I have taken four flights since Thanksgiving on American. Everyone of them has been delayed (on 2 of the four, both sides of the trip were delayed) The minimum delay was 20 mins. the max.. 2 hours. If you happen to hit a bad weather day or a mechanincal problem, the ship will be gone by the time you get there. If at all possible DO NOT risk it because "they do it all the time". If you can get on the earlier flight, I would do so. Sure, they guarantee that they will fly you to the first port if you are late, but then you missed at least a night of cruising if not a day too. I'd rather be having fun on the ship waiting for late arrivals then being stressed out because I was a late arrival.
We normally go in the day before. Its worth the cost of a hotel stay to avoid the hassle AND I can be on the ship early and get more cruising time in...
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