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Norwegian cruise line Flight extremely short layover times

Sep 2, 2019
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My wife, my son, his fiancé, and I booked our October cruise on Norwegian Cruise lines through travel agents. We got our flights at a reduced rate through their “free” at sea promotion. The flight they booked allows us a 34 minute layover in Charlotte on the way to Miami from Baltimore, and on the way back only 32 minutes. We are willing to roll the dice on the way back, but we are very nervous about missing our cruise. We have talked to several people at NCL, but they each repeat that they are within the legal minimum. We are shocked at the callousness of Norwegian Cruise lines in addressing our concerns.
 

Neil Maley

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Unfortunately when you book those promos the cruise line holds all the cards on choosing your flights. But they also say they will get you there.

Minimum connection time in CLT is 40 minutes so neither flight meets that.

“MCT (minimum connection time) is 40 minutes for domestic to domestic in CLT. A minimum 1 hour scheduled connection .”

If you are using a travel agent, the AGENT should be advocating for you. Tell your agent to call NCLs air department and and tell them the flights do not meet the minimum and they need to change them and if they won’t, call his or her sales manager at NCL.

I hope you are flying in the day before. NEVER fly the day or a cruise- there are too many cancellations and make sure you have travel insurance. You are sailing during hurricane season.

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/the-right-travel-insurance.1283/
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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The good news with this promotion is that NCL assumes responsibility for your on-time arrival.

Theoretically, there should be alternate flights that will get you there in time to board. They do not control the airline's schedules, so this must be a "legal" connection. I expect that all cruise lines will buy the cheapest airfare they can . . .
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Ask to be put on an earlier flight — as Neil said those are not legal connections.

My concern is that if the flight is missed there may not be availability the same day.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Ok it seems that MCT for AA is 30 minutes for domestic. Which means if everything is on time one has approximately 24 minutes to get off the arriving plane, go to next gate and board before door is closed 10 mins before departure.

Are you in the back of incoming plane -if so one has to wait to get off.

I would not be comfortable with this connection.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
My wife, my son, his fiancé, and I booked our October cruise on Norwegian Cruise lines through travel agents. We got our flights at a reduced rate through their “free” at sea promotion. The flight they booked allows us a 34 minute layover in Charlotte on the way to Miami from Baltimore, and on the way back only 32 minutes. We are willing to roll the dice on the way back, but we are very nervous about missing our cruise. We have talked to several people at NCL, but they each repeat that they are within the legal minimum. We are shocked at the callousness of Norwegian Cruise lines in addressing our concerns.
What day is your cruise and what day are you flying? If you are not flying to your cruise embarkation port AT LEAST one (and preferably two) days prior to sailing you should absolutely not accept this booking. This type of booking on the day of sailing is a great way to miss your sailing date/time. Although NCL will have to get you to a port where you can board (if it is legal to do so), your cruise will start off in the worst way.

Also, are there later flights from Charlotte to Miami after the one you are scheduled on? If there are later flights, will one get you to your cruise before it sails?
 
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Apr 19, 2017
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My wife, my son, his fiancé, and I booked our October cruise on Norwegian Cruise lines through travel agents. We got our flights at a reduced rate through their “free” at sea promotion. The flight they booked allows us a 34 minute layover in Charlotte on the way to Miami from Baltimore, and on the way back only 32 minutes.
This is a barely legal but inadvisable connection, but is standard procedure for cruise line air bookings. They will also insist on your flying in on embarkation day, which as we have discussed here repeatedly is a really bad idea. They will charge extra for a flight the preceding day, but do that anyway.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Have you gotten your PRN yet? Cruise critic posts show that most aren't getting it until around 30 days out. If not you still have time to pay the deviation fee of $25pp to arrive the day before.

From reading cruise critic NCL is not letting people change flights. There have been multiple reports of people in two different cabins having two different flights. I've seen one thread about NCL not helping them get to the next port when their flight was late.

The tradeoff for the free or cheaper flight is zero control over the flights. It's not operating like traditional cruise flights do.
 
May 30, 2019
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It appears to me that your connections are tight but according to AA are Legal.

Do any of you have "Special Needs" -- typically as defined by the airlines as requiring a wheelchair or physical support to get on the plane? If so, then your connection goes from being Legal to Not Legal because you'll need some extra time. That should be flagged with both the airline and NCL so you can be properly accommodated.
 
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May 30, 2019
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It appears to me that your connections are tight but according to AA are Legal.

Do any of you have "Special Needs" -- typically as defined by the airlines as requiring a wheelchair or physical support to get on the plane? If so, then your connection goes from being Legal to Not Legal because you'll need some extra time. That should be flagged with both the airline and NCL so you can be properly accommodated.
... however if you've been given the flight info and the ticket was booked, it may be too late to do anything other than book your own flight.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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My wife, my son, his fiancé, and I booked our October cruise on Norwegian Cruise lines through travel agents. We got our flights at a reduced rate through their “free” at sea promotion. The flight they booked allows us a 34 minute layover in Charlotte on the way to Miami from Baltimore, and on the way back only 32 minutes. We are willing to roll the dice on the way back, but we are very nervous about missing our cruise. We have talked to several people at NCL, but they each repeat that they are within the legal minimum. We are shocked at the callousness of Norwegian Cruise lines in addressing our concerns.
Can I say if IF and a Big Big IF you actually make your flight I would promise that your Bags will not make the connection. You have a real chance of no luggage on your cruise. I’m so sorry but there is not a chance I would accept this connection. If you purchased thru a Travel Agent they should fight this battle for you and get it solved.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Travel providers who mess up their customer's lives like this infuriate me. I have heard so many horrendous stories from other pax describing how they got to the cruise port. We dined with a couple from South Africa last year who had spent 24 hours getting to Jacksonville FL.

Cruise lines don't HAVE to book the cheapest, most awkward flights; their agents are just lazy and probably pressured to produce volume. Spend an hour researching flights so you know exactly what's available and can formulate Plans B, C and D. Use an online booking service to see all the info ... for research only.

Under no circumstances let anyone convince you to fly to MIA the day of your cruise. If you booked through a real travel agent, ask them to arrange flights that make sense. If there's a charge for that, just pay it. Nobody should miss embarkation to save $50. If you made these bookings through an online booking service (they like to call themselves travel agents but they don't perform the services of a TA) things might get a little sticky. Good luck, and please let us know the outcome.
 
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Sep 2, 2019
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Thanks, everyone, for your replies and advice. We have always booked our own flights and never leave the day of a cruise. We were under the erroneous assumption that if we booked through the cruise line, they would see to it that we would get to our cruise. After we received our tickets, we were made aware that NCL accepts no responsibility for delays. We were not aware of the ability to request a deviation until after we were ticketed. Our travel agent tried once and got the same answer we got from many NCL agents – we could pay $150 per person to cancel the flight and rebook, plus the difference in cost of the flight. NCL - we’ve spoken with several agents - refused to assist in any way and were frustratingly indifferent about this whole situation. We were refused a request to speak to a supervisor. They told us to be sure we had insurance, and stated that we shouldn’t be worried about “hypotheticals” in the same breath. American Airlines has been wonderful, trying to walk us through getting NCL to request a waiver, but NCL wouldn’t budge. Thank heavens that someone at American Airlines finally took pity (our fifth call) this morning and gave us a flight, with a 46 minute connecting time. If we miss the connection, there are a couple other options, since it is an earlier flight.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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The OP booked through a promo NCL has been offering with their free at sea promo for the last few months. If selected you only have control over TWO things. 1) the departure airport and 2) you can pay a deviation fee of $25pp to arrive up to two days before or leave up to two days after which you have to do before they book your flights. See the learn more verbiage from NCLs site below:

With Norwegian's Free and Reduced Air Offer, Guests 1 & 2 can enjoy big savings on roundtrip flights to over 1,000 cruises. Simply select an airport in the Your Offers step of your cruise booking, and then leave the rest to us!

Can I make changes to my air reservations with Free and Reduced Airfare, such as upgrading service class?
The offer includes Economy, round-trip flights from select departure gateways. While we cannot accommodate requests for upgrading class of service, changing airlines, or schedules, we can accommodate requests to change flight dates by up to 2 days before or after your cruise. For example, instead of flying in on the day of your cruise, you can arrive two days earlier. The same applies to post-cruise flights, so you can stay in the city of debarkation two days after. Please note there is a $25 deviation fee per person
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,109
20,969
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Thanks, everyone, for your replies and advice. We have always booked our own flights and never leave the day of a cruise. We were under the erroneous assumption that if we booked through the cruise line, they would see to it that we would get to our cruise. After we received our tickets, we were made aware that NCL accepts no responsibility for delays. We were not aware of the ability to request a deviation until after we were ticketed. Our travel agent tried once and got the same answer we got from many NCL agents – we could pay $150 per person to cancel the flight and rebook, plus the difference in cost of the flight. NCL - we’ve spoken with several agents - refused to assist in any way and were frustratingly indifferent about this whole situation. We were refused a request to speak to a supervisor. They told us to be sure we had insurance, and stated that we shouldn’t be worried about “hypotheticals” in the same breath. American Airlines has been wonderful, trying to walk us through getting NCL to request a waiver, but NCL wouldn’t budge. Thank heavens that someone at American Airlines finally took pity (our fifth call) this morning and gave us a flight, with a 46 minute connecting time. If we miss the connection, there are a couple other options, since it is an earlier flight.
Why didn’t your travel agent tell you about the deviation fee and the fact you could change the flight for a fee right from the start?

If you didn’t pay the deviation fee- are you flying in the day of the cruise ?
 
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VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,440
4,182
113
the United States
Thanks, everyone, for your replies and advice. We have always booked our own flights and never leave the day of a cruise. We were under the erroneous assumption that if we booked through the cruise line, they would see to it that we would get to our cruise. After we received our tickets, we were made aware that NCL accepts no responsibility for delays. We were not aware of the ability to request a deviation until after we were ticketed. Our travel agent tried once and got the same answer we got from many NCL agents – we could pay $150 per person to cancel the flight and rebook, plus the difference in cost of the flight. NCL - we’ve spoken with several agents - refused to assist in any way and were frustratingly indifferent about this whole situation. We were refused a request to speak to a supervisor. They told us to be sure we had insurance, and stated that we shouldn’t be worried about “hypotheticals” in the same breath. American Airlines has been wonderful, trying to walk us through getting NCL to request a waiver, but NCL wouldn’t budge. Thank heavens that someone at American Airlines finally took pity (our fifth call) this morning and gave us a flight, with a 46 minute connecting time. If we miss the connection, there are a couple other options, since it is an earlier flight.
It is, I think, a constant battle to maintain a healthy balance between cost savings and risk avoidance. What is often seen in this forum are those consumers who chose savings and then experience pain when things go awry. In our early travels we worked hard to save everything we could everywhere we could. These years later we have embraced the peace of mind that comes from building margin into our travels and spending some extra funds to lessen the stress that abounds in that context.

You are wise to be concerned about the timeframe for the flights. It's really a "perfection connection". Best wishes . . .