I didn't find cruise-chat until after we booked flights and the cruise (darn!) and after reading posts I am nervous about this. We fly out of Oregon at 7 AM, arrive in San Diego by noon. Since the airport was only 5 miles or so from port, we felt this was a nice long window to get settled, since the Radiance sails at 5 pm.
Have you ever flown in same day?
Any familiarity with the San Diego airport? I know San Fran is infamous for late flights and we had trouble with that once...
We are taking cruise chat advice and decided to get travel insurance, anyway-just in case...CSA or Travel Insured look good, but any preferences or tips on what policy to get?
Most of all, my husband wants you all to reassure me with lots of "Don't worry! You'll make it!" so he isn't the only one telling me that
I have only flown to CA once for our Nordic Prince Cruise. We have always flown same day, and leaving out of Minneapolis weather at our airport is usually the nerve wracking part. We have put up with this as our cruise TA buys great numbers of seats on charter flights to sell with their cruise packages and the price is unbeatable. We have saved more than enough over the years to pay for flying to the first port of call if at some point we miss the ship (it just will really stink at the time and we hope it never happens). Having said this it is a nerve wracking unsettling choice on my part of do this and I never enjoy my vacation until I board the ship. THis year our TA has shut their doors (apparently all this speculation in the charter seat market during the recession was too much for them) and I will be flying the day before.
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The San Diego airport is only a few miles from the port. I always find it less stressful to fly down the day before. There are many things that can delay your flight. Weather, maintenance problems, late crew, and security issues to name a few. Weather may be good in your area but that doesn't mean the weather is good in other areas.
Look for an insurance policy that will cover pre-existing conditions, have good medical coverage including evacuation, and cover trip delay and trip interruption.
I wouldn't stress about it too much. Yes, we here on Cruise Chat are big proponents of flying in the day before. It is just a huge stress reliever. But, what is done is done. In reality I think a huge majority of the cruisers come in the day of the cruise (all the cruise line arranged air travel comes in on embarkation day) so more often than not everything goes fine. We just have the experience to know that things don't ALWAYS go as planned with air travel and suggest you don't try the same day flights.
Do as Cruise Fanatic suggests and see if you can find travel insurance that will cover your trip. That way if the worst happens and you miss the ship, the insurance will cover your cost to get you to the next port to meet the ship. Also be sure to have the cruise line's contact phone number with you so if the plane is delayed you can contact the cruise line. Knowing where you are and that you are on your way can go a long way and possibly allow you to make the ship if you are a last minute arrival.
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I wouldn't worry about it. Your flight is one of the first out (I assume from Portland), so getting in by noon should be fine. Do you have to connect someplace? My recollection was it's only a couple hours from Portland to San Diego by plane.
2007 - Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas)
2009 - Enchantment of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2010 - Freedom of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2013 - Golden Princess (Alaska, roundtrip from Seattle)
If you can I would leave the day before or have insurance. A relative was 5 1/2 hours late arriving in Florida this past Sunday. They were going to a private residence so not as concerning as catching a cruise. They thought they would be out first thing but the airplane had already made stops at two other cities that morning and got caught up in bad weather and security delays. When the airplane did get in so they could board, the crew had to be changed because of being over their duty time. Airlines now run their airplanes almost 24/7. Another time I went with five other single women on a cruise and when we showed up for our same day flight we were told to come back the next day. To make a long story short we ganged up on the agent and she arranged for us to fly on a competing airline. Arrived on ship at 2 that afternoon. Also remember that you have to be on the ship an hour and half before sailing time to be cleared by customs.
The last two days just re-enforced this for me. I was in Illinois for a business trip. We started home yesterday at 2:25 p.m. It was supposed to be a 7 hour trip.....I got home at 11 this morning. You just never know. Extreme example I know.
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A critical thing with flying in on the day of the cruise is if you have to go through a hub. A direct flight from your airport to the cruise port makes things less stressful. But when you have two flights to get there, you have added a lot of potential problems.
I'll admit that despite my pleas to people to fly in a day early, I have done two cruises over the past 18 months where I ignored my advice. The last was just a month ago. Scheduled to leave Huntsville at 5:30am, change flights in Atlanta with plenty of time, and then get to Fort Lauderdale by 11am. Easy right? But then a computer problem hit the FAA flight planning system (just as it had done a week or so prior). We sat on the tarmac at Huntsville for about a half hour before the Captain announced we were lucky because our flight plan had made it into the system before the computer glitch. But we were still late and had another 20 minutes before we could leave. My whole cruise flashed before my eyes. I had insurance but still, I knew I might be in trouble if Atlanta was in chaos (highly likely at that point). We finally got to Atlanta and I had 20 minutes to get from one concourse to the other. I ended up being the LAST person to board the flight to FLL. Thankfully the computer problem was resolved and we were able to leave almost on time. So I got to the Oasis Of The Seas with not further problems. But I have to tell you, I told myself "never again".
If you have a non-stop flight, what happened to us probably wouldn't affect you. But on one of our cruises, my suitcase got lost when we switched flights. Luckily we had flown down a day before the cruise and the suitcase had time to catch up with us. The lesson I learned from that, besides arriving a day early, is to split our belongings between suitcases. Each suitcase will have a couple pair of shoes, underwear for both of us, etc.
We always purchase travel insurance and we actually had to use it once. It was definitely worth the price!
As far as your flight plans are concerned, if they are non-refundable and you can't change them, then don't worry about it. Assume all will go well, as I'm sure it will. Next time, plan to fly a day ahead and you will have more time to enjoy the port city!
Thank you all for being so kind as to take a moment to help us. Since our flights are not non-stop (we have to go up to Seattle, then back down to San Diego) we'll just pack 1/2 and 1/2 in each others suitcases...buy travel insurance...and pray hard all morning, LOL!
and next time, we'll definitely do it the safe way-a day ahead.