We have done it both ways. I have to agree that is always a gamble going down on the morning of the departure of the cruise. I am half-way between O'Hare and Milwaukee airports, and therefore have a few more options for morning flights, and we usually do go down on the departure date. The last time we went down the night before, we found that when we got to the front desk and ASKED if there was a local shuttle to the port, there was several available to choose from, which were both WAY cheaper than RCCL's bus, or any of the local shuttles listed at the airport's web site. With enough research on line and a few calls to area motels, you should be able to get a pretty good deal somewhere. Me and the guy who "leaves the light for you" on are on a first name basis. There are 4 star hotels, and his style cheapos, so your research shouldn't be too bad. It's like the options of an interior or a balcony cabin. What do you need the room/cabin to do for you, allow you to sleep, or become a destination in and of itself. I agree that I'd rather spend the money on the cruise itself, but since air fare is soooooooo expensive, and my local airports close down when the weatherman says the word snow, it depends on the time of year FOR ME, which way we choose. What the H; you're going on another cruise. Me too in March. We're BOTH in high clover!!