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Old 02-28-2013, 12:12 PM   #1
leewalk
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Boarding Time Questions

I'm departing out of Miami on March 11. But I'm not clear on when boarding "actually" begins. The disneycruise web site says:
The Cruise Terminal opens at 11:00 a.m. and boarding begins around 1:00 p.m.
But I've seen lots or references to boarding starting at closer to 11:45am. We're luckily enough to have concierge this time, so I'd love to get on board earlier than 1pm.

Does anyone know if the website is just boilerplate info and boarding actually starts earlier? Or does boarding really start at 1pm?

Also, does anyone know if the non-concierge guests that I'm traveling with can board early with me?

Thanks for any pointers!
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:15 PM   #2
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When I sailed, the Family of the Day went on just about noon. I've read other reports of boarding starting around 11:45. I do think the 'about 1 o'clock' is boilerplate.

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Old 02-28-2013, 12:16 PM   #3
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The only time we have cruised and boarding started after noon was when there was a cold custom inspection where the entire crew had to leave the ship. That's on 9 cruises in three different ports.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:18 PM   #4
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Back from the Wonder (out of Miami) and boarding started around 11:45am. Initially I asked and was told 1pm.

After the 'first family' boards, the chime came on and announced boarding for group 1. As soon as that announcement finished, the chime came on and announced boarding for group 2. And kept going on and on and on for each group. Kinda funny...
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:21 PM   #5
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Disney is a master at crowd management. Part of this includes overestimating wait times and boarding times.

If they tell you boarding begins at 1:00 you will be happy when it begins earlier. If there is an unexpected delay and boarding doesn't actually begin until the stated time you will not be upset. They do the same thing with wait times in the parks. They are usually padded by 10-20%.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MouseMomx2 View Post
Disney is a master at crowd management. Part of this includes overestimating wait times and boarding times.

If they tell you boarding begins at 1:00 you will be happy when it begins earlier. If there is an unexpected delay and boarding doesn't actually begin until the stated time you will not be upset. They do the same thing with wait times in the parks. They are usually padded by 10-20%.
Actually, in our experience, it seems that most cruiselines say the boarding time is 1:00, but actually start boarding earlier. But it gives them a little leeway if something were to happen and they actually don't start boarding until 1:00.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:33 PM   #7
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I have a port arrival time of 11:00. I planned on getting there closer to 10:00 though. (We will have a rental car to return.) It sounds like we don't need to be in too big of a hurry though. I am interested in learning more about how this works. We used Disney transportation from WDW last time, so I didn't have to worry about any of this. Thanks!
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tchrrx View Post
I have a port arrival time of 11:00. I planned on getting there closer to 10:00 though. (We will have a rental car to return.) It sounds like we don't need to be in too big of a hurry though. I am interested in learning more about how this works. We used Disney transportation from WDW last time, so I didn't have to worry about any of this. Thanks!
The port doesn't open until 11:00. If you arrive at 10:00 you will be directed to go away and come back later.

When the port opens those with the 11:00-11:30 PAT window will be allowed in first. Boarding generally begins around 11:45. Your PAT is tied to the actual boarding number you receive at checkin at the port. The terminal will be very full and crazy between 11:00-12:15. By that time the number will be reduced due to the boarding process.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:38 PM   #9
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In January we were at the Miami Airport around 10am and boarded the bus shortly thereafter. We arrived at the port well before 11am and there were already hotel, car rental, etc shuttles and buses there. We walked right into the terminal.

BTW, the cruise terminal in Miami seems to be on the smallish size. I assume that DCL might be more strict on arrival times in Miami than in Port Canaveral. But I really don't know. When we contacted DCL and asked when we should arrive at the airport (since we already were in Miami), they said before 11 - because that's when the bulk of the same day flights start arriving (and they get really busy). We told them we had a port arrival time of 11:30 and they said the earlier we got to the airport was better - so we did!! And we did not experience any issues at the port.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tchrrx View Post
I have a port arrival time of 11:00. I planned on getting there closer to 10:00 though. (We will have a rental car to return.) It sounds like we don't need to be in too big of a hurry though. I am interested in learning more about how this works. We used Disney transportation from WDW last time, so I didn't have to worry about any of this. Thanks!
No need to get there too early. At 10:00am you definitely will not even be allowed into the terminal, possibly delayed getting into the port area. The terminal officially opens at 11:00am, though it seems they are typically opening the doors around 10:30am. Earlier than that and you will stand in a line outside.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:06 PM   #11
bellaphia
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Port Arrival Time

How and when do we get our PAT? this is our first Disney Cruise in November so this is all very new to me!
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:39 PM   #12
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How and when do we get our PAT? this is our first Disney Cruise in November so this is all very new to me!
You'll select a Port Arrival Time (PAT) when you do online check-in - so most likely 75 days pre-cruise.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:42 PM   #13
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In January we were at the Miami Airport around 10am and boarded the bus shortly thereafter. We arrived at the port well before 11am and there were already hotel, car rental, etc shuttles and buses there. We walked right into the terminal.

BTW, the cruise terminal in Miami seems to be on the smallish size. I assume that DCL might be more strict on arrival times in Miami than in Port Canaveral. But I really don't know. When we contacted DCL and asked when we should arrive at the airport (since we already were in Miami), they said before 11 - because that's when the bulk of the same day flights start arriving (and they get really busy). We told them we had a port arrival time of 11:30 and they said the earlier we got to the airport was better - so we did!! And we did not experience any issues at the port.
I can't speak for Miami specifically, but if it was DCL transfers then yes you will be allowed into the terminal as soon as the bus arrives. Often those are the first passengers to enter. PAT does not matter if taking DCL transfers, however your boarding number will still be tied to your PAT so arriving a lot earlier will have you waiting in the terminal while others board.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:42 PM   #14
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The hotel shuttles are not allowed to get to the port earlier in PC.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:58 PM   #15
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I can't speak for Miami specifically, but if it was DCL transfers then yes you will be allowed into the terminal as soon as the bus arrives. Often those are the first passengers to enter. PAT does not matter if taking DCL transfers, however your boarding number will still be tied to your PAT so arriving a lot earlier will have you waiting in the terminal while others board.
Miami is a little different than PC. The port is a long strip of terminals, with Disney being second from the end (2nd closest to Miami itself). It's sort of like an airport, but with both the departing and incoming on the same level. The sidewalk in front of the terminal is nuts, with those leaving the ship trying to get taxis and shuttles and private cars, while those coming are getting out of taxis and shuttles and private cars. You also go in and out of the terminal at the same door.

In a perfect world, the ship would arrive, everyone would get out of the terminal and be gone by 9:30 or 10:00, and those boarding the ship would get there after 10:30. This is not a perfect world. At 10 we were just getting through customs (and we weren't last) and already people were getting to the terminal. I think they were letting them in and directing them upstairs through security and then to check in, but that was just to get them out of our way. The problem is that the porters taking the luggage are right behind the taxis and shuttles, so it was hard to tell who was coming or going.

The hardest thing for us when leaving was finding someone to take our bags (not like PC at all - these guys weren't really all that interested in earning a tip) and the hardest thing debarking was finding the shuttle (never did) and then looking for a cab because by then people were everywhere!

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