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amandaepperson21

San Juan flight - too early?

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We are sailing Freedom on 9/15. Cruise planner says 6:00 am arrival. I called RCI and was told debarkation begins 60-90 minutes after arrival, so 7:00-7:30 am. We have The Key so we should be able to get off pretty quickly. The key supposedly has "choice" disembarkation. Not sure if choice = priority. Google Maps says the airport is 15-30 mins from the port. My flight leaves at 10:09 am. No checked bags, just carry ons. I feel like I have enough time so long as we aren't dragging our feet. What do you think? 

 

I chose this flight because all the other options will put us getting home super late. IF we don't make it, we can change flights and just pay the difference, so it's not the end of the world. I'm just wondering what everyone else's experience was getting to the airport. 

 

Thanks!

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You could make it, but I would choose self-assist disembarkation and get in line at least 45 minutes before scheduled arrival.   Remember, even your carry-ons have to go through agricultural inspection at the airport.

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Having The Key from what I understand, gets you off after all the suites/VIPs so you'd be before the majority of people.  The airport is only 15 mins. from the port via taxi but once there, you have to go through 2 lines - one for an agriculture check and THEN you can get in the line to check your bags.  You must do that first. 

As long as you get the lead out, your ship comes in on time and it clears immigration in a timely manner, you should be fine to catch that flight.  We booked a 10:00am also because we got tired of getting to SJU and waiting for hours for our noonish flights.  

Edited by DrivesLikeMario
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We never book a flight before noon.  Ours is 11:55.  Normally we are at the airport by 9ish and through the Ag line and customs and to our gate by 9:45 to 10 am.  for me personally, I would not book a flight that early, but then again on a 7 night cruise there is no way on this earth that I am carrying my luggage off the ship.  We get off early with the first tag called, grab our luggage and head out.

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We did self disembark off Adventure of the Seas back in 2015, and were at the airport before 8.  Keep in mind we were passengers 4 and 5 off the ship so we had no wait for anything. Got right through customs, directly into a cab and there were no lines at the airport yet. Bottom line is you can do it, but i wouldn't try it again. Too much stress at the end of a vacation. 

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8 minutes ago, MiniChunks said:

We did self disembark off Adventure of the Seas back in 2015, and were at the airport before 8.  Keep in mind we were passengers 4 and 5 off the ship so we had no wait for anything. Got right through customs, directly into a cab and there were no lines at the airport yet. Bottom line is you can do it, but i wouldn't try it again. Too much stress at the end of a vacation. 

 

Agree about the excessive stress at the end of the cruise, however that's why I mentioned being first in the walk-off line.  I would not even consider the OP's flight time if one was using the standard ship luggage service.

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2 hours ago, Host Clarea said:

 

Agree about the excessive stress at the end of the cruise, however that's why I mentioned being first in the walk-off line.  I would not even consider the OP's flight time if one was using the standard ship luggage service.

 

The walk off line did build quickly, and got very long after we got there. I can't remember how early we got down to the meeting area, but knowing me it was at least an hour before we were supposed to get off. In any case, we were in the front of the line.

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1 hour ago, steveru621 said:

Wow, passengers are going to have to start lining up for self assist at 4AM? 😁

 

You couldn't pay me enough to end a nice, relaxing vacation by trying to figure out to be the first one off at the crack of dawn. Nope, no thanks!

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I remember on one Anthem cruise we took out of Cape Liberty there were so many self assist they split them into three groups with luggage tags.

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We sailed on Freedom (southern caribbean itinerary) last September and after many flight changes with AA we ended up with a 9:45am flight. Everything else was too late to get us back to the west coast at a reasonable hour.

We were the first off the ship at 7:00am using self disembark...in a taxi...at OSJ by 7:20ish...through agriculture...checked in for our flight and checked in our luggage...at our departure gate in plenty of time.

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2 hours ago, steveru621 said:

Wow, passengers are going to have to start lining up for self assist at 4AM? 😁

 

Exactly.  It's gotten to the point where we've given up on self assist.  Now we just get a later flight and enjoy a relaxed, stress free last morning on board.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Zach1213 said:

 

You couldn't pay me enough to end a nice, relaxing vacation by trying to figure out to be the first one off at the crack of dawn. Nope, no thanks!

same here.  I am an early rising as a rule anyway, but on a 7 night cruise, I am totally happy getting off at 8ish,  getting a porter, getting our luggage and heading to the airport in San Juan.  

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1 minute ago, karena1 said:

same here.  I am an early rising as a rule anyway, but on a 7 night cruise, I am totally happy getting off at 8ish,  getting a porter, getting our luggage and heading to the airport in San Juan.  

 

Yep. Or stay the night. I'm not rushing home. I know a lot of people rush to get the earliest flight because they are often cheapest, but if I can't afford a reasonably timed flight, then that's not the trip for me and I'll look elsewhere. Also, we usually book our trips pretty late (compared to a lot of people, at least...never more than  few months out), so I know exactly how much a flight costs when it comes time to book the cruise.

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Just now, Zach1213 said:

 

Yep. Or stay the night. I'm not rushing home. I know a lot of people rush to get the earliest flight because they are often cheapest, but if I can't afford a reasonably timed flight, then that's not the trip for me and I'll look elsewhere. Also, we usually book our trips pretty late (compared to a lot of people, at least...never more than  few months out), so I know exactly how much a flight costs when it comes time to book the cruise.

Same here, I have had our 9/29 cruise on Freedom booked for over a year and 1/2.  As soon as Southwest came out with flights, I booked them.  In at 1 pm on Sat and a flight out at 11:55 on 10/6.  That is perfect for us.  When we get back to FLL we have about a 2.5 hour drive home to Fort Myers, so still home at a reasonable hour.

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There are situations where taking the early SJU flight is a necessity - like for those still working and living on the West Coast.  You do your best to make the early flight and come prepared with options in case you miss it.  Just part of life until retirement.

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