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Port of Galveston CEO Says Disney Cruise Line to Sail at 70% Capacity, Enforce Arrival Times

 

Tom Bell Tom Bell
9 hours ago
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During a recent Board of Trustees Meeting for the Port of Galveston, Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees shared information from his talks with Disney Cruise Line, including ship capacity goals and other operational changes. The Disney Wonder sails from Galveston several months each year.

Rees told the Board that, while 30% capacity seems to be the “break even” point for most cruise lines, Disney has told him that they intend to sell up to 70% of their cabins for each sailing.

Disney also said that they would begin enforcing port arrival time windows in order to control crowd levels inside the terminal. Guests have been required to choose an arrival time for years, but those arrival time windows have not been enforced at most terminals. Enforcement of those arrival times may also force ships to leave port later in the day.

Port Canaveral CEO John W. Murray also talked about enforcing arrival times at a recent meeting, adding that cruise lines would need additional time for COVID-19 testing of guests.

Rees said that the cruise line has talked about ways to bring fresh air into the terminals, rather than recirculating the same air through air conditioning units.

Finally, in the most promising statement about cruising, Rees said, “I believe that the cruise lines think they’re close.”

The Disney Wonder has its next cruise from Galveston scheduled for November 20th, however Disney Cruise Line has not confirmed with they will once again begin sailing.

Source: Port of Galveston / DisneyCruiseLineBlog

 

 

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Tom Bell

 

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32 minutes ago, danv3 said:

Will be interesting to see how "enforcing arrival times" works in practice.  

Unless they can force people to leave the port area, it will probably result in lots of people arriving too early and waiting around the terminal in a growing crowd which would completely defeat the stated purpose.  And if those people are forced to wait outside in the heat, I can imagine the crowd getting unruly.

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39 minutes ago, danv3 said:

Will be interesting to see how "enforcing arrival times" works in practice.  

DCL always enforced their arrival times. I remember seeing DCL people standing around at the parking garage in Port Canaveral because they were waiting for their arrival time

krusty the clown GIF

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49 minutes ago, Matt said:

DCL always enforced their arrival times. I remember seeing DCL people standing around at the parking garage in Port Canaveral because they were waiting for their arrival time

krusty the clown GIF

I hated that about DCL!! Except the time we scored Family of the Day. Then they gave us a quiet waiting area. 😁

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3 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I hated that about DCL!! Except the time we scored Family of the Day. Then they gave us a quiet waiting area. 😁

How did you score Family of the Day? We followed the FOD and were the second family on (hello suite). It was WONDERFUL. Loved the concierge lembarkation unch on Fantasy and Dream.

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1 hour ago, Baked Alaska said:

How did you score Family of the Day? We followed the FOD and were the second family on (hello suite). It was WONDERFUL. Loved the concierge lembarkation unch on Fantasy and Dream.

They must have sensed the suite snob coming from a mile away! Lol.

Honestly, it was out of the blue.  We showed up early to the terminal out of habit so it was pretty quiet when we checked in. Right after we checked in, we settled down on some of the couches in the terminal and one of their cast members came up to us and said they would like to make us family of the day. It wasn’t our first DCL cruise but I still had no idea what it was. He then explained that we would get to board first and we would have to go with him to a separate boarding area and I was like, “Say no more! We’ll take it!” 😆

After we were settled in our new area, I asked him how we got selected because I did not enter anything or do anything special and he said he was watching us since we walked into the terminal and we seemed so happy that they picked us. Must have been that pleasant Canadian personality! 😜

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Carnival enforced arrival times, or at least did several years ago when I last sailed them.  They needed to enforce times to help justify the sale of the "Faster To The Fun" pass program.   

Looking back they basically created chaos in boarding then sold FTTF as a means to bypass the chaos they created.  Pretty effective as well - FTTF was always in demand but capacity controlled so people would search day after day hoping to buy it so that things like check in time could be ignored.    It was one of big differences I noted when I switched to Royal.  Bigger ships, more people, no chaos.    

While Royal hasn't needed to enforce check in time up to this point, it's not going to be earth shaking now if they do.  Other lines have done it for a while.

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On 9/4/2020 at 9:07 AM, Atlantix2000 said:

Unless they can force people to leave the port area, it will probably result in lots of people arriving too early and waiting around the terminal in a growing crowd which would completely defeat the stated purpose.  And if those people are forced to wait outside in the heat, I can imagine the crowd getting unruly.

This is kind of what I foresee at least until people get more used to it.  Unless they expect port security to enforce the rule for them and turn people away at the gate.  I guess we'll see.  

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15 hours ago, rjac said:

So, for Royal, does this mean the Diamond and above will get to board early and the rest will be later? Interesting stuff as we get closer to cruising....when ever that may be. Just for good measure I will be wearing a face mask, rubber gloves and a condom. I'm not taking ANY chances!:3_grin:

Guessing the priority of upper tiers and suites will be retained.  Can't see why the separate queues wouldn't be maintained.  New arrival times are most likely to prevent log jams as the health screenings are performed.

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Royal has long offered one of the better boarding processes in the industry.  That evolved from having mega sized ships where they couldn't afford to board inefficiently.  Having the mobile app and the pandemic will further this direction towards an even smoother and faster boarding process even to the point where special status won't help you board any faster.  All it could possibly do is satisfy the need to think there is special treatment. 

There are two aspects of priority that was offered in the past.  Priority to reach a check in agent and priority to board the ship from the waiting area after you were checked in.  

Priority boarding occurred after check in if you arrived early and were waiting for the ship to be ready to start boarding.  In the past if you arrived after boarding had already started then priority boarding did nothing for you while priority queues to reach a check in agent did.   

With advancements including mobile app check in the priority queues to reach a check in agent isn't as important as it once was.  With Expedited Boarding offered through the app you don't have to queue to reach a check in agent like you used to.  

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If the whole boarding and check in process doesn't start until after the ship is ready to board because of virus cleaning and mitigation then priority boarding after check in is a moot point.  

Combine the two, expedited boarding with instant boarding since the ship is ready and it's a whole different experience. 

Status people who enjoyed priority queues and then priority waiting areas of days gone by may feel slighted that these concepts aren't needed anymore.  It doesn't matter that the new process gets them on the ship faster, the fact that they don't get a red carpet to walk on will upset some status people.  Some may look for a special entrance for them that didn't exist before.  

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All that's left to think about is who gets what appointment time. 

I don't see them reserving the 2:30pm slots just for suites and high C&A status.  The numbers of Pinnacle vs. Diamond Plus versus Diamond and so on vary week to week.    Some Pinnacle and Diamond Plus who live close by don't even try to board early, they stay at home and wait for the crowds to dissipate.  They are such frequent cruisers that getting on early isn't a thing for them.  If Royal is blocking and holding 2:30pm slots for them that just backs up and overloads the later time slots. 

The logic starts to become complex.  If there are greater than X Pinnacle and they check in between 60 and 90 days out then Y% of 2:30pm slots are saved for them.  If there are Z Diamond Plus who are in a suite and they check in between 45 and 75 days AND less than 75% of Pinnacles in the first group haven't checked in yet then Diamond Plus not in suite can consume the remaining balance of the Y% of 2:30pm slots remaining.   

The logic and programming required to cover all the various status priorities over the check in time period that in the end shaves 30 seconds off the walk from the car to the ship simply isn't worth it. 

The boarding process isn't what it was 10 years ago when status and priority did accomplish something.  Royal is aiming to get everyone on board from the car to the ship in minutes and the app is a big part of that.  Red carpets and ego soothing oohs and awws are no longer needed, except for maybe Star Class.  Star Class pays big for it so leave a red carpet out for them.  

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On 9/4/2020 at 8:13 AM, Matt said:

DCL always enforced their arrival times. I remember seeing DCL people standing around at the parking garage in Port Canaveral because they were waiting for their arrival time

krusty the clown GIF

If you have ever been to Disney, you are used to waiting in lines. 

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Expect many of the different queues based upon suite and high C&A to still be in place (just after the common health check that everyone needs to pass first).  With so much improvement in the electronic checking, that's pretty much done before you get to the terminal and the agent will be focused on getting passengers through the health checks.  Everyone goes through the health check as entering terminal, after a successful screening, the passenger just finds their appropriate queue from newbie line to Pinnacle line.  After that, you shuffle through the security queue.

It would be possible for Star level to get their own health queue as it wouldn't be an overwhelming number.  We'll all have to wait in see.

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