I get it. You’re already taking a week off of work and vacation days are precious. You picked a cruise going out on a Sunday so you could fly out a day before the ship leaves. You’ve heard stories of people running to the ship, of flight delays and cancellations and you won’t let that be you. You ask yourself, “why then?” when I say, don’t just fly to the ship a day early, if you can, fly days early. Yes, it will cut into your precious vacation days, but, and depending especially on where you are flying, life is short and plane tickets are expensive. Not convinced yet? Here are 5 reasons to fly to the ship days in advance.
5. Less Busy Travel Days
The majority of cruises are 7 nights long and leave on either a Saturday or Sunday. If you were to travel to your cruise one day in advance of either of those, then you are flying on a Friday or a Saturday. Flying down a few days early allows you to travel on a possibly less busy day of the week such as Wednesday or Thursday. Less crowded airports (I know, it’s COVID times, we all just want to travel, but think back to when you were at airports and they were really busy and how cranky and icky and angry some of those people are. Eww. The less of them the better.)
4. Less Busy Days at Tourist Hot Spots
Say you fly into Orlando for a cruise departing from Port Canaveral and you plan on going to Disney for a few days before the cruise. Would you rather be at Disney on a Wednesday or Thursday or on a Friday or Saturday?
3. Flight Delays/ Cancellations & Luggage Mishaps
You see this and think I’m being unreasonable. How could I possibly suggest that you need to fly to the ship two days before the ship leaves? There is no way that there will be that many delays or cancellations! Well, that all depends. If you are flying in the winter a large winter storm can cancel flights out of major hubs sometimes for days. Add to that the every day challenges of winter – I grew up in Vermont and over the years I have had flights cancelled for snow, ice, and once because the de-icer was broken – winter weather can throw major issues at a flight schedule.
If you are flying internationally flights sometimes only run once a day from specific hubs. Miss your flight, have it cancelled, or a delay causing you to miss your connection and you might very well miss your cruise.
Lastly, if you end up having to switch flights or change connecting airports or end up with more connections than planned you are increasing your odds of your luggage not showing up where you are. An extra couple days not only allows for you to catch up with the ship, but for your luggage to catch up with you. For our honeymoon last year they lost our luggage on our way home. While it was lucky that it was on the way home, the airline had it delivered to our doorstep within 48 hours. Plan a little extra time before the cruise and possibly avoid wearing a lot of really excellent cheesy tourist t-shirts. 🙂
Note: I know that a good travel credit card or travel insurance will cover a lot of the expense of these inconveniences and challenges. They’ll give you money to buy clothes and they’ll pay for the flight to catch up with the ship. But, do you really want to be playing catch up on your vacation?
2. Adjust to the time zone
Jet lag is real! They say that it typically takes 1 day to adjust for each hour difference. There are some tricks to help adjust to jet lag quicker, but very rarely will you be able to adjust to a large time zone difference in one day. Would you rather start your cruise already adjusted to the time zones, energized and ready to take on the day? Or, drowsy from jet lag?
1. A Chance To See Somewhere Incredible
By far the most important reason to fly to your cruise early is to see somewhere incredible. Take for instance a cruise in the Mediterranean. The cruise leaves out of Rome and you’ve never been there. If you fly in the day before you most likely won’t get to see much of the city. Have a flight delay and you won’t get to see any of it. You get on the ship and everyone is talking about seeing the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum and you’re like… “well, my flight was delayed and we only go to the hotel late last night.” Literally, a life opportunity that was right there and it’s gone because you didn’t want to take one more vacation day. How much were those plane tickets to Rome? My guess is more than if you took an un-paid day off of work. Seriously people! Same goes for any place that you have dreamed about. Any place that you’ve seen in a movie and gone, “I wish I could go there.” Need I remind you the disaster of disappointed dreams that has been 2020? If you get a chance to make a dream happen and you are that close, do whatever you can to make it happen!
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