We are first time cruisers leaving on valor 4/2. I was concerned with what I have read about handing over my luggage to non-carnival employees at the docks. Can you hang on to your luggage and pull them on yourself or at least get to a point where you can hand them over to carnival employees. We have booked a cat. 11 suite so I hope we are able to use the vip boarding. Does that even makes a difference? I just want to be sure our bags get on our ship without any problem.
I've been on more than one cruise and I find it to be an asset to getting on the ship smoothly that when you get off the bus, or get to the port that your luggage is tagged correctly this way you can hand them over to carnival employees and go about your way to a smooth trip.
You will not want to carry your luggage because you will have to go through the check in process, take pictures, blah blah blah blah and carrying around luggage may slow you down as well as everyone else behind you.
When we got on the ship this time, our luggage was at our door in less than an hour after we boarded.
You should get stateroom colored tags with your docs, use them, and you will have no problems.
CCL Valor : September 2013
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RCCL Oasis : September 2012
RCCL Freedom : April 2012
CCL Destiny : April 2011
CCL Valor : September 2010
CCL Victory : March 2010
RCCL Adventure : September 2009
RCCL Monarch : March 2009
RCCL Mariner : September 2008
CCL Liberty : March 2008
CCL Valor : July 2007
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CCL Fantasy : October 2005
I agree, you should have no problems at all with the reception of your luggage while boarding. When the time comes to disembark, you will have options about your luggage. You can chose to wait until they call your tag color and disembark then. If you choose this option, as DW and I have in the past, we placed a bright colored plastic ribbon around the handle to denote ours when we looked for it. A second option is self-debarkation. This is where you carry your own luggage off the ship with you. You must be able to carry it all though .
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TMB - You are correct. The porters at the pier are NOT Carnival employees, but are employed by the Port Authority of that city.
This is the normal procedure for all ports. The porters take your luggage (and $1 per bag tip), and put them on a loading cart that goes onto the ship. THEN, Carnival employees take it to your cabin.
In 14 Carnival cruises, I have had no problems with my luggage being delivered to my cabin intact. Don't worry about it. They do this every day.
The ONLY way you can take your luggage onto the ship yourself is if each piece will fit into the small 11"x17" opening to the x-ray machine. People normally take only their carry-on bags onto the ship, which do go through those x-rays.
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14 Carnival cruises
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There is no cause for worry, trust me. We just returned from the Valor and trust me you need a porter!! As soon as we pulled up the porter came up to us and helpes us offload our luggage and put it on his cart. I was skeptical myself the first time we cruised about handing my luggage over but you really have to, we were told on our first cruise aboard the Victory in Miami (same port as Valor at the moment) that much like a plane we had to check luggage and each person could bring a carry-on. The porters are helpful and friendly...there are always plenty of them around willing to help you. I strongly recommend tipping them, like someone said earlier $1 per bag is customary. Get some luggage locks, if you do not already have them, they just give you that extra piece of mind about handing your luggage over. Trust me once you get into the terminal and start going through the check-in process and then get on the ship you do not want to be lugging all those bags with you anyway. I know it can happen to some people but we've never had a problem with our bags and neither has anyone I've known personally. This last cruise on the Valor between our two rooms we had 11 bags (I was cruising with 3 women, lol) and all 11 made it from the port to our rooms just fine.
Thanks everyone for your replies to my questions. We are less than 2 weeks away from our first cruise now and both getting very excited and a little nervous. We applied for our passports 6 weeks ago but haven't received them yet. Hope they are in the mail today. We were making a list of things to remember last night and filling out carnival documents. I'm still trying to decide if we should book our shore excursions thru carnival or with private companies. I have read so many things about what is the best way to go that I'm so confused I don't know what to do. I like the idea of the smaller groups with the private companies but I'm a little nervous about dealing with someone I'm not sure about. Being our first trip and not knowing what to expect I wonder if we should just play it safe this time around. I'm open to some more suggestions. Thanks again for all the help.
When you reach the port and drive up to the designated area, or climb off the bus at the designated area for passengers there will be a porter who will take your luggage to be placed on the ship for a small fee (my dh pays $1.00 per bag). I always put our name and addresss inside the luggage (just in case the tags come off).
The reason for this is this, I often sit at Channelside and watch the luggage being loaded on the cruise ships. It is amazing the bags are tossed in cans to be loaded by fork lifts on the ship. Imagine a sea of luggage all loaded into huge cans (shipping containers). The LIFO (last on first off) and FIFO (first on last off) method is in place. If you have something that will be easy to identify, you might want to place it on your luggage. My family has red ribbons tied to our luggage. Some people paint there luggage.
TMBDAD.....About your shore excursions. One thing to remember if you book through Carnival and the excursion is late getting back the ship will wait for you. If you do not you may be left behind. A little sense of security if you are inexperienced with all of this. <akes me feel better even though I have my private travel agent travelling with me
tmbdad - You will know when my luggage arrives at the port (also at the airport) to be loaded - I use orange masking tape all over my bags (it does not hurt the luggage - duck tape is stronger but it leaves a gooey residue) - doesn't keep anyone out of them but they are easily identified.
I now use plastic "cable ties" as a locking mechanism - I've had good locks cut off at the airport - the ties just let me know if they have inspected my bags. As soon as the porter at the pier takes my luggage, I pay them $1 a piece and watch to see them put the luggage on the cart for the ship. Last year he took my money and left them sitting on the ground and went off to another person - I stopped him and said I wanted to see my luggage placed on the cart. He did so without complaint. Also to note - I have never had my luggage opened from the pier to my room - so I feel pretty safe about this.
DO NOT put any valuables or your papers into the luggage. I do have a wheely carryon/backpack and have my toiletries, change of clothes and papers with me.
Last year I got through the airport with a pair of scissors only to have them taken by the Cruise Ship Security - go figure! - Gee - maybe they thought I would hijack the ship!
Needless to say, I've been on 7 cruises and my luggage everytime has been to my cabin before dinner time (exception of the first time - it arrived after dinner). However, the first day, you don't have to worry about dress code in the dining room as they know luggage may not have arrived.
Hope this helps and happy cruising - you will fall in love with it! Just remember - be patient - there are a lot of people trying to get to the same place at the same time, to keep your sanity - let'em go first - you'll only catch up to them at the next red light