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Windsurfboy

Help , information required about embarkation

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Hi , I'm having a little contretemps with Cunard as whether standing in a 150 yard queue from check in  to security constitutes priority embarkation. I arrived just before our allocated time of 12.30 (for a Q3). This was our first Cunard cruise

 

How does it work in detail

 

Specifically what do the white cards with letters signify, where do they start .

 

What letters if any are allocated to QG, PG, Diamond and platinum. We weren't given a card just told to go to security

 

Who is allocated G and H , as these were called just before we were finishing check in , hence the huge queue. 

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At what port are you boarding?

 

In Brooklyn you queue for bag X-ray and the WTMDs prior to check-in. There is no priority queue for the security screen. You then are sent to the regular or priority queue for the check-in counters.

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Once you have gotten to the check in desk, you should be given a piece of paper that identifies you as a Q4 or above passenger. When the actual boarding begins, you should be among the first to board, and you are usually escorted aboard by a bellman. 

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In Southampton you get to join a priority queue for check in and then go straight through security without having to wait.

There is no priority queue at security.

Letters are given out to those who wait before they go through security.

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Sorry,  if I  confused people,  I have already boarded, 2 weeks ago and got stuck in a 150 yard queue,  at Mayflower terminal  Southampton.  Cunard insist, I recieved priority embarkation.  I do not agree.  Hence my questions 

 

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    I am trying to figure out how nightmarish our embarkation on QM2 in Brooklyn will be in 3 weeks.  We have no loyalty status and are in a regular balcony cabin, and thus have been assigned a late check in time.   Since we will be driving down from Connecticut on embarkation morning, it is likely that we may arrive quite early, since we must allow a lot of extra time for traffic delays, which can be substantial.  It sounds as if this may be the perfect storm!!!

   So we first queue to x-ray our luggage.  Do we leave it with the porters at this time?   How long generally are these lines, and can we go through this process even if we have arrived before our check-in time?

   After luggage drop off, we then join another queue to go through security?  It sounds as if this might be quite time-consuming.  Once we have done this, are we then sorted into groups according to stateroom and loyalty status?  Will we then be required to wait until our assigned boarding time?  It sounds as if we might be walking and/or standing for several hours.  

   Sorry for all the questions,but I need to manage my expectations, especially if embarkation is as unpleasant as people suggest.  I have almost never had to wait more than half an hour to check in, and have always been able to find a quiet venue for a peaceful lunch.  Are we likely to miss the lunch service hours entirely this time?

    Oh well, there still will many positives on embarkation day.  We will be able to drop off our carry-on luggage in our room upon boarding, and then will have an exciting New York sail-away, followed by 6 days at sea meeting new friends and being well taken care of.

   

 

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1 hour ago, Windsurfboy said:

I have already boarded, 2 weeks ago and got stuck in a 150 yard queue,  at Mayflower terminal

Prior to or after checking in?

 

Describe the flow (check-in queue, check-in, security queue, waiting area, embarkation) and at what point you had to queue. Not all terminals have the same flow, and priority embarkation doesn't necessarily skip every queue.

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, ConnMom said:

  I am trying to figure out how nightmarish our embarkation on QM2 in Brooklyn will be in 3 weeks. 

Before parking your car you'll pass in front of the terminal building, at which point you empty your car of checked bags to a waiting Porter (you may opt to park first and pull/carry your bags back to the terminal). Either way your checked bags are handed over prior to entering the terminal building.

 

Once inside the terminal there will be a short queue where your e-ticket and passport are reviewed, then the queue continues to the X-ray and walkthru metal detectors. At this point you're only dealing with your carry-on bags. Usually you're through x-ray within 5 or 10 minutes of entering the building.

 

Once past the X-ray screening you join the main queue, of which there are actually three. Priority (Platinum/Diamond and Suites) to the left, non-priority to the center, and over on the right side along the wall are some check-in positions for mobility impaired. If you are holding a cane you may be directed to the right by terminal staff, there should be no reason to ask. I've been Platinum for awhile so I can't predict how long you wait in the check-in queue -20 minutes, maybe?

 

At the check-in counter you present your passport and your credit card for onboard charges. Typically they have no interest in seeing your e-ticket here, but note that it was required earlier to enter the security queue. If two are in a stateroom you have the option to present a different credit card for each.

 

When check-in is complete you continue to the left past the end of the check-in counter and you'll find seating on your right. I think you will have been given a numbered or lettered card at check-in indicating your boarding order - this is determined by your actual time of arrival rather than the boarding time on your e-ticket.

 

When your number/letter is called you go through the door and then left down the hall to the escalator/elevator up one floor to the boarding bridge. Most passengers go to the right and up to enter via the Grand Lobby on Deck 3 but note that you can also go to the left and down to enter via a corridor on Deck 2 just forward of the lobby. Again, mobility impaired passengers are usually invited to go to the left; I think anyone could if they asked (Deck 3 is a more "proper" entrance into the lobby).

 

We were fairly early our first time because we also wanted to have a cushion of time. Since we were coming across Staten Island we stopped at a restaurant along the way. Most people arriv by 2:00, I think.

Edited by Underwatr

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32 minutes ago, ConnMom said:

It sounds as if we might be walking and/or standing for several hours.  

I think you'll be onboard within an hour of your arrival. The security queues are short and the check-in queue might be 20 minutes (don't quote me on this). After then you'll be sitting if you're early enough not to go directly on.

 

If you can drag your feet to arrive at 2:00 or so, and the ship is loading on schedule you might go right on.

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In my observation, the closer to 12-1 you arrive, the non priority queues will be longest because so many people arrive early.  My brother has priority, but regularly waits til 2:30 or 3pm to arrive, and usually experience very little line.

 

DH and I usually arrive 12-12: 30 because we are in Grills. Sometimes checking at Brooklyn has been fast and smooth. Other times, not so much.  Last time checkin went smoothly, but then they had some problem with the gangway, so stopped boarding until it could be adjusted and then cleared by safety officer.  This is not normal, but we ended up waiting at least 30 additional minutes...

 

if you arrive before noon, there will likely still be many disembarking passengers trying to get taxis/ transport, sometimes this leads to a car backup just before terminal.

 

FYI right after you go through security, there are toilets.

 

 

hope for the best, be prepared for the worst!

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12 minutes ago, Hawaii136 said:

FYI right after you go through security, there are toilets.

I wasn't aware of this. I know that there are some to the left just as you enter the building (before security).

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We had the same experience on 14.7.19 at Southampton embarking Queen Victoria.  As priority guests we were checked in as soon as we arrived (12.15) then had to join the queue for all passengers to pass through security.  Once through security we boarded immediately.

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Question

 

Are priority boarders given leeteredbcards if they arrive early  in Southampton , or are the people with lettered cards general embarkation. 

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Sorry it should have read 

 

Are priority boarders given lettered cards if they arrive early in Southampton or are people with lettered cards general embarkation.?

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Haven't had a lettered card since QE2 days. Sometimes I have seen lettered cards handed to those without priority checkin, and they are called to checkin according to cards. It does vary between terminals, but usually after priority checkin, we have walked straight to security - perhaps a queue of three - or, if the ship is not ready, waited in a priority holding area for security to open.  So far our experiences have always been good. I would say a 150 yard queue does not really constitute what one would expect from priority boarding, unless there was some problem, say the computers went down. Otherwise really not.

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1 hour ago, Windsurfboy said:

Sorry it should have read 

 

Are priority boarders given lettered cards if they arrive early in Southampton or are people with lettered cards general embarkation.? 

 

In June, I arrived about 11:40 and received a lettered (there were different colours) card as a priority boarder. Check-in was open and there was no queue, although there were people sat down, who had already checked in, waiting to board. At 11:45, just as I had checked in, they announced boarding based on the coloured lettered card. As I was a priority passenger, I was in one of the first groups to be embarked. 

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19 minutes ago, NavyPanda said:

 

In June, I arrived about 11:40 and received a lettered (there were different colours) card as a priority boarder. Check-in was open and there was no queue, although there were people sat down, who had already checked in, waiting to board. At 11:45, just as I had checked in, they announced boarding based on the coloured lettered card. As I was a priority passenger, I was in one of the first groups to be embarked. 

 

Thank you , From this I can infer white cards are general boarding. 

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1 hour ago, Windsurfboy said:

 

Thank you , From this I can infer white cards are general boarding. 

 

Our QG boarding in NY was a blue card and we were almost immediately escorted to our suite

@ 11:40.  There is a separate waiting room at the left rear of the main “so called terminal” for Grills and priorities.

 

 

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1 hour ago, orchestrapal said:

 

Our QG boarding in NY was a blue card and we were almost immediately escorted to our suite

@ 11:40.  There is a separate waiting room at the left rear of the main “so called terminal” for Grills and priorities.

 

 

 

 

I had none of this just a 100 to 150 yard queue,  not what I expected for QG. Hence my complaint to Cunard 

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Thank you, Underwatr, and everyone else for all the detailed information.  Your descriptions sound much more pleasant than what I had been reading about embarkation.  I like the advice to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.  That will be my approach.  My husband and I are really looking forward to our crossing on August 18.  We have not done much ocean-based travel in the past few years, and it will be good to be back to the sea.

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6 hours ago, ConnMom said:

Thank you, Underwatr, and everyone else for all the detailed information.  Your descriptions sound much more pleasant than what I had been reading about embarkation.  I like the advice to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.  That will be my approach.  My husband and I are really looking forward to our crossing on August 18.  We have not done much ocean-based travel in the past few years, and it will be good to be back to the sea.

This is our first crossing and my husband and I will be on your sailing!

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21 hours ago, Windsurfboy said:

Sorry it should have read 

 

Are priority boarders given lettered cards if they arrive early in Southampton or are people with lettered cards general embarkation.?

 

As one who has lost count of the number of 'Priority' check-ins my wife have experienced at Southampton all I can say is that you appear to have not experienced the same procedure as we have.

 

On arrival we identify ourselves as Grills passengers and are shown to a separate seated area in the event check-in hasn't yet commenced. No cards.

 

Once, and once only,  we have checked-in at the check-in desk...

 

1884804030_Checkin.thumb.jpg.00165e4fac1b978984ee1a149a65ec9c.jpg

 

...and be directed to a second seated wait area immediately before security. (I had assumed there had been a minor problem outside of Cunard's control and they had quite rightly commenced check-in to avoid later delays)

 

We waited in this second pre-security area no longer than 10 minutes.

 

We have never checked into a Cunard ship via the Mayflower Terminal. We have though checked in as 'Priority' guests for a P&O cruise at The Mayflower. The initial procedure was exactly the same. Identify your status, head to priority check-in desk, and then directed to separate waiting area prior to passing through security.

 

I would say the key to successfully starting a check-in is to identify oneself and one's priority level to whoever is one's first point of contact.

 

We followed a very similar pattern on our recent Queen Victoria embarkation in Singapore  - Grills passengers were never issued any numbered or lettered card. 

 

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1 hour ago, Solent Richard said:

 

As one who has lost count of the number of 'Priority' check-ins my wife have experienced at Southampton all I can say is that you appear to have not experienced the same procedure as we have.

 

On arrival we identify ourselves as Grills passengers and are shown to a separate seated area in the event check-in hasn't yet commenced. No cards.

 

Once, and once only,  we have checked-in at the check-in desk...

 

1884804030_Checkin.thumb.jpg.00165e4fac1b978984ee1a149a65ec9c.jpg

 

...and be directed to a second seated wait area immediately before security. (I had assumed there had been a minor problem outside of Cunard's control and they had quite rightly commenced check-in to avoid later delays)

 

We waited in this second pre-security area no longer than 10 minutes.

 

We have never checked into a Cunard ship via the Mayflower Terminal. We have though checked in as 'Priority' guests for a P&O cruise at The Mayflower. The initial procedure was exactly the same. Identify your status, head to priority check-in desk, and then directed to separate waiting area prior to passing through security.

 

I would say the key to successfully starting a check-in is to identify oneself and one's priority level to whoever is one's first point of contact.

 

We followed a very similar pattern on our recent Queen Victoria embarkation in Singapore  - Grills passengers were never issued any numbered or lettered card. 

 

 

We identified ourselves as Queens Grills passengers straight away, the lady acknowledged this and directed us to the check in, which was empty. We then checked in. It was during our check in process , taking pictures , credit card etc , that Cunard called first cards H Then G , who rushed to security then hence 100yard plus queue. We then asked again about priority and were told no priority for QG at security and were directed to the back of the queue. 

 

We have complained, Cunard at first said, we had priority boarding,  those in the queue ahead all were priority boarders,  grills or diamond world club. Armed with facts from this thread, i.e. that priority boarders are not given cards,  I told them this was not true we did not get priority boarding as paid for, even though we had arrived just before our allocated departure time .

 

Cunard have now admitted they got it wrong and apologised.

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The only times we get cards is if we have a named suite and in those circumstances, have been escorted onboard, to the suite. Other than that, as has been said, no cards, ever as QG passengers so it sounds as if the boarding process could have started earlier than the usual, especially if the Grills check in desk was empty, and you got caught up in the general boarding process.

 

We have boarded around 11.30 am before now when the ship was ready but cabins not,  and as regulars, are aware this can happen and so arrive in time in case this happens.

 

 

 

 

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Yes this was the problem,  general embarkation had started before my queens grill check in time.

 

By trying to help those who had come early  Cunard disadvantaged those who came on time

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