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booking flights after a cruise tips rule of thumb 24 04 2023 3

Booking Flights After a Cruise: Tips & Rule of Thumb

Are you wondering what time to book your flight home after a cruise? This is an important question because it could potentially mean the difference between an enjoyable post-cruise experience and a stressful one. In this article, we’ll provide you with the best rule of thumb for booking your flight after a cruise and provide some additional tips to help you out.

What Time to Book Flight After Cruise?

Our rule of thumb is to schedule your flight home no earlier than five hours after your cruise ship has docked. For cruises in the United States, the general rule of thumb has always been you are likely safe to book a flight after 11am, and noon or later is even better. Please ensure your flight arrives no later than four (4) hours before your cruise departure time. This should provide enough time to travel to the cruise and board before the ship departs.

Cruise lines will tell you not to book air before noon. The reason for this is that ships can be late in returning, or there can be delays in clearance (if people aren’t ready to disembark).

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when booking your flight home after a cruise:

  • For cruises departing from Ft. Lauderdale, the earliest international flight departure is five hours after the ship’s arrival. For domestic flights, the earliest departure is four hours and 30 minutes.
  • As a general rule, if the ship is supposed to dock at 7 am, it is best to book your flight in the early afternoon (around 2:00 pm) to be safe.
  • If it is a more remote port, it is best to give yourself more time and book your flight after 4 pm.

By following the rule of thumb and additional tips provided in this article, you should have a better idea of what time to book your flight home after a cruise. It’s always best to err on the side of caution, so give yourself enough time to make sure you don’t miss your flight and your cruise ship’s departure.

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What is the first time a flight departs after a cruise?


We advise reserving a flight no sooner than five hours after your cruise ship gets back to its home port on September 12, 2022. Nevertheless, the least amount of time you should allow yourself is three hours prior to the ship’s return (though we definitely recommend more time).

When does the cruise ship finish its voyage?

At the end of the journey, or turnaround day, passengers are requested to leave their cabins between 8 and 8:30 a.m. to give the staff the opportunity to begin cleaning them for the new group of people. All guests should have left the ship between 9 and 10 a.m. usually.

At what time should I schedule my flight back home after the Disney cruise?

Disney Cruise Line advises that you should not book any flights before 11:30 AM on the day you disembark the ship.

Should I take a plane the same day that my cruise leaves?

It’s recommended that you fly into the cruise port the day before your cruise sets sail to avoid any possible travel delays or cancellations that could prevent you from making it in time. Additionally, it’s much less stressful to do so.

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