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Brent & Steph 12-01-2008 09:50 AM

I am travelling on the Sensation December 11th-14th and this is my first cruise. I just read that the earliest return fly they recommend is 12:30. I didn't know this when I was making my flight arrangements and my flight leaves at 10:30. The Sensation arrives back to Port Canaveral at 7:00 on the 14th. Am I in big trouble here or is there any possible way for me to make my flight??? Please help....

Dave 12-01-2008 10:50 AM

Welcome to cruise-chat.

The short answer is - yes, you are looking at a possible problem. You can make this flight but you'll need everything to flow at optimum levels. You'll need to be among the first ones off the ship and you'll need dedicated transportation. The self-debarkation usually goes first. The problem is that self-debarkation has become too popular and can sometimes end up like a traffic jam at 8am in Los Angeles. You also need to limit your luggage since self-debarkation means you are capable of carrying all your bags off the ship without assistance. Once you get off the ship you'll either need a pre-arranged car or shuttle, or take a taxi. Frankly, I've been hosed by a limo service at Port Canaveral before and ended up having to get a cab to the airport. The cab is probably the best choice because they are there and waiting for customers. It isn't cheap though. Figure $140 for the fare and tip. Depending on your airline, the rebooking fee may be less than that.

I'd personally look at rebooking the air and eating the fees. Sunday is a heavy day at MCO and I'd doubt you could find seats on a later flight if you missed yours.

Brent & Steph 12-01-2008 10:59 AM

Thanks for your help Dave. We currently have a car lined up with Thrifty and they have a shuttle service to and from their Cape Canaveral office. Is this a reliable way to go or will they have to hang around and get a full bus before they go? I really can't afford to get a later flight. Plus, the next flight out is at 3:45 (an extra $150 for 2). I will def keep this in mind the next time we go on a cruise. I really thought that we were giving ourselves plenty of time to catch the flight.

penny3333 12-01-2008 11:06 AM

You may be paying the extra charges for the later flight, so keep that in mind. As Dave said, everything will have to be spot on. Port Canaveral is not close to the airport, so even with perfection, you're cutting it way too close.

Dave 12-01-2008 12:49 PM


We currently have a car lined up with Thrifty and they have a shuttle service to and from their Cape Canaveral office.
It is a 50 mile drive from the port to MCO and it can take an hour to complete the drive. In 2004 my cab driver broke a few speed limits and knew the way like the back of his hand - as I recall we made the run in around 40 minutes. Oh, there are tolls too and we had a speed pass for those.

I know I am sounding bleak, and if the stars all align with the moon you'll make your flight. But doing it with a rental car might be taking away any slop you have in the timing. I suggest contacting Thrifty and see what their policy is about helping to expedite people with early flights. I imagine they encounter this scenario often and they might have a plan to get you on the road fast.

Jim C. 12-01-2008 01:12 PM

I agree with Dave. Call Thrifty and see what they can do for you. I suspect that you will end up waiting for a "full bus" before they leave for the rental agency. There is also the time between buses to consider. We waited about 30 minutes for a shuttle to show up. Maybe a taxi to the rental agency is your best bet. Yes, its going to cost you $25 or so, but you are not going to make it if you wait for the shuttle unless you get really lucky on a shuttle showing up as soon as you need it.

Make sure the cruise line knows you have an early flight and be ready to get off as soon as they announce self debarkation and you stand a good chance at making it using a taxi to the rental car place.

MACLEODC 12-01-2008 01:49 PM

I just got off the Sensation yesterday 11/30 & the self-debarkation was a nightmare. People standing in the hallways before they even started to call numbers to leave. We were even staying on the floor of the exit & our number was 20 to get off the ship. We finally grabed our luggage & off the ship we went. We were standing outside waiting for our shuttle bus for over 45 minutes & they were just getting to numbers 15 & 16 at that time. It was 9:30 before we got on the road home good.

Brent & Steph 12-01-2008 02:03 PM

Well, it's sounding like we need to change our flight. I was not told this bit of information when I booked the cruise and I did this over the phone. Is there any way to get Carnival to pay the $150 or would it be a losing battle??? We really don't have the money and if we have to pay it, it's coming out of our trip.

Dave 12-01-2008 03:47 PM


Is there any way to get Carnival to pay the $150 or would it be a losing battle???
Forget it. Unless Carnival made the air arrangements they will not have anything to do with them. This is true for any cruise line. Caveat Emptor. Did you do any on-line research before booking this cruise? The reason I ask is the Carnival website has a page with recommended flight times located here.

Frankly the self-debarkation has gotten out of control. It is ironic, but I really believe they'd move people ashore quicker if they went back to the old ways before self-debark began.

Brent & Steph 12-01-2008 07:07 PM

I did do some online research. But, I didn't even think about there being a debarkation. I thought that it just got to shore and everyone got off. I actually thought that you just showed up and got on too. But, I found out about the embarkation process soon enough to change plans of getting there. I guess I'll just eat it and consider it a lesson learned. I just wish I knew before the airline tickets got so high. Thanks for your help everyone...

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