Posted January 13th, 2018, 12:22 PM
Ah yes - I forgot you were embarking as opposed to disembarking - not sure how they will handle that as if you clear customs at the OPT I'm not sure how they will manage immigration and security for those who are embarking
Last time they used White Bay terminal for both disembarkation and embarkation - that worked well but getting to and from White Bay is never a popular thing I'm afraid - were ok with it but its out of the central city and such a contrast to the OPT in terms of convenience
As I've said before Sydney has a real and known problem with capacity at the moment due to its' popularity - the Government is looking at options - but that lovely Bridge of ours is a real gating factor in terms of the inability of larger ships to use White Bay - ie it's physically not possible for them to pass under it
Re getting to the airport - a lot of the US flights are late morning or early afternoon and in fact Qantas is late afternoon - plus Saturday traffic from there to the airport is going to be a lot better than rush hour - so people should be ok as long as they're not looking for an early flight - our ticket doesn't state what time disembarkation commences but they will need officials on duty shore side to process passengers as they clear customs (immigration should have been done on the ship earlier) so I can't see it being too early
I would not think immigration/customs would be an issue for embarking guests as they will have cleared when they entered the country, and we spend the first week sailing north along the coast to Cairns. Our docs say embarkation is anytime between Noon and 7:30 PM, so disembarkation will have to be completed prior to that. I suppose timing will depend on how many guests are disembarking/changing ships (another wrinkle) in Sydney as well. I wonder if they might tender the "changing ship" group directly to Symphony (and vice versa) in White Bay. Technically they are not disembarking, so they likely would not have to clear customs. Going to be an interesting day methinks!
Here's a heretical thought for the capacity problem, turn the bridge deck into a drawbridge so bigger ships can pass!! Just kidding!
It is a problem though, because it seems like the lines are sending more ships to SOPAC every year, and those are just the lines we see and sell regularly in North America. We don't see much (any) of P & O, and then you have ships like RCI's Ovation that launched, with little North American notice, directly into the Asia-Pacific market. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.