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Flight Timings And Tight Connections After Cruise  
User currently offlineflySFO From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 134 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5060 times:

Hi there,

I'm flying from LAX to Orlando in December for a cruise and I have a couple of flight options on the way back, all for the same price so money isn't a factor. The cruise gets into Port Canaveral at 7am on a Thursday. All flights departing MCO arriving LAX. We will NOT be checking any bags.

1. Delta departing 1:00pm arriving 6:13pm with 1:08 connection in CVG
2. Delta departing 2:10pm arriving 7:17pm with 0:34 connection in MSP
3. United departing 3:00pm arriving 9:40pm with 3:57 connection in IAH
4. United departing 4:15pm arriving 9:40pm with 2:35 connection in IAH (same second leg as #3)

Option 2 would be my top pick except I'm worried about the tight 34 minute connection in MSP, especially given this will be Minnesota weather in the middle of December. With option 1, I'm worried about not making the 1pm departure with the time it takes to get off the ship clear customs and travel to MCO from Port Canaveral. Anybody have any thoughts? Thanks!

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSonomaFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2213 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5018 times:
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You'd be crazy to pick a connection of under 45 mins minimum. My rule of thumb is an hour given planes can run late alot. I'd pick the DL flight going through CVG (#1). My second pick would be option #4.

You can get the option to be first off with many cruise lines - especially if you are traveling light. Check with them before you take your trip. If you get slotted later, guest services can move you up. However, 1 p.m. should be fine.

Have fun.

User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17738 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 4966 times:

I don't have any experience of cruises, so don't know what the process is like at arrival or how common it is with delays. Anyway I would rule out the second option as that is too short of a connection. I wouldn't even book such a short connection during the summer months let alone in December. I would go with the fourth option as that would give you the most time to transfer from the ship to MCO. I wouldn't even consider option three as there is no point of taking a earlier flight out of MCO to only have a longer layover at IAH and still arrive at the same time in Los Angeles. The 1pm connections doesn't leave too much room for any delays, and I doubt that the first thing you want to do after a relaxing cruise is to stress and rush to the airport.

In short, rule out the second and third options. If you feel comfortable with the 1pm departure go ahead with that then, otherwise choose the fourth option.

Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7606 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4903 times:

I would stay away from #2 because of Decemebr and the short connection time. I would defiently stay away from #1. Even though you have no check bags so I guess no bags for the cruise you probably won't get off the boat until about 9am. That's usually how it goes. Maybe a bit earlier the passengers of the ship don't get off right away at 7. There is a debroading process which include CBP clearing the ship and then going through customs and immigration on shore. You will then get on a bus I presume? Not sure how they will assign passengers to a bus. It might be based on flight time. I would call the cruise line and figure out these details. Maybe option 1 is possible. The thing I don't like about option 1 is if there is bad traffic, a bad accident on the highway to MCO that trip could take sometime. If you are done with all the deboarding process at 9am and there is bad traffic you might not get to MCO until 12pm depending how long the bus waits for passengers etc.. Tons of variables.

Also with no bags you can take your time on the morning of disbarkcation and get some breakfast if you do option 3 or 4.

Sum it all up: call the cruise line, but I would take 2 for sure and would hesitate with 1.

"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 1252 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4871 times:

You are on vacation, so I presume you are trying to relax. Options 1 and 2 are not the least bit relaxing. For 1, you are assuming you get off the ship promptly after it docks and proceed without delay to and through the airport. The cruises I've been on didn't let everyone get off immediately after docking. There are immigration issues, and they try to stagger debarkations to avoid a rush at baggage claim and transport. Usually higher classes get off first. If you have a cheaper ticket plan on being last. It will probably work fine, but the 68 minute connection assumes everything is on time at the airport. In December. Option 2 is just foolish. Do you want to run through a big airport with your carry on bags?

Options 3 and 4 get you into LAX just 3 hours and a bit later than option 1, but relaxed. If you have much driving to do in LA, 6:13 is a bad time anyway. After 9 the airport and the freeways are much calmer. I guess I'd go for 3, spending more time in the larger airport where there are more food choices.

Don't return from a vacation with a frenzied trip.

User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7606 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4855 times:

Quoting flymia (Reply 3):
Sum it all up: call the cruise line, but I would take 2 for sure and would hesitate with 1.

*i would not take 2.

Quoting aklrno (Reply 4):

Exactly what I was thinking. The later departure gives a much more relaxed departure from the boat and the cruises I have been on breakfast is offered on the last morning. Go and enjoy one more "free" meal and take your time getting off the boat.

"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineTPAfan From United States of America, joined Apr 2013, 178 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 4653 times:

Quoting flySFO (Thread starter):

I took a cruise from Boston in July, and if you get up early, and you are ready to get off before the time, it should be easy getting off. I was off in no time, about ten minutes waiting, for those who were ahead of me. And I did nothing special, just packed my bags the night before, and got up early. That said, I was not flying afterwards. But Port Canaveral and Orlando are hadly next to each other, goggle maps says 45 minutes. I would still take option one definitely.

User currently offlineJetsgo From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3125 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4647 times:

Have you considered flying home the day after the cruise? We always do this and if you can line it up, I'd recommend looking into it. Not only does it make debarkation less stressful, but many times a flight home early the next morning is so much cheaper that it offsets the cost of a hotel for that night. Plus you get an extra day of vaca!   

To answer your question though, I would shoot for Option 1 if you can get priority debarkation. If you are sailing Carnival, their Faster To The Fun can't be beat at $50/cabin. I would also book cruise line transportation to MCO even if it's more expensive. These two combined would get you to MCO in a reasonable amount of time assuming the you or the ship isn't delayed by CBP. If you're not willing to risk it though, definetly Option 4 and take your time debarking after a nice breakfast.

[Edited 2013-08-16 13:22:53]

Marine Corps Aviation, The Last To Let You Down!
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 30071 posts, RR: 59
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4631 times:

Quoting flySFO (Thread starter):
1. Delta departing 1:00pm arriving 6:13pm with 1:08 connection in CVG

Having taken numerous cruises over the years I would go for option 1. Thats plenty of time even allowing for delays. If I was doing a TATL I would allow more time but for a Caribbean its plenty.


This is RCIs guide which is similar to all lines.

Air Travel

Q: What is the latest arrival time to reserve a flight before the cruise, or the earliest departure time to reserve a flight after the cruise in order to make port/airport connections on time?


Ship: Freedom Of The Seas

Airport of Disembarkation: Orlando-Orlando Intl

Port of Disembarkation: Port Canaveral, Florida

Earliest Departure Time: 12:30 PM


Keep your bags in your cabin and walk off the next morning. Dont bother leaving them outside the cabin the night before. Always much quicker that way.

[Edited 2013-08-16 14:06:55]

User currently offlineroseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 11166 posts, RR: 52
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4616 times:

I actually wouldn’t worry too much about the 34 minute connection because there are 2 flights later in the day since your final destination is LAX. Delta should be able to route you there on the same day without too much trouble unless a snowstorm is grounding a lot of flights and the standby list is out of control. It is tight and you might not be able to get your carry on in a bin. Also, MSP can have rather long distances to travel between the gates.

The United flight via Houston is not that bad. Unless you are craving miles, MSP is quite far out of the way when flying from Florida to LAX. Some people on A.net love being on planes, but personally, I’d prefer a long connection on the ground over an additional 90 minutes in an economy seat if my total journey time is the same.

If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineNorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1979 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4524 times:
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Quoting flySFO (Thread starter):
2. Delta departing 2:10pm arriving 7:17pm with 0:34 connection in MSP

Personally, I would avoid this one.

As an after hours travel agent i've had too many calls in my 17 year career that start with the traveler (or his travel agent) believing that a 35 minute connection at an airport the size of MSP is makeable, then, the inbound aircraft arrives into MSP late or has to sit in the penalty box before pulling into G-22 and the traveler discovers that his connection is going from C-22, clear on the other side of the airport. Maybe the connection is also delayed so he does an olympic sprint to the connecting gate only to discover that the flight is closed. Begin then hysterical screaming by traveler at gate agent and after hours travel agent about about why they cant just open the door and let him on.

More than once i've overheard passengers saying to gate agents "the plane is right there! Why cant you just open the door? Just open the damned door! Please, this is an emergency my (mother/father/brother/sister/cat/dog) is (sick/in the hospital/dying) i have to get on this flight."

The hysterical screaming intensifies when the traveler discovers that the next available flight is the following tuesday, which can happen when you combine the Christmas travel season with the after effects of a winter storm that shut down the airport the day before.

Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
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