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Disembarkation from San Diego


qsuzi
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Would like the following information from those of whom have disembarked from San Diego. The itinerary states a 7am return/arrival time in San Diego, but told disembarkation is more likely to be delayed in this port. Questions are:

 

1. What time do they make you leave your cabin?

2. What time does SELF ASSIST disembarkation start most of the time?

3. What time does SELF ASSIST disembarkation start most of the time when there is a delay?

4. How long does it take to disembark and go through customs generally when you are among the first to disembark?

I know the airport is less than 15 minutes from the port and airport arrival should be at least 60-90 minutes before your flight.

 

Thank you!!!

Edited by qsuzi
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Would like the following information from those of whom have disembarked from San Diego. The itinerary states a 7am return/arrival time in San Diego, but told disembarkation is more likely to be delayed in this port. Questions are:

 

1. What time do they make you leave your cabin? You can stay in your cabin until it is time for you to disembark

2. What time does SELF ASSIST disembarkation start most of the time?

3. What time does SELF ASSIST disembarkation start most of the time when there is a delay?

4. How long does it take to disembark and go through customs generally when you are among the first to disembark?

I know the airport is less than 15 minutes from the port and airport arrival should be at least 60-90 minutes before your flight.

 

Thank you!!!

 

 

The last few times we have disembarked in San Diego it has been terrible.

Three times the ship did not get cleared by the local authorities until 10:30 or so. The problem stemmed from the foreigners who did not follow the rules and report to immigration which is done on the ship for them. And many people missed flights.

We always stay over night in San Diego before we start home.

This is the only disembarkation port that things never seem to go right.

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The fleetwide policy is the same, unless something complicates things. Normally, you need to be off the ship by 9:30. Pax start getting off around 7:15 or 7:30- self disembark goes first.

 

The hangup at San Diego has always been Immigration and Customs, who are, at least very "by the book". If someone doesn't fully comply, they don't release the ship. It can be very slow. We have gone thru San Diego 3 times. The first time we were at the airport before 8am. The second time we weren't in a rush, but as I recall, the ship was not cleared until 8am. The last, and most recent, the ship didn't clear until 9:15. This was, as we understand it, due to about 5 non-American pax who didn't comply with Immigration requirements in a timely manner.

 

To say when something begins "when there is a delay" is impossible, because each delay is different.

Edited by CruiserBruce
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I was expecting the worst case scenario when we disembarked in San Diego this past Saturday. It was completely normal. We docked before 7 am. There was a slight delay in the clearing of the ship but the self disembark started about 7:30/7:40, I think. Then no further announcements were made until about 8:15 am. Our disembarkation time was 8:40; we were called about ten minutes later. We were at the taxi stand lineup about 9:15 am.

 

I don't know if things were different because we came from Vancouver, via San Francisco and Catalina Island, as opposed to coming from Mexico. The non US citizens did not have to check in with authorities onboard, which I understood caused some of the delays.

 

The taxi line was the worst thing about the disembarkation process!

 

So, OP, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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I was expecting the worst case scenario when we disembarked in San Diego this past Saturday. It was completely normal. We docked before 7 am. There was a slight delay in the clearing of the ship but the self disembark started about 7:30/7:40, I think. Then no further announcements were made until about 8:15 am. Our disembarkation time was 8:40; we were called about ten minutes later. We were at the taxi stand lineup about 9:15 am.

 

I don't know if things were different because we came from Vancouver, via San Francisco and Catalina Island, as opposed to coming from Mexico. The non US citizens did not have to check in with authorities onboard, which I understood caused some of the delays.

 

The taxi line was the worst thing about the disembarkation process!

 

So, OP, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

 

I believe the big delays (with the non-complying non-US passengers) is mostly on those cruises that had a distant foreign port in their itinerary. I know our Panama Canal cruise wasn't cleared until 10:00 am. They kept calling for some passengers to report to immigration checks in the theatre, and it seemed that they weren't complying.

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We've had no problems disembarking San Diego. Most recent was last Dec 2013 from an 18 day Hawaiian and prior a Panama Canal. As we usually have an 10:30 or thereabouts flight and we keep our luggage with us and disembark at the earliest time. There may not be as many officer as in Ft. Lauderdale, it has however for us been quick.

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Thank you so much for the responses so far. I did not think about the different itineraries at this port. We will be taking the Mexican Riviera itinerary for those who have already responded or will respond in the future.

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Even if the ship arrives at 7 AM, it is unlikely that you will get off the ship until at least 8 or 8:30 - most likely later. We went through it this past Friday when we arrived on the Statendam.

We were going to be catching an Amtrak train (literally two blocks from the pier) at 9:25. I made the mistake of not requesting expedited debarkation. If you want to get off the ship as early as possible, keep your luggage and request expedited debarkation. You will be in the first group let off the ship. The only way to get off the ship faster is if you have a medical emergency and they have to evacuate you to an ambulance (witnessed that, too).

Getting through customs was actually quick (HAL gives you the form to fill out). We were finally able to go get our suitcases a little after 9. We literally ran to the train and made it with about 5 minutes to spare. :cool:

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When I hear the officer calling out for the late non-USA citizens, I always think that there is a very good chance that these people do not speak English very well and that they might be unaware of what they are supposed to do. It wouldn't hurt to throw in an annoucement in the late-passenger's language.

 

igraf

 

 

 

.... I know our Panama Canal cruise wasn't cleared until 10:00 am. They kept calling for some passengers to report to immigration checks in the theatre, and it seemed that they weren't complying.
Edited by igraf
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When I hear the officer calling out for the late non-USA citizens, I always think that there is a very good chance that these people do not speak English very well and that they might be unaware of what they are supposed to do. It wouldn't hurt to throw in an annoucement in the late-passenger's language.

 

igraf

 

I agree, however, on the cruise I was on, we were told (true or not, I don't know), when they finally knocked on the door of missing passengers, they were still in bed.

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When I hear the officer calling out for the late non-USA citizens, I always think that there is a very good chance that these people do not speak English very well and that they might be unaware of what they are supposed to do. It wouldn't hurt to throw in an annoucement in the late-passenger's language.

 

igraf

 

Yes, let's not take responsibility. I've taken cruises with princess that end in LA. No problem at all. Why does San Diego have to be so difficult? If they are being called by name they should recognize that. They are probably selfish people.

Edited by cruz chic
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Other cruise lines have made us disembark our cabin by no later than 8:30am, but one poster on this thread posted that we can stay in the cabin until we disembark. That would be a great option if there is a long delay until disembarkation.

Edited by qsuzi
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Other cruise lines have made us disembark our cabin by no later than 8:30am, but one poster on this thread posted that we can stay in the cabin until we disembark. That would be a great option if there is a long delay until disembarkation.

 

On Holland America, currently, you can remain in your room until your debarkation call. Most other cruiselines want you out earlier so they can start the turnover cleaning regime as soon as possible.

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My experiences with San Diego centered around the fact that there were not enough US Customs and Immigration officers or that they did not not turn up on time. Add to that a couple of non-reporting non-US passengers in one instance, and it quickly becomes a nightmare. In 2012 the ship was already aware that there would be major problems in SD long before we got there, and all shore excursions were cancelled, and flights had to be re-arranged. That was due to too few officers to clear the ship. This year, almost as bad but not quite. I was informed at one point, by a HAL officer, that HAL was threatening to pull out of San Diego because of the issues there with USC&I.

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Other cruise lines have made us disembark our cabin by no later than 8:30am, but one poster on this thread posted that we can stay in the cabin until we disembark. That would be a great option if there is a long delay until disembarkation.

 

Being able to stay in your cabin is HAL fleetwide policy.

Edited by CruiserBruce
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We sailed round-trip to Mexico in March 2014 out of San Diego on the Veendam. Since we live in San Diego we were in no hurry to disembark and so we lingered on the ship until most of the other passengers had already disembarked. Even then we walked off the ship shortly after 9:15 am.

 

igraf

 

 

 

 

 

My experiences with San Diego centered around the fact that there were not enough US Customs and Immigration officers or that they did not not turn up on time. Add to that a couple of non-reporting non-US passengers in one instance, and it quickly becomes a nightmare. In 2012 the ship was already aware that there would be major problems in SD long before we got there, and all shore excursions were cancelled, and flights had to be re-arranged. That was due to too few officers to clear the ship. This year, almost as bad but not quite. I was informed at one point, by a HAL officer, that HAL was threatening to pull out of San Diego because of the issues there with USC&I.
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We self-disembark in San Diego in order to be in the first group off the ship regardless of when disembarkation starts. We've had delayed disembarkation 4 out of 5 times. The first time it happened, it was around 10:40 am before they started letting pax off the ship :(

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My experiences with San Diego centered around the fact that there were not enough US Customs and Immigration officers or that they did not not turn up on time. Add to that a couple of non-reporting non-US passengers in one instance, and it quickly becomes a nightmare. In 2012 the ship was already aware that there would be major problems in SD long before we got there, and all shore excursions were cancelled, and flights had to be re-arranged. That was due to too few officers to clear the ship. This year, almost as bad but not quite. I was informed at one point, by a HAL officer, that HAL was threatening to pull out of San Diego because of the issues there with USC&I.

 

Last year when I booked my Panama Canal cruise for April of this year the bookings sort of went into a holding pattern. According to Lisa they were considering pulling out of San Diego at that time. I don't know why it has to be so painful.

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We sailed round-trip to Mexico in March 2014 out of San Diego on the Veendam. Since we live in San Diego we were in no hurry to disembark and so we lingered on the ship until most of the other passengers had already disembarked. Even then we walked off the ship shortly after 9:15 am.

 

igraf

 

I'm not sure what you are getting at. It seems when anyone posts anything negative about San Diego posters that live there are quick to dispute such posts. Can you get off the ship quickly? I'm sure you can, but it's not a certain. Better to be prepared than miss a plane. Since that is not an issue for you I imagine it's not a huge concern.

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We have transited through San Diego as staying aboard passengers three times since 2010. Every time has been an exercise in chaos. The earliest we have gotten off has been going on ten AM and once it was after ten thirty.

We have learned not to make any plans for the day in San Diego.

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Any port can have a bad day. I've read "horror stories" about Ft. Lauderdale, Vancouver, and Miami....you name it.....sometimes its just bad planning....or bad luck.

San Diego has a lot to offer....great weather.....port proximity to the airport....and smaller ships. (We don't have 12,000 guest a day as they have had in FLL and MIA arriving at the airport in one day.)

The street in front of the pier has been under construction for 3 years, and is now complete.

Two lanes are open in each direction, and the major intersection at Broadway is finished.

We may be in for another round of sequastriton, and TSA was a very big problem last time.

Give San Diego another try....Disney has 10 sailing scheduled in the next year, and the NCL Sun is going to homeport next fall here.

David

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