We've never found the line to be that horrible. Depends on long you think is "long". We usually arrive by 11:00 or 11:30, wait an hour (or less), board at lunchtine, eat a leisurely lunch and have plenty of time to explore the ship before sailaway.
CarnivalSensation February 2015
Carnival Dream November 2015
Carnival Fascination April 2014
Carnival Elation March 2011
Carnival Imagination Sept 2007
Carnival Sensation Dec 2006
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 2006
Carnival Miracle Sept 2005
Carnival Glory Sept 2004
Carnival Fantasy Jan 2004
No matter when you decide to board, be prepared for a line and, possibly, a long wait. You just never know. I'm like Dorothy.............the sooner I'm on the ship, the better. We've always arrived at the port by 10:30am and have been on by noon.
Past Cruises: Explorer of the Seas 2008 Explorer of the Seas 2007 Carnival Victory 2007 Explorer of the Seas 2006 Legend 2005 Miracle 2004 Disney Wonder 2004; Pride 2003 Legend 2002 Disney Wonder 2002 Destiny 2001 Victory 2000 Triumph 1999 Jubilee 1998 Imagination 1997 Imagination 1996 Fascination 1995 Ecstasy 1993 Fantasy 1990 Jubilee 1990 NCL Seaward 1989 Jubilee 1988
We always board early too. Never had a long wait at all on RCL, I hope Carnival will be the same. We are driving so we will get there early and hopefully eat lunch on board. I always take my bathing suit in a small carry on also, we lay out and watch all the people!!
Carnival Dream March 2010
Carnival Freedom Feb. 2009
RC Grandeur of the Seas Oct. 2009
Carnival Liberty March 2008
RC Adventures of the Sea Feb. 2007
Carnival Liberty March 2006
Enchantment of the Seas June 2004
Monarch of the Seas March 2003
The Big Red Boat March 1997
We got on early - and after a quick lunch - we explored. Cameras in hand, we went from one venue to another - and as none of them were full - and in most cases nobody was in them, we were able to get some really nice pictures of the various parts of the ship - bars, library, etc. NO other time on the ship, did we find these places vacant for pictures.
JoyceR....good advice, we do the same, board early, have lunch and tour the ship and take photos. The latest we've ever boarded was 12:30 p.m. (arriving around 11:00 a.m.). If you arrive after Noon, the lines may be backed up and the boarding process will take a little longer and they'll be shutting the lunch buffet down to get ready for the dinner buffet and before you know it, you'll be throwing your life vest over your head for the muster drill.