Exactly, you just hang onto your baggage and ask at Guest Services where to assemble early the next morning, to be assured of getting off first. You might get a couple of different answers, we did, so we just scouted out the lounge closest to the gangway and hung outside next am. Those that went inside and made themselves comfortable, arrived early, but eventually were the last of our group to get off, as by the time the gangway was opened, the lounge was packed and they were then at the back of the line! You have to be able to handle your luggage by yourself, and have one hand free to hold the escalator handrail. .. If you are loaded down with luggage, have carry on and multiple bags they will make you wait for an elevator down to Customs.
As far as what time you can disembark, note what the time of docking is, and allow an hour for Customs etc to check the ship and allow passengers to start disembarking. That should be pretty close, but crew at the Gangway might have more information on the day.
We have a 12:10pm flight from FLL from the Oasis on April. In reading all these posts, I keep noticing mention of self assist luggage to get off ship earlier. I am assuming this means you keep all your baggage in your cabin rather than setting it out the night before? How do you know at what time you can disembark and how do you let guest services know this is waht you want to do? Neither of us can remember ever seeing it as an option on the paper you fill out that asks for departure time/flight #/etc.
Thanks much for explaining this!
You're right - you do keep your luggage with you instead of putting it in the hallway. At the same time I would suggest you think hard about doing it if you have more than one carry-on and one regular case. There is no one to help you so you really must be able to handle everything yourself.
If that's what you want to do, get up early have a quick breakfast and head to the disembarking area. You want to be as close as possible so you can watch and see when they allow self serve to leave. On the huge RCL ships that can be a big issue if you aren't really close to the front. It also depends on where the gangplank is. I do remember when we were on the Independence we decided to carry off our own luggage simply because it was only a 4 day and all we had was one carry on each. Well, what a terrible mess that was!!! Everyone who had done both the 4 day and the transatlantic thereby having piles of luggage were pushing and snarling their way off. It was horrid. But that's another story.
They don't usually have it on the sheet as you won't actually require bag tags as your luggage will be with you.
I would definitely do it again but I don't think I would do it if I was on a monster ship just because of the behaviour of the people who think they can carry off all their own (5) pieces of luggage that each of them are carrying.
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Venice, thanks for the interesting information. I just knew that we got to LAX early (!) one time and could have taken an earlier flight if we hadn't used the Luggage Valet.
One time one of our bags went from Florida to Kansas, then to Kentucky, then back to Arkansas, so I do know that bags and people aren't always on the same plane !
2sailors, what QofD said! Remember that you MUST be able to handle all of your bags. You won't get any help . They usually send a form about the middle of the week asking if you want to do the Self Assist.
Personally, I wouldn't do the Self Assist. FLL is only about 10 minutes from the port. Even if you were the last people off (won't happen!) you'd have time to make a 12:10 flight.
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2sailors, you are exactly right about the self-assist check-out, if you have an early flight, this is an option to consider, the only drawback is that you have to haul all your luggage yourself out of your cabin, down the corridor, onto the elevator etc, etc. All you need to do is inform guest relations once onboard
When I'm done with the cruise the only thing on my mind is going home. I always try to get a flight around noon. If there is an 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. flight, that is close in price, to a flight that leaves at 3:00 p.m. I'll jump on the earlier flight.
I may have to "wonder" about and accommodate the variables but the chances that I won't make an 11:30 a.m. flight are far, far less than the chances I will make it. The worst thing that will happen is that I miss the flight and I may have to pay the difference in cost, if there is one. In 30 years of flying and 30+ cruises I've never missed a flight, I didn't want to miss, and only on a couple of business flights did I just make it.
There is caution and there is extreme caution. I go with caution. I've sat around too many airports in my day. I have less time left in life and the less I spend in an airport the better.
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Thanks to all who responded to the self assist post. Never knew that as an option. We have learned over the course of several cruises to pack light, but it seems from posts that we will be fine with our flight time. Thanks again for all the feedback!
If you are using the Luggage Valet service for a flight out of FLL airport, your flight departure time must be 11:30AM or later, so you will be fine to use the Luggage Valet service for FLL. The flight departure time varies by port, which is why some of the previous review to this post are stating different departure times. Hope this helps!
Mike..with carriers downsizing equiptment, there may not be a seat to pay the penalty, if you missed your flight...you have been lucky so far, and hopefully it will continue..it only takes one missed flight, thru circumstances beyond your control, that might bring caution into your thought process...it's always the case, when you book a flight past 1230 pm, you get to the airport at 901 am
I have used Luggage Valet before and it was a great service that I will use on all future cruises! If you use the service you get your boarding pass delivered to your room the night before you return back to the port. You also get to be one of the first ones off of the ship as you don't have your luggage as the cruise ship takes this to the airport for you. See the schedule below for flight time limitations out of Florida Ports:
Port Everglades: Flying out of FLL - 11:30AM and later flights allowed
Flying out of MIA - 2:00PM and later flights allowed.
Port of Miami: Flying out of MIA - 11:30AM and later flights allowed.
Flying out of FLL - 2:00PM and later flights allowed.
Port Canaveral: Flying out of MCO - 12:00PM and later flights allowed.
Tampa: Flying out of TPA - 11:30AM and later flights allowed.