Originally Posted by Mike M
The official policy with Carnival is actually 1 hour before sailing but Carnival's booking will only accept bookings 24 hours before sailing but you may be able to book at the pier. Royal Caribbean is also 24 hours before sailing.
You absolutely CAN book at the pier, like it used to be. On a Carnival cruise (Miracle) recently, the lovely Mrs. Jones (Vita) and I were in our cabin, when someone inserted the "Sign-n-Sail" card in the door, and walked in! We found out that they had sold our cabin on the pier, and upgraded us, but no one bothered to let embarkation know! It was a good upgrade, or I'd have raised a bit of hell! I questioned whether it was legal to sell our cabin "on the pier", and was told that YES, they can, and do sell cabins to "walk ups", if there are cabins available.