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Flying in on Day of Cruise


Nashto
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Let me add another SNAFU factor to the discussion:

You DIY a flight that arrives “same day” as embark. You arrive on time and get a ground transport to the pier (prearranged or not). When you arrive at your embark time (or even before it), there is no ship.👀😳
Yes folks- it happens. A Port Authority may change locations and you’re the last to know (if anyone bothers to notify you anyway.

 

It’s happened to us (though, of course, we fly in  days early and pre-arrange embark transfers with plenty of buffer time built in for traffic, wine shopping enroute and, yes, even the “missing ship” possibility). In fact, it happened to us yesterday in Stockholm Sweden which (as you might expect) has a huge port complex.

We arrived at the published pier complex about an hour before our assigned time and saw a handful of cruise ships but no Oceania Insignia anywhere in sight! Fortunately, our local/Swedish driver had also been our guy for prior tour/transfer services and spoke impeccable English. He quickly checked at the nearest gate/terminal and we headed to the correct location about a convoluted mile away (but not visible from the initial wrong location). All ended okay but not without some initial worry.

Can you imagine if your DIY air was a same day arrival and you had not pre-arranged a private transfer - thus having to rely on hailed taxis or ubers or (worst still) public transit to get you to your ship (add a non-English speaking driver just for added effect)? That was the situation for a very few of our fellow embarkers who (somewhat fortunately) arrived with only minutes to spare - just enough for them to avoid becoming “pier runners” on day 1.
 

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We are planning to do an AK cruise on a small ship out of Sitka.  If we get in late it would be very difficult to catch  up and there are very few flights into Sitka so we will get into Sitka 1 day early.  Now they are talking about the Alaska Airline pilots going on strike so I have already figured out a plan B,

 

Another point.  How many airline flights have been cancelled recently for any number of reasons.  

 

DON

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On 5/13/2022 at 11:57 AM, Wayfairers said:

Lots of questions…

Did they book the flight with the cruise ship company? 
Did they book a transfer from the airport to the ship with the cruise company?

if so, then they should be fine.  If their flight is delayed or cancelled and they booked these with the cruise company my understanding is the cruise company will get them on board….they might miss a port though. 
 

Are they retired?  If so, why put themselves through the stress of wondering if they are going to make it.  Fly in the day before, stay at a hotel that has airport and cruise port shuttles, relax, have a nice dinner and leisurely breakfast before catching the shuttle to the ship.  Their trip starts a day early. 

 

 

While some cruise lines would lead you to think that way, it is a real crock (to use a gentle word).  Cruise line air does not guarantee you will make your cruise and their folks are generally not even helpful when things go wrong (they will often suggest you deal directly with the airline....assuming you can even get somebody on the phone).  I speak from experience! 

 

I agree that flying in the day before is a good idea.  But these days 1 day before is often not good enough as the airlines will often not be able to get you to a destination for several days (that has happened to us twice in the last 5 months).  If you are flying to Florida on Friday for a Saturday cruise, and the airline simply cancels your flight (this has become routine) they may not be able to get you seats for several days!   Just this past March, DW and I missed a connection at DFW (because our initial AA flight was 3 hours late).  When we talked to AA customer service on that Saturday night they said the 'earliest" they could get us to our Pennsylvania destination was on Tusday night!  Why?  All flights were fully booked (even flights on other airlines).  The excuse was that it was spring break.   What happened to us is no longer unusual in the USA.

 

Hank

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

With all the flight delays going on I would not book same day unless you book it through the cruise lines air booking. If they book it they assume responsibility for getting you aboard.  

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, volk904 said:

With all the flight delays going on I would not book same day unless you book it through the cruise lines air booking. If they book it they assume responsibility for getting you aboard.  

This is absolutely WRONG!

Read your cruise line’s T&Cs and Ticket Contract.

In most cases, unless the flight is chartered by the cruise line, their Air Department acts only as a Travel Agent in that they book/cancel your air tix and handle necessary. changes (which may incur added charges for fare differences). However, if late airline departure/arrival issues find you too late to reach a ship on embarkation day, any issue you have is with the air carrier. Of course, the cruise line may help you with associated flight items like rebooking. But, they have NO “responsibility” for the airline problems. And, BTW, (again, unless it’s the cruise line’s charter) the ship MAY wait (“time & tide”, etc restrictions) if they know many folks are delayed by local airline arrival issues (but certainly not for a few folks). And they may connect you to their Port Agent for local assistance with making alternate arrangements (at your expense).

But, NO- a cruise line is not “responsible” for airline performance (no matter how much their advertising makes it seem that way). READ THE FINE PRINT.

Edited by Flatbush Flyer
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

This is absolutely WRONG!

Read your cruise line’s T&Cs and Ticket Contract.

 

 

I agree with you, having just checked the information on HAL's Flight Ease as I was under the impression that HAL was taking the responsibility to get you on board.

 

On their website is says:

It says: 

"LATE ARRIVAL PROTECTION

In the event that your flights are delayed or cancelled, our staff is ready to assist you, 24/7. And we’ll take care of any flight changes, if necessary, to join the voyage at the next available port of call." 

 

Which would suggest that HAL takes responsibility to get you on the boat at the next available port of call. However, when you check out the FAQ of Flight Ease it says:

 

"Airline Schedule Changes

Airline bookings are subject to flight schedule changes by the airlines. Schedule changes can occur at any time and may affect your flights. Holland America Line is not responsible for airline schedule changes. Holland America Line will assist guests affected by airline schedule changes so that flights booked will meet ship embarkation and disembarkation requirements. Any associated costs related to or caused by an airline schedule change is the responsibility of the guest. etc." 

 

(I made the relevant parts Bold)

 

So you get assistance but that's it. The wording on the page of Flight Ease might just be called misleading advertisement in The Netherlands (where I live).

 

 

 

Edited by firsttimer1971
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29 minutes ago, firsttimer1971 said:

 

I agree with you, having just checked the information on HAL's Flight Ease as I was under the impression that HAL was taking the responsibility to get you on board.

 

On their website is says:

It says: 

"LATE ARRIVAL PROTECTION

In the event that your flights are delayed or cancelled, our staff is ready to assist you, 24/7. And we’ll take care of any flight changes, if necessary, to join the voyage at the next available port of call." 

 

Which would suggest that HAL takes responsibility to get you on the boat at the next available port of call. However, when you check out the FAQ of Flight Ease it says:

 

"Airline Schedule Changes

Airline bookings are subject to flight schedule changes by the airlines. Schedule changes can occur at any time and may affect your flights. Holland America Line is not responsible for airline schedule changes. Holland America Line will assist guests affected by airline schedule changes so that flights booked will meet ship embarkation and disembarkation requirements. Any associated costs related to or caused by an airline schedule change is the responsibility of the guest. etc." 

 

(I made the relevant parts Bold)

 

So you get assistance but that's it. The wording on the page of Flight Ease might just be called misleading advertisement in The Netherlands (where I live).

 

 

 

Both prior to, during and currently, the use of the word “assistance” has increasingly made its way into all sorts of travel “fine print.” 
Your interpretation is “spot on.” 
“Assist” and “pay for” are vastly different things!

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3 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Both prior to, during and currently, the use of the word “assistance” has increasingly made its way into all sorts of travel “fine print.” 
Your interpretation is “spot on.” 
“Assist” and “pay for” are vastly different things!

 

Plus, if my understanding from what I am reading on the Boards is correct, trying to get in touch with the air department of any cruise line to request "assistance" is becoming problematical because of the volume of calls that they are receiving.  

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18 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Plus, if my understanding from what I am reading on the Boards is correct, trying to get in touch with the air department of any cruise line to request "assistance" is becoming problematical because of the volume of calls that they are receiving.  

 

Yes, I'd rather deal with my airline directly than through an intermediary. Especially if it concerns last minute changes/cancellations.

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On 6/16/2022 at 8:43 AM, firsttimer1971 said:

 

I agree with you, having just checked the information on HAL's Flight Ease as I was under the impression that HAL was taking the responsibility to get you on board.

 

On their website is says:

It says: 

"LATE ARRIVAL PROTECTION

In the event that your flights are delayed or cancelled, our staff is ready to assist you, 24/7. And we’ll take care of any flight changes, if necessary, to join the voyage at the next available port of call." 

 

Which would suggest that HAL takes responsibility to get you on the boat at the next available port of call. However, when you check out the FAQ of Flight Ease it says:

 

"Airline Schedule Changes

Airline bookings are subject to flight schedule changes by the airlines. Schedule changes can occur at any time and may affect your flights. Holland America Line is not responsible for airline schedule changes. Holland America Line will assist guests affected by airline schedule changes so that flights booked will meet ship embarkation and disembarkation requirements. Any associated costs related to or caused by an airline schedule change is the responsibility of the guest. etc." 

 

(I made the relevant parts Bold)

 

So you get assistance but that's it. The wording on the page of Flight Ease might just be called misleading advertisement in The Netherlands (where I live).

 

 

Flight delays and flight schedule changes are two different things.  If there is a delay that causes you to miss the cruise, they say they will get you to the next available port.  If there is a schedule change that will cause a missed cruise, they will help with a new flight to get you there on time, but any fare difference is your responsibility.  That seems fair to me.   I can see how the word "assist" might be a concern.  

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1 hour ago, ldubs said:

 

Flight delays and flight schedule changes are two different things.  If there is a delay that causes you to miss the cruise, they say they will get you to the next available port.  If there is a schedule change that will cause a missed cruise, they will help with a new flight to get you there on time, but any fare difference is your responsibility.  That seems fair to me.   I can see how the word "assist" might be a concern.  

Not sure about HAL specifically but, most cruise line Ticket Contracts I’ve seen may say “assist” (as in handling the rebooking work). But, I’ve never seen one they says anything akin to guaranteeing to get you to a missed ship at no cost to you.

Perhaps someone could peruse the HAL Ticket Contract and T&Cs and post the actual language about air carrier services they arrange.

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3 hours ago, ldubs said:

 

Flight delays and flight schedule changes are two different things.  If there is a delay that causes you to miss the cruise, they say they will get you to the next available port.  

 

Even if there is a delay they don't say they will pay all the costs of getting you to the next available port. 

 

[Quote from HAL's Flight Ease FAQ:] 

"Late Arrival Protection

Should guests who have booked their air travel through Holland America Line experience delays en route due to a flight delay or an airline service disruption, such as flight cancellation or flight re-routes, that will cause them to miss their original port of embarkation, Holland America Line will work with the airline to find reasonable alternate flights to the next appropriate port at no additional air cost to the guest.

 

Factors taken into account in determining the appropriateness of a port of call include, but are not limited to:

  • where in the original itinerary the port is located
  • airport / port infrastructure
  • visas and other legal documentation that may be required
  • application of the Passenger Services Act to the new itinerary
  • comparability of cost, flight connections, and travel time required (any unused value on the original air ticket will be used to offset the cost of the new air ticket)

 

Liability and Relation with Airlines

As the airfares we use are based on capacity controlled, promotional, and group fares, we may limit or close sales without prior notice at any time. If, due to any cause beyond our control, we are unable to arrange for air travel or the air travel we arrange is unavailable or otherwise fails to materialize, our sole liability will be limited to refunding the air price paid to us. We assume no liability for any acts or omissions of any airline, including, without limitation, those involving cancellation of flights, schedule changes, re-routings, damage to or delay or loss of baggage, flight delays, equipment failures, accidents, pilot or other staff shortages, overbooking or computer errors. The liabilities and obligations of an airline to you, and your rights against an airline, are subject to any and all terms and conditions of the airline's ticket and tariffs and all applicable governmental laws and regulations.

[End Quote] 

 

So HAL will "work with" the airline to get a "reasonable alternate flight" to the next appropriate port of call and if they cannot find that all they are obligated to do is refund you and that's it. No hard guarantees. 

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1 hour ago, firsttimer1971 said:

 

Even if there is a delay they don't say they will pay all the costs of getting you to the next available port. 

 

[Quote from HAL's Flight Ease FAQ:] 

"Late Arrival Protection

Should guests who have booked their air travel through Holland America Line experience delays en route due to a flight delay or an airline service disruption, such as flight cancellation or flight re-routes, that will cause them to miss their original port of embarkation, Holland America Line will work with the airline to find reasonable alternate flights to the next appropriate port at no additional air cost to the guest.

 

Factors taken into account in determining the appropriateness of a port of call include, but are not limited to:

  • where in the original itinerary the port is located
  • airport / port infrastructure
  • visas and other legal documentation that may be required
  • application of the Passenger Services Act to the new itinerary
  • comparability of cost, flight connections, and travel time required (any unused value on the original air ticket will be used to offset the cost of the new air ticket)

 

Liability and Relation with Airlines

As the airfares we use are based on capacity controlled, promotional, and group fares, we may limit or close sales without prior notice at any time. If, due to any cause beyond our control, we are unable to arrange for air travel or the air travel we arrange is unavailable or otherwise fails to materialize, our sole liability will be limited to refunding the air price paid to us. We assume no liability for any acts or omissions of any airline, including, without limitation, those involving cancellation of flights, schedule changes, re-routings, damage to or delay or loss of baggage, flight delays, equipment failures, accidents, pilot or other staff shortages, overbooking or computer errors. The liabilities and obligations of an airline to you, and your rights against an airline, are subject to any and all terms and conditions of the airline's ticket and tariffs and all applicable governmental laws and regulations.

[End Quote] 

 

So HAL will "work with" the airline to get a "reasonable alternate flight" to the next appropriate port of call and if they cannot find that all they are obligated to do is refund you and that's it. No hard guarantees. 

 

Yeah, that reads a little (a lot) different from what is said on their website.  

 

It would be interesting to hear from someone who has actually found themselves in a position to invoke this  "guarantee".  

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It does help if your flight arrived late, to call the pier.   Always have the phone number of your embarking port (found in the first couple of pages of your cruise documents that are emailed to you).  If shore-side staff know that you are en-route, they may be able to delay the gangway being pulled.  You must have all your documents ready to be shown (vaccine card, negative covid test result, passport) to facilitate a speedy check-in.  If anything is missing, or amiss, the ship will sail without you.

 

The other day at Pier 91 just before the ship was scheduled to sail, staff was told that there were approximately 40 passengers arriving on a very late flight.  These were not folks who had booked a transfer, so no bus was a SeaTac.  After 4 pm the ship pushed off the dock and at the same time about 20 taxis arrived.  Unfortunately, it was too late.  At least some of the passengers were rebooked on the cruise lines' sister ship that was sailing the next day, but that isn't an available option for the typical passenger.

 

FYI, it is the ship's decision as to when they sail, not the pier side staff.  

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7 hours ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

....FYI, it is the ship's decision as to when they sail, not the pier side staff.  

This needs some clarification: The Port Captain and Mother Nature trump everyone else in deciding deadlines for “getting out of Dodge.”

And, when it comes to cruising, there is truth to the saying “time and tide wait for no man.”

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I was just thinking about my first cruise that I purchased/went on as an adult so this is funny timing to see this post.

It involved flying from DC to Orlando for a cruise and a major regional FAA station went down and 95% of flights on the eastern seaboard were cancelled, and those that weren't were severely delayed. Luckily, because I scoured the first time cruiser board here and took people's advice, my flight was a day before the cruise. I was one of the extremely lucky ones and my flight was just extremely delayed (like more than 6 hours). There we were in the Southwest airport line with thousands of other stranded people staring at the flight board and watching the time our flight took off get later and later but still feeling lucky that it wasn't cancelled, and we were making emergency plans for if it changed to cancel to drive overnight to Orlando on zero sleep. Our flight ended up happening and we got to Orlando in the wee hours of the morning the day of the cruise and were VERY tired when we boarded but we made it! And that was precovid times where flights are so much more unpredictable! 

As a bare minimum a multiple flight buffer between your flight and the last possible flight that would get you there before the cruise left. So if you're at a really busy hub and flying to a busy hub like I do, afternoon/evening the night before the cruise should be fine and that's what I usually do. They could at least consider a crazy early morning flight that got in at 8am or something like that if there's lots of flights after that flight. 

But personally, I won't ever book a flight to a cruise that was the same day. And my buffer time that I choose is based on how long it would take me to get there on alternate transportation. That's why the  couple day buffer that other people are saying they do makes sense, if the cruise is across the country or in another country. 


I can sometimes be a last minute person in life in general, so I'm not judging your parents as that rarely has caused me problems. But they need to understand that the consequences are HUGE to missing a cruise departure. Even if you can manage get on the cruise at a later port you might be missing full days of your vacation, and you're almost definitely doing a last second flight to a small and probably very expensive airport. It's just not worth the risk. $1-200 for a night at a hotel is 1000% worth the peace of mind of not ruining a several thousand dollar vacation and the potential thousands of dollars it might cost to be able to fly to and enjoy a lesser portion of that several thousand dollar vacation.

Even if nothing happens and your flights go as planned, all that happens is that you're going to start your cruise better rested and more able to take advantage of the activities on the first day. it's 100% win win. 
 

That was really long but hopefully it helps! 

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On 4/16/2022 at 1:42 PM, Nashto said:

My parents plan to fly into Boston for their cruise on the day of. They're plans lands at 1:30. They sail away is 5:30. Do you think I should encourage them to change their flight?

Yes.  

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On 4/17/2022 at 3:42 AM, Nashto said:

My parents plan to fly into Boston for their cruise on the day of. They're plans lands at 1:30. They sail away is 5:30. Do you think I should encourage them to change their flight?

Bad idea. Even if it's just from, say, NYC with loads of available flights. If they are planning to come from Hicksville, Alabama with limited flights,  forget about for sure.

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There was just an article published on Cruise Critic (anyone heard of them? 😅) titled Flying to Your Cruise: How to Travel This Summer Amid the Chaos in which the author advocates "Arrive in Your Departure Port Two Days Before Your Cruise" simply because of the current challenges posed by the airlines. Also, "Download the Airline’s App, and Search Social Media".

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Anyone just occasionally informed these days will beware of how many flights get cancelled - with minimal advance notice - on any given day.  
 

Thinking of flying to anywhere on the same day you need to be there should not be referred to as “thinking”.

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2 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

Anyone just occasionally informed these days will beware of how many flights get cancelled - with minimal advance notice - on any given day.  
 

Thinking of flying to anywhere on the same day you need to be there should not be referred to as “thinking”.

And let’s not forget that “catch the next plane” ain’t gonna happen for most folks since any empty seats will go to the FFs and top $ fare payers from your cancelled flight.

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First off, I would never fly in on the day of the cruise. That being said, if you do, you will want to try and fly through hubs with lots of flights to your cruise departure city so that you increase your chances of making the cruise even if a flight is delayed cancelled. However, as other's have called out, remember the airline will likely prioritize frequent flyers and those who pay more for their fares.

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14 hours ago, Z'Loth said:

There was just an article published on Cruise Critic (anyone heard of them? 😅) titled Flying to Your Cruise: How to Travel This Summer Amid the Chaos in which the author advocates "Arrive in Your Departure Port Two Days Before Your Cruise" simply because of the current challenges posed by the airlines. Also, "Download the Airline’s App, and Search Social Media".

I personally think two days is overkill.  I don't care if we are late getting into our port city -- we never do anything (except go out to dinner and collapse in the room after a long drive).  

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