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Just off the Conquest & what was up with debarkation?


Grits53

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We had a great time on the Conquest, but what the heck was going on with debarkation today? We were in the last group called, and we lucked up and got a porter. Otherwise, we'd have been there for at least another hour. We walked out of the terminal at 12:00 noon, and the entire terminal was still filled with irate passengers waiting to go through customs. It was total chaos outside, with the scores of incoming and outgoing passengers. EZ Cruise was unable to get through the traffic to pick us up for a long time, while the incoming passengers stood at the parking lot in the sun, waiting for a ride to the terminal....where they would have to wait in more lines to board. I am sure there were lots of not nice things being said in Galveston today! :( We were fine with it, but lots of folks were not. I would just like to know what the hold up was, because the ship arrived on time. Does anyone know? :confused:

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That seems to happen alot in Galveston. Happened to us a couple of years ago. :mad: Either they don't have enough Customs people working or you were on a cruise where all of the crew has to get off & go thru Customs too.

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That is the typical customs mess with the carnival terminal in Galveston. We went through the same nightmare getting off the Ecstasay in February where we were in the middle group but got trapped in a customs line that did not move and they would not let us change. We got to parking lot at 12:30. Terrible experience in 2006 getting off Conquest as well. Weak link here is always Customs in Galveston.

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I found that the terminal in NOLA to be very short on customs people which really slowed things down. That was only the Fantasy. Wonder how it is going to be when they bring in the larger ship this fall.....

I have to say it is an aggrivating way to end a happy cruise....

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I've only debarked in Galveston... I don't know anything different... UNTIL FEB, this year. Coming home from the FANTASY in NOLA -- It was my first time to have smooth and easy debark and customs... I think the whole thing took about 15 minutes... from gangway to front sidewalk in NOLA!!!

Now I know how Customs CAN be...

Is this your first time through Galveston... I've always waited, with and without a porter, for about 30 - 45 minutes in line, after gathering the suitcases. In Galveston, I've even had to wait for a porter for 30 minutes... And that meant leaving Mom, alone by the suitcases for that time... and she has Alzheimer's!! But a sweet dock worker there kept her ey on her!!!

WELCOME HOME GRITS!!!

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OK I know when we last cruised, we were able to snare a porter rather quickly and he sailed us thru. (Also helped that we all had Passports)

 

So my question is, how to QUICKLY SNARE a porter as they seem to have the magic to get you thru quickly. Any & All suggestions welcome. I consider a porter the best $10.00 or more investment there is.

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One other thing may have been at work there...Last year we ran into big delays because it was the appointed day for Customs to screen all the crew for immigration status, etc..

It was just the unluck of draw for everyone but nothing Carnival can do about it.

And yes, it was at Galveston.

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We have had good luck pretty much every time but once in Galveston. Just our luck that one time we got a bit trapped, couldnt get onto a elevator, they were all full and then the bridge/causeway out of Galveston got closed for over 2 hours .... just as we pulled up it was closed for dyomiting. (1 hour was scheduled).... but other times we did good.

 

Now that time Carnival dumped us in New Orleans, that was a zoo. We were # 37 out of 45 I think, we didnt get off until 12:30 and we got picked up with the folks to take us to the handicapped lounge before 8:30 am.

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We had a similar experience embarking on Conquest last April. We got there very early and were among the first to get thru security and check-in. After that we had to wait quite a while for boarding to begin. We later found out that, as described earlier in this thread, the entire crew of the ship had to clear customs before passenger boarding could begin. Apparently this happens every 3 months or so.

 

We were among the lucky ones, waiting in the air-conditioned terminal, my MIL and FIL were stuck outside sitting on the airport shuttle. Once the terminal waiting area was full (VERY FULL I might add) they stopped letting people in. Lots of folks had to wait outside in the sun and heat for quite some time.

 

It was really the only bad part of what turned out to be a wonderful cruise, and we certainly didn't let is spoil our vacation. That said, since this is obviously a scheduled event, that Carnival has to know about well in advance, it'd be nice if they would let the passengers boarding that day know about it in advance.

 

Debarkation (never fun) wasn't too bad. We didn't use a porter, and I'd estimate that the entire process took about an hour and a half. It'd be so much easier if everyone would pay attention and follow the rules. :)

 

My chief complaint about debarkation was the lack of bathroom facillities in the customs area!!! I'd had a lot of juice and water with breakfast and by the time we finally cleared customs I was in a bad way!!!!:eek:

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We had a similar experience embarking on Conquest last April. We got there very early and were among the first to get thru security and check-in. After that we had to wait quite a while for boarding to begin. We later found out that, as described earlier in this thread, the entire crew of the ship had to clear customs before passenger boarding could begin. Apparently this happens every 3 months or so.

 

We were among the lucky ones, waiting in the air-conditioned terminal, my MIL and FIL were stuck outside sitting on the airport shuttle. Once the terminal waiting area was full (VERY FULL I might add) they stopped letting people in. Lots of folks had to wait outside in the sun and heat for quite some time.

 

It was really the only bad part of what turned out to be a wonderful cruise, and we certainly didn't let is spoil our vacation. That said, since this is obviously a scheduled event, that Carnival has to know about well in advance, it'd be nice if they would let the passengers boarding that day know about it in advance.

 

Debarkation (never fun) wasn't too bad. We didn't use a porter, and I'd estimate that the entire process took about an hour and a half. It'd be so much easier if everyone would pay attention and follow the rules. :)

 

My chief complaint about debarkation was the lack of bathroom facillities in the customs area!!! I'd had a lot of juice and water with breakfast and by the time we finally cleared customs I was in a bad way!!!!:eek:

 

Glad you did not let that ruin your cruise. As far as Carnival knowing if they are going to do a crew check. That is not what the check is about. It is about Security. Telling the crew would not work very well if there was a problem. So I am sure customs tells Carnival that morning.

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You're the one that was there, how are we supposed to know? How many lines were open for Customs?

 

 

LOL...thank you...I thought I was the only one wondering how all of us sitting at home or work would know what happened in a building miles away. :rolleyes:

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This just seems to be the norm for Galveston. We always send a person ahead to grab a porter and our luggage, then by the time they have everything the rest of us have caught up with them in the Porter Customs line.

 

I think the real problem is two-fold - the ship is rushing to empty the boat in time to take the incoming guests and there aren't the facilities or staff to process everyone fast enough to keep up.

 

Getting off the Conquest last September there was a group of people that asked if they could piggy back on our porter, dunno why I said yes, because they ended up not having their stuff together and then DIDN'T even bother to tip the guy. We over tipped because we felt so bad. If I'm ever asked that again, I will feel bad, but I will just tell them no and direct them to the line for the porters...

 

Hoping November will be better for us as we will be on the highest desk with cabins and hopefully get off first. :)

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You're the one that was there, how are we supposed to know? How many lines were open for Customs?

 

There were over 75 Cruise Critic members on that cruise, so I was hoping one of them would have some idea of what went wrong. :rolleyes:

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This was my 5th cruise from Galveston, 4 on Conquest and 1 on Ecstasy. I have never seen such a mess as we ran into yesterday. Porters said "Customs are taking much longer than usual, checking baggage, etc." Well, our actual time with the customs agent was very brief, even faster than usual. He asked me if I had bought any alcohol, and I said "No, just coffee and tee shirts." He just smiled and said "Welcome back" and sent me on my way. And that was it. So I don't know what was up, unless they were searching for something/someone earlier in debarkation and found what they were looking for before I reached them. I asked the porter if the crew had been checked by customs first, and he said no, but I'm not sure if he would have known that.

 

As for the porters....There is a lady with a sign that says "Porters", and you are to wait in line there for the next available porter. However, we just happened to be beside a door (while standing in the long customs line), when a porter came through. I asked if he would take our bags, and he said "Yes", so off we went. We passed by the long line of folks waiting for porters, and there were sneers and jeers. One lady yelled out that she would give the porter $20 if he would take her bags, but he just kept walking. Then the lady in charge of the porter line came up to our porter and fussed at him for taking us instead of someone from her line. He just shrugged his shoulders. I did tip him $20, though! We were just lucky in getting a porter when we did. There seemed to be a shortage of them....

 

Embarkation on the 22nd was very smooth, and there were no unusual delays. They started boarding at about 10:30, which means debarkation that day went well. I'd just like to know what happened yesterday. Anyway, the cruise was great, other than rough seas, which did not spoil anything for us. "Special cabin" 2465 is very nice....seems to have a lot of extra floor space and plenty of closet space. I enjoyed standing at the extra window and watching the sea go by. There are some rattles and vibrations, which did not bother me but did bother my friend a bit. I slept like a baby every night! :D Cabin stewardess was invisible. Room was cleaned in a timely manner every day, but we only saw her twice the entire cruise. I can't complain, because she took care of all our needs, but did it while we were out and about. Our waiters in the dining room were great, although we only dined in the Monet 3 times. We were just too busy at other times! :) Food was excellent. Supper Club was excellent. Entertainment was excellent. Oh, and there is news!! They put new chairs at the tables around the aft pool during our cruise. They are nice...I took pics and will post them later. This is just a brief review. I'll do better after I have pics uploaded.....;)

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A part of me wants to applaud that you were able to get a porter that quickly and another part thinks that basically jumping the line was wrong.

 

I probably shouldn't even post this but......

 

::::::::Shoulder shrug::::::::::

 

After waiting that long in a line for a porter, I think I might have been one of the ones jeering. Sorry but that is my feeling. :(

 

Robin

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A part of me wants to applaud that you were able to get a porter that quickly and another part thinks that basically jumping the line was wrong.

 

I probably shouldn't even post this but......

 

::::::::Shoulder shrug::::::::::

 

After waiting that long in a line for a porter, I think I might have been one of the ones jeering. Sorry but that is my feeling. :(

 

Robin

 

I didn't jump the line. I was in the customs line. The porter came through a door right beside me, and I asked if he could take my bags, and he said yes. I would have been fine with him taking someone else's bags with mine, but he chose not to. Another porter came through the same door behind him, and the people behind me got him, too. If the porters had said, "You have to go to the porters line", I would have accepted that with no question. However, he happily chose to take my bags. I did not offer a large tip at the time. He did not know what size tip to expect from me. So no, I don't feel badly about getting the porter. I do, however, understand how others would not be happy with the situation.

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