The carnival busses from the airport begin arriving after about 11:30am. I try to arrive between 10:30 and 11:00 to get through the line before they arrive. I've always been on board before noon and usually before 11:30. If you sail out of the new terminal it is really bright and airy with hugh window behind the check in desks where you can see your ship waiting. If you are too early that terminal has a really comfortable waiting area and 2 boarding ramps.
Most of the time you can't get to your room until 1:30 so keep your carry on light. We usually take just a rolly bag or 2.
Like the others say,,,,get there about 11 A.M., and you'll most likely be aboard by 11:30. Sometimes there are problems, or delays with U.S. Customs, or Immigrations, but more often than not you'll be enjoying the buffet while the others are cooling their heels in the waiting area.
Have a GREAT cruise.
My personal opinion is to arrive towards the end of the boarding time rather than beginning. Too many people get there at 11 and have to wait an hour or more just to find you cant get in your room anyway. Then you have to shlep your carry ons to the Lido at lunch time and fight those crowds too. Showp up at 130 or so and you will usually breeze thru the lines to board. Then you can dump your bags and go to lunch where the lines have slimmed down. People say they want to spend as much time on the ship as possible but if you are sailing for a week will you really feel like you missed anything by those first couple hours? By weeks end its hard to remember the whole boarding process anyway.
I agree. I like to go around one or so and there is no waiting. The cruiselines advise this and it works well for us. Lunch goes on for quite a while anyhow. I've seen the side of boarding too late tho, say at 3:30. It's a mess. Jammed like crazy. But with the airlines, sometimes it can't be helped.
I just came back from a carnival cruise and we were on board by 11:45.
You can go to the lido deck have lunch and a drink. You can walk around
on the ship but Cant get into your room untill after 1:30. So go light
cause what ever you carry on the ship you keep with you till you can get
in your room.
What we did was when we got to the port we gave the porter all our
luggage and it was to our room by around 6. Dont have to dress for
dinner the first night so then you are good to go.
We like to arrive at the port around 1030 usually by that time they have the doors open, and the lines are just starting to form. I've only had to wait once, and that was due to a customs issue, we didn't board until 2pm that time. Normally arriving at the port around 1030 we are on board by 1130 - 12 and enjoying our first lunch without long lines for anything.
I also like that extra time between boarding and 130 to walk around and get pictures of the ship before all the passengers have boarded.
If everything goes OK with the debarkation VIP will start boarding around 1130. Things will go from there. You will have to carry everything you bring with you till around 1330 till they let you in the cabin areas. That all depends when debarkation was finished. Most times will be this but you always have that monkey running around that can mess it up. Has happened. Have a nice cruise.