We strongly advise our passengers to come into the departure port city at least one day early. For port cities outside of the United States, we recommend arriving two days early. I can't tell you how many people try to fly or drive in on the day of a cruise, only to have car trouble, miss their flight, run into inclement weather and end up missing the boat. If you miss the boat, you can catch a flight to our next destination, but in many cases, you will have missed at least a third of the cruise. Also, you will have to buy last minute airfare to the next destination (and that won't be cheap!). Even travel insurance won't pay for this just because you missed the boarding time.
I (Bob) was recently on a flight from New Orleans to Ft. Lauderdale, to meet with our friends from Royal Caribbean. I was going to check out one of their ships for a site inspection the next day. Our plane was diverted to Tampa because of storms in the Ft. Lauderdale area. We were supposed to land at noon, but we ended up stuck in Tampa for over 5 hours and we didn't make it to Ft. Lauderdale until around 7 pm (long after the cruise ships left the port). There were 27 people on this flight that were all heading to Ft. Lauderdale to catch their cruise ships on the day of their sailing. They all missed the boat.
I remember when the panic started to set in and the passengers started to realize that they might miss the ship. It wasn't pretty. A couple of the kids started crying. A woman started shouting at the stewardess. There was simply nothing the flight crew could do; the airport in Ft. Lauderdale was closed. There was nothing to do but wait. What made it worse was that this wasn't the only flight heading to South Florida. That meant that the airport would be backed up for hours, while they figured out how to bring in the flights that were already in the air, plus figure out how to get diverted planes (like ours) re-scheduled into Ft. Lauderdale.
They let us off the plane for a while. Some passengers decided to get back on another plane and simply head home. All that time they spent looking forward to a cruise, all that money they spent… gone. Instead, they were heading home and had to explain to their family why they weren't going on a cruise. All because they wanted to save a little money and not have to get a hotel room for just one night. Speaking of that, I won't tell you what some of the spouses said to their partners when they realized that their decision to save $100-$150 caused them to miss their cruise. It's pretty silly, when you think of it that way.
Need another reason to come in early: Get to know your shipmates early!
We are going to offer a variety of Meet & Greets, receptions and Grand Gala Balls. You can catch up with old friends and make new ones before you even get on board. So don't even think of coming in on the day of your Couples Cruise, it just isn't worth the risk.
See you in Port, the night before the Couples Cruise.