Can anyone tell me about the embarkation process at the Port of Baltimore? I've only been on one cruise on RCCL out of Fort Lauderdale and am not sure if I should expect the same process. Our cruise departs at 4:30PM but the port information on Carnival's site indicates the embark hours start at 2PM. Does this mean we won't be able to board the ship till 2PM? I'm just trying to figure out what time I should actually get to the port. Also, I have a suite booked and my luggage tags show VIP. Is there a separate boarding process for those with the VIP tags?
Not sure about Baltimore but we sailed out of New York last August and were VIP as we also booked a suite. Yes, you do get priority boarding. There will be someone at the terminal to assist you. Just look for the sign - should be right near where you go through the metal detectors. One word of caution, be sure the tags they give you to debark are for VIP. We did not get the correct tags and it took us over 4 hours to get off the ship due to the lack of sufficient Customs Officers. When you get your tags, go to Guest Relations to verify that you will get priority debarkation. We learned the hard way.
2 cruises out of Baltimore. For the CCL Pride we were VIP and started to embarke at 1130 for one cruise and 1230 on the other. All depends on when the ship gets into port and how debarkation goes as to when it will be ready. Each cruise can be different.
I've sailed out of Baltimore on several ocassions and it has always been a pleasant experience. Our sail time was 4:30. Can't remember what time I embarked probably about 11:30, just enough time to have on board welcome lunch before cabins were opened. Are you parking there? If so, they will direct you to the parking area and it is just a short walk back to the terminal. There is a separate area inside to the right that is sort of like a private lounge that had a VIP sign on it. Let me know if you have other questions.
Yes, we are parking at the port. I think I read somewhere that you drop off your luggage first then you park, is that correct? And, I also have a 4:30PM departure, but my concern was the Carnival information for Baltimore states 2PM for boarding. I don't want to get to the port too early and just hang around the terminal for a couple of hours before they start allowing passengers on board. If I plan for a noon arrival, I'm thinking I will be OK, or should I plan earlier because of the number of people? Will my VIP help expedite me through the crowd?
Yes, you do drop off your luggage and then park. It's not as bad as this sounds but it is kind of a circle that you go in and then park. It is very easy and they direct you. Don't worry about the 2:00 thing. Almost every cruise will give you these recommended guidelines. I think you will be fine if you plan to be there at 11:30 or 12:00. Are you going on the Pride? When? We are going in August. If you go before then, you will have to let me know how it is. Again, I'm not sure about the VIP because I've never done it. As I recall, it was more like a separate special waiting lounge. If this is the case, I bet you get priority embarkment but not sure.
Thanks for the info. My husband and I are doing the June 20 sailing on the Pride. This will be our first cruise with Carnival and only our second cruise total (first was with RCCL) so I feel like I'm still trying to figure all the ins and outs of things. I will report back after our cruise.
I was on the Pride out of Baltimore two weeks ago. I've been on 22 cruises and this was the easiest of any embarkation I've experienced. When you drive in (we arrived about noon) there are numerous, very courteous attendants. They will direct you through the semi-circle, collect your $105 (cash or Mastercard), unload your luggage and point out where to park. Keep your valuables in a carry on with you. This was SO much more organized than any other port we've been to where usually there is mass confusion, horns blaring, triple parking, etc. New York was the worst---plus they charged $29 per day compared to Baltimore's $15, and they charged for 8 days (they claim you park part of each Sunday) rather than 7. Have your "funpass" and passport out after you park and enter the building. You'll then pass through a metal detector. The attendants inside the building will spot your VIP funpass and/ or luggage tag on your carry on and direct you to the VIP section. They will expedite your entry. If you go before 2, you can board the ship, explore, and head to deck 9 to BEGIN your 24/7 days of eating.
We enjoyed the cruise and the ship----but I've got to warn you to expect art work all over the ship. We found it tasteful, typical artwork but some cruisers were offended by the constant display of "unclothed" paintings and sculpture (don't miss peeking at the statue of David in David's restaurant on deck 10---sans fig leaf).
If you're interested in a little preview of the ship and room (we were also in a suite) you are welcome to view our "album" below. You might want to skip the first 23 pix of our family in Virginia----we're from Connecticut, so had a chance to visit with the grandkids before embarkation.