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Progressive Check-In Policy

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Just received this info (see below) from HAL regarding upcoming cruise in the next few weeks and am disappointed in the staggered embarkation schedules.  Is this something totally new, as I do not remember this on our last HAL cruise 18 months ago?  I was looking forward to starting my embarkation off with a lunch on board, but now it looks like we are boarding later than lunch time 😞.  On last cruise I believe we were at the port around noon and boarded soon after that.  This cruise I am on the same deck as last cruise, yet not allowed to board until 2:30.  Any thoughts on this "new" policy?

 

From HAL:

IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION:

To help facilitate a smooth start to your voyage we have implemented a progressive cruise check-in schedule. Please arrive at the check-in time listed below. If you purchased a pre-cruise hotel package from Holland America, your transfer time will be provided at your hotel. Guests traveling on shared transport or arriving as a group will be checked in together. Guests should not arrive prior to the suggested check-in time below. Boarding will begin at 1:00 PM and all guests must be onboard by 4:00 PM.

1:30 PM - Deck 7, Deck 8 & Deck 10 (Rotterdam, Navigation & Panorama) 2:00 PM - Deck 5 & Deck 6 (Verandah & Upper Verandah)
2:30 PM - Deck 4 & Deck 11 (Upper Promenade & Observation)
3:00 PM - Deck 1 (Main)

We invite our 4 & 5 Star Mariners and Pinnacle & Neptune Suite guests to arrive anytime between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.

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This schedule has been discussed many times on CC.  HAL agents at the port aren't enforcing these times yet.  Go whenever you desire.  You'll be able to check in, usually beginning at 10:30 with embarkation starting at 11:30 unless there is some problem with the previous cruise such as a severe Noro outbreak.

 

Have a lovely cruise.

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Our check in time was listed as 1:30.  We went at 11:30.  We had to sit in the waiting room for a bit after checking in but everyone had to wait while they readied the ship.   Just go when it’s convenient for you. 

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Great!!! So glad to hear this.  I didn't want to just waste time in Ft Lauderdale doing nothing instead of enjoying time on the ship.  Hopefully this "progressive check in" will not be enforced.  I had never received a letter from HAL such as this last time, so I assumed it was some "new" rule they were starting.  So looking forward to our upcoming cruise! 😃

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Not overly convenient for those of us that must vacate our hotel rooms by 11:00am.   Where can you really go with all your luggage, etc.??  

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I guess everyone has missed the part where  boarding will not begin until 1 PM.

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Maybe they said boarding starts at 1:00 because they’re doing a deep clean?  

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In all of our HAL cruises, the standard line is boarding at 1:00 PM.   But in reality, after checking in, you go and have  a seat.  When the ship is ready for boarding, which is normally 11:00 or 11:30, they start calling passengers.   Some terminals will issue a number card after you check in and get your key card.   Unless there is an inspection or deep cleaning,  boarding usually starts around 11:30.

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When the new Pinnacle class ships came out,  staggered times were started as these ships hold more passengers.

 

Some people followed the new suggested times -- others arrived when they were ready to board the ship.

 

Many of us do have to vacate our hotel rooms by 11 AM -- so who wants to wait around in a lobby for a few hours??  Not me. 

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15 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

When the new Pinnacle class ships came out,  staggered times were started as these ships hold more passengers.

 

Some people followed the new suggested times -- others arrived when they were ready to board the ship.

 

Many of us do have to vacate our hotel rooms by 11 AM -- so who wants to wait around in a lobby for a few hours??  Not me. 

I understand that 4 Star (and higher) plus Neptune/Pinnacle passengers can board at anytime.

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I still believe that ultimately HAL is going to enforce this in order to not offer the embarkation lunch in the MDR.  If you read the notice the first boarding would not be until after the MDR would normally close.

 

Having said that, last year we arrived at FLL and boarded sometime around 11:30 and dropped our carry-ons and went to the MDR.  There was not very many people eating lunch in the MDR.

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1 hour ago, rothbury said:

I still believe that ultimately HAL is going to enforce this in order to not offer the embarkation lunch in the MDR.  If you read the notice the first boarding would not be until after the MDR would normally close.

 

Having said that, last year we arrived at FLL and boarded sometime around 11:30 and dropped our carry-ons and went to the MDR.  There was not very many people eating lunch in the MDR.

 

Lunch in the MDR on embarkation day is like some kind of state secret. If you ask anyone about it, you're told that lunch is in the Lido. I remember sitting in the MDR having lunch and hearing the CD announce that the Lido was open for lunch. There was still time to be seated in the MDR, but he didn't mention it in any of his announcements. I can understand not announcing it in the days when it was just for Mariners. Now it's supposedly open to all passengers, but in reality it's open only to those who know about it. 

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24 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Lunch in the MDR on embarkation day is like some kind of state secret. If you ask anyone about it, you're told that lunch is in the Lido. I remember sitting in the MDR having lunch and hearing the CD announce that the Lido was open for lunch. There was still time to be seated in the MDR, but he didn't mention it in any of his announcements. I can understand not announcing it in the days when it was just for Mariners. Now it's supposedly open to all passengers, but in reality it's open only to those who know about it. 

 

On my Alaska cruise I was really looking forward to Embarkation day lunch there and made sure my 1 star mariner status was showing.

 

However, 2 of the crew at elevators both said "today lunch is being served only in the Lido"

so I didn't check.  I should have checked! 

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31 minutes ago, SempreMare said:

 

On my Alaska cruise I was really looking forward to Embarkation day lunch there and made sure my 1 star mariner status was showing.

 

However, 2 of the crew at elevators both said "today lunch is being served only in the Lido"

so I didn't check.  I should have checked! 

Absolutely!  Next time, you'll know to go to the MDR at noon.  If it's closed, it's closed, and you still have time to grab lunch elsewhere. 

 

We love the MDR embarkation lunch, as it's such a relaxing way to start a cruise.  While it's rarely crowded, it does draw enough passengers to continue it.  The wait staff appear to be busy; I never notice anyone standing around with nothing to do.  On all of our HAL cruises (except for the first one when we didn't know about the MDR lunch), one side and the back of the MDR and some of the tables on the other side have filled by the time we finish our lunch, normally about one o'clock.  

 

I do hope this lovely tradition isn't eliminated.  What a shame if it happens.

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39 minutes ago, SempreMare said:

 

On my Alaska cruise I was really looking forward to Embarkation day lunch there and made sure my 1 star mariner status was showing.

 

However, 2 of the crew at elevators both said "today lunch is being served only in the Lido"

so I didn't check.  I should have checked! 

Yep - always check for ourselves.  The Crew do as they are told to say.

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For our September 9 Alaska cruise (14 day), we arrived at the port about 11:30 and were in our cabin by noon. We were also directed to the Lido for lunch but instead enjoyed a nice quiet lunch in the MDR, due only to having read this forum. I paid no attention to the boarding time schedule I was provided.

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It sounds like how this plays out is Port dependent.

 

From Ft. Lauderdale earlier this year, sailing on K'Dam, we arrived at Noon and the check-in line was over an hour long. The process was laborious and check-in was very understaffed. We were able to get on board at about 1:45. Check-in was the only significant disappointment on an otherwise great cruise.

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16 minutes ago, OmarOak said:

It sounds like how this plays out is Port dependent.

 

From Ft. Lauderdale earlier this year, sailing on K'Dam, we arrived at Noon and the check-in line was over an hour long. The process was laborious and check-in was very understaffed. We were able to get on board at about 1:45. Check-in was the only significant disappointment on an otherwise great cruise.

Most of the time I have had good luck at Fort Lauderdale, but I generally arrive around 11, not noon. I don't know if they still exist, but at one time there were "home town" buses from several Florida cities that dropped off a large number of people at the same time. I wouldn't want to be there when those buses arrive.

 

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My flight arrives in FLL at 8:55AM.  Taking into account luggage pick up, we should arrive at the pier around 9:30.  I know we will have to wait to board.  Is this a going to be a problem.

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Does anyone know how early the porters start taking luggage?  We'll be coming over from another ship and just want to drop off our luggage and go shopping.

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59 minutes ago, palolake said:

Does anyone know how early the porters start taking luggage?  We'll be coming over from another ship and just want to drop off our luggage and go shopping.

A few years ago, DW and I embarked from the Port of Manhattan (the one about 49th and 12th Ave) on the Prinsendam for a long cruise.  The cruise actually started at Port Everglades, moved up to NYC to pick-up more passengers, and then continued on its voyage.  When we arrived at the port around noon, there were a few folks sitting outside the terminal with their luggage.  There were only about 60 passengers embarking at that port and HAL had decided to only hire a single "gang" of Longshoreman and not pay them extra to work their normal lunch hour (12 - 1pm).  So those who arrived at noon had to sit outside the terminal until 1pm, because the Longshoreman were on lunch hour..and taking our own luggage inside the terminal violated their contract and they would then go on strike (this is what a Longshoreman told us).

 

My point is that the cruise line controls embarkation by how they deal with the Longshoreman.  At Port Everglades there are several gangs at each pier (with ships) and they usually start about 6 or 7.  Once they start, they are paid to provide service until the ship is entirely loaded!  So, in theory, at that port they should be willing to take your luggage at any time in the morning.  In practice, who knows?  On the other hand, any resistance to taking your luggage can likely be overcome with a $20!

 

Hank

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10 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

A few years ago, DW and I embarked from the Port of Manhattan (the one about 49th and 12th Ave) on the Prinsendam for a long cruise.  The cruise actually started at Port Everglades, moved up to NYC to pick-up more passengers, and then continued on its voyage.  When we arrived at the port around noon, there were a few folks sitting outside the terminal with their luggage.  There were only about 60 passengers embarking at that port and HAL had decided to only hire a single "gang" of Longshoreman and not pay them extra to work their normal lunch hour (12 - 1pm).  So those who arrived at noon had to sit outside the terminal until 1pm, because the Longshoreman were on lunch hour..and taking our own luggage inside the terminal violated their contract and they would then go on strike (this is what a Longshoreman told us).

 

My point is that the cruise line controls embarkation by how they deal with the Longshoreman.  At Port Everglades there are several gangs at each pier (with ships) and they usually start about 6 or 7.  Once they start, they are paid to provide service until the ship is entirely loaded!  So, in theory, at that port they should be willing to take your luggage at any time in the morning.  In practice, who knows?  On the other hand, any resistance to taking your luggage can likely be overcome with a $20!

 

Hank

 

My concern with being too early is that the luggage could accidentally get into the wrong "stream" and be put with offloaded luggage instead of getting onto the ship. I know the tags are different, but still...

 

I was rereading one of my travel journals last night (Zuiderdam 2017). Embarkation in Port Everglades was crazy because there were so many ships, and we arrived just as a busload of passengers were being dropped off. On top of that, a lot of people disembarking were waiting for their drivers in the luggage drop area, not the passenger pickup area. It was a mess. A longshoreman was taking luggage off the bus and I couldn't see anybody available in the crowd, so I asked him were I could get a porter to take my luggage. His reply was "Tip me and I'll take care of you." I always do tip the porters, but this was the first time I was asked in advance.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

My concern with being too early is that the luggage could accidentally get into the wrong "stream" and be put with offloaded luggage instead of getting onto the ship. I know the tags are different, but still...

 

I was rereading one of my travel journals last night (Zuiderdam 2017). Embarkation in Port Everglades was crazy because there were so many ships, and we arrived just as a busload of passengers were being dropped off. On top of that, a lot of people disembarking were waiting for their drivers in the luggage drop area, not the passenger pickup area. It was a mess. A longshoreman was taking luggage off the bus and I couldn't see anybody available in the crowd, so I asked him were I could get a porter to take my luggage. His reply was "Tip me and I'll take care of you." I always do tip the porters, but this was the first time I was asked in advance.

 

 

That all sounds normal.  And consider that, in many cases, the Longshoreman are making 6 figures....and we are tipping them!  ARGH.  A couple of months ago we cruised out of Red Hook (Brooklyn) on a Princess ship.  I drove to the port and stopped by the Luggage area (where there were the usual Longshoreman and their large luggage cages), double parked, and unloaded our luggage.  A couple of Longshoreman just looked at me and did absolutely nothing to help.  Once I reached for my wallet they both raced over to my car.  Tis life in the USA.

 

Hank

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2 hours ago, davy jones said:

Taking into account luggage pick up, we should arrive at the pier around 9:30.  I know we will have to wait to board.  Is this a going to be a problem.

We've been able to drop bags off around 10:00 a couple of times.  I'd be thinking of hanging around the airport a half-hour at least.  Or if you take a taxi to the pier you can have the driver stop by Total Wine for your carry-on bottles and kill a little time that way.

 

1 hour ago, palolake said:

Does anyone know how early the porters start taking luggage?

As I said above, around 10:00 has worked for us a couple of times ...

Edited by catl331

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