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Old July 12th, 2008, 02:46 PM
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Default WHAT TIME SHOULD WE PLAN TO GET TO THE PORT?

Now that there are about 100 days until our cruise on the Island Princess , my DW and I are starting to discuss some of the details of our trip. Since we live in NC, we are fortunate to be able to drive to FLL. We are going to park our car at the Fort Lauderdale airport on the morning of our departure.

The question is, when is the best time to arrive at the pier? Since we are driving, we obviously have a lot of flexibility in this regard.

With the ship leaving at 5PM, does it matter if we arrive at 10:30AM? NOON? 1PM? Later? Is there, in your opinion, an ideal time to arrive at the pier?

Two things are entering into this decision...

1. Since it is our first cruise, we want to give ourselves time to explore the ship after dropping our stuff off at our cabin.

2. We will be anxious to get on the ship...the sooner the better!

Also, we want to get our reservations for Sabatini's and Bayou Cafe!

I am one of those people who shows up at the airport in time to be at the gate 45 minutes to an hour before the flight...

What do you suggest?
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Old July 12th, 2008, 08:23 PM
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You might want to consider parking at the pier. I always like to get there about 11:00 AM - they don't usually open the doors till 11:30. You can drop your luggage at the pier and then one of you go park the car and the other get in line - being newbies, you'll have to get in the long line. The short line is for those who have taken at least 5 Princess cruises. I don't think you can book the specialty restaurants until about 1 PM - not sure about that. I'll be on the Island, too, for the 2nd time this November.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 08:58 PM
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We always get to the port no later than 11 am. We'd rather wait there than in the hotel and have been on the ship as early as 11:30 am. Your cabin won't be ready until 1 pm. If you have a carry on, relax and have lunch in the Horizon Court then check out your cabin and explore the ship. I suggest drive down the day before and stay at a local hotel. Many offer Park and Cruise. They will shuttle you to and from the ship and keep your car for the duration of the cruise. Be sure you have travel insurance and have a great cruise.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 09:11 PM
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We will be driving down the night before...we live in NC and will be getting tho FLL by midday on Sunday...the ship leaves on Monday.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 11:48 PM
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My suggestion since this is your first cruise is get their about 11am. Once they start boarding you should be on the ship by noon, possibly earlier. Once you board you will be directed to your cabin so you can drop off your carryons.

You will receive a pocket map of the ship layout, I suggest you carry it with you for the first few days. You picked a great ship for your first cruise!

One more suggestion. You said you will be staying overnight. It will probably be less expensive to stay at a hotel with free shuttle to the port. Parking your car at Port Everglades can get expensive. I remember paying $12 a day and I believe it has gone up.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 12:36 AM
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I suggest three hours before sailing.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 08:32 PM
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The last time we sailed from FLL, the parking had gone up to $15 per day. That was at one of the Carnival garages, however I have no doubt that it's gone up "port wide" so you should probably plan on that. Princess is a GREAT cruise, and I have no doubt that you'll have a wonderful time. I too suggest arriving about 11 or 11:30.

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Old July 13th, 2008, 08:49 PM
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If you have the kind of experience we've had you'll be amazed at just how effecient the boarding process is.
In my opinion if you arrive any sooner than is suggested by the cruise line you are just wasting time.

BTW, I too, am one to arrive at the air port gate way early.

Have a ball!!!
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Old July 14th, 2008, 03:48 PM
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But, now the cruise lines are allowing early boarding. You can't go to your cabin, but you can go up to the buffet and/or wander around to get a feel for the layout of the ship. I want every minute on board that I can get!
The last cruise...in May...we boarded before 11 a.m.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: WHAT TIME SHOULD WE PLAN TO GET TO THE PORT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boiler Cuiser
Now that there are about 100 days until our cruise on the Island Princess , my DW and I are starting to discuss some of the details of our trip. Since we live in NC, we are fortunate to be able to drive to FLL. We are going to park our car at the Fort Lauderdale airport on the morning of our departure.

The question is, when is the best time to arrive at the pier? Since we are driving, we obviously have a lot of flexibility in this regard.

With the ship leaving at 5PM, does it matter if we arrive at 10:30AM? NOON? 1PM? Later? Is there, in your opinion, an ideal time to arrive at the pier?

Two things are entering into this decision...

1. Since it is our first cruise, we want to give ourselves time to explore the ship after dropping our stuff off at our cabin.

2. We will be anxious to get on the ship...the sooner the better!

Also, we want to get our reservations for Sabatini's and Bayou Cafe!

I am one of those people who shows up at the airport in time to be at the gate 45 minutes to an hour before the flight...

What do you suggest?
The day of sailing I.can't.stand.it! I show up no later than 10am. However, it insures that I am one of the first on board and early enough to get lunch in a dining room instead of the buffet. A nice cruise start.

Tee
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Old July 16th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: WHAT TIME SHOULD WE PLAN TO GET TO THE PORT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tee
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boiler Cuiser
Now that there are about 100 days until our cruise on the Island Princess , my DW and I are starting to discuss some of the details of our trip. Since we live in NC, we are fortunate to be able to drive to FLL. We are going to park our car at the Fort Lauderdale airport on the morning of our departure.

The question is, when is the best time to arrive at the pier? Since we are driving, we obviously have a lot of flexibility in this regard.

With the ship leaving at 5PM, does it matter if we arrive at 10:30AM? NOON? 1PM? Later? Is there, in your opinion, an ideal time to arrive at the pier?

Two things are entering into this decision...

1. Since it is our first cruise, we want to give ourselves time to explore the ship after dropping our stuff off at our cabin.

2. We will be anxious to get on the ship...the sooner the better!

Also, we want to get our reservations for Sabatini's and Bayou Cafe!

I am one of those people who shows up at the airport in time to be at the gate 45 minutes to an hour before the flight...

What do you suggest?
The day of sailing I.can't.stand.it! I show up no later than 10am. However, it insures that I am one of the first on board and early enough to get lunch in a dining room instead of the buffet. A nice cruise start.

Tee
Arriving at the port around 11:30 a.m. will usually get you on the ship around 12:30 p.m.. I personally don't advocate arriving at 10:00 a.m. unless you really want to wait. The check-in kiosks won't be open and you'll have a fairly long wait.

I've also noticed that often the "priority" boarding areas have more people in line than the regular boarding lines. Especially for people who board early.

Take care,
Mike
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Old July 16th, 2008, 03:00 PM
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Tee,
How do you have lunch in a dining room instead of the buffet? We go to our dining room to check out our dinner table right away but we have never seen a dining room open for lunch. The dining room door is usually closed and no one in there. We are always instructed to go to the buffet only.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA Cruiser
Tee,
How do you have lunch in a dining room instead of the buffet? We go to our dining room to check out our dinner table right away but we have never seen a dining room open for lunch. The dining room door is usually closed and no one in there. We are always instructed to go to the buffet only.
I agree. I've NEVER seen the dining room open for lunch on embarkation day. As a matter of fact, the maitre 'd is usually there swapping tables and dining times for people, and the 2nd dining room (when there is one) is always locked up.

Ken
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Old July 16th, 2008, 06:18 PM
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On my last two cruises the dining room was open on embarkation day. This was on Azamara and on the Norwegian Jewel.

I wish I had taken advantage of it on the Jewel. The buffet left a lot to be desired.

Take care,
Mike
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Old July 16th, 2008, 07:00 PM
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NCL Pearl's dining room was open with a "limited menu".
HAL had only the buffet.
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