Royal Caribbean Eases Up On Debark Process

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#2
760 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
This sounds like a lot less stress to me.

We carried our own luggage off the ship on our last Sovereign cruise. It seemed so easy. And on our HAL cruise we styed in our cabin until it was time to debark.

No incessant announcements make it seem even better. We can't wait to try it out on the Navigator OS in January.
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#3
Western Maryland USA
1 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
This process was already in place and worked well when we left the Radiance on Oct 11, 2008 in San Diego after completing a circle cruise of Hawaii.

Now if only a way can be found to get US C&I to release the ship for Disembarkation when only ONE non-US passenger has failed to present themself for clearance, all will be right in the world. We were delayed for over an hour and a half with people missing flights, connections, etc. due to this mystery passenger. Luckily, our flight was a little later and we had no problems. A Great cruise with a bumpy finish!!!
#4
Virginia
11 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
We're sailing on Serenade of the Seas over New Year's - very happy to hear that RCI is improving its debarkation process. Now if only they would get rid of those ridiculous fuel surcharges!
#5
Schaumburg, IL
28 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
We did the carry your own luggage thing on our last cruise. There were 4 of us. Me and my wife and another couple. The self time was supposed to be 8 to 8:30, so we went to the elevators at 7:55 trying to get a jump. The debarking was on Deck 1. They were only allowing 1 half the elevators to go down to deck one, the other side went to 2 and you had to carry your luggage down stairs. Well we tried to go to 1 and they said to go back and wait for the call that we had cleared. We did not clear until 8:25. By that time thousands of people had decided to try to get out. With everyones luggage only 6 or 7 people could fit in an elevator. My wife and I got split up. I got on an up elevator on Deck 4 went up to 14 and back down to 2 (I was on the side that had the stairs). I was able to get right in the line to go down the stairs. My wife on the other had was not so lucky. When she found out she would have to walk down stairs, she went to other side. By the time she caught an elevator and got to first floor, there was NO room for the people in elevator to get off. It ended up taking her over 50 minutes AFTER I got out until she got in to the customs building. Knowing what we know now, we are going to schedule a late flight and just wait in the Diamond lounge. What seemed like a great idea turned out to be a nightmare. The other couple got out 20 minutes after I did. They had a similar nightmarish time. I think that Royal has a good idea, just poor execution. I do not see why only 1 location to get off the ship. Just leads to angry people.

Jim
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#6
Boston, MA
1,075 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Originally posted by Five300s
We did the carry your own luggage thing on our last cruise. There were 4 of us. Me and my wife and another couple. The self time was supposed to be 8 to 8:30, so we went to the elevators at 7:55 trying to get a jump. The debarking was on Deck 1. They were only allowing 1 half the elevators to go down to deck one, the other side went to 2 and you had to carry your luggage down stairs. Well we tried to go to 1 and they said to go back and wait for the call that we had cleared. We did not clear until 8:25. By that time thousands of people had decided to try to get out. With everyones luggage only 6 or 7 people could fit in an elevator. My wife and I got split up. I got on an up elevator on Deck 4 went up to 14 and back down to 2 (I was on the side that had the stairs). I was able to get right in the line to go down the stairs. My wife on the other had was not so lucky. When she found out she would have to walk down stairs, she went to other side. By the time she caught an elevator and got to first floor, there was NO room for the people in elevator to get off. It ended up taking her over 50 minutes AFTER I got out until she got in to the customs building. Knowing what we know now, we are going to schedule a late flight and just wait in the Diamond lounge. What seemed like a great idea turned out to be a nightmare. The other couple got out 20 minutes after I did. They had a similar nightmarish time. I think that Royal has a good idea, just poor execution. I do not see why only 1 location to get off the ship. Just leads to angry people.

Jim
It really is all about crowd control and execution, as you say. If the departure lounges are well managed (with good coordination between the various areas), and passengers are rule abiders, everything runs incredibly efficiently. But obviously, one little snag can put the process off kilter.

I've had great experiences with self "express" debarkation, but then again, I struggle down the stairs with my luggage, avoiding the elevators at all costs. Not so easy for everyone.

Interestingly enough, one of the forthcoming Oasis of the Seas reveals is said to be about a novel new approach to embarkation/debarkation. With 6,000-plus people onboard, it stands to reason that they'd need something a bit different.
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#7
4 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Look for criticisms of embarking passengers complaining that their staterooms weren't ready when they arrived on board. You can't have it both ways; lounge around in your cabin on disembarkation days and expect to have a cabin ready when you arrive early on embarkation. The crew can only accomplish so much and as they are increasingly squeezed in the time they have to turn the ship around, their friendly demeanor and efficiency will diminish accordingly.
A new process for the 6,000 passenger ships? Hurrah! And who cares. A team of wild horses couldn't drag me on to a shopping mall that size nor even a 3,000 passenger one for that matter. The whole concept of cruising appears to be under seige by the masses who understand nothing but watching tv and shopping at Wal-Mart. Good on the lines that are trying to maintain some traditionality in cruising. Hail Cunard and the Queen Mary 2 even though she is in the 3,000 range!!!
#8
Utah
142 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
I don't see alot of change in the debarkation process. The point is if you have a colored tag on RCL for departure the staff needs to ensure they debark according to their tag.

Even carry your own is a bit of a zoo and yes we now carry our own off......
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#9
Boston, MA
1,075 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
On easyCruise Life, now that was a fine debarkation process. "Everyone get off the ship by 10 a.m." Then we just walked off.
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#10
Boston UK
126 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Five300s
We did the carry your own luggage thing on our last cruise. There were 4 of us. Me and my wife and another couple. The self time was supposed to be 8 to 8:30, so we went to the elevators at 7:55 trying to get a jump. The debarking was on Deck 1. They were only allowing 1 half the elevators to go down to deck one, the other side went to 2 and you had to carry your luggage down stairs. Well we tried to go to 1 and they said to go back and wait for the call that we had cleared. We did not clear until 8:25. By that time thousands of people had decided to try to get out. With everyones luggage only 6 or 7 people could fit in an elevator. My wife and I got split up. I got on an up elevator on Deck 4 went up to 14 and back down to 2 (I was on the side that had the stairs). I was able to get right in the line to go down the stairs. My wife on the other had was not so lucky. When she found out she would have to walk down stairs, she went to other side. By the time she caught an elevator and got to first floor, there was NO room for the people in elevator to get off. It ended up taking her over 50 minutes AFTER I got out until she got in to the customs building. Knowing what we know now, we are going to schedule a late flight and just wait in the Diamond lounge. What seemed like a great idea turned out to be a nightmare. The other couple got out 20 minutes after I did. They had a similar nightmarish time. I think that Royal has a good idea, just poor execution. I do not see why only 1 location to get off the ship. Just leads to angry people.

Jim
Hi,
We had a similar experience when the IOS arrived at Fort Lauderdale after the transatlantic sailing. What surprised us was that there were no signs informing people which elevators could or could not be used. We thought this might just be "teething troubles" as it was a new port of disembarkation but sounds like they still having issues. We too got seperated and it took us about an hour from leaving our room to leaving the port. Contrast that to the embarkation in Southampton and this took 15 minutes from leaving the cab to enjoying lunch in Windjammer.

Mick
#11
83 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
We debarked Navigator OS in Ft. Lauderdale on December 1, 2008. When we read about self-carry off, we assumed this was meant for those who, like us, had the kind of luggage that you could carry on and off of an airplane. The "travel light" types. We left our cabin a full half hour before we were to congregate in one of the deck four lounges, but the stairs were packed for five decks with persons carrying every kind of steamer trunk and suitcase imaginable (and it was only a four day cruise!)! There was no chance of getting to the lounge, nor would it ever have held a quarter of those people and their luggage! People on the elevators could not get off; the lobbies were similarly crammed. The staff was scarce and eventually told us to just stay on the stairs and keep going.

When we finally got off the ship, we had to wait outside for another half hour because of a fire alarm. The whole enterprise took over an hour! It would have been much more sensible for us to have the luggage taken and wait until called in our cabin or in a lounge; plus we would have had time for breakfast. That's what we'll do next time.
#12
Spring,TX
2,808 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
I think the whole concept sounds like a great idea or at least a step toward improvement. I won't mind staying in my cabin a little longer and I won't mind sitting in a lounge either if they have refreshments and little entertainment. My last two cruises, I waited in the Plat/Diamond lounge and indeed they had refreshments but for only a short time. It would be nice just to have cold water to tied you over until your color is called.
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#13
Illinois
80 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
we just came off FOS and if that is an improvement I would hate to have seen the old way, they did leave the disembark info on the beds with your tags we left a wake up call for 7 at 6:30 the captain came on the intercom and said we will be disembarking by color code we will start with this color you should report to your waiting area now. We had a 9 am depart time listed on our sheet so at 7:30 we went to breakfast in windjammer we were seating with two ladies that had the color ahead of us and half way through breakfast they called their color to report to there staging area they looked panic and jumped up and headed out, we stated walking up to our room after eating and the announcement called our color to report to your area which was the aracada so we ran and grabbed our carry off stuff and headed through the casino half way through we ran into a long line trying to reach our area several people announced hey the line ends back there so we turned around and got in line that finally started moving made it though getting off the ship and down for luggage oh my gosh everyone getting off the ship was filling the area by the luggage movers trying to locate there luggage, by the time we found out luggage (never comes together) the line for customers was backed up to the gang plank coming from the ship it was a mess. So if that is better I am scared.
#14
154 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
On our summer Celebrity cruise onboard Galaxy - we were taken off the ship at 5.45am - our flight departed from Rome at mid-day, so we were at the airport at 7a.m. (obviously no check-ins open), and waited 5 hours for our flight! Wrote to Celebrity regarding this but had the usual 'fob-off' letter. It is completely unnecessary to disembark passengers at this ridiculous hour, making for a very long and tiring day, so I hope Celebrity is also adhering to these new arrangements. Does anybody know?
#15
Maryland, USA
3,734 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Our experience with the new system was positive. We had white tags, were to meet in the Ixtapa Lounge at 7:30 A.M. We had breakfast in the Windjammer, then went back to our stateroom for our bag then went down to deck 5 to wait in the designated lounge. At a little after 8, a lady came in and everyone with white tags off the ship. The hardest part was the long walk to to the terminal(gee if that is my only complaint ........ it is ). We found our suitcases right away and were out of there very quickly. Maybe this new way will keep others from trying to get off the ship when their color has yet to be called.

Annieeee
#16
304 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
(The below items were included in a questionnaire, by invitation from RCL, that I completed on-line about our RCL Independence cruise taken first of December 2008.)


We have sailed RCL 23 times and always drive 800-1000 miles, each way, to port. Thus, we are always in a hurry to disembark. We followed all your instructions given Diamond members for earliest disembarkation only to find total mass confusion and chaos. With absolutely no announcements from your staff, we waited like cattle in a pen with no room to move. Finally, after waiting for most of 2 hours, we squeezed our way off the Independence and was on our way. NOW LET'S COMPARE! After disembarking the Independence on 12/07/08, 6 days later we boarded Carnival's new Splendor docked just across the pier from the Independence. So far we have only cruised Carnival 14 times. Nevertheless, we followed Carnival's instructions for Platinum VIP guests for eary departure and noticed that the time was 7:10 AM just as we cleared US Customs. Bottom line, we love RCL in most every way and especially the Diamond perks, but our experience disembarking the IOS was a nightmare that we shared with many. many other guests. Based on our experiences disembarking two ships docked side by side within a one week period, we think you should check with Carnival to find out how to disembark your guests with some degree of efficiency.


We hope that the difficult economic times do not force RCL to reduce or eliminate C&A benefits. After our next sailing, we will become Diamonds Plus. Too, we hope that the Board will continue to allow for stockholders' future on board credits. We are always looking for travel bargains and these benefits fit perfectly into our plans. We love cruising (have cruised 6 times in 2008) and will continue to look for the best overall deal. As I look up at the clock, I notice that I have been on line with this survey for exactly one hour. I hope I have not wasted my time. Thanks for "listening" assuming that you have.