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Royal Caribbean's Stress Free Boarding Process


twangster
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12 hours ago, Cleo76 said:

So is suite class not allowed to show up an hour early? I was planning to show up an hour early because we are in a suite and we will also have to wait while my daughter is tested and then for the results…I’ve heard it adds about an hour to the boarding process. 

Sky class and above can arrive an hour prior to their listed check-in times.

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I guess I don't agree that flights and hotels make such a difference. Most hotel will make you check out between 11/12. But they have lobbies and luggage storage, so you don't have to leave and clog up the lines if your check-in is after 2pm. The same with flights as most people don't fly in the day of the cruise, especially now. 

There have been conflicting reports but I heard PC was the worse. People with 2/3pm check-ins showing up at noon to board and people who have 12/12:30 check-ins waiting an hour+ to board because of them. I think most of the staff is fairly new which is why this happens.

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Two cruises post covid so far, both on Royal so Royal gets both the best and worst experience awards !!

Freedom out of Miami was awesome. Arrived 10 mins early for our appt, made to wait in car in parking garage for 10 mins and then straight through the terminal and straight onto the ship. Showed paperwork (vax cards, passports, boarding passes one time and done).

Mariner out of Canaveral was awful. Arrived 5 mins into our appt window, joined a line of almost the entire ship that was already standing waiting (no question ever asked of what time anyones appt was). Had to show vax card and test results 5 times just to get into the terminal, then again to get onto the ship. 2+ hours from arrival to finally on board.

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Problem is Royal Caribbean is acting like it's possible to get to the terminal doors +/- 5 minutes of a specific time, without providing any means to wait anywhere around them. Some people fly into JFK or LGA, or other airports, too; some may stay in NYC hotels and face a drive of indeterminate time. Even people "local" could be driving from West Virginia, and the further away you are, the more you're gonna need to leave some extra time to account for traffic problems, or getting lost, or other issues along the way. It's like airlines saying to arrive 3 hours before your flight these days. Arrive exactly where?

 

Sure, undoubtedly, some people aren't even trying to match up with their check-in time. But people who try still can reasonably end up much earlier or much later than that check-in time. And frankly it's just a really ignorant attempt at "scheduling" on Royal Caribbean's part, in denial of the real world. Previously it was "unenforced" scheduling, which spread people out, in general, reasonably well. Enforced scheduling leaves people stuck in crazy, impractical ways. Well, actually it leaves them blocking traffic at the terminal in places like Cape Liberty, since all traffic is routed to the same place and there's no separation of traffic until you're right on top of the terminal. 🙂

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Had a 12:00 boarding time for Ovation last Friday. We showed up at 11:40 (it was either that or 1PM due to hotel shuttle schedule) and there was about 50 people already in line. They opened boarding a few minutes later and we were on-board by 12!

Yesterday while watching port activity from my balcony I noticed a couple show up and take their place in line at 8AM 😮😮. 4 hours before the first boarding time! By the time we exited the terminal at around 10 there was already a lineup of around 20 people ready to board.

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4 hours ago, Jill said:

@DanielBhow was your boarding? 

Left hotel at 1130 and at port around 1145 for a 12p boarding time.  3 lines of people 12-1, 1-2 and 2-3 with long lines in each.  Our line started moving promptly at 12p and we walked on the ship at 12:45.  Outside the doors is a cluster and the check in was slow.  Check in agent scanned passports and retook all photos…she was training someone and said she always does that to ensure they are correct.  IMO this really slows the process down.  I heard from many that shortly after the wheels fell off and the check in process was terribly slow with many noon check ins not boarding until we’ll after 1.  All in all for us all it wasn’t horrible and but certainly areas of opportunity.  

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We found a pretty cool solution to the problem of having nowhere to go when you get to your port destination (however you get there).  It's a website that allows you rent hotel rooms just for the day and you get full access to all amenities of that hotel.  You just don't sleep there.  They mark the price WAY down and in most cases you can check in around 9:00am or earlier and out by 4-6pm.  We are doing in this in Miami Beach and are going to enjoy all that the hotel has to offer then mosey on over to the ship much later in the day.  

Here's the site:

https://www.dayuse.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwwNWKBhDAARIsAJ8HkhfxZt04G0gy-xQm6FFdqjVCjlOYYetfwduiyU6KaDv1spMc1BCnS5EaAnf9EALw_wcB

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18 hours ago, dswallow said:

Problem is Royal Caribbean is acting like it's possible to get to the terminal doors +/- 5 minutes of a specific time, without providing any means to wait anywhere around them. Some people fly into JFK or LGA, or other airports, too; some may stay in NYC hotels and face a drive of indeterminate time. Even people "local" could be driving from West Virginia, and the further away you are, the more you're gonna need to leave some extra time to account for traffic problems, or getting lost, or other issues along the way. It's like airlines saying to arrive 3 hours before your flight these days. Arrive exactly where?

 

Sure, undoubtedly, some people aren't even trying to match up with their check-in time. But people who try still can reasonably end up much earlier or much later than that check-in time. And frankly it's just a really ignorant attempt at "scheduling" on Royal Caribbean's part, in denial of the real world. Previously it was "unenforced" scheduling, which spread people out, in general, reasonably well. Enforced scheduling leaves people stuck in crazy, impractical ways. Well, actually it leaves them blocking traffic at the terminal in places like Cape Liberty, since all traffic is routed to the same place and there's no separation of traffic until you're right on top of the terminal. 🙂

The system isn't broken, it's just the way it is right now.  Not everything in a pandemic can't be made to function perfectly.  It's not ignorance on Royal's part. 

In the past it was nothing for people to sit in a packed terminal waiting area until boarding commenced.  That may have been a 30 minute, 60 minute or longer wait.  Packing people into a crowded waiting area doesn't work in a pandemic.

Carnival whale tail ships used to out number Royal yet they have long enforced arrival times - for many years.  If you are early you wait outside.  That's on you for arriving early regardless if you flew, drove, walked or crawled to the ship.  Arriving early meant creating an ugly experience for yourself.  If you did, that was on you.

Many of the frequent cruisers I know who live at or very near the port were not the types to try to board early.  More often that not they would show up well after the noon to 1pm peak was long over so would have no lines and cabins were ready.  They've cruised a lot.  Being on the ship first simply isn't important.  Arriving at 2:30pm was the ideal time for them.  The peak was over by then.  They aren't the problem.  There is no fix for stupid.  People arriving before their time is the problem.

Royal cruisers need to adapt to the times and protocols.  If Carnival cruisers can manage to do it Royal cruisers can too.  Perhaps Royal's only mistake was not enforcing arrival times before the pandemic started.  Royal cruisers need to change and change is difficult for people, but that's on the people, not on Royal.

Perhaps expecting people to arrive on time may have been ignorant on Royal's part.  Who knew people couldn't help themselves but would chose to ignore the process?

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2 hours ago, twangster said:

The system isn't broken, it's just the way it is right now.  Not everything in a pandemic can't be made to function perfectly.  It's not ignorance on Royal's part. 

In the past it was nothing for people to sit in a packed terminal waiting area until boarding commenced.  That may have been a 30 minute, 60 minute or longer wait.  Packing people into a crowded waiting area doesn't work in a pandemic.

Carnival whale tail ships used to out number Royal yet they have long enforced arrival times - for many years.  If you are early you wait outside.  That's on you for arriving early regardless if you flew, drove, walked or crawled to the ship.  Arriving early meant creating an ugly experience for yourself.  If you did, that was on you.

Many of the frequent cruisers I know who live at or very near the port were not the types to try to board early.  More often that not they would show up well after the noon to 1pm peak was long over so would have no lines and cabins were ready.  They've cruised a lot.  Being on the ship first simply isn't important.  Arriving at 2:30pm was the ideal time for them.  The peak was over by then.  They aren't the problem.  There is no fix for stupid.  People arriving before their time is the problem.

Royal cruisers need to adapt to the times and protocols.  If Carnival cruisers can manage to do it Royal cruisers can too.  Perhaps Royal's only mistake was not enforcing arrival times before the pandemic started.  Royal cruisers need to change and change is difficult for people, but that's on the people, not on Royal.

Perhaps expecting people to arrive on time may have been ignorant on Royal's part.  Who knew people couldn't help themselves but would chose to ignore the process?

As it is today, it is quite broken. That's evidenced by the continuing mess they face at the pier for some sailings. They're failing to do something well, for sure.

They could find someplace outside for people who need to wait, or even simply try to appear to be accommodating of those who really, truly don't have some place to go sit and wait it out. It's ignorance on Royal Caribbean's part to pretend it's somehow OK to send repeated emails about not arriving at the pier exactly at their scheduled check-in, because what immediately comes up in people's mind is something akin to "OK, so what the f*** do you expect me to do then?".

One way to start would be to actually remind people they can drop their luggage off anytime but after they do that they should go somewhere else until closer to their check-in time.

Or they could provide some ability to register for automatic notifications if/when they could come to the pier earlier. Much like beepers in restaurants, except perhaps acknowledging we all have smartphones and to use them for helpful things instead of aa crappy app that fails to impart timely information well, if at all, onboard.

In other words, they could start by simply communicating more than the classic line from the song "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here".

And let's go another step into this... exactly what's left to do at the pier anyway? Up in NJ for many years, check-in has been a minor step in the process, handled by folks with tablets throughout the area, not just at counters. If the ship is open for boarding, you're barely ever considering more than a few minutes of processing once you are through the security check, unless you've failed to do something in advance that you could've done. The ship is truly the best place to "wait" right? So the entire process should streamline getting onto the ship. Compare that to airlines; you can check in anytime beginning some 5-8 hours beforehand; that restriction being based on not being able to check luggage, mostly. But there's no check-in time except a final "check in before X" time. The only waiting is when the aircraft is finally at the gate ready to be boarded. So everyone who checks in is free to go anywhere they want, as long as they get to the gate by boarding time. Do that. Do something close to that. 

Sure, it'll take some time to reconsider the design of physical spaces to perhaps provide for larger space indoors for waiting pre-boarding. There's plenty of approaches, not all of which require tearing down a big box building and starting new. And they've manage to come up with this mess.

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40 minutes ago, dswallow said:

 

One way to start would be to actually remind people they can drop their luggage off anytime but after they do that they should go somewhere else until closer to their check-in time.

If people are currently ignoring RC instructions regarding not turning up until near their check in time do you honestly believe they will take any notice of another email basically saying the same? 

Twangsters right its people that are the problem! Its people thinking they can do as the want and screw the rest as long as they are ok 

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1 hour ago, dswallow said:

As it is today, it is quite broken. That's evidenced by the continuing mess they face at the pier for some sailings. They're failing to do something well, for sure.

They could find someplace outside for people who need to wait, or even simply try to appear to be accommodating of those who really, truly don't have some place to go sit and wait it out. It's ignorance on Royal Caribbean's part to pretend it's somehow OK to send repeated emails about not arriving at the pier exactly at their scheduled check-in, because what immediately comes up in people's mind is something akin to "OK, so what the f*** do you expect me to do then?".

One way to start would be to actually remind people they can drop their luggage off anytime but after they do that they should go somewhere else until closer to their check-in time.

Or they could provide some ability to register for automatic notifications if/when they could come to the pier earlier. Much like beepers in restaurants, except perhaps acknowledging we all have smartphones and to use them for helpful things instead of aa crappy app that fails to impart timely information well, if at all, onboard.

In other words, they could start by simply communicating more than the classic line from the song "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here".

And let's go another step into this... exactly what's left to do at the pier anyway? Up in NJ for many years, check-in has been a minor step in the process, handled by folks with tablets throughout the area, not just at counters. If the ship is open for boarding, you're barely ever considering more than a few minutes of processing once you are through the security check, unless you've failed to do something in advance that you could've done. The ship is truly the best place to "wait" right? So the entire process should streamline getting onto the ship. Compare that to airlines; you can check in anytime beginning some 5-8 hours beforehand; that restriction being based on not being able to check luggage, mostly. But there's no check-in time except a final "check in before X" time. The only waiting is when the aircraft is finally at the gate ready to be boarded. So everyone who checks in is free to go anywhere they want, as long as they get to the gate by boarding time. Do that. Do something close to that. 

Sure, it'll take some time to reconsider the design of physical spaces to perhaps provide for larger space indoors for waiting pre-boarding. There's plenty of approaches, not all of which require tearing down a big box building and starting new. And they've manage to come up with this mess.

So you want them to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a system to notify guests who can't be bothered to follow simple instructions?

 Other cruise lines have been doing this for a decade.  It's not the cruise lines that are the problem here.

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So I guess my question is, and it’s an honest one, IF you have no other option but going to the port, what are you supposed to do until it’s your time to board?  At PC, I’d be at Grill’s Bar but I assume that is not an option at all ports.  If you’re at a hotel, I’ve never been refused leaving my luggage with bell services/front desk and using the pool area for a few hours.  Is that not the norm?  How about flying in?  Very difficult to time so what do you do?  My point is that it’s not necessarily that people don’t read, don’t care, feel entitled although clearly that’s part of it.  What do I do when my flight manages to actually arrive on time at 11am and I have a 2:30 check in?

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5 minutes ago, Pooch said:

So I guess my question is, and it’s an honest one, IF you have no other option but going to the port, what are you supposed to do until it’s your time to board?  At PC, I’d be at Grill’s Bar but I assume that is not an option at all ports.  If you’re at a hotel, I’ve never been refused leaving my luggage with bell services/front desk and using the pool area for a few hours.  Is that not the norm?  How about flying in?  Very difficult to time so what do you do?  My point is that it’s not necessarily that people don’t read, don’t care, feel entitled although clearly that’s part of it.  What do I do when my flight manages to actually arrive on time at 11am and I have a 2:30 check in?

It has to become part of your cruise planning but it varies by city.  Some have attractions nearby, some ports are more or less in an area with little to do.  

When a port is close to attractions then it might be worth the cost to drop your luggage at the ship and leave the port area even if that means a few extra dollars with a taxi or Uber. 

When a port is off on it's own far away from anything worthy then you need to consider where you can store your luggage while you do something.  A hotel you stayed at the night before can be great for that while checking out of your room on time.

Where as before the default action action was head to the cruise port and wait it out that can't be the default any more.  Research the city and port then make a plan before you arrive.

Maybe it means renting a car instead of defaulting to Uber or hotel transfers and waiting it out at the terminal hoping for early boarding.  With a rental car you can drop luggage off at the ship then you are free to explore.

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When I sailed Carnival it only took one time of being rejected and sitting on the grass surrounded by a bunch of smokers for me to learn that lesson.  Never again.  Carnival was absolute about it.  At 1:55pm they were still rejecting 2pm people.  

The lesson learned was to not show up early.

It's not the cruise lines job to find you something to do until it's your time.  That's on you.   Make a plan now.

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8 hours ago, twangster said:

When I sailed Carnival it only took one time of being rejected and sitting on the grass surrounded by a bunch of smokers for me to learn that lesson.  Never again.  Carnival was absolute about it.  At 1:55pm they were still rejecting 2pm people.  

It's not the cruise lines job to find you something to do until it's your time.  That's on you.   Make a plan now.

Wow, you sound like the Gestapo..............We might do like most are doing now, AVOID SAILING! Too much BS from start to finish for a lot of money. If you like all this as it is right now though, good for you....enjoy. If somebody has to wait, so what?

You might need to try something else to do yourself for a while, way too uptight.

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Twangster is being direct. 
 

While directness can make some people uncomfortable, it doesn’t rise to the level of the secret state police of a genocidal and outlawed regime. 
 

At the end of all the arguments, he’s right.   Pre-pandemic we used to just hang out in the port waiting area until we could board.   Now that we are aware it’s not a current option, we are thinking of alternatives.   Does that excite us?  No.  Will we find another place to kill time? Yes. 

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2 hours ago, L454S said:

Wow, you sound like the Gestapo..............We might do like most are doing now, AVOID SAILING! Too much BS from start to finish for a lot of money. If you like all this as it is right now though, good for you....enjoy. If somebody has to wait, so what?

You might need to try something else to do yourself for a while, way too uptight.

Why does that make me uptight?  I choose not to sit on the grass waiting outside.  I learned my lesson - don't show up early.  I arrive at the time they assign to me.

I have no issue with their boarding process nor do I with the other cruise lines that enforce arrival times.  I simply find something to do and coordinate my arrival to comply.    I don't have an expectation that the cruise lines must accommodate me whenever I feel like showing up.

Many cruise lines are enforcing arrival times.  Cruising during the restart isn't for everyone.  If not being allowed into the terminal anytime you want is a show stopper for you then avoiding cruising right now may be a good idea.

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Agree we all need to plan. Our current plan in 3 weeks is to check out of our FLL hotel at 10:30 and head for Miami. Park by 11:30. Get out of car at 11:45 and get in line for our 12:00 time. 
 

It won’t (hopefully) be like this forever. Capacity is slowly going up. Pre-pandemic you were car to bar in about 20 minutes with a full ship. We’re prepared for an hour to get through the process, if earlier great, if a bit later, whatever. 

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2 hours ago, Ray said:

Given the fact there are German and Jewish cruisers on this forum your choice of words in your comparison is very poor !!!! 

 

 

I am German......but I don't see how that matters one way or the other.

 

Twangster, I don't expect the cruise line to "accommodate" me if I arrive early because of a flight schedule, but to be looked at in the light you project is overbearing.

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Sheryl and I boarded Freedom on Monday Sep 27th, and I have to say it was simple.

We left our hotel (DoubleTree) 5 mins before checkout time at 11:00 and loaded the bags back into the car. Our scheduled arrival time was not till 1pm so we had a couple of hours to kill.

Easy enough, we went for a stroll around Bayside Marketplace, which is about 5 mins from the terminal. It was a little precruise relaxation and fun, and parking was only $6.00 (one of the advantages of driving to the port)

When we parked up at Terminal A, we were 15 mins early, so we sat and waited for 10 mins, then took the bags to the handlers, and strolled up to the door. From entry to being onboard was less than 25 mins, with no hassles other than me leaving my walking cane at security, which was easily fixed.

Arriving at the door at the right time seems to have been the way to go.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Jill said:

Agree we all need to plan. Our current plan in 3 weeks is to check out of our FLL hotel at 10:30 and head for Miami. Park by 11:30. Get out of car at 11:45 and get in line for our 12:00 time. 

If I might mildly hijack the thread for a minute - suggestions on a good inexpensive hotel in FLL, ideally one we could leave our car at and get shuttled to Port Everglades? We normally fly in but now that we've got a small one the cost of plane tix isn't worth it, so we're gonna drive down from GA the day before and stay the night in a hotel. This is gonna be for the inaugural on Wonder in March.

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