Our son and his family planned to fly to Florida to take a Disney cruise vacation. They were to leave from Detroit very early and were excited to board the ship as early as they could – except…
I received a text message about an hour or so after the plane took off from Detroit airport. They were back in Detroit because of mechanical issues with the plane. There were no spare planes available so the jet had to be repaired. But of course the airline did not have a hanger in Detroit. There was no way that the would-be cruisers were going to make the cruise departure.
We have cruised often ourselves and used to travel the day of embarkation. But we had heard so many stories of people missing their ship and we had a couple of close calls ourselves. So now we travel to the sunny south (or wherever) a day early and spend the night in a hotel close to the cruise port.
A delayed flight is nothing new – especially this winter season with all of the storms creating havoc at the airports. But it’s not just the airports. Roads were closed as well. Trains were delayed or cancelled. Travel in general came pretty much to a standstill.
Any of these could happen to you at any time of the year. You may even be driving to the cruise port when mechanical issues occur or perhaps an accident would close a road or cause gridlock. And the result could be that you would miss your cruise.
Having to find additional or alternate transportation to get to the second or third port-of-call because you “missed the boat” is not an option that we will entertain. But what we have found is that there are more perks to travelling early.
That’s right. Taking a leisurely day of travel a day in advance of sailing is much more preferable than the hustle and bustle (and especially the stress) of travelling to the cruise port just-in-time. You can arrive on board fresh and relaxed. Relish the moment of stepping onboard instead of heaving a weary sigh of relief. Find more joy on the day of embarkation.
The rest of the afternoon and evening are much more enjoyable as well. Because you are not dragging yourself around in an exhausted state you can actually have fun and check out all of the amenities that your new floating resort hotel has to offer.
So back to the story about my son’s trip that would not happen. They tried to book an alternate flight. There were no flights available on any airline at that late date. They had considered trying to catch up with the ship but the first port-of-call was to the cruise line’s private island. That meant that they could not board until three days later on a 5 night cruise.
All of the added expenses would be out of their pockets – flights, hotel rooms, meals and entertainment for the kids. It would have been almost like paying for the cruise again – and for less than half of the actual cruise! So, they came home bitterly disappointed but vowing to book their cruise again as soon as they could. Needless to say – they will be travelling to the cruise port a day early.
Do yourself a favour. Take an extra day to arrive at your cruise port area early. You won’t regret it!