Early check in and Port Upgrade Summarization

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by lsenquiz, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

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    I have been really trying to understand the check in and port upgrade process. Although there is alot of good info out there it is spread out over many posts and you have to piece it together to get the whole picture. Therefore, I tried to combine everything into one post. Hoping people will be willing to correct any mistakes I have made or add any important info I left out. As this happens I will update the OP to ensure it is correct. Thanks in advance for your help. This seems to be a subject near and dear to alot of Disney cruisers hearts:goodvibes

    1)When you do online check in you pick a port arrival time. In essence this is the time Disney is hoping you arrive for check in but I have seen posts where people were allowed to check in before their port arrival time. (Please note: you could be turned away for early check in if the check in area is at capacity with people that have an early port arrival time.)
    2)The earliest official time someone can check in is 11am however I have seen reports where they opened the terminal at 10:45am
    *Note: If your port arrival time is 1pm and you show up at 10:30am you may or may not be allowed to go ahead and enter the terminal to check in at 11:00am. In some cases POAs are checked in the elevator before you are allowed to enter the terminal. Also even if you are allowed to enter the terminal early you may not be allowed to board the ship early so you might have a long wait after check in.
    3)Once you are checked in you should make your way immediately to the supervisor desk(unless there is a sign saying no upgrades available at the check in desk) because that is where all the upgrades occur
    4)Upgrades are allowed on *GT rates but are based on the lowest category you could have gotten with the type of *GT you purchased(they are not based on what you actually got)
    * Example: if you bought a VGT rate and were assigned a 5C the upgrade would be based on a 7A category(lowest available veranda category) and not 5C. If you bought a IGT rate and were assigned a 5C your upgrade would be based on 11C.(lowest available interior category)
    5) The same holds true for any other upgrades that might happen before you arrive to check in(GTY assignments or other pixie dust upgrades)
    6)Upgrades are based on category to category only # of passangers and $$$ you actually paid are not a factor.
    *Example: one person might have paid $4000 for a 5C and another paid $3500 for a 5C. Both would be offered the same deal to upgrade to a 4A
    7)Upgrades are offered based on a mysterious chart that the person working the supervisors desk has so it is hard to predict what your offer might be:confused3(I have no additional info on this but did start this thread hoping to build some history - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3009010 )
     
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  3. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Regarding #1 - you will pick your port-arrival time when you do online check-in. The earliest you can choose is 11-11:30am. This is for cruises out of Port Canaveral, but may apply to other departure ports as well. When cruising the Magic or Wonder, the port arrival time doesn't make a big difference, as the ships are smaller and the terminal can generally hold enough people. The Port Arrival Time was instituted due to fire regulations once the newer ships started sailing, because they hold so many more passengers. Fire regulations only allow so many people in the terminal at a time, therefore until boarding actually begins allowing the crowd within the terminal to thin out, people arriving earlier than their designated port arrival time MAY be held outside of the terminal. This can vary depending on the cruise - which ship, how full that particular cruise is, etc. Once the initial crowds thin out by moving passengers onto the ship, more are allowed into the terminal and this becomes less of an issue with shorter waits in the terminal between check-in and boarding number called.

    Regarding #2 - see above. Passengers with a 1:00pm port arrival time are not likely to be allowed into the terminal at 10:30am. The terminal does not "officially" open until 11:00am, though depending on how quickly they clear from passengers disembarking and get ready for the new passengers, they MAY open the doors as early as 10:30am. (I think it was 10:45pm for our cruise last February.) But a 1:00pm port arrival should not expect to be allowed into the terminal at this time. Correct that your actual boarding number will be tied to your port arrival time, so even if a passenger with a 1:00pm port arrival time is allowed into the terminal early (say at 11:30am), do not expect to board with those who port arrival time was 11:30am.
     
  4. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

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    I updated # 1 - thanks for clarifying.

    As for #2 I want to make sure I understand what you are saying. Most of the reports I have read state that no one even checked their port of arrival time when they attempted to enter the check in terminal. Are you saying this is not true and your port of arrival time with be checked and you will not be allowed to enter if you have arrived too early? I think this is critical to get straight as it could really put a damper on someone with a late POA time ability to get an upgrade. I do understand that your ability to board the ship will be based on this and if you check in well before your POA you may end up waiting awhile to board but really need to understand the check in part as that is the only part key to getting an upgrade.

    Also what decides when you get to choose your POA? If it first come first serve for picking the early times?
     
  5. Zandy595

    Zandy595 DIS Veteran<br><font color=green>The other day I f

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    I haven't heard of anyone being let in the PC terminal at 10:30am. You'd be lucky if they let you park at that time. Unless things have changed.
     
  6. neg58

    neg58 DIS Veteran

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    Did your research (very helpful, by the way) indicate what the upgrade charge might be?

    If I look at the cabin I'm in right now and the V cabin I'd like to be in, the price difference is $1200. Do you have a guess at what the upgrade might cost? i know it may depend if they have just one V cabin available or 6, but any guess?

    Nancy
     
  7. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

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    ok I am upgrading this part as I think it is causing confusion. My example was meant to indicates that someone arrives at the terminal at 10:30 and is let in at 11am. After re-reading I can see where it might have been confusing.
     
  8. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

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    There a lots of posts where people tell what they paid but nothing that you could establish a pattern from.
     
  9. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Our port-arrival-time was checked last winter when we arrived. We had an 11:00-11:30 arrival window. I know others arriving that day were checked. We had to show our paperwork in the elevator lobby off the parking garage before being allowed down the hallway to join the line waiting for security.

    I believe whether port arrival time is checked or not may depend on a variety of factors. Namely, the older ships are not as likely to have an issue with the fire regulation capacity since they service so many fewer passengers. It may not be checked at all for them, though I can't say for sure. Also, if a particular cruise is not full, it may not be as much of an issue and therefore they may not check. I don't think you can make a generalized statement that DCL is not checking port arrival times. Remember, most passengers are NOT reporting on the DISboards so we don't have their experiences; also anyone arriving by DCL transport will not be held to their port arrival time.

    Guests select their own port arrival time as part of the online check-in. You may or may not have full options available - if your cruise is full or near full and you are first time cruiser, those with CC status may have already taken the earlier times.
     
  10. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

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    I made the updates. Please let me know if you have any other concerns with what I have in the OP. Thanks for your help getting things correct.
     
  11. EDelashmit

    EDelashmit Lover of anything Disney

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    Thank you for this! I've been trying to piece information together as well. This helps to have it all in one place!!!!
     
  12. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

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    Hoping for final confirmation that what I have now is correct.:)
     
  13. outahere

    outahere DIS Veteran

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    Everything you posted is true except the one above. Upgrades are based on category to category, but not on the # of guests. A party of 2 would pay the same price to upgrade as a party of 5, going from/to the same categories.

    When we went on the Dream in August, we were allowed into the garage at 10:20 and the terminal opened at 10:30. That may not happen on every cruise, and I know ours was not sold out, so that may have been a factor.
     
  14. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

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    Thanks I make the correction. Really appreciate the feedback.
     
  15. kaseyC

    kaseyC Mom to 3 lovely Princesses

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    We were on the first DCL bus from MCO and allowed in the terminal before it was opened to those waiting outside. Since we checked in at the airport, we were one of the first at the supervisors desk. While there the terminal was opened up officially and by the time I was done with the upgrade process, the line at the supervisors desk was about 20+.
     
  16. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for the details. If you remember what you paid for the upgrade it would be great if you could post them on the thread I created for tracking that:

    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3009010
     
  17. kdecroo

    kdecroo Earning My Ears

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    On 10/06/12 we went on the Dream 4 day Bahama cruise.

    We had a scheduled port arrival time of 1:30 p.m.

    We arrived at the port by private Limo at 10:20 a.m.

    At 10:30 a.m. we were the second persons let into the port terminal.

    Went to the first available window, checked in within 5 min. and was told that we have boarding number 17.

    My whole purpose for arriving early was to get a port upgrade, so the gentleman that checked us in sent us straight to the supervisors window.

    we were the first person at the supervosors window and upgraded from a 4A to Cat T for $700

    Just a side note, I paid for DCL Transfer from Disney World to Port Canaveral, but cancelled and booked private so that I could dictate my arrival time. If I stayed with DCL Transfer and their 11:30 - Noon pickup times, I would not have gotten my upgrade.

    I would not have cared if they wouldn't have let us board the boat untill our 1:30 alotted time, but they will still check you in and process all of your paper work as soon as you make it to an available window.

    But once we did the upgrade to Cat T Concierge, we were the fourth famile on the boat, well ahead of my Number 17 boarding number.

    Hope this helps..

    KD..
     
  18. hurleysweety

    hurleysweety <font color=deeppink>DISPrincess in Training<br><f

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    thanks for the info!
     
  19. MCK588

    MCK588 Mouseketeer

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    Very helpful. Thanks!
    Would love a little more info about DCL transfers from resort vs. MCO.
     
  20. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    In May, we were on the first bus from MCO. We were allowed into the terminal at 10:25, and were literally the first family in. As soon as everyone from our bus was thru security, they opened the terminal to the line of people waiting.

    My only correction to the above is that no one paid for Magical Express to the terminal. ME is a free service that runs between MCO and the various WDW resorts. If you paid, you would have booked DCL transfers--for $35 per person each way you can book transportation from MCO or WDW to the cruise terminal.

    The buses depart from MCO beginning about 9:30 am and operate every 20 minutes or so depending on how rapidly they fill up. A full bus is not kept waiting based on a schedule--it departs as soon as it is full. Similarly, no one is kept waiting more than 30 minutes. If a bus has not filled in that amount of time, it will depart with those guests who are on board.

    From the WDW resorts, the buses have ONE scheduled departure time for each resort. It will be between 11:30 and 12:30. Each bus may pick up at as many as 3 resorts depending on the number of guests departing from each. There is no way to predict the departure time in advance because the schedule changes based on the number of departing guests. Example--we rode from AKL where about 3 people got on, to POP where lots of people boarded (maybe 60), then headed out. Another time the bus served Saratoga Springs, OKW, and ? Port Orleans, with 20-30 guests boarding at each stop. They look at the numbers booked and arrange the buses in the most efficient way possible.

    Costs of upgrades--prior to late 2009, it was reasonably possible to guesstimate costs based on length of cruise and type of cabin. Now, all bets are off. It appears that they have thrown in a "fudge factor" perhaps based on the actual number of upgrades available. For example, if there is one suite available, it may be more costly than if they have 7 available. They know that SOMEONE will bite at the higher cost. We've seen upgrade prices that were a great deal and some that we declined. DCL has some sort of algorithm to determine the cost of the upgrade, but it is far more complex than it used to be.
     
  21. Smileneyes

    Smileneyes Father & Son Cruisin' Buddies!

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    We initially had a category 8C GTY reserved for our upcoming 12/8 Fantasy cruise. We were fortunate to get a pixie dust upgrade to a 5A. :cool1:

    IF there are port upgrades available, is the price calculation based upon our original (paid for) 8C, or will they base price on our current 5A?

    TIA!

    --Drew
     

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