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Tinytinkmom

Port arrival time?

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We are going to be sailing on the Nieuw Statendam out of Ft Lauderdale on March 3rd.  This is our first Holland cruise, so please excuse the rookie question!!  We received an email today, indicating that our port arrival time should be based on the deck that our stateroom is on.  It starts at 1pm, and is staggered until 3:30pm, which is the scheduled time for our deck (1st deck).  With the other cruise lines we've sailed on, we've always been able to get on the ship around noon, so this was a bit of a shock.  In your experience, do we actually need to wait until our scheduled 3:30pm time slot, or do they allow passengers to board earlier than that?  If we can't board earlier than that, I'm not sure what we're going to do with ourselves (and our bags) all day!  Thanks!

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This is a trial system that HAL has done for the Koningsdam and the N. Statendam. Reports from Koningsdam was that it was not enforced...boarding starts around 11:30, which is the HAL policy for all the other ships. Haven't heard any reports from N. Statendam.

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Based on our experience, this past Sunday, I would go early.  We did not have the luxury of choosing our time because we had HAL transfers.  We left the Marriott Harbor Beach hotel exactly at noon.  What would normally be a 7 minute drive took over an hour!  It was ridiculous!  The problem seemed to be the sheer volume of vehicles turning into Port Everglades and likely the security to get into the port.

 

Once we got off the bus, and in the terminal, there was a long lineup to get our boarding passes checked.  Then one of four shorter lines for security.  Then massive lines for checking in.  These were split by deck number.  To the far left was the 4/5 Star checkin.  Since we could use the 4/5 Star checkin line which only had about six people in front of us, the checkin process was quick at that point.  We were finally onboard about 1:35/1:45.  I don't know how long it took for those who do not have the expedited boarding.

 

It didn't seem like anyone paid attention to the suggested boarding times but the only reports I've heard were from 4/5 Star Mariners.

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JMO -- but I would leave for the ship around 10:30 -- traffic can be a zoo in Ft Lauderdale to get through security.  We always leave the hotel at that time.

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HAL has done this for the last couple years for our cruises in November. We've showed up early both times and were on the ship early. Ignore the suggested boarding time and go when you want.

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2 hours ago, Alberta Quilter said:

Based on our experience, this past Sunday, I would go early.  We did not have the luxury of choosing our time because we had HAL transfers.  We left the Marriott Harbor Beach hotel exactly at noon.  What would normally be a 7 minute drive took over an hour!  It was ridiculous!  The problem seemed to be the sheer volume of vehicles turning into Port Everglades and likely the security to get into the port.

 

Once we got off the bus, and in the terminal, there was a long lineup to get our boarding passes checked.  Then one of four shorter lines for security.  Then massive lines for checking in.  These were split by deck number.  To the far left was the 4/5 Star checkin.  Since we could use the 4/5 Star checkin line which only had about six people in front of us, the checkin process was quick at that point.  We were finally onboard about 1:35/1:45.  I don't know how long it took for those who do not have the expedited boarding.

 

It didn't seem like anyone paid attention to the suggested boarding times but the only reports I've heard were from 4/5 Star Mariners.

 I also boarded last Sunday. I arrived at the port about 11:20. The only delay I had in accessing the port was the last quarter mile or so, which took 15 minutes. When I got to the terminal maybe 50 people were ahead of me in the security line, which moved quickly. The priority line only had 3 people in front of me, but only one attendant. When it was my turn they added a second attendant and I am told a third. I proceeded up stairs and had a short wait until boarding started. I was on board at 11:45.

Edited by richwmn

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1 hour ago, richwmn said:

 I also boarded last Sunday. I arrived at the port about 11:20. The only delay I had in accessing the port was the last quarter mile or so, which took 15 minutes. When I got to the terminal maybe 50 people were ahead of me in the security line, which moved quickly. The priority line only had 3 people in front of me, but only one attendant. When it was my turn they added a second attendant and I am told a third. I proceeded up stairs and had a short wait until boarding started. I was on board at 11:45.

 

There were, at least, four attendants by 1:30, possibly five.  Of course, the OP won't be able to use the expedited line that we could since this is their first HAL cruise.  But your experience is why I recommended showing up early.  

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I agree with all the others. It has been my experience that no one is checking the suggested boarding time on your paperwork. Boarding at 3:30 would mean you're rushed getting to your cabin and you won't have time to unpack before muster drill. If you're at early dinner you're rushed more to get ready without having unpacked. Even if you're not at early dinner, you don't want to miss sail-away. Not a good way to start a cruise.

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I am a checkin agent for HAL at Port Everglades. 
As others have suggested, virtually no one pays attention to the suggested arrival times. Usually, by 3pm, 90% of the guests have checked in and are on board. Only those with late arriving flights haven't shown up yet.  Just be aware that the Port is very crowded on Sundays and it will take time to get to your terminal!

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Thanks for all of the great responses!  Relieved to hear that it’s okay to get there earlier than our suggested time...  When we go on a cruise, we like to be onboard as early as we can, to get the vacation started!!!

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Everyone wants to show up early....that results in a long wait for security and long lines for check-in.

 

Staggered times are for your benefit if you are not President's Club, 4 or 5 Stars Mariner, or Pinnacle Suites.

 

It is a proven concept......over several years of implementation by Disney Cruise Line.  Some other lines have similar, but not enforced time slots.  

 

Holland America, so far...... has only suggested boarding times.

 

David

 

 

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