Hi! Well, in just over 77 hours I'll be setting sail with Galaxy from Baltimore, and I was hoping some folks may be able to answer a question. The only previous time I've left from Baltimore, the ship was about 3 hours late arriving from the previous cruise due to a tropical storm. No big whoop for me (because we always get to the piere exceptionally early) though I know many of the boarding passengers were stranded in the parking lots as the shuttles had to stop since the terminal was very full.
Anyway, I was wondering if I could get an account of how things go when the ship is on time in Baltimore. I know from many experiences in New York, the boarding process, especially when you get there early, is incredibly easy. I ask only because there is a large group of us, some of whom are Captains Club members, some of whom are not. I'd feel really awkward using my "priority embarkation" if others in the group had to wait an hour to board.
I can't answer your question about the boarding, sorry. But, I too am going on the Galaxy 9-17-04, this is my first cruise ever. I can't wait ... so excited. However, with all the recent activity out there, needless to say, I am worried. Is it feasible we will not go to all our destinations because of storm activity? Are we in for a "bumpy" ride too?
FYI -- We arrived about an hour early than the tickets suggested back in April for our 11 day cruise on Galaxy. The ship was in port but had arrrived late. The pier guards turned away all traffic except pickup traffic so at the gate we turned around an were told to return in about two to three hours. We found a pizza shop around a mile away and ate lunch and hung out with several other tables of people for about and hour and a half then went back to try again. They let us in and we parked just before the rush came in as everyone who was told to come back came back at the same time. It still took us the standard 2 hours to get to the ship. Once in the terminal, you check in with Celebrity at the counters and they get your info and credit card number then give you a boarding number. Passengers are allowed past the gate when thier number is called. We saw no Captains club members going in any sooner than anyone else. Once past the gate expect another 15-20 min's because everyone has to get thier picture taken halfway up the gangplank (we thought it was a security check, boy were we wrong).
I have to say that it is no more hassel than an airport can be. In thier defense, it is difficult to manage thousands of people's checkin and boarding in timely fashion, and we felt it went as well as it could have. The only issue I have with Baltimore is they need to build a real cruise terminal -- no more bussing from the parking are, espessioally at $10/day for parking!
When you finally step into the ship, a nice glass of Champagne is waiting and the last two to three hours are quickly forgotten!
Thanks for the review on embarkation in Baltimore. You answered a lot of questions for me. Do you have any of the Daily Activity sheets for the Galaxy? I'd like to check for theme nights and see what activities I have to look forward to. What was your itinerary? Did you participate in any of the night life?
I wonder if there is a hotline we can call to see if the ship will board on time like the airline does for flight arrivals?
As it turns out, boarding was a breeze. We got to the parking lot at 12:15, were in the terminal at 12:30, and were on the ship at 12:40 -- 20 minutes before the cabins were open! The only complaint I had was that there was at that early time, there was only one person at the Captains Club/Suites Embarkation table, and wouldn't you know it, the people ahead of us hadn't filled out ANY of their information!
And just an observation after 15 cruises, the boarding times listed on the tickets rarely reflect the actual boarding times. Galaxy had started boarding at 12:00 for a 6:00 departure even though the tickets said boarding started at 3:00.
I have sailed a couple of times from Baltimore and both times the ship was late boarding and departing due to fog and the ship arriving late from previous cruises. No big deal...just a delay. The biggest delay was boarding of provisions for the ship not passengers. All the passengers were aboard just watching the items being loaded. P&O was the port agent then....I don't know if they still do it for Celebrity or not?