I know this subject has been hammered, but i heard another story today, from a Carnival employee. He informed my friends whom I am traveling with, that the self debarkation, (leaving the ship when over) can only be used by the category rooms of 11 +
Now, I have heard that anyone can leave the ship early, with their own suitcases. What is the real deal here?
we were on the Liberty (Dec 18-24) and self debarking was offered to everyone. We opted to not use it since we were with small children. We were off and on our way to the airport before 9:30. Keep in mind, since many people do the self debarking, it manages to move the regular process faster.
Unless you are planning on bringing back a suitcase full, you'll probaby be okay. You'll need to list what you're bringing back on the customs form you'll fill out the night before disembarking. The cruiseline will let you know what the rules are.
Now, if you're wondering about anything else, there are cute little beagles in the terminal who sniff the suitcases for "other" things, such as Cuban cigars, etc.
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We just got off the Triumph yesterday, and did self debarkation. There was nobody in the line and we were at the airport by 8am. Self debarkation is for everyone, and anyone, but you must be able to carry all of your own luggage, the crew will not help at all.
Bud, regarding checking the bags, we didn't get stopped at all, by Carnival anyway. But, when we got home and were unpacking, there was a notice from the US Government (cannot remember which division) that our bags had been randomly searched, and although they did not find anything they shouldn't, it would have been removed. They left a letter on top of everything in the suitcase, and a sticker on the tags.
I was on the Elation in October and did the self-debarkation and got off in record time!! No stops, no problems and I'll do it everytime from now on as long as I can be a pack mule and cary all the luggage myself. That's the only way to go
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HOw do you do this? Do you just walk off after docking? Do you have to go thru customs on the ship? How do you know where they are or do you just listen for when they call the first color tags and go then? We have cruised 5 times but not in 1 1/2 year.
Taking my folks for the 50th Anniv on Jan 23. Want to know how far have to lug stuff. Might not worth it for us but want to still know. Maybe next time without folks.
Texas, in another topic there was stated that only US citizens could use the self assist now. I asked it per email, maybe the part about US citizens is usefull for you. I copy/paste it here.
Self Assist Express Debarkation Program
The Self Assist Express Debarkation Program will permit U.S guests who are
capable of carrying off their own luggage and wish to do so, to debark the
ship as early as 7:30am, while other normal processes are still being con-
ducted on board prior to general clearance. General debarkation will begin
following proper clearance and after completion of the Express Debarkation.
Presently, we are conducting this program at the following embarkation ports;
in the future, other ports may participate, with the consent of authorities.
Miami Port Canaveral Charleston New Orleans (SE only)
Mobile Galveston Jacksonville
New York Tampa Norfolk
In order to take advantage of the Self Assist Express Debarkation Program,
guests must meet the following requirements:
. Guests must be U.S citizens and have proof of citizenship ready to show
to inspectors at the gangway as they disembarks.
. Guests must have all their belongings with them and be capable of carrying
them off the ship on their own (self assist). Guests must truly be able to
handle their luggage, including navigating stairs and escalators as they
. Properly filled out Customs Declarations, one per family group, must be in
hand to turn in to inspectors as they disembark.
Any money owed for duty on purchases exceeding the duty-free allowance must
be paid to collectors on board prior to debarking.
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My question is that unless you are in a hurry to catch a plane, why in the world are you so anxious to get off the ship? You will be in the middle of a large crowd and carrying all of your luggage without any assistance! You still have to go through immigration and customs and it isn't until you get through all of that that you can get a porter to help you and you still need to tip them. Now for us, we wait until just about everyone is off and leave at the end no matter what colour tag we have. We then simply walk down and right through immigration as there is hardly anyone left, stright to our luggage that the stewards took down to the baggage claim area for us. Our luggage is sitting there with very few bags to climb over or struggle through and are quickly picked up and run through customs and out to the car. No hassel and we have plenty of time to say goodbye to the crew and our other friends.
It is the same reason that they line up at all the ports to be first off the boat.After my military days I swore off standing in long lines whenever possible.You are right on in your comments and Holland is now encouraging people to go back to their room and await your tag to be called.Watch them line up at dinner,tenders,etc.It is my guess that most are affraic they will miss something by not being first off whatever the situation.
This is why I said it is all a matter of choice and the degree that you have to be someplace. We are fortunate in that even in Miami it is only a 6 hr drive to home so even if we leave at 11 AM we will get home before dark. I also have enough problems lugging off the fragile junk that we bought to try and tote our luggage as well!
We will not do this with my folks this time. Not worth it. But will consider it for next time. Last time we cruised there were so many ships in port. They didn't even call the first tag color until 10:30 am. With kids that is a long time to sit around with hundreds of others, with luggage, in a lounge that can't even hold everyone. The vacation is over, everyone is tired and noone wants to sit "wasting time".
I was on the valor and I used the self debarkation. I was in the airport by
9:00 Am(fLL) and the ship docked in Miami, my flight was leaving at 2:00pm so I sat around in the airport . I'll will always use the self debarkation . That is probably the best idea Carnival ever had . I'll get earlier flights now.
We did self disembark because I didn't want to put all of my bags out the night before. We were able to get away with only one carry on and if I had to pack my clothes from the day before and my toiletries, we would have needed another.
Let's see...hang around a lounge on a cruise ship or spend 3 or 4 hours at FLL airport? Jim is right, go after the hoards have departed. Struggling with luggage (escalators and whatever) is not for us.
Oh my gosh! We did tried the self debarkation. Even with my parents. They only had one roller bag and a hang up bag. We had a roller bag each and one hang up bag. They being early risers wanted to try it. So we did. Soooooooo easy and simple. No problems only had to have one hand free to hold onto escalator (we did) or could use the elevator (long line) Had no problems at all. Off the ship in 15 minutes flat. We had 3 hr drive home then. We were home by 10:30. Last cruise we took didn't even get off the ship until 10:30. And no not at bottom of ship. On Upper deck same as last time.
Will do this everytime from now on. Matter of fact hubby says will not sail with anyone else who doesn't offer this. (But we will, I like to cruise too much, this was 5th cruise)
On our last cruise we had nice leisurely breakfest and then returned to our room and would not even think about joining the mobs trying to be the first off the ship.These are the same people who line up at every port and insist on being first off as if they woud miss something.Go for it!
No mobs or crowds for us. Maybe 100 people. Worse to wind your way through lounges while in long line with 100's trying to get to customs
( just to check passport) on ship then have to go back to waiting area to sit (with no where to sit) until they call your tag color, all the while listening to screaming, crying, fussy, kids and parents and then walk off with the masses to find you luggage then still get in line to give them your declaration form and then finally get to leave.
Give me self debark and let me walk off with my roller bag, never stopping, except to pause briefly to give them my declaration form and hit the sidewalk. 15 minutes tops. Muuuucch better, calmer and quicker.
This is Galveston port, maybe where you are is different.
Celebration- 89', 02', different lengths and ports
Elation- 04', 06', different lengths and ports
RC- Rhapsody of the Seas- 03'
last time we didn,t doing the self debarkation last time almost pulled out
my hair out by the time we get on the plane this time we are doing the self
debarkation we have a 45 mintue ride to go back to orlando to the airport
to catch are flight home
We sailed on the Valor in January and my family did the self debarkation because we had to get a taxi from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and had a noon flight. We are Canadian and had no problem getting off except for the wait for an elevator. They called a few floors at time. There was alot of people getting off but it went smoothly. Even people with baby strollers despite the staff discouraging them. I found this much easier because you have your luggage with you in the morning and can do last minute packing. We got through customs with no problem except because we had 4 passports to give the customs I sort of threw them on the table and 1 of the custom officers told the one who was looking after us not to process us. He made me pick them up and hand them to her properly. I found this way to disembark was easy and less stressful trying to find your colour tag and then look in that area for all your bags.