Originally Posted by Paul Motter
While I don't want to deny the right of people who want to get onboard a ship at 11:00 a.m...Why? Just to get on a ship where all you can do is go to the buffet and babysit your luggage until your room is ready?... I always advocate getting to the ship a little later so you can avoid the crowds and go directly to your stateroom....
On many occasions we have been some of those checking in at 11:00. On other occasions we have been among those checking in later. There are a lot of reasons. Sometimes it is because we took a red eye and arrived at the airport at 8 or 9. What are we going to do until 2:00? Other times we have flown in the night before, got up at the motel, had breakfast and don't particularly want to sit in the lobby of the hotel. If it is a new and interesting place we can hire a driver for a nice tour of the city and get to the dock at 2:00. But Miami? Been there, done that. In Miami we will go on out to the terminal.
It can also depend on WHERE you are leaving from. The checkin process is much more comfortable and easy at some ports. Montreal and LA are probably the worst. Miami and Vancouver are some of the best. Waiting in a more comfortable port is easier.
The point is that it is nice to have the options. Also note that there are certain things, like dining reservations, Thermal Suites, and the Chef's Table, that can only be booked on board and are first come first serve. We have tried several times to get reservations for the Chef's Table on Princess, and finally did it by waiting in line at 10:30, rushing on board, and calling as soon as we saw a phone. (Incidentally it is wonderful .. .check out our trip report and pictures at http://www.bully4.us/hawaii.html
As I said above, the big problem I have is with the cruise lines lying in their documents about the boarding process. We get more truth on these boards then we do in the cruise line documents.