I'm trying to plan airfare. I am on the April 30th sailing of Mariner, I am a Platinum member. Is their an early departure lounge benefit available on this boat when we get back to Cape Canaveral? Any help is appreciated.
Haven't been on Mariner, but recently on the Enchantment, there was priority departure for diamond and diamond plus only (that's what RCCL website says, too). However, we marked our bags for the earliest departure because of an early flight, and got off virtually with them. No problem. You can also carry your own luggage off if you want, and they depart off the ship directly after this group too.
Just keep in mind when booking the return flight, its a ride to Orlando airport, so allow time for that. We were able to get on an early flight from there, but if there are any delays, you want plenty of time.
The first groups to depart Mariner yesterday were those who wanted to haul their own luggage - at about 7:30 am. If you can carry or roll your luggage, you can make arrangements to do this and be the first off the ship. You'll then have to go through Customs, and drive to Orlando. With no traffic, and no accidents on the 528, you'll be at the airport in 45 minutes. Orlando Airport is busy, so you may spend time going through security.
If you can't haul your own luggage, expect to wait a while. We didn't leave the ship until about 10:15, then spent about 45 minutes going through Customs and baggage claim.
I don't know if you can request early departure if you use their baggage services. Might be worth contacting RCI with that question.
RCCI Mariner of the Seas - Western Caribbean - March 2006
Next up ... Mariner of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean - September 2006
Just got back from the Mariner also... and Platnium members do have their own private departure lounge with Diamond and Diamond plus Crown and Anchor members.
As far as getting off the ship... early in the week, with your cruise compass comes a questionaire about your departure time. Based off of your response, you will be given luggage tags which identify when you can get off the ship. People with early flights get off first... people with late flights get off later. The last people depart the ship at about 10:30am. Plan approx an hour for drive time from the port to airport... and roughly an hour to get through customs and getting off the ship. I was on an early departure and was off the ship/luggage claim/customs in 15 minutes, with an 8am disembarkation. I would shoot for a flight reservation sometime after noon or 1pm and you should have no problems. Typically, the early departures are those doing self disembarkation, tours, and AM flights.
In the event you don't get a departure questionnaire... just go to the purser/information desk and let them know your flight plans... and they will make sure you get luggage tags for the right time. The key is that you should not get off the ship before your tags are called, as only the luggage for the called colors will be available in the luggage carousels.