I would like just some opinions on what you all feel about going down a day early before a cruise. I have had someone tell me it is not cost effective, because that money you spend on a hotel room you could spend it somewhere on the ship or something. What are the Pro's and Con's to arriving a day early? I am just looking for some helpful opinions. I am seriously considering it for my next cruise. ( The Allure).
I'm a big believer in going to your embarkation port the day before, especially if you need to fly there. There's nothing like extra time to relieve the anxiety of departure-day possibilities. If there are any type of airline or traffic delays, mechanical problems, weather issues, etc., you may not make it onto the cruise ship to spend that money you saved on a hotel.
If you get there the day before, even the night before, then on embarkation day you can wake up at your leisure, relaxed and not worried about getting to the ship. Even if you have a relaxing morning before making your way to the cruise terminal, it's worth it. Some folks like taking tours or doing some sightseeing before getting on the ship, and that's certainly possible. Getting there the day before makes the start of your vacation much more relaxed and happy.
As you mentioned, there are pros and cons to this. On the upside, you don't have to worry about missing the ship the next day, and catching up to it at your expense if you do miss it, due to airline delays, etc. Personally, I haven't done this, as my home airport is a hub for a major airline, and I've always found nonstop flights early in the morning down to the embarkation airport.
The downside is that yes, you are paying for a hotel in the embarkation city, but that may be worth it, as I mentioned earlier, for peace of mind knowing that you won't miss the ship. Yes, the money on the hotel could have been spent onboard, but I think that may be a small price to pay.
Do some research on the hotels in the area. Some hotels will offer a shuttle to the cruise port. Whenever I travel, I always look for Comfort Inns, owned by Choice Hotels, as the rooms are okay, and the price is affordable.
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)
I totally agree with Sandy. We always travel the day before. One time a piece of our luggage got lost. If we hadn't arrived a day early, we would have had a big problem. As it was, the luggage arrived the next morning and we were good to go.
By arriving a day early, you can also relax, get a good night's sleep, and be onboard the ship by lunch time. Every extra hour on the ship is a bonus!
We have done it both ways. I have to agree that is always a gamble going down on the morning of the departure of the cruise. I am half-way between O'Hare and Milwaukee airports, and therefore have a few more options for morning flights, and we usually do go down on the departure date. The last time we went down the night before, we found that when we got to the front desk and ASKED if there was a local shuttle to the port, there was several available to choose from, which were both WAY cheaper than RCCL's bus, or any of the local shuttles listed at the airport's web site. With enough research on line and a few calls to area motels, you should be able to get a pretty good deal somewhere. Me and the guy who "leaves the light for you" on are on a first name basis. There are 4 star hotels, and his style cheapos, so your research shouldn't be too bad. It's like the options of an interior or a balcony cabin. What do you need the room/cabin to do for you, allow you to sleep, or become a destination in and of itself. I agree that I'd rather spend the money on the cruise itself, but since air fare is soooooooo expensive, and my local airports close down when the weatherman says the word snow, it depends on the time of year FOR ME, which way we choose. What the H; you're going on another cruise. Me too in March. We're BOTH in high clover!!
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We live in New England and usually travel during the winter months. We have only once traveled on the day of our cruise and that was out of San Juan..We woke up the morning of our flight and there was close to a foot of heavy wet snow on the ground. We were lucky and still got out on time and made our cruise. Believe it or not, the ship had so many passengers that had booked cruise/air that the ship did not leave until nearly midnight and was scheduled out at 6:00 if I remember. Since then, to keep our sanity, we go to our cruise port 1 - 2 day ahead if we can and it makes for a longer vacation and less stress on our part. We have always looked for reasonable priced/clean accomodations with shuttle and its part of our cruise costs that we plan for. Each to their own and how comforatable one is with travel day of cruise.
I am a 'day before' person, but I have had a couple exceptions in the past few cruises where I had no choice but to fly down on embarkation day. In both cases I made it to the ship fine, but not without some worries. The last instance saw me sitting on the tarmac at my home airport on the morning of the cruise (Oasis pre-inaugural), because the FAA flight plan computer crashed and we were not approved to take off. It took about a half hour to resolve, which put me at a dead run through Atlanta to make my flight to FLL. I was the last passenger to board, only because that flight was a few minutes behind. Otherwise I would have likely missed the cruise. It's just about impossible to find an open seat to Florida on the day of the flight these days.
Too many things can happen to screw up a flight schedule. Just yesterday TSA had issues at more than one major airport which required them to close terminals and rescreen passengers.
I like not having to get up early to make a 6 or 7 am flight. Going down a day early gives you more choices, so we can take a later flight and not have to get up before dawn. Check in to the hotel and relax, have dinner, wake up refreshed, and grab the shuttle or a cab to the pier. That is the preferred method for us.
On all cruises we have done (and one coming up in December 2012) we have stayed in a hotel before hand. BUT our reasoning/cause is a little different. We have gone to and going to a park prior to cruise. (Disney and Universal Studios).
We have never gone on "just a cruise" without doing something prior. So I can't give any advise on mishapes (spelling??) due to flights, etc.
It is nice to already be there day before. No real worries. Also nice to have RCCL/ Universal Studios (and Disney) having to "deal" with everything (transportation, etc). Universal Studios and RCCL work together with land and sea packages..VERY nice.
We’ve done it both ways but we prefer to fly down the day before and enjoy a relaxing first day of the cruise. It’s not very difficult to pick out the passengers that have been running through the airport all day.
2002 Adventure, Explorer
2003 Navigator, Serenade
2004 Voyager, Adventure
2009 Liberty, Enchantment
2010 Independence, Liberty
2011 Liberty, Freedom
2012 Freedom, Freedom, Independence
Feb 2013 Liberty
Mar 2013 Liberty
Nov 2013 Independence
I also agree that going down the day before is almost always a great idea. Case in point...
My wife and I were going on the Adventure out of San Juan last January and had booked a room at a nice resort the day before (which was a Saturday). Our flight was an hour late leaving Gulfport and by the time we got to Charlotte, our connecting flight had already left. The next flight we could get on was 8.5 hours later and we would have missed our cruise if we were to leave that day.