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klemire626

Cruise Arrival Time

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Is the final arrival time to port pretty accurate? My itinerary says will we be at port by 6am and I'm wondering how long it takes to get off the boat and on the road home?  Unfortunately I have somewhere to be in the afternoon and not sure i can commit to make it

 

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The ships we have been on have always arrived on time but there is always the risk of inclement weather or ship issues delaying arrival. Our friend is on Ovation at the moment and the ship was late arriving by 90 minutes due to bad weather.

That said, we always book to fly home on a 11:10 am flight from Australia and have had no issues making it to the airport by 9 am and insurance covers us if we miss it.

Assuming the ship arrives on time you should be able to start disembarking as soon as 7 am.

I guess a lot of it comes down to how risk adverse you are, if your appointment is unmissable maybe schedule for the following day.

 

 

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Besides weather and mechanical problems with the ship itself, even arriving at the scheduled time doesn't guarantee when they can start disembarking passengers.  If the coast guard decides to do an extra thorough inspection of the ship, everyone gets to wait until they are done before anyone gets off.  In general, a 6AM arrival means the first people are off between 7-7:30AM but there are many reasons it could be later.

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It can vary by port and even terminal within a port.  Terminal 19 in Port Everglades is famous for slow customs processing while terminal 18 right next to it is very efficient.  

The earliest way off the ship is to use the self-assist program.  This requires you to carry all your luggage yourself.  That may be easy for a young couple but more complicated for families with young children or older family members.  Can you carry all of your luggage down ramps and escalators by yourself?

If you use the tagged luggage program you put your luggage out the night before and the ship collects it then the morning of departure they call your luggage tag number when your luggage is available in the terminal.  You can't leave early because your luggage isn't ready yet (it's hasn't been offloaded from the ship yet).   This program will see you leaving the ship as late as 9am to 9:30am depending on your luggage tag number.  

I generally use self-assist and can often beat the crowds through the terminal and customs processing but that isn't a sure thing either.  One thing that is for sure is that a 6am arrival time rarely means you are off the ship at 6am.  There may hundreds of self-assist guests in front of you and customs will generally have queues.  You could be off closer to 7am.  It's not a precise process with absolute certainties.  

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9 hours ago, Atlantix2000 said:

In general, a 6AM arrival means the first people are off between 7-7:30AM but there are many reasons it could be later.

This is probably the most important thing to know about the OP' question. The ship may return at 6am, but you will not be able to get off the ship at that time.

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Barring some kind of weather or mechanical delay, the arrival times are fairly accurate. That said, @Atlantix2000 is correct--the actual time they start letting people off is in the hands of the port inspectors and customs officials. Usually its only an hour or so, but there's no guarantee in that. 

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If anything, the ship usually arrives back a little early.

Disembarking is a system where you get assigned colors and a place to gather. There is no guarantee where you will end up in the process. Baggage claim and customs usually goes pretty smoothly and quickly. When driving, I find I am usually on the road between 8 and 9 with no special considerations.

If you let your state room attendant know you have a need to disembark as soon as possible due to travel commitments, they will work with you to get you off as soon as possible. You might be on the road by 7 or or earlier.

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7 hours ago, Ditchdoc said:

If anything, the ship usually arrives back a little early.

This has been the case on our cruises. I’m an early to rise person. I always try and wake up early enough to watch us come into port back home, and I always miss it (even waking up at 5 am!) 

I would always recommend travel insurance and flexibility when it comes to cruising. But a LARGE percentage of cruisers fly home the day of the cruise (at least in my limited anecdotal experience). 
 

To answer your original question, customs has always gone smoothly, and even though there are long lines, they are constantly moving. Anecdotally we have been off the ship and through customs in as little as 27 minutes (only slightly less than our friends thanks to our Global Entry card on Empress of the Seas returning from Cuba. But it has also taken close to 45 minutes on a partly full Oasis cruise. 

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