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llb May 13th, 2009 10:35 AM

self debarkation
I've been on just 2 cruises before but on both, I thought I had to put my bags out the night before.

How does self debarkation work? How do you get numbers or do you not? Do folks use it to get off the ship quicker to catch an earlier flight home? Or does it allow you to stay on the ship longer? I hated having an afternoon flight and getting rushed off the ship only to sit at the airport. Sometimes, hangin on the lido deck all morning seemed like a better option for me.

It would be nice to know where in the list of numbers called, self debarkation people are called. First, last, or you get off whenever?


skymaster May 13th, 2009 10:46 AM

Well, the idea of "self debark" was to get those, who didn't mind carrying off their own baggage, off the ship first. No numbers, just que up and leave the ship, carrying their own luggage right after the handicapped, etc. Well,,,IMO,,,now it's nothing but a "cattle call". It seems to me that half the ship tries to line up in the atrium, to stamped off the ship early, and as a result, they jam the lobby, all the stairs, the elevator areas, and it's just a mess. If you want to linger aboard the ship, (I personally think this is an excellent idea,,why get off earlier than necessary, and why fight the self debark crowd) then use the number issued on your checked luggage, and stay aboard until the announcement is made that all passengers must leave the ship. You won't be allowed to linger in the cabin, as the stewards must get them ready for the next sailing, but you can hang out on the lido deck, or in most any of the public areas, (except the atrium). Your luggage will be in the luggage area when you get there, and you'll leave relaxed, and ready to catch that late flight.


katlady May 13th, 2009 11:21 AM

Since most times we drive to port. I linger longer on the ship. So what if they called my number that does not mean I must leave that second. Plus there is going to be a big ole line anyway. I agree with Skymaster go up to lido and have a second cup of coffee. :D I did "self debark" once and it was a mess, :x I won't do that again.

kerenegade May 13th, 2009 11:40 AM

We did it once and will not do it again --it was a night mare from beginning to end

llb May 13th, 2009 12:05 PM

Sounds like self debarkation is a major pain for most. Thanks!

So regardless of your assigned number, you can hang on the ship until the end?

Ron May 13th, 2009 01:02 PM

The whole concept of self-debarkation was a well meaning thing to start out with. If you were traveling light, say a small suitcase and a carry on, then you could effectively manage to get your own luggage off and be gone, helping yourself as well as helping clear the way for the folks who had more luggage and did the regular disembarkation by numbers.The whole concept was to expedite the disembarkation process.
However, people began to carry off all their worldly possessions, rolling 2-3 suitcases, struggling with a couple carrryon's as well as their computer, etc. etc. etc. As Ken said, and I agree, it's become a cattle call and not much more. People for some reason think they have to be the first on, first off--the old hurry up and wait thing. They jam the stairs, hallways, foyer areas, in spite of repeatedly being told not to do so. Platinum members are supposed to get priority disembarkation.
The last couple of times we were on Carnival, the area set aside for the Platinum members near the main foyer was jammed up with self-disembarkers who could have cared less about anything or anyone except themselves. I wish they would do away with the self disembarkation thingee and go back to using numbers and colors only.
It was a good idea that was ruined by the mobs, as usual.
:wink: :wink:

dina May 13th, 2009 01:27 PM

I stay on board until they kick me off. Its very relaxing sitting on the Lido deck enjoying my morning tea.

Pocono Pug May 13th, 2009 01:52 PM

I have self disembarked on both of my Carnival cruises and found it to be so easy i was off the ship in a matter of minutes. As soon as they said we were cleared by customs and were allowed to I just grabbed my suitcase and walked right off. I will do this on every future cruise.

RAND45 May 13th, 2009 02:31 PM

I just got back Sunday on the Conquest and did self debarkation, I was on the shuttle to the airport in less than 30 mins. I was at the airport by 10:30am. It went smoothly, even though they called for people with early flights to get off first and half of the people that were first off the ship were jumping on the shuttles to the parking lot. The only people that seemed to be having any frustration were those that did not read the disembarkation information or listen to any instruction.

katlady May 13th, 2009 03:11 PM


Originally Posted by llb
Sounds like self debarkation is a major pain for most. Thanks!

So regardless of your assigned number, you can hang on the ship until the end?

Yup :D The assigned number is to let you know you may get off now if you want to. We went on a cruise with my MIL, she had the last color called and we had one of the earlier colors called. We just hung out and played cards until like 10 minutes after her color was called the line was so much shorter.

lisa tberry May 17th, 2009 11:15 AM

I just got off the Glory yesterday. My hubby and I had 1 suitcase each and one beach tote type bag. Self disembarkation was wonderful!

Our ship was 1hr 1/2 late arriving due to an emergency medical stop- so they let early flight departures off 1st, then self assist, no problems, I hope I can pack as well to do this all the time. They don't beat your luggage to death, and customs was a breeze!!

ShotoJuku May 17th, 2009 12:12 PM

I've done the self-debark twice now. Yes, there are crowds however it can move (semi) quickly.

punk May 19th, 2009 03:03 PM

Maybe it's just me but I just don't understand why anyone would self debark... :roll:
I live in Florida so any of our ports are a reasonable drive so I've never had to worry about catching a flight, and I understand that sometimes Ship Happens and your schedule is screwed up but if I were booking a flight after a cruise I'd make sure to allow myself PLENTY of time so I didn't have to rush. Also the end of my cruise is the worst thing happening to me so I want to prolong it as long as possible by staying on that ship... :!: :!: :!:

green_rd May 19th, 2009 03:40 PM

A plus of self disembarkation is that you can wait until morning to finish packing your stuff, no setting out the next days clothes and putting your jammies (it you don't wear them I don't want to know about it) and toiletries in your carry on. The only time I paid attention they let groups 1 - 3 off the ship ahead of the self assist. Maybe the key to self assist is not to be in a hurry and wait in a long queue trying to be the first off the ship.

briguy May 19th, 2009 03:49 PM

Its funny how people try so hard to get on the ship early and spend as much time as they can on it that they cant seem to wait to get off. I dont understand that. I like to prolong my stay as long as possible. Granted you dont have full access to the ship but it beats waiting in horrible lines at the gangway. Airport waiting is bad enough.

Deakon May 19th, 2009 07:38 PM

I did this when it was relatively new... it worked really well early on but the last time was a nightmare. People didn't listen to instructions and EVERYONE got off at the same time. It was a nightmare, I don't think I would do it again unless my flight was very early.

funcruiser212 May 19th, 2009 08:20 PM

I have done self embarkation a few times - and it has pluses and minuses.

On my cruise last month, I used luggage express. Ship checks my bags on my flight and I don't have to deal with anything. That worked GREAT. Luggage express is not available on all ships or all airports.

tappyz May 19th, 2009 08:46 PM

Just got back from carnival valor and did self debarkation.. It was nice not to have to put your stuff our the night before... They started calling for us first-around 7:15am but since you are on your own you don't HAVE to go.. We did tip our FAB room steward a little extra and he let us leave our bags in the cabin until around 10:30 am or so when they finally said 'EVERYBODY OFF!!'. I honestly think we were the next to last people to leave the ship...Must make sure you can manage your own bags though and you will have to get your own cab to airport-which isn't bad..

Dutchman May 22nd, 2009 10:35 AM

The last 3 cruises we watched a cattle call. 6AM some people were lined up all over the place. They didn't start debarkation till 8AM. We stayed in our room after breakfest till 830 then to the lido deck and hung out till they were calling in the 20s. around 930 to 10 Then we just walked off no big line with everybody pushing. There sure are alot of people that can't wait to get on and can't wait to get off. Just sit back and watch the entertainment. LOL

Snoozeman May 22nd, 2009 11:09 AM

It varies from ship to ship and from port to port. I usually do it if I drive. Early debarkation was wonderful in the very beginning, then as more wanted to do it it became somewhat crowded and disorganized. Now they seem to have it more organized on most ships.

Ron May 22nd, 2009 12:05 PM

I don't know that it's more organized on some ships than others--maybe it has to do with the crowds and their mentality / attitudes from one cruise to another.
It's been my experience overall that it's become a mess. Although we're platinum with Carnival, we just sit back and let the crowds crowd, the pushers push and the ill mannered be ill mannered. Then leave when it's quieted down.
It would be my advice to anyone doing the self disembarking that if they have a family, make sure they stay together and whether traveling with a family or alone, hope you or someone in your party doesn't fall under the feet of the stampeding herd. :) :) :) :)

Snoozeman May 22nd, 2009 05:50 PM

It can even change for same ship to same ship depending on the Cruise Director. Some do a much better job in organizing than others.

T C May 23rd, 2009 08:33 AM

Tried it ... didn't like it because it was like a cattle stamped. HOWEVER .... it did not occur to me that I didn't have to get off the ship on first call. :roll: The idea of just hanging out on Lido until last call is a wonderful suggestion. DUH! :wink:

There are several advantages to it though ...
1) you will still have all your things in the morning and don't have to risk getting off the ship in your jammies because you forgot to leave clothes out to wear :roll: :roll: (yes this is a high risk factor 8) )
2) you don't have to have everything packed and in the hallway by midnight. (last cruise I threw everything in the suitcase as they were picking up the luggage at 1:00 a.m. :roll: )
3) you can sleep a little later if you want to.

The disadvantage to me is ...
1) you DO have to drag your luggage down the hallways and off the ship.
2) the cattle stampede ** this one longer counts because ... duh ... you can get off the ship at last call**

bobsfamily May 23rd, 2009 01:28 PM

We did it once... perfer putting the luggage out and getting off later... BTW a couple more cruises and it will be easy... VIP status!

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