Rule of thumb applies to most cruise lines as explained prior.
If you arrrive at 11-12, you will be one of the first , might wait , might not and then your cabin depending on cruise line will be available after 1pm or such.
Have your ticket, passport (or accepted identification) and credit card (or method of payment) ready in your hand , not in your handbag. makes the checkin process fast.
Put all this away once processed as now you only need in your hand your seacard to board the ship and smile in the ships security cabin.
Main reason to be on board early is to have a few hours to relax , munch , adjust dinner seatings if needed, make spa appointments, locate your muster station for lifeboat drill which is on yor cabin door and the time will be on your bed or table. Walk around..
Your luggage will also arrrive a few hours after boarding so you are able to place clothes away and place valuables in the cabin safe. Now you can relax..
On Princess, they have a new method wher they suggest arriving by deck number at a set time but still accept you. It is difficult if you have to checkout of a hotel at 11am and asked to checkin at the ship for 1:30 - 2pm so we elected to leave at 12:30 pm and by the time we arrived and were done, we were on the ship by 1:30pm. Course remember all the buses will arrive at around 1 or 2pm.
Me. I go for the noonish time... nice to know one is onboard and bye bye world, I'm on my cruise..
Celebrity Infinity-1, Dawn Princess-1, Sea Princess-2, Golden Princess-2, HA Maasdam-1, SS Cavina-1
Web site: http://robbarcruises.wordpress.com/