Originally posted by Dave Beers:
My understanding (may be wrong) is that, for example, if you made it to Miami but the ship has already sailed then you are now going to have to pay to catch up to the ship. RCI will help arrange it but they have no obligation to pay for the extra airfares.
That's my understanding, as well, based on experiences related to me by other cruisers. With the airline's help, they ended up catching a flight to Nassau (the first port of call), spent the night in a hotel, and boarded the ship when it arrived in Nassau later that day. Their travel insurance reimbursed them for their out-of-pocket expenses.
A few tips: First, work with the airline to get you on another flight. If you can't get to your original destination, go for the ship's first port of call. And CALL the cruise line as well, so they know that you have not cancelled -- and so that they know where you will be boarding. Save all receipts for out-of-pocket expenses as per your insurance policy.
Another reason to work with the airline is to ensure that your return trip remains intact. Many airlines will cancel the return flight if the outbound flight is not taken.
Also, be sure to have on you (and not in checked luggage) the following: cruise itinerary, cruise line 24-hour phone number, travel insurance company 24-hour phone number, and airline schedules to your embarkation port and first port of call (on your original airline as well as others -- they can sometimes work together).