Booking a flight home
I am taking my first cruise in October and starting to look at airfare. The flight i would love to take is a non stop but leaves ft lauderdale at 12:55pm. We sail into ft lauderdale that morning. Do you think that leaves me ample time to retrieve my bags and get to the airport. I do not know how far the airport is and what the custom is. Can you can request a debarkation time or if you are given one? I just want to make sure I have enough time to get there and not be late.
Also is there typically a place to print boarding passes or better to just do it at the airport. Seems like silly questions I am sure but any help is appreciated!!
Ft Lauderdale port is 10 -15 minutes from the airport. You'll haveno problem making a 12:55 flight. In fact, if there is one, you might be lucky enough to get to the airport to catch an earlier flight.
You can print out a boarding pass in the ship's Internet Cafe the day prior, if you like.
I agree with Kuki. I have made it to the Ft. Lauderdale airport before 10 AM a couple of times.
You will provide your cruise line your flight departure time. They do assign disembarkation times and your departure time is one of the factors in that equation.
Most ofter self service - but then you have to lug your own bags. Some people love it, others avoid it.
So green_rd, obviously self service is carrying my own bags off the ship. But what is the other option? Thanks for all the other info, i feel better about booking it.
Ft. Lauderdale should be fine.
Self serve-take it yourself, be the first off the ship
Luggage tag color- leave your bags outside the room to be picked up and taken off for you, you will get them and then do customs
Luggage express- some lines will check your bags for you on your airline so you won't see them again until you get at your home airport(fee might apply)
Shore excursion- you will get a special color luggage tag, do a day tour in port, and they will have your luggage waiting at the airport or under the bus
You should have no problem, but just grab a cab to the airport when you get your luggage, short ride and plenty of cabs right there..
Normally the ship will give you a survey several days before disembarkation, and also a customs declaration card. If you choose not to carry all your own bags off, you will be given colored luggage tags. you put your bags outside your cabin the night before and they disappear. Disembarkation will be scheduled according to the color. If you specified an early flight on the survey you will probably get tags for an early disembarkation time. If you don't you can go to the Purser's office and usually get them changed by explaining the situation. An early disembarkation time might be about 8:00 or 8:30, sometimes even earlier.
When your tag color is called you disembark and find all the luggage laid out by color in a huge building. You grab yours and either wheel it or get a porter and go through customs and immigration. There is usually not a very big line, and you just show your passport and hand over your card most of the time. Then you get a cab and are on your way to the airport.
So at Ft L, which is normally efficient, you are looking at maybe
8:30 color called
9:00 off ship and in line at Immigration
9:15 out the door and waiting for a cab.
9:45 - 10:00 at the airport with time to spare.
BUT -- WHAT IF --
What if Customs and Immigration delays clearing the ship for some reason ... passenger passport discrepancy, crew document discrepancy, tip received of drug smuggling, or just a maximum inspection policy that particular day.
What if baggage handlers go on strike, or misplace your luggage, or your luggage gets dropped in the water (has happened!)
What if your passport for some reason fails to scan and you are chosen for a particular check? What if your name (or someone with the same name as you) is on "the list"?
What if the doggie alerts on your bag because you brought a sesame seed roll from the buffet and you get pulled over for an extensive search?
What if your cabbie gets in a fender bender with a bus pulling out?
What if there is some computer problem at the airport and 6000 people off of 4 ships are lined up trying to check in?
What if ... what if ... what if....
When you travel, stuff happens. Lots of stuff has happened to us in our 44 cruises, including some of the above. We are more comfortable allowing plenty of time to disembark in a leisurely fashion and not hurry to the airport.
What is the worst that can happen if you do miss your flight? How flexible are you and how upset do you get if stuff happens? How high will your blood pressure go? ;)
I don't think anyone wants to get to the airport at 10:30 a.m. and wait six or seven hours for their flight. There's cautious and then there's overcautious.
I also agree that it is dependent on people's tolerance and ability to handle unforeseen events. On our last Carnival Liberty cruise there was a propulsion problem and we were told that we would not arrive in Miami until 12 noon. Some people, me included, took it in stride made their alternative flight arrangements and hotel and others went into a complete panic. Carnival reimbursed me for my flight change fee and hotel fee within a month.
It all depends.
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