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Old 12-20-2012, 12:33 PM   #1
ChrizJen
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Embarkation Day

For those who cruise DCL frequently...
Would you care to give a run-down of how your embarkation day typically goes?
We've cruised before, but that was 7 years ago. And it was just us 2 adults. So we sort of played that first day by ear and hoped for the best.
We have a 7-night Fantasy cruise booked for June. It'll be our first cruise with DD5.
So we're looking for tips on getting as much of the "administrative" stuff done as quickly as we can on embarkation day so that the party can start as early as possible!

Thanks!!
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
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I printed off the forms at home and filled them in. The only form I had to do was the 'family health' one they hand you while in line. Those forms, our passports, pictures at the check in desk were it. We were probably at the check in desk about 4 minutes. There was a line when we got there (the line for Castaway members was shorter), but once through we just boarded as our port arrival time was 12:30 I think.

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Old 12-20-2012, 12:56 PM   #3
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Do as much as you can online before the cruise and you will only have to fill in the medical form (one for each cabin, no matter how many occupants) at the port. Once given your boarding number, sit back, relax and wait for the fun to begin! Enjoy your cruise.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:36 PM   #4
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Embarkation day can be as hectic or relaxing as you make it. As others have stated, doing as much of the paperwork in advance, printing copies and having your documentation organized will make it go quickly at the port.

Also with a DD5 you will want to get her checked into the Club/Lab. Again, you can do much of this in advance online, then it's just a simple process to confirm what you provided online and get her bracelet. You can also do this in the terminal while waiting to board, but the lines there can be long. No difference if you do it in the terminal or onboard.

Once onboard you can have lunch, hang at the pool, explore the ship. The kids clubs will all be in open house mode so you cannot drop off your DD that afternoon but would need to stay with her. Your stateroom should be available around 1:30pm. If you want to make or change dining reservations at Palo or Remy, you can do that once onboard; but if you can do that ahead of time that's also 1 less thing to do on embarkation day.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrizJen View Post
For those who cruise DCL frequently...
Since we drive, we ALWAYS spend the night before at DisneyWorld. So...our day begins with breakfast at Disney. Then a wonderful, relaxing one hour drive through the countryside to the port. It is a straight shot, and we always play DCL trivia along the way ("what character hangs from the back of our ship?").

Then, a few miles out, you go over a bridge and your ship appears on the horizon. What a beautiful view.

Having filled out our forms online, we breeze through checking, then soon go straight on the ship. We always skip the photo line at embarkation, it just delays getting on board (and we don't pay the unreasonably high prices for photos).

Then, always lunch outside, looking over the beautiful Florida landscape, slowly enjoying the multitude of choices to eat, meeting the wonderful crew members. Interacting with them is a pleasure.

Then on to explore the ship. Lots of folks will be swimming right away, we usually don't. There is a lot to see...and we often stop by the Palo/Remy desk to see if we can add a meal there.

Time now to go to the room and unpack. That doesn't take long (after a number of cruises you learn not to bring so much), then more ship exploring and relaxing until the lifeboat drill. It is much easier now without having to take life jackets (although honestly I think that was a mistake since we don't get to practice putting them on), and the crew is entertaining at those drills.

Now the sail away party, dinner, a show, and the end to a long, somewhat tiring, but exciting day.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions and replies! Great tips, and it sounds like we'll still be able to make that first day fun for DD. As I said, when we went just the two of us, we took the attitude of "go with the flow", and it turned out great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by over50visits View Post
Since we drive, we ALWAYS spend the night before at DisneyWorld. So...our day begins with breakfast at Disney. Then a wonderful, relaxing one hour drive through the countryside to the port. It is a straight shot, and we always play DCL trivia along the way ("what character hangs from the back of our ship?").

Then, a few miles out, you go over a bridge and your ship appears on the horizon. What a beautiful view.
We're driving too! We'll be driving down on Wednesday, and we're spending Thursday and Friday in Cocoa Beach. It'll be our longest road trip yet with DD, but she's always done really well on road trips. We'll just have to make sure we have PLENTY of Disney DVD's for her to watch!
I CAN'T WAIT to see her face when she sees the ship for the first time!! (of course I've only ever seen the Magic and the Wonder, so my reaction might be just as dramatic as hers!!! )

Thanks again for the tips!
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:50 PM   #7
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Since you are driving....the key is to do the on line check in 90 days before cruising (or closer to the cruise is fine too). That will allow you to print the two needed forms and take them with you.

OK, leave hotel--shuttle, taxi, drive car to parking garage or whatever. Many hotels offer on site parking free or for a fee while you cruise. There are also off site parking places much cheaper than the terminal, but nothing is more convenient than the terminal (but $15 per day!) Arrive at port, give checked luggage to porter. Carry with you only what you need--electronics, meds, documents, swimsuit....beverages if you feel the need to bring them. Go thru security (easier than airport, you don't have to strip). Go to top of escalator/stairway and get in line. Check in with the forms you have, your passport, credit card, and fill out health form (takes 2 minutes total for all of the above). CM gives you KTTW cards and lanyards. Depending on time/lines, register kid(s) for programming if any in the 3-12 range who will be using the OC/Lab. This CAN wait till on the ship if desired--it just needs to be done before kid can be dropped off.

Boarding on our most recent cruise began at 11:30; most other cruises it was 11:45. Board, have lunch. Then the fun starts. Really, the terminal opened at 10:30, and we were on the ship by 11:40. Not much down time!
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:36 PM   #8
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The earliest boarding time was 2:00

I had done much of the paperwork online a long time ago, but did not do anything about boarding time. When I went to do that today, the earliest available time is 2:00! We already have a town car service that should get us there about 11:15. Will they hassle us a lot, or just let us get in the process??
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Disney WONDER - 3-Day Bahamas - December, 2009
HAL STATENDAM -- Alaska -- June, 2010
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbwex
I had done much of the paperwork online a long time ago, but did not do anything about boarding time. When I went to do that today, the earliest available time is 2:00! We already have a town car service that should get us there about 11:15. Will they hassle us a lot, or just let us get in the process??
They'll probably let you check in but your boarding number is linked to your port arrival time...
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbwex
I had done much of the paperwork online a long time ago, but did not do anything about boarding time. When I went to do that today, the earliest available time is 2:00! We already have a town car service that should get us there about 11:15. Will they hassle us a lot, or just let us get in the process??
Do you mind sending me a PM with the town-car service info and if they were good or not, considering doing the same instead of dealing with rental car return that morning.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbwex View Post
I had done much of the paperwork online a long time ago, but did not do anything about boarding time. When I went to do that today, the earliest available time is 2:00! We already have a town car service that should get us there about 11:15. Will they hassle us a lot, or just let us get in the process??
The reason they started the Port Arrival Time process was to spread out the crowds. What would be the point of having people pick PATs and then let them come when they wanted to? When the new ships arrived, the terminal (built for the smaller ships) could not accomodate all the people who wanted to be there "when the doors opened". The fire marshal told DCL they had to do something. That something was the PAT.

All that being said, once the actual boarding process starts (usually about 11:45, sometimes a bit earlier), the terminal frees up a bit. As PP noted your actual boarding number is tied to your PAT. Once the number being issued at checkin catches up with the number being announced for boarding, Open Boarding is announced (generally about 12:30 or so). At that time anyone can board.

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Old 12-22-2012, 07:51 PM   #12
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Anyone who's supposed to board, that is!
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Old 12-23-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
bbwex
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Registering the kids for Oceaneer's Club

It appears to me that all you can do online is fill out and accept the small form that fills in the kids' nicknames. Am I correct that you cannot really pre-register them for the Oceaneer's Club until you get to the terminal or on board?
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U.S.S. HANCOCK (CVA-19) 1969-71, two WestPac cruises -- oops those weren't pleasure cruises
Carnival Fantasy '90 or '91 - 3 day cruise
Oceania REGATTA - Scandinavian Splendor August, 2009
Disney WONDER - 3-Day Bahamas - December, 2009
HAL STATENDAM -- Alaska -- June, 2010
Ocean Adventures M.V. ECLIPSE - Galapagos Islands -- June, 2012
Oceania RIVIERA -- Italy -- October, 2012
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Old 12-23-2012, 09:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbwex
It appears to me that all you can do online is fill out and accept the small form that fills in the kids' nicknames. Am I correct that you cannot really pre-register them for the Oceaneer's Club until you get to the terminal or on board?
When I did ours we could also assign a password for checking the kids in and out and there was a checkbox to confirm DD3 was potty trained and would be using the club. Also noted ahead on our reservation her allergy.
Then when we did the checkin for the club they verified their nicknames, gave them the club bracelets and generally did the twenty questions for allergies (is it severe, does she have an epi pen, etc.). Super easy.
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:26 PM   #15
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by neg58 View Post
I printed off the forms at home and filled them in. The only form I had to do was the 'family health' one they hand you while in line. Those forms, our passports, pictures at the check in desk were it. We were probably at the check in desk about 4 minutes. There was a line when we got there (the line for Castaway members was shorter), but once through we just boarded as our port arrival time was 12:30 I think.

Nancy
Can someone please tell me what forms everyone is talking about-we have one form, the payment auth/cruise contract for each traveler and all that needed was a signature???? Everytrhing else was done online-this is not my first cruise and this is all we brought before with our passports and ids.


Linda
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