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Long layover in Orlando Airport (MCO) - Returning from Royal Caribbean Cruise

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  • Nov 11th, 2018 10:53 pm
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Long layover in Orlando Airport (MCO) - Returning from Royal Caribbean Cruise

Hi:

Wondering if you can give some advice on my 1st ever cruise trip.
On our returning day, the ship docks at around 6 am, but our returning flight back to Toronto isn't until 9 pm that night.

Being the scary cat type, my GF and I have pre-arranged the return transport from Port Canaveral to MCO with the cruise company.
We are just trying our extreme luck to see if we can change the flight on the day off in case there are any cancellation.

The real questions I have is:
1) For those that have been with Royal Caribbean, what are the time frame on the returning day? My travel agent said we should be back in the airport by 11?

If this remains true... what are you suggestion of what we can do from noon - 6-7 ish...

Thanks
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Aug 16, 2009
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I'd rent a car and drive around or go to the airport and see if there's an earlier flight you can hop on to.
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Use your free lounge membership (you DO have one right?! this is RFD) at the MCO Lounge and eat snacks. Don't piss off the french guy at the lounge.
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b0ne wrote:
Nov 8th, 2018 3:09 pm
Use your free lounge membership (you DO have one right?! this is RFD) at the MCO Lounge and eat snacks. Don't piss off the french guy at the lounge.
Usually lounges only allow access 3 hrs before departure time
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Cruises tend to arrive back at Port on D-Day between 4 and 7 AM
Debarkation starts shortly afterwards
If you are using a Cruise Organized Shuttle to get to the Airport... then you are at their mercy
You could be tagged for Debarkation in the first batch off (yawn)
Or you could be tagged for midstream (crazy busy, long lines etc)
Doubtful you’ll be anywhere near the last off (after 9 AM)

This is one more reason when doing a cruise we organize our own transfers
(Even if we booked airfare thru the cruise ... so we fly in day before, and fly out Day after... it calms all the worries about weather and helps to avoid all the crazed panic in the Port City on E & D Days)

We intentionally opt for a late timeframe to get off the ship

Still means we have to be out of the cabin same time as every other cruiser (usually 8 AM)
And we have to get thru Breakfast before they close (also usually 8 AM)
But after that we find a nice spot in the sunshine and laze thru the next hour or two
While all the crazies rush to get off the ship
(You can gauge how things are going by just cruising by the Elevators)

Once things quiet down... we just pick up our carry ons and head off the ship
(After 9... sometimes it’s been as late as 10 AM)

And voila, the crowds are gone
No crazy line ups
Pick up our bags
Breeze thru US Customs
And straight to our own transport
Sometimes it’s a taxi, sometimes our car, sometimes a rental car
We spend the rest of D Day relaxing
Typically having burnt the candle at both ends in the last 24 Hours
Having gotten to bed late ... so as to make the most of the last night aboard
And then the insane early wake up for Arriving in Port

In your case, I would not be sitting at the airport in the AM for a 9 PM Departure
I’d rent a car at the Port* and look at finding a Hotel with Day Rates where you can chill for 6 Hours or so
A Nap would definitely be on my list

* Alternative to Cruise Shuttle to Airport, and then car rental
Although, some Hotels near the Airport, may run a Hotel Shuttle to & from the Airport
One way Car Rentals at the Ports are relatively easy ... cause so many people do them
And then you can drop it off at the Airport
Makes for easy transfer of luggage too

There are websites that can provide info on day use hotels & resorts
Day Use.com is one = https://www.dayuse.com
Last edited by PointsHubby on Nov 8th, 2018 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Thanks, I did mention to my GF about a day use hotel that might help to ease the tension off.

What about car rental or Uber to places like Disney Spring or Outlet mall?
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loopholez wrote:
Nov 8th, 2018 4:14 pm
Thanks, I did mention to my GF about a day use hotel that might help to ease the tension off.

What about car rental or Uber to places like Disney Spring or Outlet mall?
Ha. I was going to suggest renting a car and visiting Disney Springs and Outlets.
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Raggie wrote:
Nov 8th, 2018 4:43 pm

Ha. I was going to suggest renting a car and visiting Disney Springs and Outlets.
With your luggage after the cruise. Better rent a car so you dont have to carry your luggage around. But that's going to be a long tiring day, hope you are somebody who can sleep on the plane.
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b0ne wrote:
Nov 8th, 2018 3:09 pm
Use your free lounge membership (you DO have one right?! this is RFD) at the MCO Lounge and eat snacks. Don't piss off the french guy at the lounge.
The club at mco is nicer than the other 'the club' lounges I've seen .

But I wouldn't spend 8 hours there unless I was an alcoholic who just ate at an all you can eat buffet.
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MP3_SKY wrote:
Nov 8th, 2018 8:23 pm
With your luggage after the cruise. Better rent a car so you dont have to carry your luggage around. But that's going to be a long tiring day, hope you are somebody who can sleep on the plane.
Or better yet, skip the shuttle bus and just pick up the car rental from Port Canaveral, return to MCO at the end of the day.
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Raggie wrote:
Nov 8th, 2018 10:28 pm
Or better yet, skip the shuttle bus and just pick up the car rental from Port Canaveral, return to MCO at the end of the day.
I would love to, but I already booked the return bus, so this probably can't change unless the check in counter at the port allow us to do so.

I actually have a 2 part question:
1) Given at this point I am going to arrive back to the airport early, can I check in my luggage way ahead?
2) I know the cruise offer a night before - skip taking your luggage and directly check in to your flight.
Assuming I use this service, BUT I also manage to change to an earlier flight.. if this is the case then what happen?

Thanks again
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loopholez wrote:
Nov 9th, 2018 12:53 am
I would love to, but I already booked the return bus, so this probably can't change unless the check in counter at the port allow us to do so.

I actually have a 2 part question:
1) Given at this point I am going to arrive back to the airport early, can I check in my luggage way ahead?
2) I know the cruise offer a night before - skip taking your luggage and directly check in to your flight.
Assuming I use this service, BUT I also manage to change to an earlier flight.. if this is the case then what happen?

Thanks again
You can change whatever you like....you just won't get any money back.
Just make sure you walk off the ship with your bags and do not let them collect them.
If you can get an earlier flight, well, then you will have to decide what you want to do then.
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If you are flying Porter, you can change your flight free of charge on the departure day.
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loopholez wrote:
Nov 9th, 2018 12:53 am
I would love to, but I already booked the return bus, so this probably can't change unless the check in counter at the port allow us to do so.

I actually have a 2 part question:
1) Given at this point I am going to arrive back to the airport early, can I check in my luggage way ahead?
2) I know the cruise offer a night before - skip taking your luggage and directly check in to your flight.
Assuming I use this service, BUT I also manage to change to an earlier flight.. if this is the case then what happen?

Thanks again
1) I'm not sure how early you can check in your luggage, call and find out. You could also consider using a luggage locker in the airport.
2) I myself use the service you mention, but it was not offered by the cruise but a third party company. In the cruise terminal when you are exiting you will see signs for them (I think its called "bags to go" but search google). You will hand over your luggage to the company in the terminal after exiting the ship (not a night before service) and they will take it to the airport and you can pick it up from the airport anytime. Your luggage does NOT get checked in by the company, all they do is bring your luggage to a pickup counter in the airport. So even if you get an earlier flight, you can pick it before that flight and you check it in yourself. If you use this service you don't really need a rental car or the bus, just take an uber from the cruise port to universal studios or disneyland for the day.
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9pm is crazy late, you'll be tired just sitting around till then. Maybe take a post-cruise tour, which usually ends around 12-1pm or get a rental and drive to Universal or Disney.

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