You asked all the same questions I would like answers to. My sister was supposed to go with us when we first booked our Cat 11 suite on The Glory this April 08 coming up.. We all were going to take turns in the beds one night and alternate on the sleeper sofa other nights which is where the third person was supposed to sleep. We were just dividing the cruise price by 3 but I did offer her like they booked it as the 3rd person 500.00 but she backed out so now we have just the two of us. Enjoy your cruise. Hopefully someone with lots of Cat 11 experience will tell us about the suite.
Unfortunately there is no "one correct answer" to many of your questions. Carnival VIP's do not get treated exactly the same at all ports and certainly not the same on all ships.
Usually you are not allowed to board the ship earlier than anyone else. You just get there first because you are not in the long lines. In several ports (not all) there has been a seperate security line. After security you go to VIP Checkin. Depending on port it varies from a small office to a nice lounge. Usually they will do your paperwork, give you your card and you will make your way to the ship on your own. I have been escorted as far as where they take the embarcation photos.
Departure varies by ship. "We do Self Assist". Some ships will have you meet in a designated area and escort you off the ship. Others will give you priority luggage tags and let you make your way to the gangway. This morning on the Freedom we were given priority luggage tags but left to fight with all the 1st time cruisers crowding the halls and gangway trying to be first off the ship. Unfortunately this happens more often than it should. At times Carnival does not control this well. In any event you will get off the ship earlier than most.
We were VIP in Long Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Both times we were the first ones on the ship after the wedding parties. The other passengers joined us about 30 minutes later. We arrived at the ports about 10:30 a.m. and boarded around 11:30 - noon. We were not escorted on board just to the photo check in. Yes you will be off in plenty of time for a 1:30 p.m. flight. There will be many with earlier flights than that. Our Cat 11 had a sofa bed across from the bed but we never used it. We had a VCR/DVD but brought our own DVDs so I don't know if you will have access to their library. Have a great time.
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
For debarkation everybody with early flights up to 12:00 will have VIP tags and think they will be off first and will be in line on the steps and everywhere else they can stand by 0630. Then the drag your bags will be next. Platinum holders are sometimes just told to go in the line and sometimes taken to the front of the line, that does not go well with the VIP early birds. CCL needs to have a EF for early flights and not use VIP status. Each ship we have been on has been handeled different. VIP is for Platinum holders and people that have Suits for embarkation. If Carnival wants to have a Platinum program all ships should operate the same. For debarkation we don't get in the heard anymore , sit back on the Lido till 9:30 /10:00 and go off. Not alot of Platinum cruisers with us so far the most were 10 on the Destiny. I sure sometimes there are more. Always an experience.
We have sailed 2 times since reaching Platinum status. On the first time, we went tot he VIP lounge and the rest of our family went to the regular lines. Check in was a breeze. We went to a seperate security line and then it all went wrong. My DH had to empty his pockets, take his belt off etc and we got seperated from the rest of the VIP group. When we finally got out of security we found a Carnival rep who said we had to get into the line with the regular passengers. We explained that we had already completed everything and just needed to board the ship. She said well if you want on you need to get in this line. We wound up in line way behind our other family members and actually got on the ship after them.
Thne last time we arrived at the terminal early and they didn't have the VIP lines open yet. We were near the front of the line and a Carnival rep saw our sail and sign cards while we were sitting waiting to board and she offered to take us to the VIP waiting lounge but she said honestly you'll board quicker if you stay here because there aren't any other VIP here yet and you'd need to wait for others to arrive.
So on Dec 30th, we plan on arriving a bit later just to see if the VIP thing works!
We really enjoyed the wash and fold service they offered us and also the beach bag. Our luggage was easier to spot as well after the cruise as it was in the VIP area which is much smaller that the othe areas.
February 25, 2011