How Early can you board?

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#1
MA
319 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Hi, I was wondering how early they will let you board? Our documents say 12pm, but my family cruises a lot and said a lot of times you can go earlier and get on, enjoy some drinks at the bar-just not go to your cabin. Just wanted to check to see what everyone else thought. We are going on the Liberty in November! I am so anxious-I could get in line now to board!
#2
Florida
763 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
You can board at 12, sometimes earlier if the ship has been cleared. However, you cannot be enter your cabin until 1:30. This is cumbersome if you have carry-on, etc. We have found it much easier to have a restful morning, arrive around 12:30 or later, then go directly to our cabin.

have a great cruise.
#3
Deer Park, Texas
893 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
The earliest that we have ever boarded the ship has been 11:30ish.
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#4
Oklahoma
3,486 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Regardless of what my documents say, and regardless of what their automated machine says to arrive (sometimes they call in the last day or two before the cruise and leave a message), I always try to be at the port about 10:30. Usually, I'm on board within an hour.
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#5
2,845 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
The earliest we've ever boarded was 11:15am (Magic as platinum cruisers). Just remember that cabins will not be ready until 1:30pm, and the housekeeping staff really likes it if you not visit your cabin until that time...
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#6
Washington, DC
1,577 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by okwriter
Regardless of what my documents say, and regardless of what their automated machine says to arrive (sometimes they call in the last day or two before the cruise and leave a message), I always try to be at the port about 10:30. Usually, I'm on board within an hour.
Me too! BUT it's still pot luck - once I was the fourth person in line to check in but still didn't get on the ship till after 12. Still, if you want to get on the ship as early as you can, get to the port before 11 for sure (and don't sweat the wait, if there is one - you're on a cruise!!)
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#7
The Foothills of North Carolina
540 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Two weeks ago in Charleston, we left the hotel on their shuttle at 11:15AM heading to the port. At exactly 12:02, I was on the Lido deck in line for the Mongolian Grill. In Tampa, it took us 2 hours to board the Inspiration last year. So it's going to vary from port to port and ship to ship. By the way, I had my first DOD at 12:11!
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#8
56,618 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Originally posted by jennb101
Hi, I was wondering how early they will let you board? Our documents say 12pm, but my family cruises a lot and said a lot of times you can go earlier and get on, enjoy some drinks at the bar-just not go to your cabin. Just wanted to check to see what everyone else thought. We are going on the Liberty in November! I am so anxious-I could get in line now to board!

For 4 PM departures that's pretty typical. I arrive at the cruise terminal between 10 and 10:30 but no later. I'm Platinum so I'll be zone 1 regardless but this way I don't have to deal with the crowds!


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#9
New Jersey
3,178 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by GaNavy
Me too! BUT it's still pot luck - once I was the fourth person in line to check in but still didn't get on the ship till after 12. Still, if you want to get on the ship as early as you can, get to the port before 11 for sure (and don't sweat the wait, if there is one - you're on a cruise!!)

We also try and get there at 10:30. I'd rather be at the beginning of the line and wait an hour than at the end of the line. The earliest we've been on board having our first meal (I always start good - with a salad) is 12:15. You can't check into the cabin until after 1:00 but a few times we've been able to leave our carry-ons there. It's the first day of vacation so let the fun begin!
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#10
Freehold NJ/Orlando Florida
104 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Last cruise (Sensation) we arrived at Port Canaveral at 10:30 am., leisurely parked the car, were very pleasantly surprised by how fast check-in was (almost no line) and then sat in a waiting area where Carnival employees and other guests entertained us while we waited for them to begin to board at approx. 11:45 am. Wonderful experience!

Compare this to other times when we have arrived at 12pm. or later, stood in multiple lines for over 1 1/2 hours (first the terminal door checking for passports and Funpass, then the security check, then the check in to get your sign and sail, then the photo-op and that dinging sign and sail thing as you boarded the ship...) I was exhausted having stood that long with my carry on and purse hanging from my shoulders. Who knew a bottle of wine and some make-up could be so painful after a couple of hours?

After you board the ship getting on early is even better. When we boarded early we went straight to the Lido deck, staked out our table where we placed our carry-on and proceeded to explore our dining options (yes, one person had to stay back and watch our baggage - I volunteered my husband as he looked the least hungry!) With not a lot of people on board we were able to check everything out without having to wait on long lines - much more relaxing! We then played cards for an hour while we waited for our rooms to be ready. (And yes, we did give up our table when the buffet started to get crowded.)

When we boarded late (got on the ship around 2 pm) the lines were ridiculously long for the buffet, we could not find a table anywhere, and we were starving and cranky! OK, maybe not all of us, but definitely me. Only plus was that my husband could bring the carry on to the room while I searched for food for the kids and myself (my husband is such a GOOD man!)

We have only cruised with Carnival five times - four have been later arrivals and one was early arrival and from my experience, getting there earlier was WAY better!
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#12
MD
2,541 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Originally posted by elcuchio24
We usually arrive aroud 10:30-11 and are on the Lido by noon.
Us too(actually 10-10:30 for us, but will be 11 next week)!!!! Full day on the ship then
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#13
Henderson, NV USA
557 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
If you are platinum you can usually drop off your carry on in the room. Just show your platinum card to the "Guard Steward" who notices the fire doors open, and you are escorted right to your cabin. Just drop off in the closet and go.
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