When we went on our first cruise last year, Carnival had a rule that no one could disembark until EVERYONE was out of their rooms at 8:00. Does Princess have a similar policy? I have read that if we take the train from Seward to Anchorage, we will disembark at 6:00 or 6:15. Does everyone have to be out of their rooms by a certain time? If so, how late can you stay in your room?
> When we went on our first cruise last year, Carnival had a
> rule that no one could disembark until EVERYONE was out of
> their rooms at 8:00. Does Princess have a similar policy? I
> have read that if we take the train from Seward to Anchorage,
> we will disembark at 6:00 or 6:15. Does everyone have to be
> out of their rooms by a certain time? If so, how late can you
> stay in your room?
I've found that it varies. They surely can't disembark everyone at once. We took the train last year from Seward to Anchorage and there was no problem getting off the ship. In fact, your the first group allowed off. And the train is waiting right there for you. It is a beautiful ride and more comfortable than a bus since you can get up and walk around, go to the dome car, get food and refreshments at your leisure. You made a good choice.
The only time disembarkation is delayed for the entire ship is when everyone has not cleared customs in areas where this is a requirement. With the exception of having to leave early, like for the train, normally one can have breakfast and then go to whatever staging area has been set up for those disembarking. Disembarkation then takes place in groups, with those having earlier flights getting off first. They usually try to keep the people not in the group being called, out of the disembarkation area or else it gets clogged up and innefficient.
I think in most cases, they would like you out of your cabin around 8AM, so the cabin attendant can get ready for the next occupants. You can just hang out in any of the general areas and on deck. Depending on when they can clear the ship, they will usually try to get disembarkment going as soon as possible.
On our last cruise a week ago, we were off the ship at 5 minutes to 8, had an 11:10 flight from Vancouver and we made it in plenty of time. Sometime during the cruise, they will want you flight information and give you colored luggage tags according to that, so it did work out well.
Frank is right -- the Grandview Rail Transfer is an excellent choice. The train departs from right outside the cruise ship terminal.
The first two disembarkation groups are for the Grandview Rail Transfer to Anchorage. They call the first group at 6:00 and the second group at 6:15. Coming off the ship, you get into a queue in the terminal that leads to desk near the end of the teminal where the agent assigns coaches (designated by color) and seats within each coach (designated by number), then directs you to the train. Make sure that your whole party disembarks together if you want to be seated together on the train.
The rail transfer arrives at the train station in Anchorage around 11:30 AM. If you have an afternoon flight, you will have to go directly to the airport. Otherwise, you can check your luggage at Princess's hospitality room at the Egan Center, which is right in the center of town, get lunch at a real restaurant, and spend some time in the downtown area of Anchorage. Princess provides complementary transfers from the Egan Center to the airport every half hour until 6:30 PM, but you have to claim your luggage by 6:00 PM. Thus, you will have about five to six hours on your own if you have an evening flight.
I second all Frank's comments about the Grandview Rail Transfer. The scenery along the route is quite spectacular, too, so have your camera ready. I definitely will choose this option over the motorcoach transfer whenever I return to Alaska.