I know it is a bit early to be planning this for our May 2007 cruise, but I thought I would ask for anyone to point out any flaws in my plan.
There will be 6 of us driving down from Virginia (all over 24 plus one 20-year old) and we will want to get off the ship as early as possible to start our 14 hour drive back home.
Here is my plan:
My wife and I are both Platinum level cruisers and will take advantage of the early Debarkation. We will use as many luggage tags as they will give us (probably a total of 6?) to put on our luggage the night before and put outside our room. We will also take at least one item of luggage besides our overnight bag to carry off the ship with us. Once off the ship, we will get our car and load up the luggage we have so far.
The other 4 members of our group will do the self-assist debarkation and carry off the rest of the luggage.
My hope/assumption is that it will not be much more than an hour (hopefully less) between the time we get off the ship and they do at which time we will load up the rest of the luggage and start our trip home.
we tried the self assist to debark from the Glory for our 18 hour drive back to New York... Never again!!! the Glory uses a random pick for the exit order for the decks, this was a big problem meeting up with others not on the same deck. the elevators are Packed and very slow, we (I) ended up carrying the bags from deck 7 to deck 3. then they started calling the regular color tags and the people with out luggage was able the walk around us poor guys lugging our bags. now this might not be the norm, but you might be better off taking your time and avoiding the stress. enjoy a sit down breakfast, meet up with your party.
RCCL Navagitor of the Seas - Nov 26, 2005 (W.Caribbean) | Carnival Glory - April 15, 2006 (E.Caribbean) | Carnival Victory - Aug 21, 2006 (Canada) | Carnival Glory - July 28, 2007 (W.Caribbean) | Carnival Fascination - Aug 4, 2008 West Caribbean | HAL Eruodam - April 11, 2009 East Caribbean | Carnival Fredom - Aug 9, 2009 | Carnival Pride Feb 20,2011 (Bahamas) | NCL PrideOfAmerica April 16,2011 (Hawaii)
I know its totally up to you, but 6 adults with luggage in one vehicle for 14hrs? not for me, yuck. Have you priced out taking the train? That way you would have a nice leisurly ride, you would arrive well-rested not road weary.
Last year we did the self assist on the Conquest and were off in less than an hour but we were in a hurry to catch a flight to Vegas. Not this time... No hurry to be anywhere. If we can be the LAST off then that will be great. We are having that last leisurely stroll around the Lido deck and meal before we disembark.
We have a family reunion every year or so, and have done this for the last two years aboard the Caribbean Princess. We are platinum, but the others in my family are not. Princess allowed the "non-platinum" members to join the lovely Mrs. Jones (Vita) and me in the special lounge for priority disembarkation. I don't know whether Carnival would extend the same courtesy or not. (I plan on finding out, because our reunion next year is aboard the Carnival "Liberty", and once again, we are Platinum, and the others are not. It's worth asking at the pursers desk. Just explain the situation,,,that you're all traveling together, and would they be allowed to disembark with you.
Barry, if you have Platinum status and are traveling with non-Platinum members, everyone traveling with you will be allowed early debarkation because it is assumed you are all traveling together. Carnival will put an envelope in your room the day prior to your return explaining where to meet (Atrium Lobby 7:15 a.m.). Enclosed in that envelope will be special luggage tags. You will need to remove your old tags and replace them with the new ones. If you need additional tags for non-Platinum members, you can obtain them from the Pursers Desk (you'll need to show your Sail & Sign card). I cruised on the Glory in July with other family members who were not Platinum and we all met in the lobby at 7:15 a.m. and were escorted off the ship at 7:30 a.m. I would make sure that everyone in your group is on time and together in case there are any problems. If you have carry-on luggage with you, put one of those special tags on your bag making it clearly visible to other guests and Carnival staff. Carnival employees turned away a lot of people who were attempting to get off the ship early without Platinum status. Our luggage was grouped together in a small area of baggage claim reserved exclusively for Platinum guests, the Porters were right there to assist us, and we were out of there by 8:00 a.m.
Also, the non-Platinum members of our party were allowed priority check-in with us. I personally handled all the bookings for our group, therefore, everyone was accorded priority embarkation and priority debarkation.