One couple we spoke to said that they arrived at 3 PM. They went through the embarkation process with no delays. Therefore, my advice to anyone embarking at Seattle is to arrive later in the day, but be prepared.
Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!
The OP's experience in Seattle sounds much like my own experience in Vancouver on 5-13-11. I sailed on the first cruise of the season on the Rhapsody of the Seas. I arrived at Canada Place at 1:30, and got to my cabin two hours later. US Customs seemed understaffed, with only 3 agents checking passports for US citizens.Did you use US Direct in Vancouver?
Being from Washington state, I have utilized the Seattle cruise port many times and have never had any problems. Sure, waiting-in-line happens sometimes, but, IMO, never long enough to be upset about. It is nowhere near as overcrowded as, say, some of the piers at Port Everglades.
Sorry for your bad experience, but I think your thread title, "Beware of embarkation in Seattle!" is a little harsh - as if you are implying that this is a common occurrence at this specific cruise-port, whereas in my experience it certainly is not normal.
Did you use US Direct in Vancouver?No. I arrived in Vancouver a day early.
We had a bit of a wait at the terminal, too, but it was not extremely long. We arrived around 11:45 am.Thank you for the heads up on this. I'll make sure to send my sister ahead of me in line so if I can't get to my laptop in time, she'll at least be there to grab it.
My concern is the disorganized screeing staff. My laptop had to be placed bare on the conveyor belt at the screener, without the protection of a plastic box, amid suitcases. On the other side of the screening device, suitcases began falling to the floor, because there was not enough standing area for the bags. Luckily, I was able to rush through the metal detector to rescue my computer before it hit the floor, too. Take care going through the screening at this terminal.