You have booked your cruise and paid in advance, but now there’s a problem — you missed your flight!
If You Miss Your Flight; What Happens Next
The first thing you need to do when you realize you won’t make it on time to your cruise ship sailing is contact Royal Caribbean International (RCI), Carnival Cruise Line, or Princess Cruises.
They will probably offer assistance getting you back on board with their next sailing.
Here’s what happens if you miss your flight:
If You Miss Your Flight Before It Departs
If you find out before your scheduled flight leaves that you can’t make it because of weather or mechanical problems, notify the airline as soon as possible so they can reroute you to your destination.
Contact your cruise ship immediately and let them know you’ll arrive at the next available time, usually 90 minutes after your original arrival date.
If you don’t hear from RCI within 12 hours, contact Princess Cruises and tell them you’ll arrive one hour late at the next port of call.
Princess Cruises has a policy similar to RCI’s. They will wait until 1 pm local time before beginning to process additional guests initially scheduled to arrive between 6 am and 10 am.
In addition, both companies will work with you to accommodate any special requests like connecting flights or hotel accommodations.
If You Miss Your Flight After It Leaves
If you cannot make it to your cruise ship after it departs, follow these steps:
First, contact RCI again and provide details about where you will be boarding the ship and how long until your next flight departs.
Then, check with the cruise line to see whether it will allow you to join the next day’s sailing at another port.
Depending on your itinerary, some lines may require you to pay for transportation to another port.
Most cruise lines will cancel your reservation and refund your money if you cannot travel to another port.
If you decide to proceed anyway, you should plan and book alternate lodging and transportation arrangements.
It’s also important to note that many cruise lines hold reservations only for specific ports of call. If you miss your ship at one stop, you might be unable to use those reservations at other stops along your journey.
If You Miss Your Ship
Even if you miss your flight, you can catch up with your cruise ship if it makes a second stop at another port.
However, this isn’t always easy to accomplish. Some cruise lines will continue to sail even if your ship doesn’t depart on schedule.
You could wait several days or weeks to reach your final destination.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind if you miss your ship:
Getting to Another Port
You must have proof of payment for the entire cruise to prove you are entitled to board the vessel at the next port.
This includes airfare, taxes, gratuities, and shore excursions.
If you didn’t purchase your tickets through the cruise line, you must obtain documentation showing you already paid for the trip.
These documents include copies of your credit card statements, bank receipts, or deposited checks.
Most cruise lines accept paper documentation, but others prefer electronic records such as e-mails or PDF files.
If you fail to produce proper documentation, the cruise line reserves the right to deny boarding to anyone without valid proof of payment.
What Do I Need To Know?
It would be best if you considered several things before taking action to try catching up with your cruise ship.
First, determine which cruise line you purchased your ticket from and then contact that company directly.
Contacting the individual cruise line rather than just calling the general number is more likely to result in a prompt response.
Second, ask yourself whether you want to risk missing your ship completely. While it’s disappointing to miss your vacation, you could spend several extra days traveling to the next port instead.
Third, prepare for the possibility that the ship might not dock at the next port. Many cruise lines move around frequently to avoid bad weather and overcrowding.
If you think you might be better off staying close to home, you should consider postponing your trip.
Fourth, remember that some cruise lines charge hefty fees for each passenger who misses their ship.
For example, Carnival charges $100 per person every 24 hours you’re late. That fee increases daily until you finally catch up with your ship.
Fifth, talk to someone else who recently had a delayed flight and was able to catch up with their cruise ship. Find out exactly what happened and how much it cost.
The Bottom Line
While missing your cruise ship is frustrating, it does not have to be a bad experience.
The best advice we can give you is to stay calm and act quickly.
Don’t hesitate to contact the cruise line and explain the situation. Also, call the airline whose flight you missed and ask them to reschedule your flight.
Many cruise lines offer free telephone support to answer questions and assist customers who encounter problems during their trips.