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Old 03-16-2013, 10:14 PM   #1
chwtom
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Only the last port arrival time left (3pm)--can I come early anyways?

So I booked a cruise on the Dream for March 24 using Dreams Unlimited travel. I have never cruised before--Disney or otherwise, and asked the travel agent I worked with a couple times what things I needed to do well in advance. He said I didn't need to do anything really--that I could get Remy and Palo reservations on board, and that nothing else really fills up.

Well, the castaway cay cabanas and spa services are all sold out. My fault for not double checking, but I'm a little irritated since I specifically asked that question, but whatever. But the only port arrival time left is 3-3:30 pm. We have a car booked to bring us to the port from a Disney resort. It is picking us up at 10:30, and I'm guessing we will get to port around 11:30 or so.

I don't think my young kids would enjoy sitting for 4 hours waiting to board. Will we be able to get aboard earlier than that? Or is the port arrival time enforced to the point that I should change my car service to a later time?

Would appreciate your help!
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:21 PM   #2
PrincessShmoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chwtom View Post
So I booked a cruise on the Dream for March 24 using Dreams Unlimited travel. I have never cruised before--Disney or otherwise, and asked the travel agent I worked with a couple times what things I needed to do well in advance. He said I didn't need to do anything really--that I could get Remy and Palo reservations on board, and that nothing else really fills up.

Well, the castaway cay cabanas and spa services are all sold out. My fault for not double checking, but I'm a little irritated since I specifically asked that question, but whatever. But the only port arrival time left is 3-3:30 pm. We have a car booked to bring us to the port from a Disney resort. It is picking us up at 10:30, and I'm guessing we will get to port around 11:30 or so.

I don't think my young kids would enjoy sitting for 4 hours waiting to board. Will we be able to get aboard earlier than that? Or is the port arrival time enforced to the point that I should change my car service to a later time?

Would appreciate your help!
The port opens at 11:00. The actual boarding doesn't begin until about 11:45. If you arrive during this time, the terminal will be quite busy, and you will be asked to wait until either the terminal frees up or your PAT.

Now, that being said, once the boarding process begins, it goes fairly quickly. When you check in you receive a boarding number (which is tied to your PAT). Once the boarding number being announced catches up with the number being issued at checkin, Open Boarding is announced. This usually happens around 12:30-12:45. At this time anyone holding any boarding number may board.

For those with a late PAT, the "sweet spot" for arriving at the terminal is in the 12:30-1:00 window. During that time the Open Boarding has generally started (or close to it) and it's before the busses from the WDW resorts begin arrving.

I'd see if your transport could be a bit later, or take their time getting to the port in order to arrive closer to 12:30, if you could.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:31 PM   #3
swedemeatball
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Go early, had a 2:30 PAT in October showed up at 11:15 and was on the boat by noon.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:21 AM   #4
chwtom
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Originally Posted by PrincessShmoo View Post
The port opens at 11:00. The actual boarding doesn't begin until about 11:45. If you arrive during this time, the terminal will be quite busy, and you will be asked to wait until either the terminal frees up or your PAT.

Now, that being said, once the boarding process begins, it goes fairly quickly. When you check in you receive a boarding number (which is tied to your PAT). Once the boarding number being announced catches up with the number being issued at checkin, Open Boarding is announced. This usually happens around 12:30-12:45. At this time anyone holding any boarding number may board.

For those with a late PAT, the "sweet spot" for arriving at the terminal is in the 12:30-1:00 window. During that time the Open Boarding has generally started (or close to it) and it's before the busses from the WDW resorts begin arrving.

I'd see if your transport could be a bit later, or take their time getting to the port in order to arrive closer to 12:30, if you could.

Thanks Schmoo, that's super helpful.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:55 AM   #5
neg58
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It's too bad you didn't understand about the registration, but as a first timer you really had no chance at a cabana on CC as they are almost always taken by cruisers with the highest status. There will be Palo and Remy reservations available on the first day, and usually there some spa choices left too (although IMHO, you aren't missing anything there!).

Didn't you get an email from DCL that your reservation window was opening? I got one a few days before mine opened to go in and start making selections.

Nancy
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:01 AM   #6
Green Tea
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Wow. That's really bad service from your travel agent.

I agree. Go to the port sometime around 12:30 to 1. You'll likely be able to walk right on after check in.

Go straight to the place for dining reservations to request a Palo time. There are probably some held back and if not someone will maybe cancel. Good luck.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:06 AM   #7
Belle2007
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I'm sorry about the reservations! I agree with the others about the timeframes.

I wanted to add pack your bathing suits in your carry on and then your family can hit the pools when you board and you won't have to wait for your luggage to arrive at the stateroom.

You will have a fabulous time (even w/o remy ressies or spa ressies)!

Peggy
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:15 AM   #8
chwtom
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Thanks everyone. I did get an email from Disney that my reservation window was open, I just didn't realize there was anything time-sensitive about it. Oh well, we will still have a great time.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Belle2007 View Post
I'm sorry about the reservations! I agree with the others about the timeframes.

I wanted to add pack your bathing suits in your carry on and then your family can hit the pools when you board and you won't have to wait for your luggage to arrive at the stateroom.

You will have a fabulous time (even w/o remy ressies or spa ressies)!

Peggy
This. We were clueless about the boarding procedures our first time too. We showed up early and waited for hours because there was a Coast Guard delay. We didn't get on board until around 2pm. And we were in the middle of the pack as far as PAT IIRC.

So, pack bathing suits in a carry-on or have kids wear them under their clothes. And you WILL have a great time regardless of what's available! We never even considered special dining or spa reservations. Too much else to do. Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:00 AM   #10
chwtom
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Just to followup--we got there around 12:30 and were allowed to board around 1-1:30. By the time we got on the boat, our room was ready, so we could drop off our bags, which was nice.

Being spring break, the cruise was completely full, so I would say 1:00 is the latest you'd ever need to get there, regardless of what your arrival time says.
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