It is a complete mystery to me why FO (or anyone else for that matter) use Miami. The most unfriendly place I've ever had the misfortune to pass through, with indifferent and downright rude staff and long queues. Your luggage will be transferred to the ship, but one of our cases was virtually destroyed by the US handling agents. Never again as far as I am concerned.
I was on the Balmoral last March travelling from Miami and you have to collect your own luggage and take it through immigration/customs (this is the usual procedure for all cruises for passgers arriving to the USA), Once you have left the airport you will be transfered by bus to the ship - 20 to 25 minutes away form the pier. You also have to pick up own cases upon leaving the ship and take them through the "inspection procedure". Porters will be available for your assistance if you find it difficult to cope (a 1 - 2 dollar tip per case is the usaul rate). Clearing immigration can be slow although it is expected that the introduction of the web based pre-entry visa waiver system should speed the system up. Another downside is that no matter what time your flight leaves for the UK you have to depart the ship by 10am, we were taken to a shopping Mall for the morning and weregiven a voucher which could be exchanged in many of the cafes for food and drink. However, we were still taken to the airport some 5 hours before our departure time, so expect a long wait (take a good book to pass the time away).
In the itinary I read the ship only docks at 12 noon. Has there been a change in schedule???
Just recently returned from Fred.Olsen cruise on the Braemar BM217.We had absolutely no complaints about the cruise... it was just perfect BUT the company must do a rethink about using Miami as a port of embarkation.We were informed on the flight out that our luggage would be sent direct to the ship,but this was not true and we were almost leaving the airport before we were informed that it had all been dumped at one of the carousels.Fred.Olsen were not allowed a presence inside the airport. so information was hard to come by.Worst of all, it took four hours after landing,being herded about like cattle,"Stand in this line" Stand in that line"and at all times treated like potential criminals before we were able to join the bus for the short journey to the ship.With the new rules coming into force on 12th January I sincerely hope that this scenario will not be repeated.
Thanks for comments.
Do you know what an esta form is because as far as i know have not filled one in, i just presume my travel agent has done this on my behalf.
I am flying to Miami today, and am vey anxious abut the bad reputation Miami airport has. I have completed an ESTA form, which has been acknowledged and given me 'right to enter'. so I hope this will make things a bit better. However, when I get back, I will contact you again and let you know what its all about. I note that some people are talking about 4 hours etc etc, but this does happen elsewhere - last year at Sharm we had to sit on the coachs for 3 hours, whilst everything was checked, and the year before it took us 3 hours from plane landing to leaving the aiport at Birmingham UK, so maybe for the sake of safety and the problems in the middle east we should be a bit more tolerant - better to hang around 3 or 4 hours than risk another 9/11.
You have to collect your bags, and get through customs, which is a long and tiring job - Miami airport is dreadful, however, it is all made better when you get to the ship. Best of luck at the airport !!
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