Dawn February Cruisers - Embarkation and Disembarkation

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#3
24 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Originally posted by Rebels82
it was well noted that the Jan cruises had issues. How were things for those that have cruised in February?
Just got off the Dawn (Feb 18-25). No issue with boarding... relatively quick and smooth. However, disembarkation was a nightmare. Passengers with carry -off luggage should have been able to begin disembarkation at 8 am, but apparently there was an issue with locating some non-US citizens for security clearance or something to that nature, so it delayed EVERYONE else. Then, when they finally allowed passengers to begin the walk -off process, the lines extended from ship end to end and then some....and was similar all the way through customs. Took an additional 3+ hours before we finally made it to the parking garage across from the terminal.

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#4
58 Posts
Joined Nov 2017
Originally posted by beached<3mermaid
Just got off the Dawn (Feb 18-25). No issue with boarding... relatively quick and smooth. However, disembarkation was a nightmare. Passengers with carry -off luggage should have been able to begin disembarkation at 8 am, but apparently there was an issue with locating some non-US citizens for security clearance or something to that nature, so it delayed EVERYONE else. Then, when they finally allowed passengers to begin the walk -off process, the lines extended from ship end to end and then some....and was similar all the way through customs. Took an additional 3+ hours before we finally made it to the parking garage across from the terminal.

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Were you doing the walk-off program and delayed 3 hours?
#5
Michigan
187 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by beached<3mermaid
Just got off the Dawn (Feb 18-25). No issue with boarding... relatively quick and smooth. However, disembarkation was a nightmare. Passengers with carry -off luggage should have been able to begin disembarkation at 8 am, but apparently there was an issue with locating some non-US citizens for security clearance or something to that nature, so it delayed EVERYONE else. Then, when they finally allowed passengers to begin the walk -off process, the lines extended from ship end to end and then some....and was similar all the way through customs. Took an additional 3+ hours before we finally made it to the parking garage across from the terminal.

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We were on this cruise and were only delayed about 75 minutes using the walk-off program. Walk-off was supposed to start at 8:00 am and we were off the ship about 9:20 am. We got in line at 8:00 am.

It was pretty chaotic but I'm not sure what NCL could have done better. Customs was not going to clear the ship until everyone was accounted for.
#6
24 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Originally posted by lukewheller


Were you doing the walk-off program and delayed 3 hours?
Yes, from the time we got in the walk-off line (at about 0820) to the time we actually cleared customs at 1130... over 3 hours.

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#8
VA
206 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
We were on the cruise that disembarked 2/7
We headed downstairs at 700 am with our luggage and the line was very orderly...we were instructed to put our bags in line and wait till we were given instructions to proceed and we would leave in the order of where the bags sat in line...aka no cutting in line
We headed down early mainly to avoid elevator traffic and we began to disembark by 810 am and we were in a taxi headed to the airport by 830
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#9
Florida
25 Posts
Joined May 2016
Not necessarily a Dawn or NCL problem. I've cruised 2 other times out of Tampa, both on Carnival.

First one, getting on was a nightmare. Previous cruise had a passenger pass away while on board so it took customs a while to clear boat. Because of this, the line to get into the terminal was wrapped around the corner and down the road. Took around 1.5 hrs to get through everything and on board.

Getting off the ship though was very easy. 15 min tops.

2nd one was the exact opposite. 30 min maybe to clear security, check in, and be on board.

However getting off, there was an issue with customs. Never got a clear answer, as the employees didn't seem to know either. Boat was about 1 hr late letting the first group of people off. Once we were called, it wasn't too bad from that point.
#10
ny
44 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
I was on the 2/18-25 cruise and was totally disgusted the way NCL handled the disembarkation. The delay was because of security clearance for the non US citizens which was somewhat out of their control (been on Carnival similar situation but crew members checked cabins and lines for the missing passengers) but what they could have handled better was the lines and informing the people waiting. I was on line at 8 and at immigration at 10:30. It was ridiculous and unacceptable that elderly passengers and families with small children and their luggage were left standing in line while crew members who were not visible at all during the 2 1/2 hour wait decided to alleviate the problem create another exit which held up the walk off passengers even more so. I know this to be fact because another couple traveling in my group had a late flight so placed their bags outside their cabins the night before had a leisurely breakfast and walked right off the ship at 9:50 while I was still on line with my luggage. Yes I had an 11:30 am flight! Finally approached checkout and lo and behold all the crew and Hotel Manager waving us off. Are they kidding??? I told the Hotel Manager how badly the situation was handled and he agreed.
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#11
58 Posts
Joined Nov 2017
I am going to be so angry if this happens again here next week The reason why is I have an 11 a.m. flight and have never had an issue with deembarkation. I always do the walk off and I'm usually off the ship by 8:30am at the latest.
#12
24 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Originally posted by lukewheller
20 minutes makes a big difference apparently. Would you suggest I show up before 8 for the walk off program?
I would, and will, for any future cruise I take JIC an unexpected situation pops up. Hope for the best, but be early....and prepared.

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#13
24 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Originally posted by vacation88
I was on the 2/18-25 cruise and was totally disgusted the way NCL handled the disembarkation. The delay was because of security clearance for the non US citizens which was somewhat out of their control (been on Carnival similar situation but crew members checked cabins and lines for the missing passengers) but what they could have handled better was the lines and informing the people waiting. I was on line at 8 and at immigration at 10:30. It was ridiculous and unacceptable that elderly passengers and families with small children and their luggage were left standing in line while crew members who were not visible at all during the 2 1/2 hour wait decided to alleviate the problem create another exit which held up the walk off passengers even more so. I know this to be fact because another couple traveling in my group had a late flight so placed their bags outside their cabins the night before had a leisurely breakfast and walked right off the ship at 9:50 while I was still on line with my luggage. Yes I had an 11:30 am flight! Finally approached checkout and lo and behold all the crew and Hotel Manager waving us off. Are they kidding??? I told the Hotel Manager how badly the situation was handled and he agreed.
Agreed.... it was a awful and wasn't handled well at all.

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#14
192 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
Just got off the Dawn yesterday and both were miserable. The line for embarkation was out the door and down the street several blocks. The porters said the previous sailing had arrived late, but then we heard that we'd been held up because of two illegals who'd snuck on board. I'm guessing the truth was somewhere in the middle.

Disembarkation yesterday was ridiculous. We had our suitcases lined up and were seated in the Bliss lounge by 7:20 am but were held up for over 90 minutes while they continuously called for non-American citizens to report to another area. An hour into it they started announcing individual names. We were all held up by 15 people. People were getting pushy and attempted to cut to the front of the line. The staff presence was minimal.

Once they actually let us out, it was less than 15 minutes to the parking garage.
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#15
1,975 Posts
Joined May 2007
So what’s a good game plan for Dawn? Stay in cabin until hear if they are tracking down international pax via announcements? Only go to holding area if NO calls going on by 8am?


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#16
Florida
25 Posts
Joined May 2016
Originally posted by CP3o
So what’s a good game plan for Dawn? Stay in cabin until hear if they are tracking down international pax via announcements? Only go to holding area if NO calls going on by 8am?


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Problem with this is cleaning crew will start kicking you out of the room. I say just leave you luggage out the night before, get up, eat breakfast, and don't be in any big hurry. If you have an early flight, let guest services know ahead of time so something can be done.
#17
7 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Hello, all!

It's been a few years since we cruised (NCL/Nordic) and I can't recall exactly how disembarkation works. We are sailing on the Dawn later this month -- and seems from reading -- that they are experiencing issues in Tampa.


Is there an option to carry your own luggage if you travel light or do we have to leave outside the room? I recall that big airplane hangar looking set-up with luggage everywhere that we had to locate. Is that still the way it works? (Our flight not until 2pm, so not too worried about disembarkation. Someone suggested we have breakfast and chill.)


Any tips welcome.

Also, any thoughts to what time to arrive for embarkation? I would love to hit the ship by lunch but want to avoid horrible lines if I can. Just want to do whatever is less stressful.

Thanks! I appreciate it!
#18
Texas
25 Posts
Joined Dec 2016
Originally posted by CP3o
So what’s a good game plan for Dawn? Stay in cabin until hear if they are tracking down international pax via announcements? Only go to holding area if NO calls going on by 8am?


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I'm going to avoid the Dawn in the future. That's my game plan.
#19
Colorado
67 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
The embarkation process was pretty quick for the Feb 25 sailing, up to getting on the ship. The lobby was packed and people were standing by the time they started calling boarding groups. That was nothing compared to the nightmare of disembarking the ship. It took us literally 1.5 hours to get off the ship, standing and snaking our way through the ship in line. All 6 of us gold and platinum members, with priority disembarking and the first color luggage tags. The communication was pretty nonexistent from the crew regarding disembarking. The Hotel Director had addressed the issue at the Meet & Greet, specifically telling the group that disembarkation doesn't start till 9:00 am, and the port is not big enough to handle the volume. We knew going in from that conversation that it most likely would be a nightmare, and not to plan to get off until well after 9:00 am. Not sure, but part of the hold up were some of the non US citizens that chose not to follow the calls for them to report to US Immigrations and Customs PRIOR to disembarkation. All of them had to report to the Bliss Lounge I think before they would let anyone leave the ship. This port is really a nightmare, and we personally will not sail from here again.
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#20
Chicago, IL
38 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
We were on the 2/25/18 to 3/4/18 Dawn sailing out of Tampa. We have sailed out of Tampa many times on different cruise lines (including NCL) and never had any issues with embarkation or disembarkation. Our experience this time was very different.

We arrived at the Port for embarkation shortly after 12pm. As others have stated, the line went on for blocks and blocks. It had just started to move when we arrived. Rumor had it there was a delay in the disembarkation of the passengers from the prior cruise (after our disembarkation, I understand why!). There were no porters to be seen so everyone was just trudging along with their luggage as the line slowly moved. We saw our first porter once we were at the door to go inside the terminal. (It was 1:30 at this point...at least our cabins were ready for us!) We (along with many other passengers) decided to just carry our luggage on the ship (a first) for fear of not seeing it again until 9pm. I believe it was between 2 and 3 by the time we finally got on the ship. Luckily, we had eaten before heading to the port. If I had expected to walk on the ship and have lunch, I would not have been happy. I heard they closed the lunch buffet and dining room at 2pm. Needless to say, O'Sheehan's was a zoo. The muster drill was at 3pm and there were still passengers waiting to get on the ship. I've never seen a muster drill without mandatory attendance of all passengers.

Moving on to disembarkation. Non-US citizens were supposed to clear customs first before any US citizens would be permitted to leave the ship. I'm not sure what time the non-US citizens were supposed to report, but US citizens were to begin disembarkation at 9am. Breakfast started shortly after 6 (I believe) and if you were a US citizen, you were permitted to remain in your cabin until 9am. Numerous announcements were made for the non-US citizens to report for check-in, followed by numerous announcements listing names of passengers holding up the process. Finally, close to 9am, they announced that US citizens could disembark. Good, right on time...

However, deck 7 was an absolute zoo. A chaotic line of passengers snaked around the entire length of the ship. If you chose to carry your own luggage off the ship, you were allowed to leave through a separate door. However, once off the ship, they were not permitting any passengers to proceed down the escalator. Security announced that they were still moving luggage off the ship and into the terminal with "big machines" so it was not safe for passengers to walk through the area (which you needed to do in order to reach the customs agents). It was probably closer to 9:30 once they allowed passengers down the escalator. I can't imagine what time they finally had all of the passengers off of the ship. If embarkation was any indicator, it was hours later.

Having said all of that, in between embarkation and disembarkation, all-in-all, we had a fabulous cruise!