In September this year my wife and I will take our first cruise aboard the Diamond Princess, and of course we are very excited about the whole voyage, which is part of a longer Canadian trip, and then onto parts of America. I have a question, which hopefully you can answer (or give some idea of who to contact for an answer).
At the end of the cruise we disembark in Seattle in the morning (18th September), but my travel agent can only tell me that the ship will be in port soon after dawn, and after breakfast we will disembark. I have made arrangements to fly to Washington on the same day, and the flight leaves at 1235 hours from Seattle airport.
I am told a taxi from the seaport to the airport will take about 20-30 mins depending upon traffic conditions, and I certainly need to arrive at the airport no later than 1035 hours ( 2 hours before a domestic flight ) to ensure that "check-in" is done without hassles.
Now, my questions are:
* What time does disembarkation normally start?
* How long does the process take?
* Can we make special arrangements to be one of the first to disembark?
* I have consulted the Princess Cruise website but cannot find an email address for my query, and most queries are "referred back" to the travel agent. I have managed to track down the actual postal address of Princess Tours in Seattle, but there was no email address.
Hopefully there is a seasoned traveller who can assist me with advice and information.
I took the Amsterdam cruise to Alaska from Seattle and upon our return, I was at the airport by 9:15am.
Now mind you, HAL and Princess may have some different processes, but the customs / immigration and baggage unload process is quite similar for most ships. The ships usually arrive alongside around 6-6:30am. Luggage must be offloaded and inspected (happy little dogs) before the ship is cleared to debark passengers. If all goes well with customs / immigration, etc., they usually start debarking groups of passengers around 8-8:30am. If you complete your Debark questionairre onboard with your flight times, etc...you will likely be placed in the 1st ashore group. Best to ASK for this at the front desk.
I was off Amsterdam by 8:20am and in a taxi in less than 10 minutes.
Now the holdup can be if the ship is not cleared by immigration (some clod never reports to immigration despite numerous pages, announcements, letters in the cabin, etc.). Similarly, onboard accounts must be closed before they let anyone off.
Should immigration decide to hold a full ship review (all passengers, not just non US) that may delay debark about an hour (9 ish).
I would think making a 12:30 flight is reasonable. The entire ship is usually cleared by 10am.