Being able to stay in your cabin or go to a "real" breakfast sounds SO great to us!
When you do Freestyle disembarkation when do you go through customs? Do you still have to get up at the crack of dawn to do customs and then go back to your cabin or to breakfast? To us this is this worst part of a cruise! Sitting on the floor, or standing up because all the youngsters have the seats, (whatever happened to respecting your elders?) for 2 hrs. to disembark is a real pain! We won't have to do that?
We've always stayed a night at the disembarkation port so were not in any hurry to get off the ship. We're glad to let the people who have to get to the airport (or just HAVE to get off the ship!) go first!
"A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour."
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We've been on 3 NCL cruises. The first and the third were to the Caribbean. The first time, they had customs set up in one of the theaters, and you did have to go through customs prior to leaving the ship. I think we were still able to eat breakfast first and then went back to our rooms, but it was rather a pain.
The third time, which was in May, was much easier. In fact, it was so easy, I don't even remember for sure exactly what happened -- . I think, however, that they just set up podiums right as you leave the ship. We handed them our customs declaration and they waved us right through -- extremely easy. From what the CD said, however, the whole process is under the control of the customs officials, not the ship. He did make the comment that it had been running very smoothy the last month, but that it could change at any time. I think it really will just depend on how the customs officers choose to handle it.
The second time was in Vancouver, so we were clearing Canadian customs, which they had set up in Canada Place. It was fairly well organized, but the lines were long, and it did occur after leaving the ship.
I have been on two NCL cruises with freestyle disembarking and this is one of the things that NCL does better than other lines, just so easy. You can get up, go for breakfast and then relax in your cabin if you want to until your tag color is called. So much better and more civilized than herding into the public areas with no seats and waiting. If you are not flying out that day, you will probably be one of the last groups called, but the up side of that is that a lot of the luggage is already gone and it is easier to find yours. I sailed the Majesty out of Boston to Bermuda and the Dream out of New Orleans and as I recall, customs was inside the terminal on the way off the ship. Don't know what the set-up is in other cities. Think you will love the relaxed last morning.
Just returned to NYC on the N. Crown yesterday. You only had to go Customs -- which was set up in one of the lounges -- if you had exceeded your allowance. If not, Customs just collected your form in the terminal and asked about any cigarettes or alcohol. That was all there was to it.
Also, the non US citizens were asked to check in on board as well.
As usual, the only delay was with some passengers not settling their bills.
Once all of this is done, they started with the Express passengers -- those who could carry off all of their own luggage. If you are not a US citizen this option is not available to you.
We kind of made our own freestyle disembarkation. We did not put our luggage out or use the tags. We went to breakfast , then were in the lobby at 10:00am. We waited for the line to dwindle then got off the ship. Worked out great! Customs took 5 minutes. We lugged our bags but didnt have to search through a pile for them either!