Carnival Dealing With Long Line-ups

Hands up, now…which of you cruise passengers has never waited in line to board a ship? Specifically, in a long line that snakes around a cruise terminal, for the legitimate reason that cruise lines have to board upwards of 2,500 passengers in four hours or less.

So do the math.

Speaking of math, Carnival’s changing the process. Yes, we’ve all heard these theories before, but this one really has a chance of changing how we get on ships…or how long.

Staggered embarkation.

No, you don’t have to be three sheets to the wind BEFORE you get on board, but you do have to make an appointment. Sometime after New Year’s, Carnival will give passengers a boarding time, according to Cruise Fever, which first reported the successful pilot project held on three ships in Galveston weeks ago.

Here’s how it works:

After completing much of the documentation online, passengers will be given an embarkation window of time. They check in at one of six allotted times from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They must be there 30 minutes before their time. If they come before that, they’re not allowed inside the terminal and are told to come back. If they miss their time (although nobody’s saying this), they go to the back of the bus…last on board.

In the terminal, all that’s left is one document to fill out and security to clear.

The process mirrors boarding a plane by row, a far smaller model. And just like airlines, Carnival will give priority to priority passengers…frequent cruisers and passengers who pay for priority (it’s called FTTF, or Faster To The Fun).

In any case, it beats the long line-ups.

Without a doubt!

In the news…

• Daughter of Jacques Pepin, Claudine, to be Godmother of Oceania’s new Sirena
• Royal Caribbean adds Independence of the Seas as a home for the musical Grease
• Cunard “re-designing” buffet dining experience during Queen Mary 2 refurbishment

Today at portsandbows.comNorth America to get a look at Viking Star


Celebrity Reflection
7 nights
January 9, 2016
Miami (return): San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $92
www.celebritycruises.com

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