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ummgood

How does boarding work for Carnival Vista in Galveston?

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I am new to Carnival.  Having never sailed on her before I am clueless on what goes on when you board a Carnival ship.

My wife and I are planning on driving to Galveston from Austin (about a 3 hour drive) the morning of the cruise.  Do we have a set time we get to board?  When does the cruise let us know what time we get to board?  I assume the boarding time allows frequent cruisers and suite passengers to go first.  Then after that is it based on Cabin booked or deck?  What is the typical time for a newbie to be able to board?  Just want to make sure we have plenty of time to arrive with some cushion.

I don't know if this helps but we are on deck 5 in a HE category room on Vista sailing out end of Sept.

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Just now, ummgood said:

I am new to Carnival.  Having never sailed on her before I am clueless on what goes on when you board a Carnival ship.

My wife and I are planning on driving to Galveston from Austin (about a 3 hour drive) the morning of the cruise.  Do we have a set time we get to board?  When does the cruise let us know what time we get to board?  I assume the boarding time allows frequent cruisers and suite passengers to go first.  Then after that is it based on Cabin booked or deck?  What is the typical time for a newbie to be able to board?  Just want to make sure we have plenty of time to arrive with some cushion.

I don't know if this helps but we are on deck 5 in a HE category room on Vista sailing out end of Sept.

If you have already checked in online it should have given you an on board window time. It should be printed on your boarding pass. It depends when your cruise is when they start allowing online check in. Ours is in May and online check in starts in February. We cruised on The Vista from Galveston in September and it went really smoothly. 

Hope this helps! Have a great time.

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You can select your "Arrival Appointment" by logging in to your Cruise Manager beginning at midnight Eastern time 90 days prior to your sail date.  Your arrival appointment is a half hour window for you to arrive and check in.  If you arrive earlier or later than this period you might have to wait to board or might be able to board immediately.  Arrival appointments are staggered so that not everyone tries to board a the same time, and the earlier ones tend to fill up quickly.  Priority boarding is reserved for wedding parties, platinum and diamond guests, suiteholders and those who purchase Faster To The Fun.

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43 minutes ago, Garth2 said:

You can select your "Arrival Appointment" by logging in to your Cruise Manager beginning at midnight Eastern time 90 days prior to your sail date.  Your arrival appointment is a half hour window for you to arrive and check in.  If you arrive earlier or later than this period you might have to wait to board or might be able to board immediately.  Arrival appointments are staggered so that not everyone tries to board a the same time, and the earlier ones tend to fill up quickly.  Priority boarding is reserved for wedding parties, platinum and diamond guests, suiteholders and those who purchase Faster To The Fun.

 

Thank you!  So I will have some choices to chose from at 90 days out.  That is what I was looking for.  I am not sure if we need Faster To The Fun or not.  Plus it is sold out for our cruise.

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2 hours ago, ummgood said:

I am new to Carnival.  Having never sailed on her before I am clueless on what goes on when you board a Carnival ship.

My wife and I are planning on driving to Galveston from Austin (about a 3 hour drive) the morning of the cruise.  Do we have a set time we get to board?  When does the cruise let us know what time we get to board?  I assume the boarding time allows frequent cruisers and suite passengers to go first.  Then after that is it based on Cabin booked or deck?  What is the typical time for a newbie to be able to board?  Just want to make sure we have plenty of time to arrive with some cushion.

I don't know if this helps but we are on deck 5 in a HE category room on Vista sailing out end of Sept.

I have sailed on the Vista twice out of Galveston.  Here is what I do: On the first day of check in (literally at midnight eastern time which I think is 11 pm here), I log in and get my preferred check in time....whether that is late or early.  Usually the first available window, if you are wanting to board early, it is either 11:30a.m. to noon OR 12:00-12:30. You don't even have to complete check in.  Just start it and select your time.  Then I arrive in that window. I have never had to wait when arriving during my window.  Even on a full ship at Christmas with 4,954 passengers boarding.  (The line was, however, long for those outside their window.)  You can usually access your room by about 1:30 p.m. If you check your luggage, it will be delivered later that evening. If you don't, you just have to carry it around until you can access your room. However, bring your wine bottle and your sodas in your carry on or they will confiscate your luggage and you will have to go down to guest services to claim it. My brother learned this the hard way.

 

Of course, you can always do a later check in time, too. We did the last check in time on the Vista back in October 2018 out of Galveston so my husband could see patients that morning and basically work half a day. On that one, there was literally NO ONE in either the on time or late/early lines. I think everyone was already on board. We were able to go straight to our room. We didn't even check our luggage that time. In fact, I don't recall even seeing porters there at that time since it was the last boarding window.

 

Unfortunately, the Havana rooms (unless your room is one of the Havana Cabana Suites), don't get priority boarding even though they are more expensive.  But we always LOVE the Havana area so it is well worth it. Quite frankly, though, if you get the first boarding time, you probably are boarding only 20-30 minutes after the priority folks anyway.

 

There is parking immediately across the street from the port somewhere around $100-120 for the week. Very quick walk. There are cheaper places to park at that require a reservation, but we never plan that far ahead. 

 

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5 hours ago, ummgood said:

I am new to Carnival.  Having never sailed on her before I am clueless on what goes on when you board a Carnival ship.

My wife and I are planning on driving to Galveston from Austin (about a 3 hour drive) the morning of the cruise.  Do we have a set time we get to board?  When does the cruise let us know what time we get to board?  I assume the boarding time allows frequent cruisers and suite passengers to go first.  Then after that is it based on Cabin booked or deck?  What is the typical time for a newbie to be able to board?  Just want to make sure we have plenty of time to arrive with some cushion.

I don't know if this helps but we are on deck 5 in a HE category room on Vista sailing out end of Sept.

Hello we did the Vista 7 Day Cruise last January....it was awesome.  We did reviews of various restaurants, our room, the spa and the drink package if you would like to take a look 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiEUY5syMeu1_233dY7oZaWRrqs_o5Fta

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To explain in a lil more detail too there's an ON TIME line and an EARLY/LATE line. If you don't pay extra for FTTF or have the other options, the quicker line is normally making sure you're there during your slotted time. But at least in Port Canaveral we've found even if we got there for the later line we were in pretty fast.

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If you really want FTTF, keep checking.  They open up a certain number of slots periodically.  We had friends who got it by just checking every day.  As far as whether it is worth it, I really don't know.  We tend to select an early check in time when it's available, but we are platinum now, so our cabin is ready when we board.  Prior to that, we would still select an early check in time, but we always had our luggage with us during lunch, which is not the end of the world, but a bit inconvenient.  The lines for check in move pretty quickly.  You go through the luggage scan, they check your wine/canned drinks, then on to the counter.  They board by zones.  I feel like they are much faster than they were 10 years ago for sure.  Stop & strike a pose for the welcome aboard photo if you want.  Sail & sign cards are at your cabin, so hang on to your boarding pass if you plan to buy a drink while waiting to sail.  You won't be able to get to the cabin until 1:30 (officially).  I have seen them ready sooner.

 

We have been using Galveston Park n Cruise across from the ship.  We always book online in advance.  The parking is inside, so the car stays cleaner.  Plus, it's not sitting in the sun so you don't bake when you get in the car after the cruise.

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21 hours ago, ummgood said:

I am new to Carnival.  Having never sailed on her before I am clueless on what goes on when you board a Carnival ship.

My wife and I are planning on driving to Galveston from Austin (about a 3 hour drive) the morning of the cruise.  Do we have a set time we get to board?  When does the cruise let us know what time we get to board?  I assume the boarding time allows frequent cruisers and suite passengers to go first.  Then after that is it based on Cabin booked or deck?  What is the typical time for a newbie to be able to board?  Just want to make sure we have plenty of time to arrive with some cushion.

I don't know if this helps but we are on deck 5 in a HE category room on Vista sailing out end of Sept.

I have sailed out of Galveston two times, I will not do it again without FTTF.  Our experience was not great the last time.  We got there in time for our boarding time but so did everyone else on the boat.  The lines were very long.  People cut in line and were generally pretty rude.  The FTTF line was so short.  So I'm just giving you a heads up for what you may expect and to be patient and keep a good attitude.  

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21 hours ago, JQTravels said:

Hello we did the Vista 7 Day Cruise last January....it was awesome.  We did reviews of various restaurants, our room, the spa and the drink package if you would like to take a look 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiEUY5syMeu1_233dY7oZaWRrqs_o5Fta

 

Thanks I'll take a look!

 

17 hours ago, Ellusionz said:

To explain in a lil more detail too there's an ON TIME line and an EARLY/LATE line. If you don't pay extra for FTTF or have the other options, the quicker line is normally making sure you're there during your slotted time. But at least in Port Canaveral we've found even if we got there for the later line we were in pretty fast.

 

Thanks!  That helps.  We'll try to get there at the right time.

 

9 hours ago, dmdiver said:

If you really want FTTF, keep checking.  They open up a certain number of slots periodically.  We had friends who got it by just checking every day.  As far as whether it is worth it, I really don't know.  We tend to select an early check in time when it's available, but we are platinum now, so our cabin is ready when we board.  Prior to that, we would still select an early check in time, but we always had our luggage with us during lunch, which is not the end of the world, but a bit inconvenient.  The lines for check in move pretty quickly.  You go through the luggage scan, they check your wine/canned drinks, then on to the counter.  They board by zones.  I feel like they are much faster than they were 10 years ago for sure.  Stop & strike a pose for the welcome aboard photo if you want.  Sail & sign cards are at your cabin, so hang on to your boarding pass if you plan to buy a drink while waiting to sail.  You won't be able to get to the cabin until 1:30 (officially).  I have seen them ready sooner.

 

We have been using Galveston Park n Cruise across from the ship.  We always book online in advance.  The parking is inside, so the car stays cleaner.  Plus, it's not sitting in the sun so you don't bake when you get in the car after the cruise.

 

Thanks!  We'll probably have the cheers package so we won't have to carry on beverages.  I'll keep looking for FTTF but I don't check every day because I forget and sometimes my 3 kids change my life so much I have trouble remembering.  If I don't get it it isn't a big deal.  We won't be doing much that requires it anyway (there is only one tender port our cruise so if we do an excursion there we'll do it through the cruise line).

I'll be checking into parking shortly.  I have a Tesla so I need a place I can plug in so that will drive my decision.  Last time we cruised on RCCL we parked where you recommend.

 

4 hours ago, LuckyStar said:

I have sailed out of Galveston two times, I will not do it again without FTTF.  Our experience was not great the last time.  We got there in time for our boarding time but so did everyone else on the boat.  The lines were very long.  People cut in line and were generally pretty rude.  The FTTF line was so short.  So I'm just giving you a heads up for what you may expect and to be patient and keep a good attitude.  

 

Ok thanks!  We are pretty patient but if I can manage to get FTTF I'll probably purchase it.

 

23 hours ago, Eli_6 said:

I have sailed on the Vista twice out of Galveston.  Here is what I do: On the first day of check in (literally at midnight eastern time which I think is 11 pm here), I log in and get my preferred check in time....whether that is late or early.  Usually the first available window, if you are wanting to board early, it is either 11:30a.m. to noon OR 12:00-12:30. You don't even have to complete check in.  Just start it and select your time.  Then I arrive in that window. I have never had to wait when arriving during my window.  Even on a full ship at Christmas with 4,954 passengers boarding.  (The line was, however, long for those outside their window.)  You can usually access your room by about 1:30 p.m. If you check your luggage, it will be delivered later that evening. If you don't, you just have to carry it around until you can access your room. However, bring your wine bottle and your sodas in your carry on or they will confiscate your luggage and you will have to go down to guest services to claim it. My brother learned this the hard way.

 

Of course, you can always do a later check in time, too. We did the last check in time on the Vista back in October 2018 out of Galveston so my husband could see patients that morning and basically work half a day. On that one, there was literally NO ONE in either the on time or late/early lines. I think everyone was already on board. We were able to go straight to our room. We didn't even check our luggage that time. In fact, I don't recall even seeing porters there at that time since it was the last boarding window.

 

Unfortunately, the Havana rooms (unless your room is one of the Havana Cabana Suites), don't get priority boarding even though they are more expensive.  But we always LOVE the Havana area so it is well worth it. Quite frankly, though, if you get the first boarding time, you probably are boarding only 20-30 minutes after the priority folks anyway.

 

There is parking immediately across the street from the port somewhere around $100-120 for the week. Very quick walk. There are cheaper places to park at that require a reservation, but we never plan that far ahead. 

 

 

Thanks for the detailed response!  That really helps to know about check in times etc...  That is exactly what I was looking for.  We have cruised out of Galveston on Disney and RCCL so we have an idea on parking.  I need a place to charge my car so that will dictate where I park.  I am hoping the Habana rooms are as nice as people say they are.  We are used to AFT balconies but we are excited for something different.

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Go to the Gulf Coast Departures board for lots of parking info and recommendations.

 

I didn't stay up until midnight to do the check-in. I did it the next morning when I woke up at my usual time of 5:30 AM. I still got the first boarding slot (not FTTF) with no issue. We showed up 2 minutes into the approved time slot and never stopped moving. We showed our boarding passes at the beginning of the line, walked through the barriers, went right up to the x-ray machine, went right onto the ramp, and done. It was almost TOO fast as I had my young son with me who wasn't quite as good with keeping up. Meanwhile, the early/late arrival line snaked around the building and wasn't moving very fast.

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I think EzCruise has charging stations.  At least I have seen signs that say so.  You might want to check their web site.  And I have never had a bad experience with them.  Service has always been great.

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On 1/22/2020 at 2:55 PM, ummgood said:

 

Thanks I'll take a look!

 

 

Thanks!  That helps.  We'll try to get there at the right time.

 

 

Thanks!  We'll probably have the cheers package so we won't have to carry on beverages.  I'll keep looking for FTTF but I don't check every day because I forget and sometimes my 3 kids change my life so much I have trouble remembering.  If I don't get it it isn't a big deal.  We won't be doing much that requires it anyway (there is only one tender port our cruise so if we do an excursion there we'll do it through the cruise line).

I'll be checking into parking shortly.  I have a Tesla so I need a place I can plug in so that will drive my decision.  Last time we cruised on RCCL we parked where you recommend.

 

 

Ok thanks!  We are pretty patient but if I can manage to get FTTF I'll probably purchase it.

 

 

Thanks for the detailed response!  That really helps to know about check in times etc...  That is exactly what I was looking for.  We have cruised out of Galveston on Disney and RCCL so we have an idea on parking.  I need a place to charge my car so that will dictate where I park.  I am hoping the Habana rooms are as nice as people say they are.  We are used to AFT balconies but we are excited for something different.

The Havana area on the Vista is awesome. It is so close to everything.  I absolutely love this boat.  I hope you all have a marvelous time. 

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3 hours ago, aknguyen said:

Go to the Gulf Coast Departures board for lots of parking info and recommendations.

 

I didn't stay up until midnight to do the check-in. I did it the next morning when I woke up at my usual time of 5:30 AM. I still got the first boarding slot (not FTTF) with no issue. We showed up 2 minutes into the approved time slot and never stopped moving. We showed our boarding passes at the beginning of the line, walked through the barriers, went right up to the x-ray machine, went right onto the ramp, and done. It was almost TOO fast as I had my young son with me who wasn't quite as good with keeping up. Meanwhile, the early/late arrival line snaked around the building and wasn't moving very fast.

 

Thanks!  I have checked that out.  I am not too worried about parking all I was saying is that my ability to guarantee charging will determine where I park.  I have parked once across the street from the port and that was nice.  I'll be contacting them first.

 

1 hour ago, TxShipShape said:

I think EzCruise has charging stations.  At least I have seen signs that say so.  You might want to check their web site.  And I have never had a bad experience with them.  Service has always been great.

 

Thanks for the info!

 

1 hour ago, LuckyStar said:

The Havana area on the Vista is awesome. It is so close to everything.  I absolutely love this boat.  I hope you all have a marvelous time. 

 

Thanks we are excited to try it.  Honestly that Havana area is the reason we booked with Carnival this time.

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