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Annette66 10-26-2007 08:42 PM

My husband and I recently booked our first cruise with Smart Cruisers on the Freedom in March 15. We are totally in the dark here. We went with the airfare Carnival offered that departs Milwaukee on the day of the cruise, but now are thinking we may want to arrive a day earlier in case of flight delays due to weather in Wisconsin that time of year. Airfare that time of year was more expensive if we made arrangements on our own. How would we go about making the change to those arrangements if it can be done, and would there be added expense to do so? Is departing on the day of the cruise a bad idea? I'm worried about missing the ship. Also I don't see much about Freedom on this site - does anyone have any comments about this ship.

baby doll 10-26-2007 08:53 PM

I would be afraid to fly in the day of the cruise. We always arrive early and spend the night and get up early the next morning refreshed and ready to go. I use where I type in the flight I want and they let you know when it reaches the price you want to pay. Beings you have awhile might be worth downloading it and put in some flights your interested in. I have 10 on tap for Puerto Rico in February. When the best price comes up I will book it. Flights change prices daily. On Thursday one was $233.10 pp from California to PR and by the next day it was $310.00. Someone in here told me about it.

Jerome 10-27-2007 06:21 AM

hi we are from minnesota and we book our air through carnival we arrive the day of the cruise and never have a problem, if you book through them they will be there waiting for you and the ship will not leave we have left in the winter and we are there in pleanty of time.

Jim C. 10-27-2007 10:29 AM

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.

LisaP 10-27-2007 01:13 PM

Hi Annette, and welcome to cruise-chat.

I think you are wise to consider flying the day prior to your cruise. As Jim mentioned, you may make these arrangements through Carnival, or on your own if less expensive.

If you go through Carnival, you might also ask them about any pre-cruise hotel packages they may have. We recently added one to our upcoming cruise (different line), and it was actually less expensive than booking directly.

Let us know how it turns out.

joergr 10-29-2007 08:28 AM

I am not quite sure, but i think it is $50 per person to change. That said if you get a hotel with Carnival as well, they might waive that charge. It does not hurt to ask.

penny3333 10-29-2007 08:50 AM

It is so much better to come in a day earlier. Not only could there be flight delays, especially with your weather, but your luggage can go on unexpected journies as well. I've had to sail twice without mine and it's not fun. We changed ours through another line and since we booked the hotel through them as well, they did not charge us a fee for changing our reservations. Best wishes and have a wonderful time!

CruiseDad 10-29-2007 09:18 AM


Originally posted by Jim C.:
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.

I was on the Glory when it waited 3 hours for a late plane from Michigan. And if I understand the Carnailval deal correctly: if the ship does leave they will get you to the first port at their expense. Still not great as you miss those first days on the ship. I think how much time they will wait, probably depends on how much extra time they have to reach the first port. The Liberty leaving Fort Lauderdale steams nearly full to reach San Juan in time. But Ships leaving Miami to San Juan have some more time to wait. So it depends. With all that said I much prefer the assurance of prior day flying. But given that you have already booked it may cost more to change it. But check it out, never hurts to ask

CruiseDad 10-29-2007 09:20 AM


Originally posted by Annette66:
..... Also I don't see much about Freedom on this site - does anyone have any comments about this ship.
Annette, take a look at John is the CD on the Freedom and he has posted lost of stuff about the Freedom at his blog site

Jim C. 10-29-2007 11:25 AM

Cruisedad, I'm sure it also depends on the number of passengers that are delayed too. If it is only one couple then that probably isn't enough. If 25 or thirty people are being waited on, they probably have a greater tolerance to wait. (cheaper to wait than have to get that many people to the next port)

On our second cruise, we were delayed. We landed in Miami about 4PM. There were two late planes worth of passengers (I'd say about 20 people). The CCL transportation crew met us at the gate (you could still do that then) and basically had us run to the baggage claim, told us to point our bags out and then we ran to the shuttle bus while someone else grabbed the bags.

We had a bus ride that resembled the movie "Speed" (I know I saw the driver run at least one red light and the bus came close to two wheeling it around a corner or two). We pulled up to the ship, they didn't check documents or anything. We were literally thrown through a doorway at dock level along with our bags and we went up to the purser's desk to check in. It was quite a trip. The mom in law was sitting there in the main lobby crying because she was certain we had missed the family cruise when they closed the doors and we had not arrived yet. It was an adventure, and yes the ship waited for us. BUT, it is not the start to a cruise that I would ever want to experience again.

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