Jump to content
Miznikki2u

Pro's and Con's of Embarking Early

Recommended Posts

Can anyone tell me the pro's and con's of Embarking early.  This will be my 2nd cruise, my 1st one was in 2009, so a lot of time has passed by.  I am traveling with 3 kids ages 11,13 and 20, and my 70 year old father.  I am torn between staying in Orlando or near the Port.  We will be using the Snooze and Cruise, if we stay in Orlando we have options of times we can be picked up and  dropped off , if we stay close to the port we have only 1 option of the time we can be picked up and its quite early.  Im guessing if we opt for the early shuttle we will be embarking early to the ship, and I would like to know what are the benefits to embarking early, other than waiting in long lines.  What can we do on the ship if we are on early and how soon will we be allowed in our rooms?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Miznikki2u said:

Can anyone tell me the pro's and con's of Embarking early.  This will be my 2nd cruise, my 1st one was in 2009, so a lot of time has passed by.  I am traveling with 3 kids ages 11,13 and 20, and my 70 year old father.  I am torn between staying in Orlando or near the Port.  We will be using the Snooze and Cruise, if we stay in Orlando we have options of times we can be picked up and  dropped off , if we stay close to the port we have only 1 option of the time we can be picked up and its quite early.  Im guessing if we opt for the early shuttle we will be embarking early to the ship, and I would like to know what are the benefits to embarking early, other than waiting in long lines.  What can we do on the ship if we are on early and how soon will we be allowed in our rooms?

Some bars, pools, Windjammer will be open - rooms are ready usually by 1:00. It gives you a chance to grab something to eat before the crowds get heavy, to explore the ship a bit before there are a lot of people on board. You're going to wait somewhere - why not the ship? I like to start my cruise ASAP! The kids would probably rather hang out by the pool rather than in a hotel room, I reckon - just bring their suits in a small carry on so you don't have to wait for your luggage to be delivered.  And have a great time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I typically stay in the Orlando area simply for the cheaper hotel options.  Getting over to Port Canaveral in the morning is easy with different options.  

Embarking early just maximizes your time on board. Lunch is typically available around 11:30am so that's one less meal to pay for.  You can start to explore the ship before cabins open at 1pm.  If you time it right you beat the peak line 11am to 1pm in the terminal.

With kids and a senior arriving during peak can be tough - lines and standing.  If you don't feel like going early (10am ish) then go after 1pm or 1:30pm to let the lines settle down some.  There will still be lines, just not as many, hopefully.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forums!

Ok here's my pros

1.  You start your vacation early!  

2.  Once onboard you can visit the bars for a drink, visit the pool(s), eat at the windjammer, explore the ship (get your bearings), people watch the others embarking, visit customer service in case you need their services

And here are my cons

1.  If you embark as soon as possible, you may be waiting some time for your room to be ready (around 2-3 hours, it varies) and therefore anything you're carrying on, you're carrying with you for 2-3 hours.  So if you're enjoying the windjammer, its you and all of your stuff sitting down to eat.  Same with everywhere else you visit, that carryon stuff is coming with you (I say this because there are a lot of questions with people asking if they can carry on soda, while you can, that along with the rest of your carryon stuff can start getting heavy to lug around)

2.  Shopping and the casino are closed until you reach international waters. If you're looking to get your shopping on immediately or get to gambling, you'll be disappointed.  

3.  Most sit down restaurants will be closed immediately at embarkation.  The windjammer isnt bad at ALL, but if you're a sit down eater, you may have to wait until lunchtime

4.  Limited services available at the spa.  They are likely still turning over the spa from the previous sailing immediately at early embarkation and staff will likely be selling services for the duration of the cruise.

5.  Few organized activities during embarkation.  There is music to listen to, but shows or trivia or lectures, etc, will likely be after departure.  

 

Embarkation usually starts around 10am (ish) and rooms arent ready until usually 1pm (ish) and your luggage makes it to your stateroom normally by 7pm (ish)  So if your shuttle puts you any earlier than 10 at the terminal, you'll likely be waiting around the terminal to even embark, and then waiting 3 hours until you can go to your stateroom.  

I'm personally a fan of early embarkation because I like enjoying a day drinking cocktail while listening to music and people watching followed by a walkthrough of the ship and then light grub at the windjammer, but not everyone enjoys a cocktail and can self amuse by just music and people watching.  Others enjoy getting their grub on at the windjammer, others avoid the windjammer like the plague upon embarkation (it gets rather busy)  Some will be seen swimming when its warm, others or when its chillier wont be anywhere near the pool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Miznikki2u said:

I am going on Harmony of the Seas in July...we are going to Labadee , San Juan and St Marteen, im super excited to be going on this when the time come, thanks so much for your information.

Awesome! I'll be doing a similar itinerary next Feb (omg, a year away still!) on sister ship, Symphony.  Have a fantastic trip :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Miznikki2u said:

I am going on Harmony of the Seas in July...we are going to Labadee , San Juan and St Marteen, im super excited to be going on this when the time come, thanks so much for your information.

Harmony is a big ship. Haven't sailed on her myself, but saw her in port when I sailed on Freedom and she made my ship look positively small!

Definitely take some time to explore, and understand that it's really not possible to see and do every last thing on the ship in a single sailing. Might not be a bad idea to pick a few areas you'd like to experience or focus on (for example, the Aqua Theater, the Boardwalk, the water slides, and the pool area) and just let those be your main focus for the trip. Kind of like a Disney vacation -- You can't possibly visit all the parks there in one go, so you just pick a few you can fully enjoy and save the rest for the next time. 🙂 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely agree with @JLMoran, we were on Harmony in December and the biggest advantage of getting on early (we were on board before 11) was exploring the ship when it was empty to get our bearings. Also, other options other than the windjammer will be open, head to Park Cafe in Central Park as most people don’t head there. And if you have any dining reservations to make, getting on early means you get first choice. Right as you board head right and there’s usually a table setup with staff making specialty dining reservations. 

556216BD-CA40-4880-BC41-540CC52BBB4D.jpeg

800B80A6-F71E-43E0-BD11-833248BAABEF.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Lovetocruise2002 said:

+1 for getting on ASAP.  The hotel is not that interesting.  And like @Matt said, you paid for it, go enjoy it.

+2, get something to eat and explore, like @JLMoran says it is a big ship, you can't possibly see everything but I usually try.

I just finished my 3rd cruise on Allure, and I'm thinking that is a sweet spot for me knowing where everything is and how to get to them, that is until she goes in dry dock, then I'll have to re-explore her again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, the biggest advantage of early arrival is to  minimize the odds that a crazy event like a flat tire might cause me to miss the boat literally.

The biggest disadvantage is having to carry your stuff around. Come to think of it, I think that's the ONLY disadvantage. I concede that the room is not yet ready and a lot of the activities are closed, but that is no worse than whatever other stuff you might have been doing for the morning after leaving your hotel. And if you pack smart and get your stuff into a carry-on that has wheels, even that might not be such a big deal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm on as soon as I can get on!  Too excited to stay at the hotel and hey, I have a drink pkg and pool to enjoy.  On Harmony, think about heading to one of the alternatives to the windjammer for lunch... Might be less crowded at Park Cafe... Or at I'm hoping!  Jane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you purchased the BOGO dining package, visit any specialty dining venue so you can get first dibs on dining times/venues.  

After lunch, hit the pool deck with a drink or take a nap before muster drill because who really gets good sleep the night before a cruise?????

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I like to get on the as soon as possible. I’d rather be onboard early to avoid the heavier queues later in the day, plus it gives you time to explore if it’s a new ship for you. Then there’s the Windjammer for early lunch before it gets rammed. I’m also one to get off at the earliest opportunity when the ship docks at the end of the cruise, again to avoid the stampede of feet and suitcases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you will be on an Oasis class ship I would board early. Pack swimsuits for you in carry on. I avoided the crowds at the windjammer and ate at Park Café one time and at the Solarium on another. Much less crowded. Also explore the ship if you want. Check out the Promenade, Boardwalk, Central Park.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ReyRod said:

I would like to piggyback on the Original posters questions. What time do the slides normally open during embarkation day? If we get there at 10a are they normally open around then or soon thereafter?

You won't be on the ship at 10am, but let's say you do board at 11am.  

Open times vary and are subject to daily weather variations .  Potential open times for any ship's activities can be found in the Cruise Compass that previous guests have provided to this site:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/cruise-compass

Here is what Harmony was doing on a recent January cruise as an example:

1245439861_HarmonyDay1opentimes.thumb.jpeg.3d6a7148f6f75d53f9478a01ce41aeaa.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, DRLPP said:

Since you will be on an Oasis class ship I would board early. Pack swimsuits for you in carry on. I avoided the crowds at the windjammer and ate at Park Café one time and at the Solarium on another. Much less crowded. Also explore the ship if you want. Check out the Promenade, Boardwalk, Central Park.

Agree  Board as early as possible. I skipped the Windjammer & ate at Park Cafe in Central Park also & explored the ship. My opinion is the extra time you get is a bonus before you leave port

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...