You have stumbled on one of the reasons many frequent cruisers (including me) try to never use cruise line arranged air. Personally, we prefer to always do our own air and fly-in to most ports one day early. Your 40 minutes meets the minumum connection time for most airlines at DFE (35 or 40 min) so there is not much you can do other than to call RCI and complain (perhapd they can still change your flights). IMHO, your major problem will be your checked luggage. If you are flying-in the day of your cruise, there is no margin for error with luggage (another reason to go at least one day early). So, pack accordingly and make sure you have essential clothes for a few days in your carry-on.
I'm also not a big fan of cruiseline air, with any of the lines. Most people don't know, and the cruiselines don't really want you to know how they get their air. The airlines guarantee a certain number of flights on sailing dates will be available to the cruiselines. The cruiselines don't actually book your air when you book your cruise. They take what the airlines give them after the airlines sell what they can. That leaves you with what the airlines couldn't sell and give to the cruiselines near the sailing date. The cruiselines get bulk rates for these and pass it on at pricing that is often as high or higher than the rates you'd get choosing your own itinerary if you booked your air and chose what you wanted. That means situations like this poster is encountering and sometime the opposite, a very long delay. Occasionally the only routes are very strange and fly you the wrong direction for a stop on the way to the pier. LAX via Denver or Minneapoils on a flight headed to Seattle?!?! Most people who book cruiseline air feel there is some inherant protection in doing so. The best protection is to fly in early as mentioned in the previous post and many other posts on this site by seasoned travelers. The other protection is good travel insurance. If you get snowed in for two days in Chicago or Buffalo, it won't matter if you booked that flight with the cruiseline or on your own, you'll have the same result. You'll have missed your cruise and be under penalty with the cruiseline that they are not required to waive even if you booked the flight with them. Their first question when you call stranded in the terminal is going to be, "Did you purchase or decline travel insurance?"
I make my own flight arangments, always have and always will. You can choose what's most comfortable for you. Just be aware that for the savings you'll see booking your own air on many sailings vs doing cruiseline air, you can afford that hotel the night before and the insurance.
We used to use cruise line air but stopped doing so several years ago, and for all the reasons mentioned.
Now that I've told you that, I need to admit that for my 3-night cruise out of Port Canaveral this August I am using Royal Caribbean's air. Two reasons - the price in this particular instance is the same when you throw the transfers in, and the cruise line already has me on direct flights from HSV to MCO (Huntsville to Orlando) and also on the return home. (I called Custom Air to fine tune my flights today and was surprised they had selected the flights that I wanted without my asking.)
Note that the key here is direct flights. If that option wasn't available I more than likely would have done my own air. It just so happens that we have two direct flights in both directions every day.
It is also true that in most cases the cruise line air is more expensive, but lately it isn't as true as it used to be given the airline woes.
I made my reservations through Royal Caribbean and they gave me a flight with a 40 minute connection time at DFW on the way to the cruise. What if my flight is late? I am worried!
Renee, I would be worried, too. If your reservation is already past final payment time, so that you're in the penalty period and you can't cancel the air, I would call Royal Caribbean and tell them you think the connect time, although a "legal" connection, is too tight. Sometimes they'll change your flight for you. It's probably going to be the first flight that's changed to an earlier flight, connecting to the same flight in DFW.
If Royal Caribbean is not willing to change your flight, you may want to invest the extra fee to get "custom air," and see if Custom Air can put you on flights at better times, or even the day or evening before.
If you are not within penalty period, look into flights on your own. If you find flights you like better that are around the same price, you may want to cancel RCI's air and make your own arrangements.
I join all the others in urging you to fly to the embarkation city the day before your cruise.
I second Sandy's and the other suggestions to fly in a day early. I came within a fraction of a hair once of missing my cruise. In fact, if it would have been under the current rules for boarding I would have. I would not be comfortable with a 40 minute connection either.
In DFW, it depends on the airline you're flying and if you're in the same terminal for your connecting flight. The only way you'd know which terminal(s) your flight(s) are in would be to contact RCI and ask them or call the airline. In DFW, if you're in the same terminal but different ends of the terminal, without taking one of their shuttle cars, you'd be hard pressed to make it from one end of the terminal to the other in 40 minutes. If you have to travel from one terminal to another, 40 minutes would be nearly impossible. The connection can be made if everything goes smoothly, but normally they will hold a connecting flight on the same airline for passengers on a delayed flight. I don't think they would have booked your flight this way if they didn't feel pretty confident you'd make your connection or another flight out of Dallas in time to make your ship. However, if it were me, I'd call to see if they could get me a little larger window and definitely fly in the day before. Best wishes and let us know how it goes.
Originally posted by penny3333:
The connection can be made if everything goes smoothly, but normally they will hold a connecting flight on the same airline for passengers on a delayed flight.
This is true. If you're on the same airline (which I assume you are, probably American), then if the first leg is late, they will hold the second flight because it is in their system that you are connecting to that flight from another incoming flight. However, the issue as stated earlier will be your checked bags, as there is the risk they may not make the connecting flight, even if they hold the flight just long enough for you to get to the gate and get onboard.
I've said this before in other threads, but I think it's worth repeating. Before you book airfare through the cruise line, definitely shop around for fares on the airline's website and travel websites. When I went on my cruise back in October of last year, the cruise line wanted more money for the airfare than for the cruise, and the airfare was significantly cheaper (by about $300) if I booked through the airline's website for the airfare.
2007 - Majesty of the Seas
2009 - Enchantment of the Seas
2010 - Freedom of the Seas
Another way to look at this is that boarding for your second flight will begin just 10 minutes after your first flight is scheduled to land. Sandy gives some excellent suggestions... I'd be changing the first flight, too.