Well, whether it's started yet or not, it's inevitable.
On some lines you can fill out the pre-boarding form online (don't even need to download), and I'm sure that's the opening salvo in the upcoming rush to cruise e-tickets.
Parenthetically, as you may know, there's a whole bunch of people who seem to enjoy receiving their tickets in the mail more than actually going on the cruise. These people, known around here as the "doc dancers," are by-and-large squarely against e-ticketing. Every time the subject comes up they post 50 or 60 reasons why e-ticketing won't work in the cruise industry. These reasons usually center around baggage tags, which seem to hold a special allure. Some worry that the multi-copy "carbon" sets now used for paper information forms won't work on a computer. But we will let these things pass with a smile and a shake of the head.
Notwithstanding all this, I'm sure we're on the doorstep of
1) downloading your "docs"
2) for the cyber-deprived, having your travel agent download them
3) for the stubborn, having them delivered the old-fashioned way, at extra cost.
Paper tickets on the airlines now come at a premium in most cases, and the cruise industry is bound to follow suit before long.
I don't know, but with RCCL you can fill out your embarkation forms online and print them out to carry with you when you go and check in. Nothing to download, you just do it on their website. You can also book your excursions online up to 10 days before sail day.
I don't think you even have to carry a copy, although it's a prudent thing to do in case of a glitch. I think if everything works right the data will already be loaded into their master file when you check in, and that will be that.
BTW, Celebrity's set up the same way. Same company, same software, same game. Probably some others too.
With HAL you can fill out the immigration forms, download a document that replaces the one you get in your documents. You are told to bring it with you. Supposed to grant you "express check in", except no one has seemed to found an express check in counter.
I guess you can fill it out using a keyboard or try to write in the little boxes.
I've also heard that e-docs will be used in the future. Have recently used e-tickets for air travel and I find it difficult to not have that piece of paper in hand, I know I'd feel the same with cruise docs. Seems thats the way it will be eventually, so be prepared...
Well, I'm glad we printed out our RCCL embarkation forms for our Christmas cruise because they did ask for them at check-in. Maybe you don't need them on other lines, I can only speak from personal experience. I have already done the online embarkation forms for my 4/27 RCCL cruise and prined them out and have them with my travel documents.