Doesn't matter if you fly, drive, whatever. We always get to the port the day before, stay in a motel. Cab over. Didn't do that ONCE, way back in the day. it was a day from hell, given the aggravation involved. Never ever again. How close have you come?

20 Answers

We always try to arrive a few days before the cruise to explore the surrounding areas.

I've always come in at least a night early.

Closest was on our last 7 day cruise in 2017, we sailed out of Ft Lauderdale, but stayed at a Condo in Ft Myers. At that time, most of South Florida was on fire (Wildfires) so the trip across "Alligator Alley" was a bit slow, and then as we hit Ft Lauderdale, there was what we call here at home a torrential downpour...from what I understand, in Florida, they call it a moderate rain...So instead of getting to the port at 10am as planned, it was about 1230 when we hit the check-in desk. 2 hour ride turned into almost 5 hours!

Friends of ours, whom have been cruising since 1992, made the mistake 2 years ago of flying into Ft Lauderdale the morning of their cruise at around 9am. Unfortunately for them, Space X was doing a launch from Cape Canaveral that day, so Airspace over Florida was restricted, causing their flight to be delayed by 6 hours. The only thing that saved them from not being permitted onboard, was constant communication with Royal Caribbean(And I'm sure being Diamond Plus C&A members didnt hurt), as they arrived at the cruise port at 335pm, for a 430pm departure.

Moral of the story?

Unless you live an hour or so away from the port, give yourself plenty of time to get there!

2006 family cruise from Vancouver to Seward. Left the house without the passports. Went back and grabbed them and what I thought were brochures from the cruise line. Turned out they were the tickets!

Got to the airport and landed in Calgary where we had to get our bags and go through customs. Baggage belt broke just as our bags became visible. After 20 minutes, I climbed up and grabbed them from the belt. We barely made our connection.

Arrived in Vancouver and discovered that our bags did not. They arrived on a later flight and were delivered to our room about 11pm.

Everything ended well, but it was VERY stressful!

Now, I always print all of the documents and put them in a large envelope with our passports. I hang on to it like It's glued to me. I also fly in the day before.

Haven't had that occur since we always spend a minimum of at least one night and day pre-cruise. However, almost as bad was the time we sailed from Rome at about 6:00 PM beginning a one month voyage and every single one of our bags was lost for over 48 hours by Alitalia (First Class priority bags no less--Paris to Rome). Ten minutes before the gangway was pulled our bags came. Thanks so much to the Concierge's efforts on board the Seven Seas Mariner at the time.

We have always driven in the day before and stay overnight 30 to 60 minutes from port and then have a nice relaxing breakfast and head to port for early boarding. So far other than traffic have not encountered any issues with that plan.

We also travel a day in advance. Hopefully, we will never be delayed more than that! Our luggage once got left on the tarmac at our connecting airport, but got delivered to the hotel at 2:00AM on sailing day! My closest to missing a cruise is when I got a jury summons for the date we were sailing. Called and got it rescheduled.

We usually fly in 2 days before so we get a chance to relax from hauling all the luggage around and get a chance to enjoy the port city. That way we get to start our cruise the way it was meant to be started, on board early with a drink in our hand. Happy

For me and DH it would be our first cruise (and honeymoon) back in 1990. We knew enough to be in the departure port area at least the night before, and since it was our honeymoon we actually had a 12 night package that went 5 nights at the Disney Grand Floridian, 4 night cruise out of Canaveral, and 3 nights in Coco Beach. (This was before DIsney had their own ships so they had a working relationship for packages with Premier Cruise Lines.)

As part of the package we had a rental car for the duration, so we decided to skip out n the included resort to cruise terminal shuttle. Mostly because we thought it would be a hassle for one of us to return the car then get a taxi back to the Grand Floridian all before 9am. So our plan was we would drive ourselves, use port parking so the car would be nearby when we returned that we could easily get to our hotel in Coco Beach.

Keep in mind this is also back in the era when travel agents would arrange for gifts and perks delivered to your hotel room as a Thank-You for your business. Well ours sent a basket of small his & her items, like initialed champagne glasses, a pair of pink and a pair of blue rimmed matching style sunglasses, since our package (made the DIsney stay almost like an all inclusive) with 3 themed or character meals (w/ alcoholic beverages) included daily for the duration of the stay. The big ticket item gift in the basket was 2 tickets Seaworld, not an attraction originally part of our day to day plan. So we figured free tickets why not use them the morning of the cruise and go there for small part of the day.

Well since this was pre-internet days and no one in our family ever cruised from Canaveral, before we did not know of the traffic situation, (remember the TA though we would use the shuttle). Well we left Seaworld about noon, figuring it was about 40 miles of highway driving that we would be there in less than an hour. Well guess what, between some road construction and a torrential downpour it was nearly a 3 hour drive. We made it to the check-in counter (no security check back then) about 3:15pm for a 4:30pm sail away. We later found out if we had been another 15 or so minutes late they would've offered our cabin for sale to those on the standby line (no DHS manifest deadline then).

Matured, glad you made it! The stories are part of the memories that never fade.

I have some memories I wish WOULD fade..nevertheless, its interesting that these embarkation day problems and adventures now belong in the past for what are now experienced cruisers. I guess you have to "pay your dues". Embarcation can be a a matter of fact, I believe its almost the norm. We have had some go so quickly and smoothly I actually got suspicious.(and spoiled) when they don't, oh well....I kinda feel sorry for those newbies who basically have NO CLUE what all the hubbub is about. I DON'T feel bad for the folks who ought to know better, and don't. I wonder if we'll ever hear from anyone with the honesty to admit they actually missed the ship.

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