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Assigned and Enforced Boarding times


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As I understand it the boarding time assignments and stricter adherence to them was implemented as a health protocol to reduce crowds to better facilitate social distancing.  I am wondering if helps with the boarding chaos that would result pre-pandemic as everyone arrived at the same time to get on the ship? 

Looking into your crystal ball, do you think the assignment and enforcement of boarding times will be a practiced continued as capacities increase?

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They are here to stay, if I remember correctly, all the cruise lines were trying to implement this 2 years or so before covid, and this just gave them enough power to actually enforce it. I could see the windows being more lenient like you can go in 30 minutes before your time, but they also may just become a diamond and above type of perk. 

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Interesting question, I still havent run into the "adherence to it" aspect. Outside of the first cruise back in July of '21, I have not been asked to show any proof of my boarding window, just walk up to the terminal, get in line and head aboard. 

Now I have shown up in my window each time so maybe there is an electronic check in the background somewhere in the process but Royal doesnt even ask to see my boarding pass until I am already in the terminal (at Canaveral at least) .. its just the obsessive Vax card and negative test several times to get that far.

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My cruise in November they just asked what time your boarding was and made you wait in line, but didn't really check. Saturday I had the earliest time and they only allowed Suite and pinnacle members to board, but once again didn't check.

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Nothing over Christmas on Allure from Fort Lauderdale on enforcement. We had a 11am check-in and heard a few folks that had later check-in times and no one asked. Only asked about vaccination cards and negative test. I'm guessing the same at  Miami for our Symphony spring break cruise later this month. Friends sailed 2 weeks ago and mentioned no enforcement as well in Miami.

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Back in October they were enforcing check in at Miami. I would imagine if hoardes of people show up at once (like the old days), they may start enforcing again. As long as people still stagger their arrivals there shouldn’t be a need. I guess I’ll find out in 2 weeks when I sail out of Everglades. 

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2 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

Bayonne announced what time group they are boarding AND checks. 

We had a different experience with Cape Liberty on our Dec 2021 cruise.

We had a 11:30am arrival time which I was very happy about.

When we arrive at exactly 11:30am, we saw a very large line. We asked a rep to see if there was a different line for 11:30am and he said that they tried to organize it, but gave up. Several family ahead of us was boasting that they had a 12:30pm check in and no one was stopping them.

This was our first cruise from Cape Liberty and was a bit disappointed with the fact that they just gave up. Those were his exact words.

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Galveston was doing their best to enforce in the best way they can.  One of the issues is that sometimes the intake workers are ready pretty early and want to get started ASAP.  My check in time on my recent sailing which was scheduled for 11:30, we were at the terminal around 10:15 and were in the terminal by 10:30.  Our group was lined up on one side and the next group was lined up on the other.  No clue if people who were in suites or had the key had a line or not but there were a few people already upstairs by the time we got there.  The ship was accepting passengers by around 11:15 or so which is another thing that can be an issue.  If someone takes forever getting off the ship times may not run as early or could even run late.  I mean I for one am happy they run early because it gives me more time on the ship but the people in the terminal have to get a jump on things as best as they can even though it ends up being a huge wait afterwards.

 

Then you have people with a scheduled time who show up a few minutes before time and they get to find out their slot has already been processed.  The stipulations as I understand it says they only get a 30 minute window and if it's missed you may have to wait till later.  Does that get bumped up as well by the people at the door, I mean someone on a power trip could try to pull that.  Honestly I have dealt with dumber people on a power trip, LOL.  And I would hate to think about what would happen if a ton of issues happened and you are lining up a ton of people outside with a bunch of them complaining that their time slot is over but they haven't checked in...

On paper it's great but we all know it doesn't always work that way.  It's still better to have people sign up for the timeslots so it spreads everyone out.  They could easily enforce the stipulation 100% so I try to show up around 30 to 45 minutes early but with the understanding I may just be standing around for a few, but at least I don't have to worry about being late because a shuttle has broke down or who knows what else could mess up.  And I figure most everyone else is similar so things should work out ok if people stick to something like that instead of everyone just showing up in huge masses with huge lines in the terminal among other things.  That is what I showed up to on my first cruise out of Galveston and I figured most everyone would already be on the ship with 3 hours to go.  Being able to breeze right through is awesome and I hope that from time to time if people start showing up to form huge lines they will fully enforce it for a while to get people to show up closer to their assigned times.

 

 

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One thing I have learned from the casino industry is that if you can put up a velvet rope and allow some people to come in, others to wait and charge those that don't is a great money maker.  I see this sticking around and being more monetized like sitting in the front of the plane seats in the future. 

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2 hours ago, AndrewPunch said:

One thing I have learned from the casino industry is that if you can put up a velvet rope and allow some people to come in, others to wait and charge those that don't is a great money maker.  I see this sticking around and being more monetized like sitting in the front of the plane seats in the future. 

The airlines have also monetized early boarding.

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  • 2 months later...

What is enforcement looking like nowadays? I can’t even check in for my cruise in September til July 29th, so I have no idea what time slot we will be set to arrive at. 
 

I have zero intentions of being there waiting for the “floodgates” to open at the very first boarding time like in the “old days” pre-COVID, but I do have some concerns about getting a 3 PM slot when that is right in the middle of my sons nap time. I’ll definitely go through the proper channels to get an earlier time before all else. But I guess I am curious just how bi lg of a deal it is so long as they aren’t getting swamped right away by half the ship wanting to board at 10 AM.

I don’t want to buck the system, but I am curious if this being enforced nearly as much as it was in the beginning. My gut would tell me that based on comments on this post from March, probably not. 
 

We are sailing on September 12th out of Canaveral on Indy If that helps add any context to the conversation. 

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I started cruising a couple decades ago.  As I remember it, Brand X had boarding times assigned.  It never worked.  Why?  Because the squeaky wheel gets the grease!  That's why!  When Mrs. Imbetterthanyou shows up early and won't be allowed to enter the terminal, she will ask for a person of authority and move up the chain until she finds the one that will bow to her desires.  Mr. Imfakinganinjury complains that his right leg that is there was cut off in the Spanish American war will be allowed to pass.  It always gets watered down until it turns into a suggestion, not a policy.  

Now, I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong and if I am, I welcome the correction.  As I remember it, boarding times were for actual boarding the ship from the waiting area inside the Terminal(s).  You entered the Terminal, sat in the waiting area, stacked up like Sardines and then they would call out the boarding times and when your time was called, you proceeded to the loading area.  Now the boarding times are a time to enter the Terminal, not the ship.  The attempt is to keep people social distancing within the Terminal by limiting access/#s to the Terminal.  But, people were/are backed up by the tens or even hundreds of yards waiting to get inside the terminal, shoulder to shoulder, back to front, coughing and sneezing all over the place, on/at each other.  Oh, and those that are in the terminal aren't social distancing, they are actually backed up on the serpentine gangway, shoulder to shoulder, front to back, coughing and sneezing all over the place, on/at each other while the ship's security does one more ID check.

My opinion, boarding times will never go away.  But, won't be enforced for long, depends on one's definition of "for long", I guess.  YMMV

EDITED IN:  BTW, when I say boarding times, I mean terminal entrance times.  Not the way it used to be when Boarding Times referred to the time you actually moved to the entrance to the ship.  

Edited by 10-42
My definition of Boarding Times
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On 3/3/2022 at 11:32 AM, Toby said:

As I understand it the boarding time assignments and stricter adherence to them was implemented as a health protocol to reduce crowds to better facilitate social distancing.  I am wondering if helps with the boarding chaos that would result pre-pandemic as everyone arrived at the same time to get on the ship? 

Looking into your crystal ball, do you think the assignment and enforcement of boarding times will be a practiced continued as capacities increase?

My prediction is that the stricter boarding times are here to stay. I personally think it has made for a slightly better terminal experience where the wait times in the terminal had decreased. However this was prior to the increased capacity. It looks does look like with the increase in capacity 1) RCL is disembarking the previous passengers quicker ie not being able to stay in their rooms till they can disembark 2) delaying some sail always to allow for more times for passengers to embark 3) increasing the passengers at each embarkation times. 

I will have to see how this goes in my June 17 Oasis sailing

 

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When we sailed out of Port Canaveral last month, there were not specific lines that I could see and no one asked or directed us based on boarding times to enter the building. When we went to board the ship, it was announced that you shouldn’t board until your time had been announced but they had 5 people scanning barcodes and hundreds of people trying to board. I also didn’t see anyone turned away for having a later boarding time. To me, it didn’t seem like they cared about it. The suites, pinnacle, and the key guests boarded first and that was the only time I saw people turned away if they tried to board before their time. We had a 10:30am check in and an 11am board time. We got on the ship by no later than 11:30am.

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13 hours ago, smost said:

When we sailed out of Port Canaveral last month, there were not specific lines that I could see and no one asked or directed us based on boarding times to enter the building. When we went to board the ship, it was announced that you shouldn’t board until your time had been announced but they had 5 people scanning barcodes and hundreds of people trying to board. I also didn’t see anyone turned away for having a later boarding time. To me, it didn’t seem like they cared about it. The suites, pinnacle, and the key guests boarded first and that was the only time I saw people turned away if they tried to board before their time. We had a 10:30am check in and an 11am board time. We got on the ship by no later than 11:30am.


Fair enough. A lot can change between now and September, too. I just dread the thought of getting a 15:00 boarding time or something late like that, and especially since that is in the middle of normal nap time. 
 

Fingers crossed that we can either get something early or that they continue to seemingly disregard this I’d we do get a late time. I also love getting on the ship early to start vacation as early as possible and square away things like specialty dining and now the nursery service. 

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On the Allure two weeks ago, no enforcement of times. They even began taking down the various ropes and signs that designated different lines, and just started shoveling us in as fast as possible in one crush. I arrived 45 minutes early, prepared to wait in the 12:30 line, but they were carrying the 12:30 sign away at 11:15. It was a clump but it moved quickly! About 15 minutes to get through the line.

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10 hours ago, 10-42 said:

Yep, enforced boarding time are great and so so much safer:

 

What a mess!  I'm so glad I got the earliest embarkation time for our cruise next month.  We cruised Symphony out of Miami in Feb, but. at half capacity.  The lines to check in were non-existent.  I know full capacity is different, but It was so nice to get on the ship, switch into our swim suits, enjoy waterslides and pool.    I made all the show reservations poolside.  I'm hoping to duplicate this experience w/ the earliest check in time, to at least avoid some crowds and chaos, like this video shows.

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3 hours ago, BowTieBrigade said:

@10-42What was the situation in Seattle? Arrival times enforced?

Really don't know.  We were Star Class and went right in.  I did notice a line up to get into the terminal, kinda like the one in the video, but not as long, obviously.  The Ovation doesn't have the capacity as Harmony does.  

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Folks, keep in mind that today's BOARDING TIMES aren't really BOARDING TIMES, they are TERMINAL TIMES (a time to show up at the terminal).  As shown in the video above, the terminals are virtually empty as people stand out in the weather conditions, whatever that may be.  Back in the day, a boarding time was a time that you were assigned and you entered the ship from the waiting area inside the terminal.  The terminal was full of people, for the most part seated in the comfortably cooled/heated/dry waiting area that had already checked in at the check-in kiosks.  Elderly, young, and disabled people were not standing out in the rain/sun/heat/cold, whatever, unless they wanted to.   

TODAY'S BOARDING TIMES AREN'T BOARDING TIMES AT ALL!

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39 minutes ago, 10-42 said:

Really don't know.  We were Star Class and went right in.  I did notice a line up to get into the terminal, kinda like the one in the video, but not as long, obviously.  The Ovation doesn't have the capacity as Harmony does.  

I was in the line for the May 13th Ovation sailing and arrival times were not enforced. Everyone Junior Suites and below were in the same line until the final stop in the terminal. We arrived at 10:45 AM for our 11:00 AM boarding but it took about 15 minutes to get our tagged luggage dropped off at the porter station. It took about 45 minutes from end of line to on the ship.

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8 minutes ago, rbdavis3591 said:

I was in the line for the May 13th Ovation sailing and arrival times were not enforced. Everyone Junior Suites and below were in the same line until the final stop in the terminal. We arrived at 10:45 AM for our 11:00 AM boarding but it took about 15 minutes to get our tagged luggage dropped off at the porter station. It took about 45 minutes from end of line to on the ship.

How was the waiting area inside the Terminal?  Did you notice?

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7 minutes ago, 10-42 said:

How was the waiting area inside the Terminal?  Did you notice?

I was in one line or another from the luggage drop off until after the final stop in the terminal where they did a last check of sail pass and passport.

Once that was completed you could walk onto the ship (after doing the final 2 checks of the sail pass) although the wife had to hit the bathroom before leaving the terminal. That was the first opportunity to sit down since arriving at the port.

 

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7 minutes ago, rbdavis3591 said:

I was in one line or another from the luggage drop off until after the final stop in the terminal where they did a last check of sail pass and passport.

Once that was completed you could walk onto the ship (after doing the final 2 checks of the sail pass) although the wife had to hit the bathroom before leaving the terminal. That was the first opportunity to sit down since arriving at the port.

 

Thanks, that's what I though!

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@rbdavis3591 are JS not able to go through the suite line, if there is one? We're in a JS for the June 17th Ovation. We had a JS on Oasis last October and that check in was also just a single line, but very fast due to lower capacity.

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10 hours ago, KevinJ said:

@rbdavis3591 are JS not able to go through the suite line, if there is one? We're in a JS for the June 17th Ovation. We had a JS on Oasis last October and that check in was also just a single line, but very fast due to lower capacity.

I did not see any separate lines; just the one slow line. According to our room attendant the Ovation carried just under 4,000 passengers for our sailing.

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According to many crew members, including our Genie(s), the terminal in Seattle isn't really set-up and wasn't originally designed to be a passenger terminal, and I believe them.  There are several youtube videos that say the same thing.  I know that "normally" when you cruise Star Class (No, I'm not bragging, just stating the facts) we pull our car up to the front door/curbside of the terminal, drop off our luggage and one or two of us stay with the baggage at the front door until the Star Class porter and Genie show up to take care of everything.  In Seattle, you can't drive up to the front door, you have to have your shuttle/limo/whatever pull into the area adjacent to the front doors, which isn't very convenient and you still have to pull/carry your luggage to the Star Class welcome area, which again isn't at the front doors.  Also, if you are driving your own car to pier 91, the parking garage or other facilities are a bit of a distance away and requires a shuttle back to the pier or a long walk.  I do not remember seeing any welcome banners for Sky Class, Sea Class, or any of the C & A classes on the outside of the terminal, either.  Could be there but I didn't see any.    

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