Flying to your Cruise Destination

September 13th, 2013

In searching for that “just right” cruise, you’ve followed all the rules — researched cruise lines, examined possible itineraries, booked your ship, selected a stateroom and picked an itinerary.

So what’s next?

You’d be surprised at how many factors — perhaps less earth-shattering but important nevertheless — remain to be considered. One of the first areas of concern is scheduling your flight in order to best accommodate your cruise.

When flying in, plan to arrive by noon — at the latest — on embarkation day. The day before is even better. The reason: You need to factor in possible flight delays and other transportation glitches that could keep you from getting to the pier on time. The same advice goes for the flight home — book flights no earlier than noon, just in case your ship is delayed clearing customs and you debark late.

If your flight is delayed, let airline personnel know immediately that you’re a cruise passenger scheduled to set sail that day so they can try to accommodate you on another flight. Then be sure to contact your cruise line as soon as possible and let them know about the delay (cruise lines offer a toll-free emergency number to call on the day of travel; make sure you have it on hand). In some cases, though not many, when several passengers are delayed a ship’s departure might be postponed. In other cases, you may have to arrange to fly to the next port and meet the ship, possibly at your expense.

Be sure to read through the cruise information before you leave, attach the luggage tags provided to all of your bags and fill out any boarding paperwork prior to departure (some cruise line Web sites now allow you to complete some of the boarding paperwork online via their Web sites). It’s also your responsibility to ascertain whether you need a visa or passport for travel, and to acquire the necessary documents prior to cruising. Hint: It’s always safest to bring a passport when cruising, even if you’re sailing roundtrip from the U.S.
Be sure to keep necessary documents and necessities in your carry on, and don’t forget to check with your particular cruise line regarding dress code, excursions and other activities to ensure a remarkable getaway!


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