Embarking and Disembarking - RCL has got it figured out!
getting on and off the Freedom was a breeze. The terminal in Miami is gorgeous compared to other cruise line terminal warehouses. Very well organized, didn't have to wait at all. The terminal was light, open and carpeted. Getting off the ship was just as easy. No searching thru huge bins to hopefully find your bags, when they call your color tag you go to baggage claim - just like the airports- huge conveyor belt that brings out your luggage.
Yes, its true, cruising out of Miami on Royal Caribbean is nice, you can even get your airline boarding tickets and check your luggage right there at the pier. Nice and it doesn't take long at all, we were off Freedom by 7:30, had plenty of time to get a cab to the airport, could of even done an earlier flight with no problem.
It does work good if all goes as planned...Having just got off the voyager a couple of weeks ago, our beigh tags where called at 6.45 am. Quickly to the carousel for beigh tags....after and hour wait no one had any luggage with the beigh tags. Finally a RCCL rep went to check what was wrong. She came back and reported a dood jammmed on the ship and they where having trouble with it. Finally at 8.45 i got my luggage....needless to say..that two hour wait caused us to miss our flight...along with RCCL transfers which were so backed up by the time we got out of the terminal...
I was amazed how smoothly our on and off went the in early April. RCL offered airline check on aboard ship complete with boarding passes and we were able to check out luggage with the airline right in the cruise terminal.
Splendour of the Seas 97
Serenade of the Seas 07
Liberty of the Seas 07
Jewel of the Seas 08
Caribbean Princess 11
Nieuw Amsterdam 11
Oasis of the Seas 12
Queen Elizabeth 12
Carnival Valor 13
Getting aboard "Mariner" at Port Canaveral was a MAJOR pain when we sailed her last Fall. The wait to drop off luggage for the porters for embarkation was nearly 1 1/2 hours long, (you couldn't tell this until it was too late to turn around) and debarkation wasn't too much better. Perhaps I'd be better off to sail one of the ships out of Miami in the future. I'm going to stick with the smaller RCI ships for future cruises anyway, and with less people, there are generally less problems.