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Hi! So excited to set sail July 10th on Serenity for our first experience with Crystal. I fully understand that in the era of Covid, procedures can change on the fly. However, we were wondering, in the past were you allowed access to your cabin upon boarding? Or is there a set time (i.e. 1:30 pm) like on other lines? Due to covid there may be deep cleaning protocols that prevent this, and that is completely understandable. Was just wondering. Thanks!

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9 minutes ago, Island Dog said:

Hi! So excited to set sail July 10th on Serenity for our first experience with Crystal. I fully understand that in the era of Covid, procedures can change on the fly. However, we were wondering, in the past were you allowed access to your cabin upon boarding? Or is there a set time (i.e. 1:30 pm) like on other lines? Due to covid there may be deep cleaning protocols that prevent this, and that is completely understandable. Was just wondering. Thanks!

 

In the past all cabins were available by 3 PM, but I would always "ease by" my cabin before then and more times than not, it was ready before then. As you understand, the new situation is to be revealed, and no one knows for sure until the first sailing.

 

Patty

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14 minutes ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

In the past all cabins were available by 3 PM, but I would always "ease by" my cabin before then and more times than not, it was ready before then. As you understand, the new situation is to be revealed, and no one knows for sure until the first sailing.

 

Patty

Thanks so much for the info, Patty!

We will be happy to take advantage of all that the Serenity has to offer until whatever time the crew deems our cabin safe and accessible.

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One thing, the first sailing (July 3) may not be a good test for cabin availability on embarkation day, as passengers will not have vacated them, requiring cleaning, before we arrive to board.

 

I am so looking forward to being on Crystal again!

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30 minutes ago, Island Dog said:

Thanks so much for the info, Patty!

We will be happy to take advantage of all that the Serenity has to offer until whatever time the crew deems our cabin safe and accessible.

It's a great opportunity to have a nice lunch wherever you choose and then go explore the ship. By the time you're done your cabin will be ready!

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23 minutes ago, claudiaYVR said:

It's a great opportunity to have a nice lunch wherever you choose and then go explore the ship. By the time you're done your cabin will be ready!

Sounds perfect, Claudia! Thanks for the advice. 😁

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Here's how it works.

 

When you receive your cruise documents it will show a staggered time for boarding spread over a few hours.  So everyone cannot show up at Noon.

 

This will allow for an orderly embarkation given social distancing and the need to take a COVID019 test and it will ensure your room is ready so when you board you can go to your room.  

 

Now things are always subject to change but that is how it stands now.

 

Keith

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2 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Here's how it works.

 

When you receive your cruise documents it will show a staggered time for boarding spread over a few hours.  So everyone cannot show up at Noon.

 

This will allow for an orderly embarkation given social distancing and the need to take a COVID019 test and it will ensure your room is ready so when you board you can go to your room.  

 

Now things are always subject to change but that is how it stands now.

 

Keith

If they continue with the practice from last year of having your boarding cards already in your room, rather than giving them to you at check in, then the rooms will have to be ready.

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6 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

So everyone cannot show up at Noon.


Actually they can and many will - just like in the past. There are those who simply must be first to board…
 

Crystal will have to regulate the flow of passengers through processing - just as they’ve done in the past 

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4 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:



 

Crystal will have to regulate the flow of passengers through processing - just as they’ve done in the past 

And that is the plan.  Embarkation will be different  with very specific times and if someone comes early they will not be allowed to go through the process until it is their time.

 

When it is their time , the plan is  for when they do board that their room is ready so they can go directly to their room.

 

Just like some of the other things the protocol is different for embarkation and for readiness or room.

 

And just like other things there could be changes and if there are guests will be notified before the day of the sailing.

 

Keith

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1 hour ago, Keith1010 said:

And that is the plan.  Embarkation will be different  with very specific times and if someone comes early they will not be allowed to go through the process until it is their time.

 

When it is their time , the plan is  for when they do board that their room is ready so they can go directly to their room.

 

Keith

 

It's fine to say, "People will have to wait," but I'm trying to imagine how this is going to work in practice, and specifically, how this will work with these cruises, though. I think the logistics of this are going to be ... complicated.

 

Leaving aside the issue of the hordes that will be clamoring for their Cobb salads no matter what, it's not like there are a multitude of travel options to these embarkation ports. And given those limited travel options, I think people are going to show up at the port when they show up whether they're "early" or "late."  

 

Especially given COVID times, is there even really any realistic place for them to wait if someone has to, say, check out of a hotel or if a flight arrives in the morning?  

 

I have to agree with Stickman1990.  I think Crystal will have to regulate the flow during processing.

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36 minutes ago, sidwich said:

 

It's fine to say, "People will have to wait," but I'm trying to imagine how this is going to work in practice, and specifically, how this will work with these cruises, though. I think the logistics of this are going to be ... complicated.

 

Leaving aside the issue of the hordes that will be clamoring for their Cobb salads no matter what, it's not like there are a multitude of travel options to these embarkation ports. And given those limited travel options, I think people are going to show up at the port when they show up whether they're "early" or "late."  

 

Especially given COVID times, is there even really any realistic place for them to wait if someone has to, say, check out of a hotel or if a flight arrives in the morning?  

 

I have to agree with Stickman1990.  I think Crystal will have to regulate the flow during processing.

I don't see this as a big deal and in fact so much better than if everyone was told show up at once and then they have to wait.  In fact, just for a sample of how people are reacting (I know it's a sample but it shows you the attitudes of people) is how people are reacting on the roll call for the first cruise. Yes, some are arriving that day on flights.

 

Let me first say this is how the first cruise will be but time will tell if that continues.  My guess is things will continue to evolve just as they have so far because of changes in the virus, local rules, CDC instructions and recommendations, and "EXPERIENCE".  This is no different than many things.  There are certainly a lot of piece parts and they are moving.

 

Unlike in the past when everyone had a noon embarkation on their cruise documents that is not the case this time. They all have specific times and the time range by several hours so definitely no Cobb Salad for the late time.  I am sure more information will be coming reminding guests of the COVID-19 test which will be given to each guest and that they won't be able to board if they test positive and likewise I am sure it will say not to arrive early and if you do you cannot board.  So if someone chooses to arrive early so it goes.

 

Back in the day, embarkation on Crystal was a 3:00 PM.  You came early you didn't board.  Embarkation began at 3:00 PM and once on board you could go directly to your room.

 

There are lots of rules in life that people choose to ignore but as they say so it goes.  If people get there early they will have to just wait or go somewhere else.  But to have everyone just come whenever they want such as Noon would be a far greater disaster than having set times for people to show up recognizing some will come earlier than that.

 

Anyway, I have not seen people questioning this on the July 3 roll call.  Rather some have talked about getting a drink or lunch or whatever at places nearby if they are flying in that morning.  Others at hotels will ask for a later check-out.  If they can't get that they will make other arrangements such as having their bags stored.  Anyone making this trip knows things will not be as usual and that to some extent they are taking some risk.

 

But to say don't have rules because a few people will ignore them makes no sense IMHO. 

 

Maybe they will have set times for tenders for tender stops. I have no idea but have seen them do it in selected places and on Northwest Passage.  Did a few people ingore the rules? Of course they did there are always some.  But overall did it work?  Yes.  Should they have not done this because a few people would choose to ignore the rules?  I think not.

 

Bottom line, just as on land there have been some changes along the way since last March. While not everyone was thrilled with all of them and some didn't comply most did and by and large they worked well and kept most safe.

 

Now we can all go back and forth on all of this and some can speculate but that won't change the plan to have a staggered embarkation.

 

And personally while COVID-19 is still around I hope this continues.  Why?  Because this will allow housekeeping to thoroughly clean all rooms being vacated on turn around day and other areas of the ship and not be rushed and not do it thoroughly.  And this will make things more orderly even if a few people choose to ignore the rules. 

 

Keith

 

 

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For half of Crystal’s history they didn’t even have the embarkation lunch, and when it was introduced it was a cost-cutting measure because Crystal was spending a fortune in offsite banquet fees for the pre-cruise guests that they were responsible for feeding.  (The hotel packages used to include a transfer tour with lunch to keep people occupied until the 3pm boarding, and the program used to be 2-3x bigger than it is today, with more hotels and larger blocks in each.)

 

I don’t think an onboard lunch is going anywhere at this point because all of the in-transit guests caused by the dual-embarkation port pairings, but it’s also not an entitlement that’s always been there.  I agree with Keith that if you have assigned boarding times, they will need to be enforced against people just showing up because they “want their Cobb salad right now, dammit.”

 

Vince

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12 minutes ago, BWIVince said:

I don’t think an onboard lunch is going anywhere at this point because all of the in-transit guests caused by the dual-embarkation port pairings, but it’s also not an entitlement that’s always been there.  I agree with Keith that if you have assigned boarding times, they will need to be enforced against people just showing up because they “want their Cobb salad right now, dammit.”

 

Vince

 

Although I'm fond of the Cobb salad, I'm not actually thinking about that issue so much as the vagaries of international travel, especially, as I said with these embarkation ports with limited flights.  If a flight carrying a significant number of passengers ends up being delayed, do all those passengers end up being processed at once no matter when they show up with all the passengers scheduled for that later time?  Will Crystal make passengers wait even if nobody is being processed at the time? 

 

Or on the other side, since passengers on the Caribbean cruises will be prohibited from getting off without an excursion, will a bunch end up delaying getting on so they can "free range" as long as possible?  😉

 

Is this going to be like going to MOMA where you can show up anytime after the time stamp?  Or if you miss your embarkation time, do you have to wait until some later time?  

 

It does make me wonder how embarkation times are going to be assigned.

 

We actually will be initial "guinea pig" passengers on the SXM cruise on August 2nd (not my preference, but it was the only date that would work for scheduling reasons), so we'll be finding out soon enough!  🙂

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2 hours ago, sidwich said:

 

Although I'm fond of the Cobb salad, I'm not actually thinking about that issue so much as the vagaries of international travel, especially, as I said with these embarkation ports with limited flights.  If a flight carrying a significant number of passengers ends up being delayed, do all those passengers end up being processed at once no matter when they show up with all the passengers scheduled for that later time?  Will Crystal make passengers wait even if nobody is being processed at the time? 

 

Or on the other side, since passengers on the Caribbean cruises will be prohibited from getting off without an excursion, will a bunch end up delaying getting on so they can "free range" as long as possible?  😉

 

Is this going to be like going to MOMA where you can show up anytime after the time stamp?  Or if you miss your embarkation time, do you have to wait until some later time?  

 

It does make me wonder how embarkation times are going to be assigned.

 

We actually will be initial "guinea pig" passengers on the SXM cruise on August 2nd (not my preference, but it was the only date that would work for scheduling reasons), so we'll be finding out soon enough!  🙂

I know you were responding to Vince but thought if it is OK I would add in my two cents.

 

I believe in most things there are alway many what if's.  

 

Let me begin with Serenity.  I believe the vast majority of guests will arrive one day or more prior to the cruise so I don't see a late flight being an issue.  In fact, it is because of the "what if" scenario of a late flight when I believe many would not fly in that day simply because what if the flight was delayed by hours and they miss the ship.  So I really don't see this being an issue.  Yes I do see on a roll call that some are arriving that day.

 

As to Symphony because you have an overnight you might have more people flying in the day of the cruise although my experience on sailings which begin with an overnight that many fly in a day earlier. So I think the reality is if the flight is late and say 100 people on the flight are from Crystal I don't see this as an issue because the reality is some people might not be scheduled for embarkation until later in the day.

 

I see the upside of scheduling people at different times a much more positive experience than the down-side. I really do and I think this is one of these items when we look back at we will find it worked out pretty well.

 

Now this isn't to say there won't be challenges but I actually think spreading out the arrival times does help. For example, do the COVID-19 tests go at the speed at which they are designed.  Does everyone fill out their form which they will be turning in at the pier or have their vaccination cards available.  These are just a few examples of things which can slow things down.  Or are there any other glitches that occur.  But again spreading people out for embarkation I think at least helps with this.

 

Yes being first makes you a guinea pig because often things are learned when a new process goes live. The good thing though is it will be those on the July 3 Serenity voyage who are the true guinea pigs and any lessons learned will be shared with the teams on board Symphony and Serenity.

 

Let's all hope for a smooth sailing including flights, hotels (for those staying in them), transfers to the ship, COVID-19 testing and the entire Embarkation Process.

 

I wish you a wonderful cruise and that everything goes very well the day you embark.

 

Keith

 

 

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2 hours ago, sidwich said:

 

Although I'm fond of the Cobb salad, I'm not actually thinking about that issue so much as the vagaries of international travel, especially, as I said with these embarkation ports with limited flights.  If a flight carrying a significant number of passengers ends up being delayed, do all those passengers end up being processed at once no matter when they show up with all the passengers scheduled for that later time?  Will Crystal make passengers wait even if nobody is being processed at the time? 

 

Or on the other side, since passengers on the Caribbean cruises will be prohibited from getting off without an excursion, will a bunch end up delaying getting on so they can "free range" as long as possible?  😉

 

Is this going to be like going to MOMA where you can show up anytime after the time stamp?  Or if you miss your embarkation time, do you have to wait until some later time?  

 

It does make me wonder how embarkation times are going to be assigned.

 

We actually will be initial "guinea pig" passengers on the SXM cruise on August 2nd (not my preference, but it was the only date that would work for scheduling reasons), so we'll be finding out soon enough!  🙂


The way I’ve seen this work so far I think aligns with Keith’s comment.  
 

I don’t know how Crystal is planning it exactly, but the way my company and clients have planned it so far is to space out the time slots with a buffer to allow for improv, and to build a cadence that allows for more variation for things to go more off-track as the day goes on. (Like 5% extra capacity at 1:00, 10% extra at 2:00, 20% extra at 3:00, 30% at 4:00, etc..)  First priority goes to everyone holding one of those time slots, but unless things go REALLY crazy, there should be enough slack built into the schedule to absorb flight delays, broken down taxis, etc., without much delay or wait.

 

I know these cruises are operating a with a lot of new-to-Crystal passengers, but in reality VERY few of Crystal’s passengers arrive day-of.  Even with a much higher rate of people flying in on departure day than usual, I can’t imagine 100 people on the same arriving flight, day-of.  Departing flight, I’ve definitely seen, but arriving flight is a whole different ball of wax.  

 

Vince

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31 minutes ago, MarkWiltonM said:

 

When do we receive our cruise documents?

They are now coming out electronically with one set to you and if you booked through a TA one set to them.  Figure around five weeks prior to your cruise. 

 

Keith

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7 hours ago, BWIVince said:

I know these cruises are operating a with a lot of new-to-Crystal passengers, but in reality VERY few of Crystal’s passengers arrive day-of.  Even with a much higher rate of people flying in on departure day than usual, I can’t imagine 100 people on the same arriving flight, day-of.  Departing flight, I’ve definitely seen, but arriving flight is a whole different ball of wax.  

 

Vince

 

I suspect that the situation with these cruises will look somewhat different.  Normally, we would NEVER arrive on the day of "departure" for a cruise, and we never have in the past.  But (say it with me folks!), given the limited flights to these ports, guess what?  Yup, we're almost certainly going to be arriving on the day of.  (I think the fact that the first night is overnighting will likely play a role in people's decision-making as well).

 

And honestly, if this were a normal cruise in normal times, I really wouldn't think it would be much of an issue.  If we were leaving from Barcelona, sure, we would probably plan a longer lunch and sightsee/visit until later in the day with no big issue (In fact, we arrived around 4 p.m. to check-in to our last Crystal cruise from Barcelona, after sightseeing for 3 days).

 

But Big Picture, if the point of staggering check-in is to social distance, it seems odd that the likely answer for the passengers who will have to wait is to send them off to nearby bars and restaurants.  Where they will, of course, social distance.  (It sounds like the bar across the Bahamas cruise terminal will be doing gangbusters business on departure days...)

 

(And yes, I do regularly fantasize about re-working the workflow of my local coffee shop which has FANTASTIC coffee and pastries but terrible customer flow...).

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14 minutes ago, sidwich said:

 

I suspect that the situation with these cruises will look somewhat different.  Normally, we would NEVER arrive on the day of "departure" for a cruise, and we never have in the past.  But (say it with me folks!), given the limited flights to these ports, guess what?  Yup, we're almost certainly going to be arriving on the day of.  (I think the fact that the first night is overnighting will likely play a role in people's decision-making as well).

 

And honestly, if this were a normal cruise in normal times, I really wouldn't think it would be much of an issue.  If we were leaving from Barcelona, sure, we would probably plan a longer lunch and sightsee/visit until later in the day with no big issue (In fact, we arrived around 4 p.m. to check-in to our last Crystal cruise from Barcelona, after sightseeing for 3 days).

 

But Big Picture, if the point of staggering check-in is to social distance, it seems odd that the likely answer for the passengers who will have to wait is to send them off to nearby bars and restaurants.  Where they will, of course, social distance.  (It sounds like the bar across the Bahamas cruise terminal will be doing gangbusters business on departure days...)

 

(And yes, I do regularly fantasize about re-working the workflow of my local coffee shop which has FANTASTIC coffee and pastries but terrible customer flow...).


I seriously think we’re overthinking this…. I just can’t imagine this being that big of a deal.  Crystal is just trying to better space out arrivals so they aren’t processing 80% of the passengers in the first hour, with everyone in “crowds” like the usual noon scene.  I use crowds in quotes because it’s as crowded as you get with Crystal, but it doesn’t hold a candle to large ship check in.

 

Unless this is literally someone’s first day in logistics, there will be PLENTY of capacity to check in delayed passengers past their assigned slots.

 

Vince

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3 minutes ago, BWIVince said:


I seriously think we’re overthinking this…. I just can’t imagine this being that big of a deal.  Crystal is just trying to better space out arrivals so they aren’t processing 80% of the passengers in the first hour, with everyone in “crowds” like the usual noon scene.  I use crowds in quotes because it’s as crowded as you get with Crystal, but it doesn’t hold a candle to large ship check in.

 

Unless this is literally someone’s first day in logistics, there will be PLENTY of capacity to check in delayed passengers past their assigned slots.

 

Vince

 

I think it will likely be fine as well, but I don't think for a minute think that it's going to be because people all show up at their allotted time (whether they're "early" or "late").  I really do think that a large segment of people are going to show up when they show up, and Crystal will be managing the flow at the terminal.

 

My guess is around 50% compliance.  That may be optimistic, but I think Crystal would consider that "good."

 

(I mean, we are talking about people traveling to places with "Do Not Travel" advisories after all.  They may not be the best rule-followers in the first place.)

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9 minutes ago, sidwich said:

 

I think it will likely be fine as well, but I don't think for a minute think that it's going to be because people all show up at their allotted time (whether they're "early" or "late").  I really do think that a large segment of people are going to show up when they show up, and Crystal will be managing the flow at the terminal.

 

My guess is around 50% compliance.  That may be optimistic, but I think Crystal would consider that "good."

 

(I mean, we are talking about people traveling to places with "Do Not Travel" advisories after all.  They may not be the best rule-followers in the first place.)

I think Crystal will reinforce the need to arrive based on your embarkation time with additional communications.  I  truly believe this will address most of this and IMHO I don’t think this will be an issue at all. 
 

if you are clearly told if you arrive at noon you will not board till 3:00 I think most people will arrive much closer to 3:00.  If you are not  told. that is a different story. 
 

We ill know soon enough.  Let’s see what happens on July 3. 
 

Keith

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19 minutes ago, sidwich said:

 

I think it will likely be fine as well, but I don't think for a minute think that it's going to be because people all show up at their allotted time (whether they're "early" or "late").  I really do think that a large segment of people are going to show up when they show up, and Crystal will be managing the flow at the terminal.

 

My guess is around 50% compliance.  That may be optimistic, but I think Crystal would consider that "good."

 

(I mean, we are talking about people traveling to places with "Do Not Travel" advisories after all.  They may not be the best rule-followers in the first place.)


Totally agree…. Like I said in my original message, we design that slack into groups when we plan arrivals.  If for some reason Crystal gets a huge surge of people at once that is bigger than that slack, they can always tell people trying to board early just to come back at a particular time that the slack has caught back up.  That said, Crystal had a LOT of excess capacity in their usual boarding process and I can’t see it coming to this.   I expect they still will.

 

Vince

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