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Boarding Order Question


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I am new to NCL so I have no Latitudes points at all.

 

Is there any benefit for me to get to the port in Seattle early on embarkation day? If it is like RCCI, they board based upon your loyalty rank, not by your order of arrival. If I get there early will I just sit around for a few hours, waiting to board with all the other NCL newbies?

 

Steven

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There is a sweet spot.  If you get there as soon as the doors open you still have to wait until they start letting people on.  If you wait until they start letting people on and the line to board has cleared up a bit, you should be able to get thru the process without having to wait.  Only those staying in the Haven have special boarding as far as I know. 

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NCL has some specialty groups, but the "regular" folks get a boarding card based on when they check in at the dock.

Haven guests, Ambassador, Platinum Plus, Platinum, Casino (NYC), Concierge (Joy), special needs, then boarding numbers.

Edited by GA Dave
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Very interesting.

 

I am sure this has been answered a million times but I have one more question. My eDocs say that boarding begins at noon and departure is at 5pm. But does it really start at noon or is it really earlier. I am just trying to work out my boarding strategy, attempting to maximize my fun. You can't blame me for that, can you?

 

Steven

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Just off the Star and when we boarded we had group 3.  We arrived before they even started checking people in, and so were some of the earliest.  We arrived to the port about 10:30 and started boarding about 11:15.  When our group was called, we were ahead of some of the Haven guests.  

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Actual boarding time will vary based on how long it takes them to clear all the passengers who need to get off first.  They usually seem to start the boarding process between 11:00 and 11:30.  As said above, there are a few groups who always get to board first due to the status, but the rest of the boarding is done based on a boarding pass number they will hand you as you get processed through checkin.  So make sure you get one!  Sometimes, it's just a guy handing them to everyone as they get off an escalator and he sometimes misses people.  Once, I never saw him and we were seated with no boarding card number.  I eventually noticed others waiting with theirs and remembered I needed one and had to go back and get it.  After the initial groups, they will start calling the boarding groups by number.  Once they do, it's a bit of a mad rush to the entry doors, as there are quite a few that share the same boarding number.  So, there is some value to arriving around 10:00 or 10:30 if getting on the ship early is your goal.  That's when we usually arrive and we usually sit in the waiting area for an hour or so people watching before we board.  But that's our preference.

Edited by MeHeartCruising
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We got there at 10:30 and got boarding group 3.  We had a short wait before boarding, less than half an hour, before our group was called.  It didn't have anything to do with our status, because our son and his friend who had no status got the same boarding group.

 

It was great to get on early, because we got into The Social right away to make our reservations.  By the time we were finished there the line was pretty long.  

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When I filled in the forms on NCL.com, there was a question asking you to select a check in time.  I didn't pick the earliest or the latest.  I don't ever try to be the first on, there's usually a HUGE line when you arrive early.  An hour later can have you walking on with no wait

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9 minutes ago, habc said:

When I filled in the forms on NCL.com, there was a question asking you to select a check in time.  I didn't pick the earliest or the latest.  I don't ever try to be the first on, there's usually a HUGE line when you arrive early.  An hour later can have you walking on with no wait

You don't need to adhere to that informtion re; boarding times.  Get to the port when you're ready.  Not too early, not too late is good.  My first cruise, years ago, DH and I arrived at the port around 2 and proceeded to go through check in and boarding with no delay. Departure was at 5PM.

 

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The Haven and suite guests are boarded when there is Butler or Concierge team member to personally

escort the guest to their cabins or specialty lunch - therefore it is possible for other guests to board

before these categories.

 

Also note that you may get a letter or other document SUGGESTING your arrival and check-in times

be at such and such an hour - it is supposed to facilitate a better boarding - you be the judge !

 

1 hour ago, GA Dave said:

NCL has some specialty groups, but the "regular" folks get a boarding card based on when they check in at the dock.

Haven guests, Ambassador, Platinum Plus, Platinum, Casino (NYC), Concierge (Joy), special needs, then boarding numbers.

As GA Dave has posted this is the standard order of boarding everything going in a perfect order and

we all know about those perfect orderly boardings.

 

If you are early and have some degree of this pecking order boarding status make sure to use it and get directed

to the right area line - if there is a lobby host/ess make it clear - if none look for signage.

 

Smaller ships - less boarding problems to get the masses on board.

Larger ships - some ports use two gangways to board

 

In any event show up in time to check-in and board before the ship sails - why of course !

If early there is bound to be a steady flow of those that have been waiting - after a while

the lines will thin and boarding will be as guests walk up and check-in.

 

Important if you have last minute shore excursions dining reservations and or other details to tend to

to board as early as possible to get the best times or fill those last few slots before none are left.

 

If early be prepared to WAIT - if late be prepared to HURRY on board - what more can be commented on ?

 

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52 minutes ago, habc said:

When I filled in the forms on NCL.com, there was a question asking you to select a check in time.  I didn't pick the earliest or the latest.  I don't ever try to be the first on, there's usually a HUGE line when you arrive early.  An hour later can have you walking on with no wait

While NCL does not enforce the "check in time" I still pick my time as if they do. Carnival does and are very strict about it.  You never know when the port or NCL will want to put in place crowd control measures (the reason to pick a time).

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I would never get to port PRIOR to boarding having started...that simply ensures a LONG wait!  If you get to port around 11:30am, boarding will have begun, lines will be moving, and all will be well.

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We have been platinum on NCL for the last few cruises. Sometimes we have been placed in a special area to get on 1st and other times been given boarding pass #1 or 2. We are usually boarded after haven, suites and handicap. Great platinum amenity that we earned as frequent cruisers with NCL.

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When I sailed on the Bliss from LA in April my NCL transfer from the airport arrived at the pier around 11:30.  It didn't seem to matter what boarding group number I was given, as soon as I was done checking in I was allowed to board.

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In my experience, it depends somewhat on the port - I know that Seattle has recently been upgraded to handle the Bliss and Joy. We were there for the Pearl - but in a suite. So this is how it went for us in 2012, The suites and VIPs met outside in a tent - then escorted in small groups to the beginning of the security process - the metal detector - once through it we were whisked away to a lounge area where there were snacks and two nice people doing the check-in process. Shortly after we were checked-in the butler took us to our lunch. 

 

Fast forward to 2016 in Boston and again in a suite on the Dawn - we were in line with everybody else for the metal detector - we also filled out the medical forms with everybody else and were in the check-in queue with everyone else - no line cuts no special treatment. After check in there was a small area where there were some snacks and a butler ready to take us to our suite - we were on our own to find lunch - which was in Cagney's. Also if I remember correctly there was no special treatment for Latitudes 

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17 hours ago, RedwingHockeyFan said:

There is a sweet spot.  If you get there as soon as the doors open you still have to wait until they start letting people on.  If you wait until they start letting people on and the line to board has cleared up a bit, you should be able to get thru the process without having to wait.  Only those staying in the Haven have special boarding as far as I know. 

We are platinum and there is a separate line for us. We went straight to the check in desk (no one in front of us) and our daughter and her family waited in the "regular" line. It seemed, in this instance, that they got on not much more than 15 minutes after us. This was a Caribbean cruise out of Miami.

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14 hours ago, cb at sea said:

I would never get to port PRIOR to boarding having started...that simply ensures a LONG wait!  If you get to port around 11:30am, boarding will have begun, lines will be moving, and all will be well.

Agree.  I used to do that...get to the port area early (9-ish or 10-ish).  I was faced with those who are disembarking, trying to gather luggage, hailing their rides, etc.  Then, there were those like me, early to port, trying to navigate through others who are arriving and dodging the disembarking passengers.  It was chaos (and not the organized kind).

 

Finally, I decided to be leisure at embarkation.  Get to the dock around noon to 1:00 p.m.  Check-in with no lines, walk right on to the ship with no drama.  Much easier on me and a good start to my vacation.

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Did an after 2pm boarding in Canaveral a couple years back. No lines and smooth boarding.

 

Something to consider, your cabin won't be ready when you board. If you have carry-on luggage, etc, you will be dragging it everywhere you go, dining, bars, pools, etc.

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2 hours ago, softl said:

Did an after 2pm boarding in Canaveral a couple years back. No lines and smooth boarding.

 

Something to consider, your cabin won't be ready when you board. If you have carry-on luggage, etc, you will be dragging it everywhere you go, dining, bars, pools, etc.

 

My last cruise in March was actually handled differently.  Instead of waiting until all rooms were cleaned & ready, they did an early announcement giving people permission to drop off their carry ons, then immediately exit the staterooms until the announcement was made that they were ready.  It was the Sky, which is one of the smaller boats.  I hope they start using that method across the entire line.  

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2 hours ago, MotownVoice said:

One thing's for sure, to quote Louie Anderson:

"We're all leavin' at the same time, Lady."

So no rush.  Just don't be LATE is all.

 

Just because the ship hasn't sailed doesn't mean the party hasn't started :classic_biggrin:.  I like to get as much time on the ship as possible.  Even if that means an hour or two wait in the terminal lobby before I board.

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3 hours ago, softl said:

Did an after 2pm boarding in Canaveral a couple years back. No lines and smooth boarding.

 

Something to consider, your cabin won't be ready when you board. If you have carry-on luggage, etc, you will be dragging it everywhere you go, dining, bars, pools, etc.

We like to get on the ship as early as possible, head to a MDR, and usually cabins are open right as we are finished eating, so not a lot of dragging.

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