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Van Beach 04-27-2010 08:32 AM

The cruise is set and now we are getting our airfare to Tampa, FL. We are going on the Carnival Legend and it leaves at 4 p.m. What is the latest possible time we can be at the ship in order to get on? The flights on the day of departure do not get to Tampa until 12 noon or 1 p.m. Is that enough time or should we consider flying down the day before? Thanks for your help.

penny3333 04-27-2010 10:31 AM

Yes, arriving at 1 would be enough time. They will normally want you on board at least 30 minutes prior to departure, sometimes it's 90 minutes prior. I always suggest flying down a day early. Airlines are very prone to losing luggage. It happened to me once in San Juan, it took my luggage 3 days to catch up. It's not fun. Just for peace of mind spend a day relaxing at a hotel prior to your cruise. In case something does get lost, you have a good chance it will arrive before your ship departs.

Also, you can get on board and have time to hit the buffet before muster

susanmaz 04-27-2010 03:14 PM

Van Beach - - where are you flying from? Remember - the further away and the more stops/connections between leaving and arriving means more opportunities for delays and/or missed connections. I still tell the story of having a one hour flight from Tucson to LA that was supposed to arrive at 10:00 am - but we didn't get to board until 4:00 pm . . because our plane broke down and we didn't get a replacement plane until 2:00 . . Like Penny said - it's better to plan to come in a day early than to miss the ship . . .

MCPayne 04-27-2010 03:28 PM

Van Beach

I would fly down the day before and pay for a hotel room. I believe for a 4:00 set sail, you must be on board by 2:30 or 3:00 at the latest for the 3:30 muster drill.

Dave 04-27-2010 03:42 PM

Fly down a day early. Get a hotel. Eat a nice dinner of seafood caught fresh from the Gulf Of Mexico. Sleep. Get up refreshed. Eat a nice breakfast and linger over coffee. Then go to the port and board the ship around noon and start your cruise with the lunch buffet and some drinks at the pool bar.

You'll be glad you did it my way.

vietvet 04-27-2010 04:11 PM

I agree fly down the day before. The rooms around Tampa are not expensive and most hotels offer free shuttles to the pier.

Van Beach 04-27-2010 08:47 PM

We are thinking we should go the day before - we will be flying out of Minneapolis and even though it is a nonstop flight - the weather could be an issue getting out of Mpls. (December). Can anyone recommend a hotel in Tampa - easy to get to, close to the port and with restaurants close by or in them? thanks.

Jim C. 04-28-2010 08:18 AM

Definitely if you are flying from Minneapolis in December you want to plan on coming in the day before. I was going to say that you would be fine arriving at 1PM but in December there most definitely could be weather delays. You will be much more relaxed on your first day of the cruise if you don't spend them whole morning worrying if you will make it on time.

We seem to sing the party line around here of getting in a day early. The is the best option. But we also understand that it is not always possible nor affordable (however, many times it makes the flight cost lower and compensates some for the extra hotel cost). Also understand that a majority of cruiser arrive on the day of the cruise. This may be a fine option (and we have done it a couple of times) for summer travel, but it is just too risky in the winter.

Cruise Fanatic 04-28-2010 08:33 AM

Delays are risky no matter what time of year. Saturday I was to leave Nashville at 6:15AM. We sat on the plane for over 2hrs, because just as we were to pull away Atlanta (the connecting airport), called a "Ground Stop" on all planes due to a severe rain storm. Also planes can have maintenance issues, flat tires, unexpected crew delays etc. If at all possible, flying in a day prior is less stressful. One more example to add; we never know when some idiot will make a wise crack causing a diversion of the aircraft.

Dave 04-28-2010 12:13 PM

Last December I chanced flying down to Fort Lauderdale on embarkation day. 6am flight and the airplane was parked at HSV overnight so no problem, right? We boarded and sat there just like Jan did. In our case the FAA flight plan system crashed and so nobody could take off from anywhere in the southeast. Luckily our flight plan managed to get loaded before the crash and we were allowed to take off, but we still had to wait for close to an hour before they gave us the okay. This meant I had to do the teaberry shuffle through Atlanta and was the last person to board my connection - which thankfully was a few minutes late because of the FAA glitch. But - I came within 10 minutes of being screwed. I know better, but went ahead anyway and almost missed out on the Oasis cruise.

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