New Procedure for Carnival Cruise Lines - Staggered Check- In Times at Embarkation

To expedite the embarkation process, Carnival has recently instituted staggered check-in times for all their ships at 8 embarkation ports and will add three more ports in Oct-Nov. Passengers sailing on ships leaving from these ports will need to pre-select online check-in times for their arrival at the terminals. They will have a one-hour window to arrive at the terminal. Passengers will not be permitted to enter terminal ahead of this window. Certain categories of passengers are exempt from the one-hour window but still must choose an online time of arrival at the terminal. These include Priority Program guests, those with ship-sponsored airport transfers & those utilizing Faster To The Fun. Do you think that this is a good or bad thing? Here's a link to answers you may have about the new procedure.

Tags: Carnival Cruise Lines New Carnival Staggered Check-in Arrival Times for Embarkation New Carnival Embarkation Procedure New for Carnival Cruise Lines

26 Answers

Wow they are certainly making a lot of assumptions about travel schedules running on time..Great if it flows but a nightmare if it doesn't. My experience on Princess is that they seem to adapt to the crowd in spite of their "check-in" time ...I've been early, I've been late and I have never had to wait more than 10 or 15 minutes to check in either way.

My next cruise is priority check-in because I guess I've moved up the "food chain" so will be curious to see if it's different...Can't get much faster than it's been on my past cruises with them.

We had chaotic boarding experiences at Galveston and Miami. Galveston didn't have enough seating in the terminal, and people lined the walls with luggage blocking the aisles. Announcements were impossible to hear and rudeness was the order of the day, as was line cutting. The employees did make those without the proper zone numbers get out of line. We were told to leave our baggage at the wrong place, and if DH had not questioned the porters TWICE, our bags would have ended up on the wrong ship. Miami was not as bad as Galveston, but there was rudeness and line cutting there as well. On our first cruise from there, the employee just stepped back and let everyone board whether they had the correct zone pass or not. I think the staggered check-in can only be an improvement.

Port Canaveral and Jaxport were, in our experience, smooth and pretty much hassle-free. Employees were friendly and helpful, and I think that helped set the tone for passengers. I am interested to see how staggered check-in affects these two ports when it is implemented. They will be among the last ports to make the change.

LOL... I see angry people.
Seriously, this process is so flawed, it will only be a matter of time before people start to become unglued with the additional and unnecessary pressure this creates.

I work at one of the ports that has the staggered check in. When the ship is on time and embark/debark goes smoothly, it helps with avoiding lines and having everyone move smoothly through.

When the ship is late, and backs everything up, there have been times when check in had to stop because we did not have enough seats and people were angry.

What I find is people mistake the check in time for the time to get onto the ship, which it is not... There is some clarification from carnival and cruisers need to just read and be more diligent with paperwork and instructions.

Oh.... this is one of those things I wish could be mandated but too many people don't read their cruise contract, let alone boarding instructions.

It sounds like a great plan until human nature takes hold. I like to check in early as I can to have lunch on ship and have the first day of the cruise be relaxing on deck with a drink. Being only a gold VIFP with Carnival I know I'm low in priority.

You will get there... Many people are tickled when they get to gold...

I have these same concerns as you have. We will have to see how it all pans out.

My first experience with staggered check-in will be in November. We purchased Faster To The Fun, so we'll see how it all works out.

Let us know how embarkation goes for you. I'm sure that you will not experience any problems unless the ship has some unforeseen problem with boarding passengers like a health inspection or mechanical issues.

* is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. is not responsible for content on external web sites.