You do not want to miss your cruise ship to the Caribbean.
I have seen people boarding ships in ports outside the US, because they missed the departure. Let me just say that those passengers looked haggard and unhappy.
Your cruise ship will generally depart from its US port at 4 or 5 pm, depending on the cruise line. While it is reasonable to think that you can fly in early the morning of your cruise - many do that - things do happen.
Flights get cancelled or delayed or vehicles break down.
Plan to fly into your cruise port the day before your cruise and stay at a cruise port hotel. Yes, I understand that this is an added expense, especially if you have to book more than one hotel room.
However, staying at hotel near the cruise will be far cheaper than trying to catch the ship at the next port.
Ask your Travel Agent to find you a good rate on a hotel near the port and book it. Or, you can choose to search sites like TripAdvisor or BookingBuddy to compare hotel rates and get the best price.
Getting to the cruise port the day before means that you will get up refreshed the morning of your cruise and will be pretty close to your ship.
You will make your ship!
Missing your cruise ship's departure can be very costly. Imagine having to buy a one-way ticket to Ocho Rios, Jamaica for 4 members of your family.
What if the next port at which you can board is the cruise line's private Bahamian island, with no nearby airport? Not good!
Here are some things to note:
1. In most cases you are able to meet the ship at one of the ports on the itinerary. Call the cruise line to find out at which port they will allow boarding.
2. If you buy the cruise line's insurance, and you miss the ship due to circumstances beyond your control - flight delay or cancellation - the cruise line will work with the airline to get you to a port at which you can board the ship.
However, there is no guarantee that they will get you to that port.
3. If you choose to buy cruise travel insurance from another company, ensure that it covers flight delays and cancellations.
They may not help you get to the next port, but you will be reimbursed for the added expenses.
Friends, it is not a pleasant thing to miss your cruise ship. Life is full of surprises, so do what you can to ensure that you are well positioned to get on your ship at its US departure port.