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ajtaylor29

embarkation process - Zuiderdam in Ft. Lauderdale

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Sorry, i'm sure this has been answered many times in other threads, but of course now that i need it i can't find it! We're leaving this Sunday, our first HAL cruise. Can someone explain the boarding process for me? Our boarding passes say 1 pm. Is this a "suggested" time for everyone, or do they assign staggered check-in times? We've only sailed on Carnival before, and for them you select your boarding time and everybody is staggered starting at about 11 am. I'd like to know whether we can arrive earlier and be allowed to board, or will we have to wait until at least 1? Thanks in advance for your help!

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You may arrive anytime, the 1 pm is just a suggestion.  They usually begin boarding between 11:30 am and noon.  Some people prefer to lounge around their hotel and arrive later.  Others feel more comfortable arriving at the terminal early and boarding as soon as possible.  When they open boarding, cabins will be available so you can board, drop off any hand luggage and start exploring the ship!

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We like to get to the pier between 10:30 and 10:45.  Go through security and then check in.

 

When you enter the doors, you will be given a boarding number.

 

Around 11:30 they usually start boarding the handicapped and Pinnacle Suites.  After that is boarding for Neptune Suites, 4 and 5 star Mariners.

 

Then they start to call the numbers.

 

HAL likes to have the cabins ready by 11:30 -- that way you can drop off your carry ons and do whatever you want.  Go to lunch -- explore the ship, etc.

 

If you don't want to eat in the Lido, there is the Dive In or even the dining room which is open from Noon until 1:30 PM.

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We just sailed on the Zuiderdam in December. We live a few minutes from Port Everglades, so we left the house at 11-ish. As long as the terminal is open, you can enter and get in line for check in. If you arrive before 11:30, you won't find much of a line. Once you have checked in, you'll be issued a boarding number card. There are upstairs and downstairs waiting areas. Depending on your number, they'll either have you wait downstairs or upstairs. If you arrive early, I would anticipate being on the ship between noon and noon and a half. Most times, your room will be available once you board. You can drop off your carry on and head to lunch. If the room is not yet available, take your carry on with you and grab lunch in the Lido (buffet) on Deck 9 (Lido Deck) or the Main Dining Room on Deck 2 or 3.

 

If you can, avoid arriving between 12:15 and 1:30. It's typically the most crowded. 

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1 minute ago, POA1 said:

We just sailed on the Zuiderdam in December. We live a few minutes from Port Everglades, so we left the house at 11-ish. As long as the terminal is open, you can enter and get in line for check in. If you arrive before 11:30, you won't find much of a line. Once you have checked in, you'll be issued a boarding number card. There are upstairs and downstairs waiting areas. Depending on your number, they'll either have you wait downstairs or upstairs. If you arrive early, I would anticipate being on the ship between noon and noon and a half. Most times, your room will be available once you board. You can drop off your carry on and head to lunch. If the room is not yet available, take your carry on with you and grab lunch in the Lido (buffet) on Deck 9 (Lido Deck) or the Main Dining Room on Deck 2 or 3.

 

If you can, avoid arriving between 12:15 and 1:30. It's typically the most crowded. 

Yes, i enjoyed reading your trip report, thanks for all the information!!! FYI - since the drink package seems to be a hot topic, and i've  watched your videos on the policy/not policy in place....We debated back and forth and finally decided NOT to get it for this cruise. I've ordered vodka and beer for the room, taking 2 bottles of wine on board with us, and the rest we'll just pay as we go. We also have free drinks in the casino. So, i'll figure out after the trip whether i made the right decision or not.....I've done it both ways on Carnival. Thanks again for your great report!

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3 hours ago, ajtaylor29 said:

Yes, i enjoyed reading your trip report, thanks for all the information!!! FYI - since the drink package seems to be a hot topic, and i've  watched your videos on the policy/not policy in place....We debated back and forth and finally decided NOT to get it for this cruise. I've ordered vodka and beer for the room, taking 2 bottles of wine on board with us, and the rest we'll just pay as we go. We also have free drinks in the casino. So, i'll figure out after the trip whether i made the right decision or not.....I've done it both ways on Carnival. Thanks again for your great report!

 

Watch for happy hours and you can save some money. In addition to the published happy hours, look for the "happy 15 minutes" pricing that occur between shows, particularly BB King and Billboard Onboard. 

 

Have a great trip! 

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