Jerome- The ship won't wait indefinetly for a late plane. They will wait up to maybe an hour but not much more than that.
If you are cruising in the winter and coming from Minnesota, you DEFINETLY risk running into cancelled/delayed flights. IT IS NOT WORTH ruining your cruise to save a bit of money.
Annette66- You should be able to call your Travel Agent (if you booked through Carnival's website or through their TA's call them) and ask them to change your flight to the day before. It might cost you a change fee but you are early enough in the process that they should be able to change it. Or better yet, see what you could book airfare on your own for the day before and put that flight on a hold. Then call and see if you can change the flight you already have. If not, cancel it and buy the flight you have on hold.
You should be able to find a hotel in south Florida for a resonable price if you are starting to look now (don't wait until your cruise date is closer). It may cost you a hotel charge and a bit more in the flight costs, but it truly is NOT worth the risk. It also makes for a more relaxed cruise. You don't have to worry about delays, you can wake up at your convience and go to the ship. No rushing, no hassle and you start your cruise rested instead of rushing to the airport and stressing until you get to the ship.
We do it for every cruise we take unless we abolsutely can't come in a day before.
Carnival Cruise Lines:
Fantasy 90, Celebration 95, Victory 05, Conquest 05, Spirit 6/06, Freedom 6/08, Holiday 7/08, Victory 6/09, Valor 9/09, Dream 6/10, Splendor 8/10,Conquest 8/11,Magic 11/11,Triumph 4/12,Spirit 7/12,Freedom 11/12, Triumph 2/13 - The fire cruise
NCL Dream October 2006, RCCL Mariner OTS June 2007