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Hi! I have a quick question for any recent Pride cruisers!.  I am a Platinum cruiser and want to kn ok w what time the port of Baltimore allows you in the VIP LOUNGE?  I'm trying to schedule my transportation to the port.

 

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I haven't sailed her since Jan 2018, I'm sure there are things that have changed a bit in 17 months, but here's my latest experience until someone that has sailed her more recently comes along.

In essence the Cruise Maryland terminal at Falcon Point is at least a good 8 hours from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Ships need to pass under 3 tide dependent for clearance bridges to make their way to the dock. This can delay docking if the weather causes unusually higher tides. So instead of giving you things in a clock like operational schedule I reference things to happen in a time table expressed in hours after docking or hours prior to scheduled sail away.

About 2.5 hours after the ship docks or 10:30am, whichever is later, the embarkation portion of the terminal will open for new priority passenger processing.When the terminal opens the waiting area for priority will also open, but more on this later. About 3-3.5 hours after docking is usually the first Arrival Appointments for those with general boarding. Prior to these times the Interline and Port Authority in terminal personnel will all be working on smoothly debarking and helping the leaving passengers move as quickly as possible out of the terminal.  

Regardless of when the terminal doors open for receiving new passengers by 10am the port gates do allow passenger drop offs to happen and about 45 cars to line up for on site parking to open. Since you are being dropped off, the time the parking area opens is only a concern if too many people arrive too early as that triggers the Baltimore police and start to direct traffic coming in the port in to a "holding" pattern on the service roads outside of the the gates of the port. When this happens the police will start directing private and rideshare vehicles to keep circling along the loop of service roads allowing only shuttles, taxis, van services, and limos in to the drop off till some of the congestion within the gates dissipates (usually when the parking lot opens). There is no priority entrance for drop off nor parking.

Drop offs will drive between 2 luggage trains about 50 yards from the terminal doors, often the porters will direct the driver to let off passengers here to walk the rest of the way. If  there is a mobility issue for someone in your family/group indicate to your driver before getting to the terminal that you want door drop off  that the drive can inform the porters. Head to the set of doors on the left. Priority lines are at both doors, but the 1 to the right has the "holding area" for those with general boarding to wait in if they arrive too early for their Arrival Appointment making the area very congested.

Now here's the skinny on the "Captain's Lounge" at the port of Baltimore. It's really not a lounge like at other ports, you will be in rows of seats in the large warehouse still corridor  that leads to where they take the boarding photos and head to the gangway. There is no table with iced water, coffee, iced and hot teas nor are there plates of cookies nor breakfast pastries. Port personnel will direct you to specific section of seats in the order of arrival. Commonly there are 4 sections, the one closest to the photographer area is usually reserved for the embarkation day wedding party and diamond passengers. The next 2 sections will be used for platinum, suite, and when offred casino VIP passengers. While the 4th section usually hold those with FttF. There is more room for them to put additional seating if like on a Journeys cruise there are many more priority passengers than normal. There are no bathrooms in this area you you need to reenter the general boarding waiting area for restrooms, on the way to the restrooms are vending machines if your wish to get a drink or snack. Priority boarding usually starts about 5 to 5.5 hours prior to the scheduled ships departure time, so if you get in early you could wait 1-2 hours in the priority area.

If a priority passenger needs mobility assistance for boarding either by having the ship provide a just a crew member to help wheel them (in their own medical device) or a courtesy wheelchair and crew helper, that waiting are is out in the general boarding waiting area. This waiting area is usually limited to the person needing assistance and 1 adult care taker and any minor on the same booking. AInterline agent will be in this section directing traffic so to speak. Only a maximum of 3 crew members are allowed into the terminal at a time to assist passengers waiting here so it is not uncommon for those with priority that arrived prior to boarding to need to wait till general boarding has started before they are assisted to deck A to board.

 

 

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Thank you both for your responses.  What time were you able to get off for debarkation?

 

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 A few weeks ago, Platinum with self-carry luggage disembarked the ship at 9:05. 

(We were directed to meet in the Captains Club on deck 3 by 9:00.)

 

By 9:15, we were through border control and at our car.

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Can't help you with earliest as we tend to dawdle. We vacate the cabin by 8:30/9am as requested, head to the MDR for a last leisurely on board breakfast, lingering over coffee until just about no passengers are left there. 

BUT i can tell you the latest we have been off is by 11:30am and that was when the Pride was scheduled to dock at 10am but made port by 9:30am. By noon (and were the last passengers through the CBP line) we were back at our car ready to drive the 3 hours home.

The nice thing about the Pride, is she is a smaller ship then what is being built now, so her max pax is just under 2,700 passengers. So disembarkation is quick once it starts, barring unforeseen complications like accidents on the gangway.

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3 hours ago, crooooze said:

A few weeks ago, we were in the VIFP lounge at 10:30.

 

Did you park your car OR were you dropped off?  I am also trying to decide what time to arrive at the port for parking.

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25 minutes ago, CruisingAgain said:

 

Did you park your car OR were you dropped off?  I am also trying to decide what time to arrive at the port for parking.

 

We drove.  We got there at 10:00, dropped off luggage and some family members at the terminal bldg. Then, I drove off to park.

 

I waited in a line until the parking lot opened at 10:40 and there were about 20 cars behind me. I got in to the VIFP lounge at 10:50, and the family members  I dropped off earlier were in the lounge since 10:30.

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Posted (edited)

The trick with parking at the Baltimore port is you either need to arrive very early, in relation to the ship's docking time like 9:30am, to avoid the traffic and be prepared to wait at 2 sets of "gates" for things to open. Or you can wait till later and risk the police causing a game of duck-duck-goose of cars until the port lot has room for waiting cars to "stand" in that line as they allow a few cars at a time into the parking area.

Edited by maryred

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16 hours ago, maryred said:

The trick with parking at the Baltimore port is you either need to arrive very early, in relation to the ship's docking time like 9:30am, to avoid the traffic and be prepared to wait at 2 sets of "gates" for things to open. Or you can wait till later and risk the police causing a game of duck-duck-goose of cars until the port lot has room for waiting cars to "stand" in that line as they allow a few cars at a time into the parking area.

 

Thanks MaryRed.  We always get to the Baltimore port early (9:30 to 10:00) and 3 of 5 times we were among the first in line and just waited for 60-90 minutes to be let into the parking lot. That works great for us. We have our music and books. I'd rather be sitting there than in a hotel or at home waiting to leave (and pacing). I can see the ship and feel CLOSE.  The problem came the last 2 times when they would not let us line up anywhere inside the fences or on the road. We HAD to leave and come back at 2:00. We tried a few times before 2 but were still turned away. Then at 2:00 EVERYONE who wanted to park was there. At that hour there was no staggered checkins.  It was a mess and there were no cops directing any traffic coming from at least 3 lanes (some made a fourth) and merging into one to get into the port. I never mind waiting if the lines are orderly and I get my turn based on when I got in line.  But there were a LOT of "special" people who zipped by everyone else and cut into the line right at the port entrance.  

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3 hours ago, CruisingAgain said:

It was a mess and there were no cops directing any traffic coming from at least 3 lanes (some made a fourth) and merging into one to get into the port. I never mind waiting if the lines are orderly and I get my turn based on when I got in line.  But there were a LOT of "special" people who zipped by everyone else and cut into the line right at the port entrance.  

Even when the cops are there it often goes like that as well, the possibility of a careless driving ticket is no deterrent.

As you said it can be a real clusercluck, when the Pride (or Grandeur) runs very late.

The best in this case that can be done is if you have your travel professional (or did yourself at booking) have at least one person in your car signed up for direct text travel or embarkation day alerts. IF there is a last minute significant delay a notice will go out about what time the port will open to start processing new passengers. Then just like showing up early on regularly operation day, you show up still show up an hour prior to the time on the text and hope for the best.

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On 5/28/2019 at 2:09 PM, maryred said:

Even when the cops are there it often goes like that as well, the possibility of a careless driving ticket is no deterrent.

As you said it can be a real clusercluck, when the Pride (or Grandeur) runs very late.

The best in this case that can be done is if you have your travel professional (or did yourself at booking) have at least one person in your car signed up for direct text travel or embarkation day alerts. IF there is a last minute significant delay a notice will go out about what time the port will open to start processing new passengers. Then just like showing up early on regularly operation day, you show up still show up an hour prior to the time on the text and hope for the best.

 

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Does anyone know when the shore excursion desk opens?

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On 6/7/2019 at 7:57 AM, RedRoadKing02 said:

How do I sign up for direct text travel or embarkation day alerts. 

This is done at the time of booking. You used to be able to opt in when doing your online check-in but my last few cruises since they went to the 90 day out format did not have the option. If unsure this was done during your booking process contact your travel professional or the CS# provided on your booking confirmation.

 

On 6/8/2019 at 7:54 PM, Psweets said:

Does anyone know when the shore excursion desk opens?

My last 3 times on the Pride the Excursion desk was open at boarding, of those 3 times the earliest we were on board after waiting in the priority area was 11:30am and the latest at 1pm. If when you board the desk is not open the Guest Services desk can handle excursion purchases or cancelations, but may not have specifics answers to questions about particular tours or ports. Purchases of port of call excursions can also be done through the HUB app and interactive cabin TVs as well. But only the excursion or GS desks will have the sheet to pick cabanas (in ports where this is an option) or purchase the Behind the Fun tour for the last seaday. 

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Thank you, I will plan to head over there as soon as I board.  What time were you able to go i to the terminal before check in?

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3 hours ago, Psweets said:

Thank you, I will plan to head over there as soon as I board.  What time were you able to go i to the terminal before check in?

It really depends. You may want to check the port's own website Cruise.Maryland.gov about a week prior to sail away. My last cruise on the Pride was 17 months ago and at that time the website had that new passenger could enter the terminal parking/ drop off areas starting 2 hours after the returning ship docked, though the port itself opens at 8am or when the ship docks (whichever is later) for those to pick-up passengers that are disembarking.

We live about 2.5-3 hours away, so unless there is horrid weather forecast, we leave about the time the previous cruise is scheduled to dock. Usually my cabinmate stalks our and the previous voyage's roll calls here, other cruise forums and social media, the port web cam, and ships cam (when working) to gauge how disembarkation is going while I drive.  Our best experience with the traffic has had us go directly into the port gate to line up for parking then wait 30 minutes before we could actually park. Our worst experience was having to circle the terminal for over an hour, but once inside the gate there was only 5 cars ahead of us to park.

With the priority check-in we have never needed to wait to enter the building. As off my last cruise the Captain's Lounge for Diamonds, Platinums, and suite guests was nothing special. In fact you wait in chairs immediately adjacent to the corridor that leads to the bon voyage pictures and the Customs Clearing area. Since no enhanced refreshments (hot coffee or tea, with breakfast pastries or cookies) are offered, we have no desire to really wait there for an extended period of time. 

If the 5 day weather forecast near home or Baltimore is iffy for our sail away date we book 1 of the 2 Best Westerns for the park, sleep-n-cruise packages for the night before. This includes parking for the duration of the cruise up to 14 days (great if doing a B2B or Journeys cruise), shuttle van transport to and back from the terminal, 2 adult breakfast buffet vouchers (but if you prefer sit and serve they apply the cost of the buffet to the bill as a coupon), and access to their free around town shuttle (nice if you want to go down to the Inner Harbor for a few hours).

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