We had self debarkation off of the Carnival Victory in NY after a cruise to Canada. It was several years ago so the details are not exact, but I believe it was in the 9 - 9:30 time range which made it easier for those of us who were getting picked up to have a specific time. They do not pick up your luggage the night before. We had to line up with all of our luggage and take it off the ship ourself. So you need to be able to handle all of your luggage. But it did get us off the ship first. Since a lot of people in NY took advantage of this (short cruise, parking at cruise terminal, taxi or getting picked up) there was a long line to get off, but I don't remember it being too painful.
You still have to wait for those people who are foreigners who never show up for customs. Doesn't anyone have any ideas for the cruise lines on how to handle them so that we can all get off the ship more promptly?
I am wondering about this too? We are on the Triumph. So do we have to notify the pursers desk or something to get off early or just keep our luggage in our room the night before and get off after the ship clears customs? We are US citizens. This is better than searching for luggage in the terminal. If this is the case do we not need the luggage tags they give you the last night??? Thanks for any responses.