After seeing a few review comments relating to negative embarkation processes, we thought it might be a topic for discussion. What pointers would you give new cruisers about the disembarkation process?
Most major cruise lines offer a "carry off" option for early disembarkers. This is especially helpful for people who book early flights and have to get to the airport. Cruise lines emphasize that people must be physically able to carry off their own luggage. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds that requirement and it causes delays for everyone behind them.
One of our favorite options on PC is not having to deal with our luggage after leaving it outside the cabin door until we arrive at our home destination. It's a great deal but we need to be mindful about what we pack versus keep in the carry-on.
We did the Luggage Express option on Carnival in Feb, and were disappointed to learn in September that they have discontinued this service. It was so nice to put our luggage outside our cabin and not see it again till we arrived in Nashville.
The main thing that I believe would help the disembarkation process would be for everyone to stay in a designated area until your zone is called. Those who choose to ignore the procedures clog the elevators and hallways and cause utter chaos. I admired the Magic staff on our last cruise for pulling folks out of line who were too early. The same thing applies to disembarking on port days. There were people lined up on the stairs a good 45 minutes before we were cleared to get off the ship. Again, the staff directed the early birds back to their cabins. That's the first time I've seen Carnival make a real attempt to enforce their rules rather than just letting the line cutters go first.
Patience is a virtue on disembarkation day.
I handle disembarking if I have a flight to catch differently if I am staying over in the port. (I opt for staying over usually both before and after a cruise) I choose the time accordingly. If staying over, I schedule my time around 10 am so that a lot of the rush is over for people on a time schedule.
The biggest problem I have disembarking is keeping too much back when my luggage goes down the night before. I wind up struggling with too many loose items, shopping bags, carry-on etc. I have decided I need to leave one wheelable piece behind to put all the junk in instead of struggling - Note: this pertains to luggage for 24 days at sea not a short cruise.
Couldn't agree more with Keywest1 about staying in your zone - as usual, people do not follow directions and bog down the process.
Following the rules about zones isn't always enforced (on Carnival) and can sure cause chaos in the hallways. On the Miracle last spring it was the best debarkation process we have experienced because it was handled in an organized manner.
Exercise patience! Getting that many people off the ship as quickly as possible can be a nightmare. We also self check-out and have rarely run into issues with disembarkation.
The biggest problem I have disembarking is keeping too much back when my luggage goes down the night before.
I feel your pain with this issue. Drawing a line in the sand is difficult.