HAL's literature states that Mariner member's are offered priority boarding at embarkation. How does this work in practice? Is early boarding allowed, or is it similar to Celebrity's priority boarding number system?
When we sailed on the Veendam in February, out of Ft. Lauderdale, Mariner members checked in at a separate counter, concurrent with other passenger check in. We arrived early, and were allowed to check in and board between 1:30 and 2:00 pm. It worked well, but the terminal was not very busy that early in the day.
I sailed on the m/s Maasdam on the 7/30/00 sailing from Stockholm and while HAL indicated that Mariner members would be given priority boarding, I did not find that to be the case. Boarding was easier and smoother for my first HAL cruise(out of Montreal aboard the m/s Veendam in 1998). If Mariner members were given prority boarding, I did not know of it, and did not see any indications to that effect at the pier.
Lynn, your response doesn't surprise me, and is one reason I asked. HAL's web site promotes priority boarding for Mariners. However, I recall when we boarded the RVI at Civitecchia (Rome) there was no evidence of priority arrangements, only a mad cap scramble at the tables set up dock side. It may be that they are better organized at more permanent locations such as Ft. Lauderdale. The RVI was our first Hal cruise and we're booked for the Volendam in November. It's certainly not important - just trivial curiosity. Thanks to you both for your replies.