Valor 1/16/05, 1st time with CCL. We wanted to get off the ship asap. We had 2 extra days to spend in Miami due to the blizzard up North. If you want to get off first before any colors, they call it self assist. This means you have to be able to carry off all your luggage by YOURSELF !! No help from ANYONE !!! My husband and I were thrilled , we both had a carry on suitcase and carry on bag. WELL.... they make the call at 7:30 am and everyone tries to get off at the same time with whatever luggage they have... I mean 80 yr olds with 5 suitcases and families of 4 with 8.. all coming from the bottom decks and top decks converging on deck 3. What a mess, a father threw his suitcase down the stair well he was so upset the elevators weren't working. It was bedlam, dangerous and certainly a fire hazard. Not one CCL crew mate in sight. Next time we will wait until the boat is empty, let me correct that, next time is RCCL!
I think the original idea of self-assist debarkation was good, but unfortunately as the first poster has seen, it has become somewhat of a free-for-all.
People try to abuse the system, thereby making it hard for everyone. If someone has traveled light and can indeed carry off all their luggage, it will work ok. But when most everyone tries to get off regardless of how much luggage they have, it very quickly creates a mess. The last time I was on Carnival, it seemed that a lot of people had went on down as though they were doing the self-assist, then gathered up at the luggage carousel waiting for their bags to come around. Then as colors were starting to be called, there was a massive jam up . The best way to avoid the hassle is to simply wait as long as you possibly can before even going down to the luggage area but if you have an early flight that may not be possible. I think the cruise lines should monitor the self-assist in some way or either go back to the color system for everyone.
I don't like to hear that problem, we have a flight to catch right off the ship. Anyways last year we waited for our color to be called and we went down got off the ship right into the huge "warehouse" we found where our bags were and there were cab drivers all around. One said hey come with me get you out of here fast, told us to get out our passports and as we got to customs he pointed to us said they are with me and we were outside. I couldn't believe that it went so easy. I figured it was going to be lines all day long. Moral of this story, I don't think it really matters when you get off, everyone is in a frenzy and it becomes a push and shove match and doesn't move things along any faster.
We did self assist off of the Sensation last September. We were told to be ready at 7:30
am with our luggage at our door and our cabin door open. We were to listen for the
self assist message so we would know when to disembark. Many passengers did this.
We had breakfast ( they told us we couldn't if we were self assist) and then left the ship
toward the end of the self assist time. There were no lines, no crowds, no problems
getting a taxi, and no hassles. We plan on using self assist in the same way in April
on the Valor. Sorry to hear it didn't work out well for you.
Just got off Carnival Fantasy they did not have any special self assist get off before thing. They said that you can carry your own (which we did) and went off during our color. We stayed in our room later than normal (they were cleaning all the others ) as people all went to the waiting areas early. I gave my room steward an extra tip and was never bothered by him in the morning I even heard him tell one of the assistant stewards to not bother our room.
They try to get you off the ship as fast as they could. We got in there early and i think the last person made it off the ship in less than an 1 and 1/2 hrs after they started. Not bad. Also they call colors (not sure how they make it up) but a tip if you are really antsy or dont want to seem like a pushover.... On our ship they left all the different color tags out overnight by the shore excursion desk.... I recommened to grab a couple of each color and then just slip them on the bags when they call that color.... or we even didnt put any tags on our bags and just got off before our color was called.... never was questtioned and if someone did, we would just play dumb.....
Happycruiser383- What I think they do and this is just based upon a law enforcement backround and what I saw and heard last time when names were called. Customs runs a dog around your bags if it hits on something they will then go further into investigating, the same with people carrying your bags or you carrying them yourself, if they look as though your wife might be packed inside one of them they might question it. lol jk. This is just my personal observation and opinion, anyone that can let me know how close I might be it would be appreciated.
We did self assist this morning. We went to the theatre at about 7:15 only a couple people there. Soon as announcement was made we were off. Got to miami airport and even managed to catch a 10 o'clock flight