by Don McCann
I think we’ve all heard “do as I say, not as I do”, right? Funny how that rings true, time after time……
Whether boarding your ship in Miami, or Barcelona, we always suggest that you fly in the day before. The airlines track record has become less stellar in the last few years and the lost and/or delayed baggage claims are noticeably worse these days, too. So for these reasons, we have heard too many ‘stories’ which illustrate why you should listen to us and GO THE DAY BEFORE (not to mention you are a bit more rested to begin your cruise and you eliminate the stress of maybe ‘missing the ship’).
So my last blog was about MY upcoming agent preview cruise of the new Norwegian Breakaway in New York. Even though I have preached the ‘day before’ thing for years, I booked flights to go the day of the cruise itself, arriving at a safe sounding 11:45am for our 4:00pm departure (and besides my traveling companion had to work, so that going the day before thing was not an option this time). Our Southwest flight was scheduled to depart at an eye-opening 6:05am, but it was worth the EARLY hour to arrive in plenty of time for the cruise.
The flight left the gate right on time for our first leg to New Orleans. After we backed out from the gate, the captain turned the plane toward the runway, just as expected. However, we did not proceed and instead just sat there for about five minutes. Then came the announcement “Well folks it seems that New Orleans is in the midst of some thunder showers right now and we’re in contact with our dispatch folks to see how soon they think it will be safe for us to continue”. Note: “thunder showers” is pilot speak for “STORMS and it is too bad to tell you just how bad it really is right now”. Sure enough, in a few minutes we were advised that we would be pulling back into the gate, as ‘dispatch’ thought it would be at least 30 minutes before we could proceed.
If you’ve been in this position, and most of you surely have, you first think “well, that’s it, we’re going to misconnect “ (and now we’re going to miss our ship). Depending on how you are wired, it may take a few seconds, or maybe a few minutes, but eventually you probably realize that “hey, if we are delayed due to weather there, then the plane we are connecting to should be delayed, too! (hope, hope)”. Sure enough, after we took off, the announcement came that Newark, Nashville, and Orlando passengers would all make their connections as those planes were being delayed, too. “Whew” was our first thought and since we did not have checked luggage, the ‘but will our luggage make the short connection” question was irrelevant this time.
After having the flight attendants be seated three separate times during our short, bump ridden flight, we finally arrived almost exactly an hour behind schedule. We dashed to the connecting gate, different than originally posted, and made it JUST as they were about to begin boarding. Again, WHEW.
Our arrival was just more than an hour behind the planned time in New York, but we made it to the ship just past 2:35pm (the requested boarding time was no later than 2:00pm, but we were welcomed just the same). Many of the activities and specialty dining options, which could be reserved only onboard, were already filled by the time we arrived. Disappointing and unfortunate, but at least we made it and could enjoy the next two days onboard this truly wonderful ship. However, there was anxiety and stress which would have all been moot if we’d simply gone a day early. The point being
“Do as I say and always GO THE DAY BEFORE!”
Details and photos on the cruise to follow in my next post.