as the flight I was on arrived 2 hours later than scheduled!

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I think more people are doing this for the Millennium/Summit cruises because of the testing requirements. We are flying down on Thursday in August. A good chance we’ll have to test twice, another added expense, but the longest connection I could get on way down was 1 hour and 5 minutes. 

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With the problems Southwest he this week, some days canceling 80%of flights, I can’t see risking flying the day of the cruise.   There are just too many things that can go wrong on a flight.    What about the flights diverted because of belligerent passengers, then you are really stuck.   With all the computer hackers that’s another worry.   

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A number of years ago, we were staying one night in Fort Lauderdale post-cruise. When we checked in late in the afternoon, there was a young couple in the lobby, the woman crying. It turned out that their same-day flight to FLL had been delayed and they had missed their cruise. I asked if they had considered flying on to the first port of call to join the cruise, but they were college students and didn't have the funds for an additional flight. It was a sad reminder of the need to never fly in on the day of embarkation.

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With this itinerary in particular, flying in the day of sailing is asking for trouble.  There are very limited flights to SXM (as in one a single Saturday flight from most hubs and focus cities, except for 2 from CLT, FLL, EWR, and JFK and 3 from MIA).  Miss your connection from any other city and you're not making it to SXM the same day.

 

Celebrity isn't allowing downline boarding in another port due to the enhanced COVID boarding protocols in Sint Maarten, so your only hope is that you bought insurance that covers missing the cruise because you missed your connection.

 

I'm flying in the Friday before boarding with a connection in MIA. Chose MIA on purpose because even though there's just one flight on Friday, there are 3 on Saturday that AA can rebook me on if I misconnect.

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Very good advice.  In 2018, we had a flight from JFK to FLL the day before the cruise.  Jet Blue cancelled it due to weather on our way to the airport.  The best they could offer was a night flight to Boston, and a morning flight to FLL (cruise was actually out of Miami).  I went to UA and booked a 7:30 flight from Newark for that night.

 

We went to Newark through a ton of traffic, boarded the plane an hour and a half late (they held the boarding).  On the taxiway, the pilots came on the PA and said that a couple of planes were going to try to get out and then we'd see.   Best thing I've ever heard came on the PA 25 minutes later "Flight attendants take your seats for departure".  

 

In the meantime, I was using a free night at a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.  On the way to the airport I cancelled our rental car, called Marriott and changed to a Marriott in Miami.  We got in about midnight, got to the hotel.  No food options except some packs of cereal in the lounge.  Best dinner ever.

 

The next year (turns out my last cruise), we went in 2 days early.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

My minimum before a cruise is 2-3 days, as I want to be well rested and ready to enjoy!  Actually, I have never even given the same day a thought!  I feel so sorry for this poor woman; cannot believe that no one mentioned it to her, or maybe someone did...still very, very sad!

Edited by Lastdance
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For our first "real" cruise, we flew from Phoenix to San Diego for our HAL cruise, but did take the first flight in the morning.  However, we HAVE had delays to San Diego vacations already due to being fogged in (depending on the time of year).  We made this just fine, but no longer fly in the day of embarkation for all the reason previously mentioned.  

 

Since our last cruise was a Mediterranean/Dalmatian Coast cruise, we flew 2 days ahead to be safe, and to also catch up a bit on jet lag.  We plan to do the same for our 2022 Oceania cruise from Rome. 

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40 minutes ago, abbydancer said:

Very good advice.  In 2018, we had a flight from JFK to FLL the day before the cruise.  Jet Blue cancelled it due to weather on our way to the airport.  The best they could offer was a night flight to Boston, and a morning flight to FLL (cruise was actually out of Miami).  I went to UA and booked a 7:30 flight from Newark for that night.

 

We went to Newark through a ton of traffic, boarded the plane an hour and a half late (they held the boarding).  On the taxiway, the pilots came on the PA and said that a couple of planes were going to try to get out and then we'd see.   Best thing I've ever heard came on the PA 25 minutes later "Flight attendants take your seats for departure".  

 

In the meantime, I was using a free night at a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.  On the way to the airport I cancelled our rental car, called Marriott and changed to a Marriott in Miami.  We got in about midnight, got to the hotel.  No food options except some packs of cereal in the lounge.  Best dinner ever.

 

The next year (turns out my last cruise), we went in 2 days early.

 

 

Rarely if ever fly to cruise from FL, almost always Europe and ALWAYS fly in two days ahead of cruise departures.

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3 hours ago, Alsmez said:

This is our policy if we have to connect or it's longer than a 3-hour flight to the destination. If we can fly directly to the port city, we are comfortable with day-of travel as long as we are on the earliest flight out. From NYC, that means we are fine flying day-of for all East Coast and Florida departures, but we would definitely go a day ahead for Caribbean or West Coast departures, probably New Orleans/Galveston as well. Our policy may change once we start traveling again, though, since there are fewer flights available these days.

Agree….will fly in day of if…..

-direct fight to port airport

-later flight(s) available that will also get me to the port on time

-fly in a season that is unlikely to delay my flight

-fly early enough to get me into the port on time even with a 3 hour delay

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1 hour ago, graphicguy said:

Agree….will fly in day of if…..

-direct fight to port airport

-later flight(s) available that will also get me to the port on time

-fly in a season that is unlikely to delay my flight

-fly early enough to get me into the port on time even with a 3 hour delay

And all of those ‘options’ fall apart with bad weather/computer glitches; your ‘direct flight’ airplane is hung up in the prior airport; most flights are fully booked so you can’t move to the next flight; ‘seasons’ all have other delays including bad wx; planning on surviving a 3hr delay means you miss the ship with a 4, 5 or 6 hr delay.

 

In other words, you are rolling the dice and you’ll lose sooner or later with that list. But we all do as we wish. But heard Waaaay too many ‘almost didn’t make it’s’ / ‘so sad her flight was delayed’ / etc. All of them could be avoided. 

 

I’m 6 hrs from Tampa and 10 hrs from FLL/Miami and I Always arrive at least one day prior. But thats me. That way I don’t sit around the day prior intently watching the wx, the flights or traffic issues. I start my vacation 1, 2 even a week prior to a cruise. And yes, I have the options to do so.

 

Den

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I usually use the “we need to fly in early” reason as an excuse to the hubby to tack on extra touring days when we cruise in Europe so we can see more stuff. 😄 Next year’s B2B will be 19 nights though so it’s just going to be the one night in Amsterdam prior to cruise this time around.

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1 minute ago, Denny01 said:

And all of those ‘options’ fall apart with bad weather/computer glitches

 

Not necessarily. Bad weather can just as easily delay or cancel your day-before flight and leave you scrambling for another day-of, when you would have been fine if you had just booked the day-of flight in the first place. We try to fly Southwest as much as possible so that we can change without penalty at the last minute should the weather forecast indicate a big snowstorm or something on our original flight date, but we'll pay a change fee too, if we must. 

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3 minutes ago, WonderMan3 said:

I usually use the “we need to fly in early” reason as an excuse to the hubby to tack on extra touring days when we cruise in Europe so we can see more stuff. 😄 Next year’s B2B will be 19 nights though so it’s just going to be the one night in Amsterdam prior to cruise this time around.

Ooooh, I know it’s 19N on the B2B, but Amsterdam is to Die For! We stayed 4Ns in a neat little Euro hotel near the park with the art museums and it was fantastic. One of the friendliest and open cities. we got tram tickets and just road all over and will go back as much as possible. I realize I’m saying what you wish you could do, but if at all possible……

 

den

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we always go 1, 2 or more days prior. Did a week in Cornwall prior to a TA and that was fantastic; did 4Ns in Amsterdam….and when going on a Caribbean, always arrive at least one day prior, even driving. Again, if you have bad wx or any other delay flying on departure day, you are probably dead since there will be 10,185 other people trying to get on another flight. If you have bad wx on the day prior, you have options. 

 

The point is having more than one option. But if that works for you, go for it. but make sure you tell people Not to feel sorry or sad for you when you miss a cruise because you knew what could and would sooner or later happen. 

 

Den

 

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On my previously mentioned near miss, I was on the plane in Newark, booking flights to meet the ship in Grand Cayman.  First stop was Key West and I wasn't sure missing the ship due to weather constituted a good enough reason to violate the PSVA.  When we got to Miami I cancelled the flights.

 

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