If you get there earlier you will be asked to sit and wait for them to open the ship - which in our case did happen about 12:00 noon, but once you get onboard there is nothing to do but wait in the Lido. There is food, but you can't get to your stateroom, they shut the firedoors untl 1:00 pm. So you have to carry your bags around with you.
We left the Country Inns & Suites (the closest hotel to Port Canaveral) around 11:00, parked the car (we got ourselves a little turned around -- a car was blocking part of the sign, and we thought the word Canaveral said Carnival -- and we went looking for another parking lot for Royal Caribbean people), handed off our luggage, went through security, checked in and received our SeaPasses . . . and we were in line to board the ship sometime 11:30-11:45 . . . we were among the first to board Mariner, and I'm sure it was something like 11:45-12:00.
Paul, sorry but you don't seem to like anything about the Mariner -takes longer to board. I guess we have been really lucky - we get on board and walk around meet some of the crew - actually gone to our room and the off for a drink while we wait and meet new friends. Gosh, guess we are lucky and we are just plain, normal folks, who like to cruise as we get closer to retirement.
Alamo, you don't know me so it isn't right or fair to infer I have an elitist attitude. Second, they had the firedoors shut and crewmembers standing guard until 1:00, so you couldn't to your room if you were on early.
My statement was about all ships and the tendency of people to want to get there earlier and earlier all the time. I think it is causing problems for other people who don't have a choice about arrival time. As lombard says, the contract says "Boarding is at 1:00" - maybe there is a good reason for that?
And I totally agree with Ron that Customs is taking longer & longer to clear ships these days. It used to be we just walked off of ships, now everyone has to talk to Customs & Border Patrol, and it really slowed disembarkation down. Especially when they had to get out the pen lights and lasers to inspect the birth certificates of people who didn't have passports. I understand the need for that, but once again, another reason for people NOT to push to get on the ship first thing in the morning.
I really think people should wait until 12:30 - 2:00 to get on board if they can - for their own sanity and those of others who have no choice. And corneraft, there were people in the terminal we saw who walked right in - ahead of us, and they probably did get right on. Our bus (we didn't have a private car) got stuck behind several taxis & limousines and we were looking at the terminal, stuck inside the bus for about 15 minutes. By the time we got out of it, it literally took over an hour to get on the ship.
My brother in law was in a wheelchair and we had to push him through crowds, and around crowds to get on elevators. There was no priority line for the handicapped. People were cranky and passing us up because he was "too slow" for them.
The line snaked up an escalator to the ticket counters, after tickets down a long hallway (because of a photographer taking pictures) up another escalator (we had to find an elevator each time) before you even got to the place where they take your picture for your card. Our machine broke down, so we got in the back of another line (Heaven forbid anyone should let a handicapped person in line) and when the machine we were at the front of the line for came back online people rushed up to get ahead of us, leaving us in the back of the room again. Once through that barrier it was down another long hall to get on the ship.
I am not saying people were intentionally being rude, it was just one of those situations were everyone is claustrophobic and wanted to get the heck out of there. Exactky the way I felt.
That's just the simple truth, no embellishment. I would have preferred to arrive much later but we had pre-paid transfers and they chose the pickup time for our hotel.
I have to agree that more and more people are trying to get aboard earlier and earlier, no matter which ship it is.
What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that there are a few thousand that have to be off before they can start letting the other few thousand on. And too, many don't realize that it's not the cruise line delaying the disembarkation --- it's all in the hands of the Customs and Immigration people once the ship is in port. But too, the ship has to be cleaned, refueled, replenished, etc. It takes time.
If they basically didn't have the controls they now have, you could be in your bed on the last morning around 7 or so and some nut would be trying to unlock the door to get into " his " cabin.
I've been on the Mariner and have it booked again for sept. Paul's experience doesn't deter me from expecting a good cruise. I can understand how he feels as sometimes it seems that things just start bad and go to worse. I have felt the same way about the Carnival Victory.
We sailed it when it was new and I honestly would not go back aboard that ship if it were a free cruise but I sail Carnival regularly --just not that ship. I'm going for my 4th cruise on the Glory in a couple weeks. Point is, we can dislike a ship but like the cruiseline.
Anyway, sail on and roll with it.