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-   -   Seattle Pier 91 Best Arrival Time? (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2522383)

Lemon Tea July 17th, 2017 08:38 AM

Seattle Pier 91 Best Arrival Time?
 
What's the best time for arrival at Pier 91? Our boarding time is between 10:30 and 3:00. We'd like to get breakfast before the cruise (we're flying in the day before) and I'm not sure what time to book our transfer.


It's our first time cruising and I've read that Pier 91 can be rather chaotic. Any other arrival advice is welcome!

Thanks so much!

CruiserBruce July 17th, 2017 09:27 AM

"Best" in what way?

If you are talking crowds, there is no absolute ability to say when crowds will be low- every boarding is different from the last, or next. But there is usually a crowd of eager people (we are usually in that crowd) when boarding first starts. After that, no one can predict, realistically.

Lemon Tea July 17th, 2017 09:42 AM

"Best" as in suggested times from experienced cruisers. As I mentioned, we've not cruised before. So I don't know what "best" would be. I thought, perhaps, there would be a window of time to aim for when arriving. However, it seems I was incorrect. We'll get there when we get there, I guess.

Thanks!

peety3 July 17th, 2017 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemon Tea (Post 53556231)
"Best" as in suggested times from experienced cruisers. As I mentioned, we've not cruised before. So I don't know what "best" would be. I thought, perhaps, there would be a window of time to aim for when arriving. However, it seems I was incorrect. We'll get there when we get there, I guess.

Best has too many meanings. Right off the bat, I can see two different answers:

Best for us means on-board FAST so we can enjoy lunch in the MDR (doors close by 1:30), so we'll deal with some hurry-up-and-wait to get that. To do so, we arrive at 10:45, on the heels of the last few people leaving. We will probably end up waiting a bit for the check-in lines to even open, may wait a bit for the waiting area to be established, may wait in line for the security staff to be ready to scan our cruise cards/take our picture, but if done right, we're in our cabin at 11:40 and at the MDR at 11:55. We're done with lunch at 1:00 and can go make spa reservations, walk the ship, unpack our camera bags and get "the command center" setup by the time our checked bags are delivered. We're unpacked and suitcases in the closet by 2:30, take a brief nap, and go Ketchup to Mustard Dill (don't you Relish my bad jokes?) at 3:30.

Best for some means no waiting. If so, get there at 2:30. You'll fly through the lines, get right on the ship, drop your carry-ons in the room, and head to muster drill at 3:30. Our first cruise involved a Princess Seattle->Vancouver transfer on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, so the border crossing was SLOW (about an hour for our bus). We got to Vancouver at 4:00 for a 4:30 sailaway, but we didn't care because we were on a Princess transfer. We practically ran through check-in: there was no one ahead of us at security, there was no one ahead of us at Customs, there was no one ahead of us to fill out our medical declarations, no one ahead of us at check-in, and no one ahead of us at the card scan/take picture point. We went right to our cabin, dropped our bags, and the steward hurried us off to muster drill.

Me? Pick one of those two, and don't go for the gap in between. ;)

Lemon Tea July 17th, 2017 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peety3 (Post 53557836)
Best has too many meanings. Right off the bat, I can see two different answers:

Me? Pick one of those two, and don't go for the gap in between. ;)

Ah! This is so helpful! I totally understand that "best" varies by person. I had no idea that the doors to lunch close at 1:30. In fact, I have no idea what to expect at the port at all. The boards have been very helpful in that regard.

From you and the other poster, it sounds like arriving early ensures that you have time to settle in and get something to eat. I appreciate this info.

Thanks so much!

peety3 July 17th, 2017 02:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemon Tea (Post 53558046)
Ah! This is so helpful! I totally understand that "best" varies by person. I had no idea that the doors to lunch close at 1:30. In fact, I have no idea what to expect at the port at all. The boards have been very helpful in that regard.

From you and the other poster, it sounds like arriving early ensures that you have time to settle in and get something to eat. I appreciate this info.

Disclaimer: all of my answers here are Princess-specific. If you're on HAL or Celebrity, YMMV.

You can eat all afternoon long: buffet ("Horizon Court", usually on the Lido deck ), pre-made sandwiches and dessert nibbles ("International Cafe", usually on deck 5 midship), room service, or there's usually a pizza station, a burger/hot dog station, and an ice cream station near the pools. It's just the MDR that closes at 1:30. Note that if you ask "where can I get lunch?", the Princess crew will always tell you Horizon Court, deck XYZ/location. If you ask "which dining room is open for lunch?", they'll tell you which dining room, then send you to the Horizon Court anyway.

I guess the other side to my answers is that if your flight arrives at Sea-Tac at say 11:00am, don't hurry to the port to get there at 12:30.

VibeGuy July 17th, 2017 03:32 PM

For the Princess sailings, lines for embarking the ship after security and check-in are usually the slowdown point, and they're usually gone by 1:00, so my standard advice is to arrive around 12:45 if waiting around makes you crazy.

While check-in may start at 10:30, regardless of the cruise line, I would be VERY shocked if boarding itself started much before 11:30 and there will inevitably be hundreds of passengers who have some form of priority boarding, so the odds of a first-time guest in a standard cabin type being on before 12:15 are approaching zero.

Sequim88 July 17th, 2017 04:25 PM

Our observation in June was the HAL and Princess process looked about the same. We arrived at 10:30 in the drop off area for cars (taxis have a separate lane) and gave our luggage to a guy with a cart who was color coded for HAL (Orange if I remember right, Princess was Yellow vests). Completed the health forms at the tables to the right as we entered the lower level of the terminal. Then up to security lines via escalators (or in our case elevator with the wheelchair). If I recall the divide for HAL/Princess was to two different security lines at the top. On the HAL side (right side of check-in area) after security we then went to the table to declare our bottle of champagne we were taking. Then to the seating for the waiting area (in our case the separate wheelchair area).

Here's the chaos part. If you arrive really early you get a seat to wait for a long time. If you come sort of early the area will be packed but you won't have to stand around waiting as long. Once they board suite people and wheelchairs my understanding (since were gone by then) is they start boarding according the order of the schedules sent out but not at the times listed. Basically boarding by decks until the waiting area is mostly cleared out. After that boarding is pretty much as you get there with no waiting around. So arriving after about 1pm it would pretty much be walk-on. Of course if you want to eat lunch in MDR this could be a problem.

About MDR lunch - on HAL we were told several times lunch was in the Lido Marketplace buffet and when we asked about MDR they all said they did not think it was available. But when we went there they were all ready for a bunch of guests. I heard a theory for the obfuscation that went since HAL HQ is in Seattle they sometimes host lunches for travel agents and other special groups in the MDR and sometimes it isn't available so better to tell people "no" and be wrong than to say "yes" and disappoint. It may work the same on Princess.

AF-1 July 18th, 2017 01:41 PM

I just returned from Emerald Princess cruise on Sunday July 16. If you want to avoid all crowds show up to port at 1pm. If you want to be in the thick of crowds show up at 11am. Princess does not open boarding until noon; however, if you are staying in a suite; they have a separate boarding area and will get onboard the ship before anyone else. We had a suite and showed up at 11:20 and were onboard by 11:40. The normal waiting area had over 500 people waiting for noon when they opened the ship. Hope this helps

peety3 July 18th, 2017 05:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AF-1 (Post 53566862)
I just returned from Emerald Princess cruise on Sunday July 16. If you want to avoid all crowds show up to port at 1pm. If you want to be in the thick of crowds show up at 11am. Princess does not open boarding until noon; however, if you are staying in a suite; they have a separate boarding area and will get onboard the ship before anyone else. We had a suite and showed up at 11:20 and were onboard by 11:40. The normal waiting area had over 500 people waiting for noon when they opened the ship. Hope this helps

Every time we've gotten there early enough, Princess has started boarding at 11:30am. In Seattle and in Vancouver, they service Elites and Suites until caught up, then Elite/Suites get priority and Platinum gets best-effort until caught up, then Elite/Suite/Platinum gets a priority line and Blue/Gold/Ruby gets best-effort. As a Platinum in a Mini-Suite, we were in the room, bags dropped, specialty reservations made, spa reservations adjusted/confirmed, and camped out in front of the MDR at 11:50am.

AF-1 July 19th, 2017 12:03 AM

That is awesome Peety3. I guess we were fast tracked because of the suite.

Eaglecw July 19th, 2017 10:08 AM

We normally get to Pier 91 around 10:45 or so. This year on the Emerald we pretty much walked right though security and up to the Elite/Platinum check in counter. Once we are checked in we walked over the Elite/Platinum lounge and out the door, got our picture taken and were on the ship by 11:20. After we had a nice leisurely lunch in the Botticelli Dining Room we went up to the Horizon Court Buffet, OMG it was an absolute zoo up there, I’m glad we always have lunch in one of the MDR.

Lemon Tea July 20th, 2017 09:10 AM

Thanks everyone! We've decided to arrive around 1:00. I appreciate all the tips!

Eggfrmr July 20th, 2017 01:33 PM

As we have our first Princess ceuise coming up in Sept, I also appreciate all the info. Unfortunately we will be those first timers only in a mini suite. ;)

Sent from my LG-H812 using Tapatalk

geogran August 18th, 2017 04:56 PM

We're also leaving from Pier 91 but on RCCL Explorer. Our boarding time frame is also 10:30-3:00 and were planning to arrive about 11am having read that Pier can be chaotic..
For those with RCCL experience:
Does RCCL actually start processing/boarding that early?
Are cabins generally ready by 1:00pm?
We were told the MDR isn't open at lunch on embarkation day so were planning on grabbing a sandwich at Cafe Promenade around noon or so and exploring - our first time on the Explorer! (Our previous Alaska cruise was NCL pier 66 three years ago.)

TIA

cruzgryphon August 18th, 2017 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by geogran (Post 53832088)
We're also leaving from Pier 91 but on RCCL Explorer. Our boarding time frame is also 10:30-3:00 and were planning to arrive about 11am having read that Pier can be chaotic..
For those with RCCL experience:
Does RCCL actually start processing/boarding that early?
Are cabins generally ready by 1:00pm?
We were told the MDR isn't open at lunch on embarkation day so were planning on grabbing a sandwich at Cafe Promenade around noon or so and exploring - our first time on the Explorer! (Our previous Alaska cruise was NCL pier 66 three years ago.)

TIA

If you're getting there around 11am and assuming everyone from the previous cruise has gotten off, boarding should start pretty soon thereafter. Cabins are usually ready 1 to 1:30pm (it varies a little by ship). No MDR isn't open - usually they tell people to go to the Windjammer for lunch (but it's packed and I think your idea of going to café promenade and getting a bite to eat there is a good one). I'll be sailing on her on September 15th pacific coastal. Enjoy :)

HvySeezFcstr August 19th, 2017 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peety3 (Post 53557836)
Best has too many meanings. Right off the bat, I can see two different answers:

Best for us means on-board FAST so we can enjoy lunch in the MDR (doors close by 1:30), so we'll deal with some hurry-up-and-wait to get that. To do so, we arrive at 10:45, on the heels of the last few people leaving. We will probably end up waiting a bit for the check-in lines to even open, may wait a bit for the waiting area to be established, may wait in line for the security staff to be ready to scan our cruise cards/take our picture, but if done right, we're in our cabin at 11:40 and at the MDR at 11:55. We're done with lunch at 1:00 and can go make spa reservations, walk the ship, unpack our camera bags and get "the command center" setup by the time our checked bags are delivered. We're unpacked and suitcases in the closet by 2:30, take a brief nap, and go Ketchup to Mustard Dill (don't you Relish my bad jokes?) at 3:30.

Best for some means no waiting. If so, get there at 2:30. You'll fly through the lines, get right on the ship, drop your carry-ons in the room, and head to muster drill at 3:30. Our first cruise involved a Princess Seattle->Vancouver transfer on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, so the border crossing was SLOW (about an hour for our bus). We got to Vancouver at 4:00 for a 4:30 sailaway, but we didn't care because we were on a Princess transfer. We practically ran through check-in: there was no one ahead of us at security, there was no one ahead of us at Customs, there was no one ahead of us to fill out our medical declarations, no one ahead of us at check-in, and no one ahead of us at the card scan/take picture point. We went right to our cabin, dropped our bags, and the steward hurried us off to muster drill.

Me? Pick one of those two, and don't go for the gap in between. ;)

.........................
Thanks for the posting it is about all we need to know as first time civilian cruisers! ;)


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