When you fly to the port to board a cruise ship, a flight delay or cancellation is always possible. But right now, a combination of factors – high demand for flights, some airline and airport staff shortages, plus the perpetual unpredictability of weather – is increasing the chances of a flight delay or cancellation.
As you know, cruise ships wait for no one; if you don’t get to the ship on time, it will sail without you. So, here are some tips to help ensure you arrive at your ship on time and ready to cruise.
Plan to arrive in port at least two days before your cruise begins. For years, travel professionals have advised arriving a day early for your peace of mind; right now, a two-day cushion provides greater comfort. If all goes well, you’ll have time to enjoy the port city and buy anything you forgot to pack.
Pick the earliest flight of the day to your port. If it’s canceled, you may have a better chance of catching a later flight the same day.
Fly to the port as directly as possible. The more flight segments you have, the greater the chance that at least one will be delayed. If you must make a connection or two, allow at least two hours between connecting flights. And if you can, don’t check any baggage; edit down your cruise wardrobe and pack it all into a carry-on bag to keep with you.
Expect long lines for airport check-in and security screening, so get there early and be prepared. For years, we have been advised to arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight; right now, it’s wise to increase that amount of time. Dress comfortably, be patient and bring a mobile device loaded with reading and games to help pass the time.
Consider a different way of getting to your ship. If a car, bus, or train can get you to the port in a day or two, it may be a good way to go. Road and rail trips can be quite scenic and relaxing, especially if they take away the stress of worrying that a flight might be canceled.
Finally, keep your professional travel advisor’s contact information handy. If it looks like you might not get to your ship on time, get in touch for good advice on what to do next.
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