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Old 12-26-2012, 02:59 PM   #1
Dano13
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Disney Embarkation from Port Canaveral, FL

Hello,

I am taking my Family on the Disney Fantasy in July and have been reading some mixed messages about embarkation. I should preface this with stating we were fortunate enough already to go on the Disney Dream in July 2011 and can't wait to see her sister. My specific question though is, in 2011 the embarkation was truly first come, first served, when getting to the terminal you were given a group number and simply had to wait regardless of what time you had registered for online. I have heard this changed and now when putting in your expected arrival time you are allocated a group number so showing up at 9AM will do nothing for you if you are slated to be there at 12:30 in group 30, etc. Can anyone verify that this is the case? We tend to be overly prompt and will arrive early, but I could do without sitting on the floor for 3 1/2 hours this time around. I truly appreciate any information that could be provided. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Thanks,
Dan
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:06 PM   #2
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:13 PM   #3
kcashner
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This is correct. Group 1 is concierge, group 2 is Platinum CC. Beyond that, your boarding card time is tied to your port arrival time (which you select on line as part of your on line check in). When you get to the check in counter, the computer issues your boarding number.

If you arrive at 9, you will have the joy of waiting till 10:30 or later when the terminal opens IF they even allow you into the port area. Officially the terminal opens at 11, but we were on the first bus from the airport and were the first family into the terminal at 10:30 on our last Fantasy cruise. They took the people from our bus, and after that group was thru opened to the people waiting in line. Boarding goes quite quickly once it starts. Again, boarding normally starts at 11:45, but on our most recent cruise it started at 11:30.

If you want to board early, all you can do is go on line at 90 days before embarkation and get the earliest terminal arrival time that is available. That will tie to an earlier boarding card number.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:47 PM   #4
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arrive at noon

avoid the "me first" crowd

experience less stress

you'll probably be on by 12:30 with no lines
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:43 PM   #5
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Embarkation

Thanks for the insights. I guess my biggest fear is being told to arrive at Noon and people that were directed to arrive at 2 are taken ahead of me, which is largely the type of thing I experienced 2 summers ago. I was hoping that they hold to the predetermined grouping that are assigned on the pre-boarding registration this time around.

Thanks again for the comments and advice.
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:02 AM   #6
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I used to belong to the "me first" crowd and arrive at 9. This was before the port arrival times when it was first come first served. Now it is awesome to just show up during your PAT, check in, and walk on with very little wait.
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:24 AM   #7
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Thanks Scott.

I was truly hoping they moved towards sticking to the times given during pre-registration. We met quite a few people at the terminal last time that were supposed to arrive at 1PM or later but got there around 10 and were taken before we were. We are traditionally early for everything but it will be reassuring to know if we are given say a 12Noon slot people given a 2PM will not be ahead of us on line. Plus that day I need to get the crew to the terminal and that drop off my rental car and shuttle back to the terminal so I am building a bit of a buffer as well.
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dano13 View Post
Thanks Scott.

I was truly hoping they moved towards sticking to the times given during pre-registration. We met quite a few people at the terminal last time that were supposed to arrive at 1PM or later but got there around 10 and were taken before we were. We are traditionally early for everything but it will be reassuring to know if we are given say a 12Noon slot people given a 2PM will not be ahead of us on line. Plus that day I need to get the crew to the terminal and that drop off my rental car and shuttle back to the terminal so I am building a bit of a buffer as well.
Just be aware, they MAY not let your family inside when you drop them off if it's before your check-in time. They CAN hold you outside until your noon window, so arriving early does you no good in that situation. It just causes you to wait outside in the hot sun with nowhere to sit....
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:40 AM   #9
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Since you plan to drop your family and then return the rental car, the family will be able to check in for you provided you leave your documents with them. You will need your driver's license to get back into the terminal as well as to drive the vehicle....but if you have another government issued photo ID, they can do your check in. IF your security photo is on file from your previous cruise, they can complete the entire process for you. If not, when you return to the terminal, you'll only need to do the security photo and claim your KTTW card from the CM and you'll be finished.

To be clear--someone with a 2 pm time might be allowed to check in before someone with a 12:00 time. However, each will get their boarding card number as determined by the computer based on their scheduled arrival time. Thus, the 12:00 guest will get a lower number than the 2 pm person.

Reality--if you arrive about 12:30, regardless of scheduled time you will check in with virtually no line. By the time you have checked in, they are likely to have called "open boarding" which means that anyone can board regardless of number. The "open boarding" is announced when those waiting with low numbers have boarded and the terminal has nearly cleared/

Last edited by kcashner; 12-27-2012 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:46 AM   #10
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Our first Disney cruise is in February, and it's been 13+ years since DH and I went on a RCCL cruise. The whole embarkation process is making me nervous to say the least! We'll be coming from the Poly using DCL transfer, so we are at the mercy of the bus When I booked the transfer I was told that we would be taken in when we arrived, no matter what PAT we chose. Is this true? I guess I'm nervous because I picked a PAT 90 days out, and I won't even know what time the bus SHOULD pick us up until the day before! Then, you never know if the bus will be ontime...or how long it will take to get to the port, how many more pickups are after us...
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:05 PM   #11
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I used to be in the "want to be there first" crowd and over the years got very tired of waiting in the line waiting to board (before the group numbers were given out). I'm older and wiser now and refuse to get in the crowds again.

Our last cruise was in March. We didn't book it until February and ended up with a 1:00p.m. arrival time. It was awesome! We sailed through the lines, walked right on board with no waiting and by then the rooms were available. Dropped off our bags, went to Parrot Cay for lunch which was nice and quiet by then and it was awesome. Took DS to change into his swimsuit (after we checked him into the Edge) and our luggage was already there. I unpacked quickly, we ran down and walked around for a few minutes and hit the hot tub for about an hour. Ran back upstairs and got dressed and went and did the Muster Drill. It was much less stressful and it is our plan again next week. Yes, I'm not on board the boat at 11:30 or whatever, but I'll take less stress over an extra hour any day!
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erinsmom03 View Post
Our first Disney cruise is in February, and it's been 13+ years since DH and I went on a RCCL cruise. The whole embarkation process is making me nervous to say the least! We'll be coming from the Poly using DCL transfer, so we are at the mercy of the bus When I booked the transfer I was told that we would be taken in when we arrived, no matter what PAT we chose. Is this true? I guess I'm nervous because I picked a PAT 90 days out, and I won't even know what time the bus SHOULD pick us up until the day before! Then, you never know if the bus will be ontime...or how long it will take to get to the port, how many more pickups are after us...
No worries! If you are taking DCL transfers from WDW, you will be allowed into the terminal whenever the bus arrives. Generally, pick-up at the resorts occurs between 11:30 - 12:30 with arrival at the port terminal around 1:30pm. Usually each bus will pick-up from between 1-3 resorts, but it does depend on how many passengers need WDW pick-up for that particular cruise. You will receive a more specific pick-up time the day before at your resort. Your choosen PAT is a moot point when using DCL transfers.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:20 PM   #13
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Thanks again for the additional help I am receiving. I guess as a previous cruiser on DCL my picture will be on record so if I leave my passport with my wife and keep my driver's license on me, it should be fairly seemless if I go to drop off the car. Worst case, I can drop off the car when Avis first opens and take the shuttle from the hotel with the rest of the party.

I am very happy to hear that they are holding to the assigned check in times now. This certainly wasn't the case on my last DCL trip and the terminal became unbearably crowded and slightly chaotic. To me that was the only thing that needed to be tightened up as the rest of the cruise was way beyond what anyone could have expected. I wasn't very gung ho to cruise again after previous non-DCL trips, but DCL is a different animal from the other lines. It is truly apples and oranges. I do not think I would ever cruise again outside of DCL.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:52 PM   #14
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Interesting

On our first cruise (a 3 day on the Wonder), we arrived at the port at 12:30 and walked right on the Wonder. It was amazing. No wait at all.

On our second cruise (a 4 day on the Wonder), we walked into the terminal at about 10:45 AM and we were selected to be "the first family". That was a real treat. We were escorted to the consierge section and when boarding began, our family was announced and we were literally the first family on the ship! Very magical!

On our third cruise (a 5 day on the Dream), we arrived in port at 11:30 with a 12:30 boarding time (we were like - what is this time thing?) and we did not get on the ship until at least 1 PM. So many people got there ahead of us. I was very disappointed at the chaos at the terminal. Obviously we weer spoiled before, but this was total chaos. No one was boarding at their allotted time. It was a madhouse. I had a spa treatment scheduled at 2PM so this was incredibly stressful for me.

I am hoping that they stick to the scheduled boarding times. Our next cruise is scheduled for July 2013. So, we shall see
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfamilylovesdisney View Post
On our first cruise (a 3 day on the Wonder), we arrived at the port at 12:30 and walked right on the Wonder. It was amazing. No wait at all.

On our second cruise (a 4 day on the Wonder), we walked into the terminal at about 10:45 AM and we were selected to be "the first family". That was a real treat. We were escorted to the consierge section and when boarding began, our family was announced and we were literally the first family on the ship! Very magical!

On our third cruise (a 5 day on the Dream), we arrived in port at 11:30 with a 12:30 boarding time (we were like - what is this time thing?) and we did not get on the ship until at least 1 PM. So many people got there ahead of us. I was very disappointed at the chaos at the terminal. Obviously we weer spoiled before, but this was total chaos. No one was boarding at their allotted time. It was a madhouse. I had a spa treatment scheduled at 2PM so this was incredibly stressful for me.

I am hoping that they stick to the scheduled boarding times. Our next cruise is scheduled for July 2013. So, we shall see
What you had was a Port Arrival Time. That PAT is tied to your boarding number that you receive when you check in at the port. You arrived earlier than your selected PAT, so you had to wait until the boarding number tied to your correct time was being boarded.

Next time, I would suggest that you plan on arriving at the time you select and not earlier.

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