We are going on our first cruise (navigator) on May 3rd out of Maimi. We will be arriving at Miami airport via American Airlines. How do we find the transfer bus? Do we have to claim our luggage or do they transfer it for us?
There will be a Royal Caribbean representative carrying a sign right at the end of the jetway - if you booked your air thru RCI. She will give you directions to either pick up your luggage or board the bus. We used to just board the bus, but since September 11 you may have to claim your luggage. We haven't used RCI air in a while, so I'm not sure how they do things regarding claiming luggage, but I still see RCI reps all over the airport - I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding one.
We cruised with RCI twice last year. The first time we booked our own flight through Expedia and bought the transfer to port through RCI. The second time we booked it all directly through RCI. Both times we were met as we got off the plane, told where to claim our luggage and then where to go to board the bus to go to port. Piece of cake. Hope you have a great time.
Hi Dawn...This might get lengthly, but I hope it is good advice. We have cruised over a dozen times and just finished cruising on the Navigator out of Miami. Let me say that this ship is just unbelievable. Not enough words to describe it. You will simply love everything about it, so enjoy.
Now, the irritating part. Things have changed at the port of Miami and at the airports so getting to and on the ship and getting off and back to the airport will definetly try your patience. I would strongly suggest you arrive a day prior to sailing which I will describe in a minute.
After you arrive at Miami airport, you go on your own to baggage claim. At baggage claim, there will be Royal Caribbean representatives with signs. They will tell you to claim your luggage from the luggage carosels and wait in line to board a bus which will take you to the pier where the ship is docked. Up until recently, you would check in your luggage at your home airport, and never see it or have to worry about it because it would arrive in your stateroom, but with all of these terror threats, things have changed and you will now gather your luggage at the Miami airport and they will put it on the bus that takes you to the pier. Once you arrive at the pier you just get in line to board the ship. Don't worry about your luggage because it is taken off of the bus for you then delivered to you stateroom late in the day so if you need to change before your luggage arrives in your room, have that in a carry-on bag. Expect a long wait to board the ship at the pier because Royal Caribbean has two ships of people to check in at the same time and at the same building. It took us 4-hours in line before we got on the ship. Very poor planning by Royal Caribbean and many disturbed passengers.
After your cruise is over, you will claim your luggage at the pier and bring it to a waiting bus that will take you to the airport to go home. Again, expect a long, long wait. We arrived at the airport at 11:30-AM and didn't get to our gate until 2:30-PM. Long lines because they check the luggage before you even get to the ticket counter.
If you did arrive a day prior to the ship's sailing and stayed at a hotel on Royal Caribbean's list, you might avoid the long lines at the pier because RCCL has representatives at the hotel and they check in passengers right their, then bus them to the pier and you just board the ship without waiting in line with the other 6000 people.
Enjoy, just have some patience on arrival and back home days. I probably forgot something, but hopefully this helps a bid. Any other questions, just let me know.
We love this ship so much, we just booked another cruise with the entire family for October.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write this all down. Knowing what to expect will really help. Now that we know we are going to have a long wait we can get ready for it. Our flight comes in that morning. I can't change it because we are getting married the day before. But if we cruise again I will remember to do that.
We are going on Nov. 29th Navigator out of Miami. Has any one stayed at the (Riande Continental Bayside) pre-cruise and how did you like the hotel or would it be better to book another downtown location?
You will be lucky to find ANY RCI rep's when you get off the plane. We've sailed on the Explorer twice and both times we flew into Miami, we never saw an RCI rep til we got to the bagage claim area. So my advice is go directly to the bagage claim area, because since 9/11 you have to get your own luggage. Once you claim your luggage there will be all kinds of RCI reps to dirct you on where to go.You may want to rent a cart if you have alot of luggage, becuase you have to haul it to the bus. We are sailing her again March 15th (19 more days....YAHOO!!!!), so I can tell you this you are going to have a blast.