This will be the first time we are flying to Miami and cruising. We have in the past drove from VA to Ft. Lauderdale. Does the ship give any consideration on people who have to catch a plane or do you just have to take a chance and make reservations for noon or later. I have read people talking about "transfers" but don't know what they are talking about. HELP..
Going on the NOS Feb 5th!!!!!!
Yes, about midway during the cruise, they will ask for your return flight arrangements and will assign you a color tag depending on when your flight leaves. I love the Royal Caribbean terminal in Miami, they call your color when your luggage is coming down, no huge room to look for your luggage, just like at the airport. When we cruised on Voyager earlier this year, we were on American airlines, and were able to check in at the pier, get boarding passes and get the luggage checked, it was great, just like pre 9-11, but that was just with American and at that time only in Miami. We then just took a cab to the airport. I think you should be OK if you book a flight to depart around noon and instead of getting the transfers, just get a cab, its a lot quicker than waiting for the but to get loaded with luggage and people.
We did Navigator out of Miami and flew US Air. We do the transfers because for us its easier. Miami is soooo much better than Ft Lauderdale. Things went more smoothly in Miami. With a transfer, you get off the plane, and when you get past the security checkpoint there will be RCI people holding up signs. Tell them youre cruising with them, and they will direct you where to go. You will collect your luggage and there will be more RCI people around. They will check off your name and tell you where to go next. You get on a bus, you might have to wait for stragglers, and then head right to port. Our driver gave a little oral tour on the way. Once at the awesome terminal, you get off the bus and head inside. Your luggage will be collected and taken to the ship for you, but it might not be there until after dinner so be prepared. You go inside and check in, then board the ship. Returning, you get a color coded tag which tells you when you will get off the ship. If doing your own air, be sure to schedule a flight after 11 or 12 to be safe. Everyone should be off the ship by around 10 or 11 (its very smooth). When your color is called you get off, head to collect your luggage (theyll tell you what "room" your color will be in), clear customs, then head to a bus. We were taken to the back of the airport where a special covered area was set up to check in. It was soooo nice-we only had to walk a few steps, and maybe wait 5 minutes to check in. Nothing like Ft LAuderdale which was a complete nightmare. They arent able to handle so many cruisers (like after a holiday trip). After checking in, you go through a door and youre right at security. If youre interested in seeing Miami, book a flight after 6pm and take an excursion. You will be taken to the airport right afterwards.