Holland America Does the Impossible
For decades the standard time for staterooms to be accessible on embarkation day has been 1:30 p.m. But Holland just implemented a new procedure that makes your stateroom ready for you the moment you embark - starting at 11:30 A.M. They have eliminated the wait and the crowds in the Lido Restaurant on embarkation day. Good job!
How did they accomplish this little but important miracle of time compression? If you want to know how you can read it in CruiseMates: Holland America Staterooms Open at 11:30
I have never understood, personally, why so many people want to arrive at the cruise ship as early as possible on embarkation day. But I know many people like to arrive at the terminal at the earliest possible moment - as early as 10:30 in some cases. For the most part this only means standing in a line to wait for the check-in process to start - usually at 11:00. After you checked in you still have to wait for the ship to say it is ready to receive the new passengers - usually about noon. To top it off, once you get onboard the only worthwhile place to go is the Lido Buffet restaurant, toting your carryon luggage with you. There you sit and eat until 1:30 p.m. when they finally give you access to the staterooms.
But Holland America has solved this problem with its new "Stateroom Direct Service" policy. Every Holland America ship now gives every embarking passenger immediate access to their staterooms - as early as 11:30 a.m.
This is quite an accomplishment and Holland America deserves a lot of credit for identifying and eventually solving a very significant inconvenience that has plagued cruise passengers and crewmembers for decades. The only downside to this for Holland America is the inevitability that other cruise lines will soon "copy" (or maybe steal is a better word) their ideas.