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You do it as soon as you arrive at the hotel. We arrived three days early and they did it. They just to the routine check in and take your picture for your state room key and everything. You do not leave your bags, it just makes it easier for you at the peir. You go to your own Marriott pre-check-in line and they just give you your key and you board the ship, it's a lot faster and easier
They only offer early checkin if you are part of their cruise and stay package. We were at the Marriott two days prior, and asked about the services offered. Since we were not part of the cruise and stay they were rather rude to us. One thing they would help us with was prebooking ship based excursions, or bus transportation to the ship at $20 per person. I found an enterprise rental car near the hotel that gave us a $40 convertible for a day, and took us (with our luggage) to the pier. A great deal and nice people at Enterprise rent a car. BTW, the Hertz in the hotel was higher priced and did not offer any shuttle service.