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Old March 16th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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Default Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Hi,

I can't believe it is only 9 days till I cruise!!!

We're on Carnival Spirit leaving from San Diego at 4 pm. We have experienced the San Diego port before and know it can be a long wait to get aboard.

Does anyone who has taken this cruise have advice about the best time to arrive to avoid the crowds? We will be parking our car nearby.

Also, any advise to get the passing porters to actually stop and help you is needed. Do you have to wave money at them? I mean obviously we always tip, but on our last trip they didn't seem too interested in doing their jobs. Maybe they have a routine I and other passengers are unaware of, but honestly I have never experienced that in any other port. Sorry for the mini-rant.

Margie
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Old March 17th, 2005, 01:20 AM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

watch the action here on thursday the 17th next week it will be YOU
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Old March 17th, 2005, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

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Old March 17th, 2005, 01:21 AM
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Old March 17th, 2005, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Margie, know what you mean about porters. What always seems to work with me is to take the suitcases from the car, and as soon as they are set down, pull a bill out of your hand and look around for help. I usually tip $2 a bag, so the $5 might help. Never have had a problem since ... I just wonder how many cruisers stiff 'em.

Our experience in San Diego was actually pretty darn good for getting the porter. They had us drive up, and the porter was right there in the parking lot to take 'em away to a tent.

And finally, the second time we took the Spirit, it took about 1.5 hours to get on board, and they used boarding passes. I think we arrived at 2 p.m. Maybe less of a wait if you got there at 1?

Harry

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Old March 17th, 2005, 05:17 PM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Harry,

Thanks for the advice.

I was actually kidding about waving money, but hey, I'll do whatever it takes!!! Last time my husband dropped me, kids, and bags off, and we stood there as porter after porter passed us with empty carts. Will definitely get my money and wallet out to show my willingness to pay them and probably ask for their assistance. But in other ports (LA, Tampa, Miami, and Port Canaveral) the porters were so friendly and prompt that I was kind of shocked by the SD porters.

I have the boarding pass ready, put in all info on the web site. I think we'll try early, like 11 am or possibly noon. But must pack activities for the children if we have the long wait. 1.5 hours is really a long time.

Margie
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Old March 18th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

What if you walk to the pier from a near by hotel? Will they realize you need help if you don't have a car?
Also, I don't care for crowds (will deal if I have to), but don't mind sitting an hour, 2, 3.. instead, could you get to the pier between 10 & noon and start the process??

Thanks!
Lisa
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Old March 18th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Lisa and Margie,

I would be more prone to get there about noon or so .... I think otherwise you would have a long wait.

The boarding passes are different from your boarding info ... they give you a color card and taht's how they start allowing people on board (this was the case with our Acapulco cruise).

I'm think that if there is a wait, you could just check the baggage, get the color boarding pass, and poke around downtown or the maritime museum, which is right next door until they start the boarding process ... that might be the best plan.

Lisa, don't worry about just walking over ... do the money in hand, and the porters usually are like moths to a flame.

Harry

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Old March 18th, 2005, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Harry,

Again, great suggestions. I know the kids would really enjoy strolling around and seeing the floating Maritime Museum.

Do they tell you the order that the colors are called or an approx time they will start boarding???

Margie
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Old March 19th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Nope, it just started at one point .... perhaps you could go up near security and ask there or one of the Carnival reps. I do recall that we were delayed the second time because they keys to the doors were not working or something like that.

Harry

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Old March 21st, 2005, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Do they do this card thing to avoid lines?? If you got there at noon, you might end up not being able to board until 3?? Just weird, but it won't deter me from booking on the Spirit for Jan next year!!!
Thanks for the info on the museum, I will save this for if I have to wait a few hours.
Thanks for the advice!!

Lisa
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Old March 21st, 2005, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Lisa, our experience was from 2002 and 2003. If I recall, in 2002, it was the first time Carnival docked in SD ... that was a nightmare embarkation for us. Took 4 hours to get on board. The 2003 trip was much better -- 1.5 hours. I'm sure it's gotten better.

My lender just got back from the Spirit ... I'll ask her about it when I talk to her next.

Harry

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Old March 22nd, 2005, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Thanks, just curious, booked my cruise for Jan '06 yesterday, so no matter what they do, I'm still going!!!
And my aunt & uncle are taking their 1st cruise on this ship, but Alaska in Sept, so I can hear from them what they thought about the ship, hope they like it as much as you did!!

Lisa
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Old March 25th, 2005, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: Spirit Embarkation-- What Time?

Just got the word from my lender. She said they arrived at 1 p.m. and were on board within 30 minutes. She said they had already started boarding, so I would say 12:30 at the earliest. Again, they did the colored boarding cards to regulate the amount of people boarding at once.

The even better news is she said it was very smooth getting on and ultra smooth disembarking and through customs in less than 10 minutes.

Hope that helps, and Bon Voyage Margie!

Harry

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