Yes, you do drop off your luggage and then park. It's not as bad as this sounds but it is kind of a circle that you go in and then park. It is very easy and they direct you. Don't worry about the 2:00 thing. Almost every cruise will give you these recommended guidelines. I think you will be fine if you plan to be there at 11:30 or 12:00. Are you going on the Pride? When? We are going in August. If you go before then, you will have to let me know how it is. Again, I'm not sure about the VIP because I've never done it. As I recall, it was more like a separate special waiting lounge. If this is the case, I bet you get priority embarkment but not sure.