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Hammer237

Carnival Embarcation

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I haven't cruised Carnival for a few years and it appears we now have to register for an embarkation time.  Can we still come early?  I really don't want to wait until 1:00!  Has anyone come early and been OK?

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I can only comment on several ports and depatures, but they will turn you away at the terminal.

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Exactly.  According to Carnival's FAQ on the matter, those outside their arrival time "may experience longer waits".  I don't know if every Port has an Early/Late embarcation line, so it'd be a good idea to check before you go.

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I have talked to people who have said they waited over 2 hours when they showed up early and I have also heard from people who showed up early who didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes.  No one can really predict how long your wait will be if you show up early because it all depends on how many other people show up early.  If you don’t like standing in lines, the best thing to do is show up during your check-in window or buy FTTF. 

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When this first started you would be turned away and made to wait outside the terminal. Now most terminals have an Early/Late arrival waiting area. If there's a lull in boarding, or the current boarding group isn't that busy, they will try to squeeze you in. You can arrive early, but may find yourself waiting longer than you'd like. 

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One thing to point out, you do not choose your embarkation time. You choose your CHECK IN time, which is what time you go to the terminal. The staggered check-in works because it doesn't have 3,000 pax coming to the terminal at the same time. I know my last 3 or 4 sailings they were being very strict and not letting people in the terminal unless it was their time. They sat in the "early line". 

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We arrived at Long Beach one hour before our appointment (we drove from Northern California, hard to predict exactly when we would arrive based on traffic, etc).  We were prepared to wait but hoped we would be let into the terminal to sit.  There were 2 queues, "on time" and "a little early/a little late".  We were directed to the early/late queue, but since there wasn't anyone in either of the queues we checked in immediately and were off to board the ship.   It's like the fast pass line at Disneyland.  The regular line (early/late) will wait until the fast pass (on time) people get through their queue and then they will be let in as space permits. So, your experience may vary.  You take a chance going early.  I didn't like the idea of staggered boarding when it first came out but, having gone through it, it really works.  Even if we had to wait for our check in appointment (1:30), it is more than enough time to put our things down (cabins aren't ready until 1:30pm anyway), get lunch and explore before muster and sail away.  I guess the only thing we miss, getting on later, is the chance to participate in the spa tour. I will take stress free boarding over than any day!

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Last I inquired, the time allotted is CHECK-IN TO THE TERMINAL time, NOT EMBARKATION.  You may sit inside the terminal for a while after check-in, prior to embarkation.

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In Galveston they check your time and are pretty serious about you being present in the time frame printed on your itinerary. Last September my check in time was between 11:30 and 12:30 (if I remember correctly). Driving in from Corpus I had a flat tire and was really concerned about missing my check in time and having to wait for an extended phone of time. Fortunately, I made it with a few minutes to spare, but the security guard was checking his watch to make sure. 

‘Having been on cruises in the past where 3000+ people show up at the same time, then standing in line for hours - it is a much better system. 

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My check in time for Glory last week was 1130. I arrived at 1100 and the boat was already half full. They did not even check the time. It was the best embarkation i ave ever been on except all the seating on the Lido was gone by 11.

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On 2/11/2019 at 3:11 PM, PhillyFan33579 said:

I have talked to people who have said they waited over 2 hours when they showed up early and I have also heard from people who showed up early who didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes.  No one can really predict how long your wait will be if you show up early because it all depends on how many other people show up early.  If you don’t like standing in lines, the best thing to do is show up during your check-in window or buy FTTF. 

I concur with this.  I have only cruised once on Carnival since check in times were put in place.  Our check in was about 12:30 and we showed up at 11 at Long Beach, due to early arrivals from LAX.  We were fully prepared to wait until 12:30 but they moved us very happily right onto the ship.  We were very appreciative and told them so.  

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On 2/11/2019 at 8:17 PM, teknoge3k said:

One thing to point out, you do not choose your embarkation time. You choose your CHECK IN time, which is what time you go to the terminal. The staggered check-in works because it doesn't have 3,000 pax coming to the terminal at the same time. I know my last 3 or 4 sailings they were being very strict and not letting people in the terminal unless it was their time. They sat in the "early line". 

 

It is actually called an arrival appointment and the larger the ship capacity, the more it is enforced.  The Mardi Gras will be close to 6,000 passengers and they can't all board at 11:30.

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On 2/11/2019 at 7:17 PM, teknoge3k said:

One thing to point out, you do not choose your embarkation time. You choose your CHECK IN time, which is what time you go to the terminal. The staggered check-in works because it doesn't have 3,000 pax coming to the terminal at the same time. I know my last 3 or 4 sailings they were being very strict and not letting people in the terminal unless it was their time. They sat in the "early line". 

You caught it.  You're totally right.  LOL

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I have cruised out of four ports since check in time was instituted. Jacksonville was turning people away at the gate and not even letting them park if not near their check in time, but New Orleans, Tampa, and Miami were just making people wait outside.  You want FTTF or a suite if you would like to show up earlier than your check in time.  

 

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In days gone by, when you could speak to ppl -lol

we just struck up a conversation with those around us!

It helps to pass the time as the line gets shorter and shorter.

 

This picture taken at Pier 90, Manhattan Cruise Terminal

boarding our Canada cruise in Fall of 2011

.

Boarding-096.jpg

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