I have noticed that Carnival recommends 1:30 pm embarkation time for its 4pm cruise. It further recommends that we should arrive NO more than 30 minutes prior to the scheduled embarkation time. Should we really follow that? Lots of postings here suggested 11:30am to reach the pier (Miami).
If we arrive so early (11:30am vs. 1:30pm), what are we going to do with the 2 hrs there?
Whenever I cruise out of Miami, I arrive between 11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. If you are driving a car, you have to drive up to the loading zone and check in your luggage then drive to the parking garage, this takes 15-20 minutes. Then you have to check in at the terminal, present your documents, get your Sail & Sign card, have your photo taken, etc. We have never boarded a ship out of Miami any later than 12:00-12:30 p.m., sometimes earlier. Soooo, it actually takes approximately 1 hour to board the ship if you arrive around 11:00 a.m. If you do not have a car, this will cut some time off your pre-boarding. Once you enter the ship, the buffet lunch is ready, the music is playing and the drinks are flowing. The embarkation time is listed as 1:30 p.m. but as soon as the ship is cleaned and cleared by Customs, they allow new passengers to board. You will not be able to access your stateroom until 1:30 p.m. but the rest of the ship is open, take your little deck map and walk around while the ship is quiet and familiarize yourself with the layout.
I just returned Tuesday from E.Carib on the Carn.Legend round trip from NYC. We live a few miles east of Manhattan, took taxi to pier and arrived at 11:30 am. We were checked in and on board by 12:30 (rooms not ready til 1:30 or so). We went directly up to deck 9 (Lido) and the Unicorn Cafe (24 hour buffet with multiple choices of food stations to satisfy any and all tastes. You should pack swim clothes in carry on luggage so you can hit the pools while your cabin is being prepared! If you adhere to the "1:30 PM or later" arrival you will spend 2 or more hrs on the long, long, long lines for check-in! Trust me.....just make sure you complete all documents prior to arrival (credit card info for sign & sail, fun pass print-out, and the white card for travel in the British V.I. (if you are going to Tortola of course). That will speed up embarkation. Have passport, (or birth certificates), photo ID and cruise tickets in your pocket...you will have to show them to many people prior to boarding.
Think before you speak......words are not connected to a retractable cord!
"Time you enjoyed wasting, was not really wasted at all" ~ John Lennon
Carnival Victory to N/E & Canada 7 days