Getting to Port Canaveral

MimiDee905

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
In the past, when you do online check in, you must select your port arrival time. I always have selected the earliest time possible. We are usually in the first 15 groups to board the ship, which makes it much easier to use the elevators, get in line for cabanas, and of course, hop in the pool! In fact, on our last Dream cruise in 2017, my DH and I had the adult pool to ourselves on arrival day for a good hour! It was wonderful!
Not sure how much of this will change due to new covid regulations.
 

HiStitch626

Tookie bah wah bah!
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
Like MimiDee905 said, things may change due to the pandemic.

Early arrival pros - Get on the ship earlier and be able to enjoy the pools/lunch areas/ and explore the ship during that time. If paid upgrades are available, the early arrivals will get them. If you need to make dining changes you will be onboard when that time starts (usually begins about 12:30 or 1:00)

Cons- The check-in lines can be long. The terminal can get very crowded, and in the past, there was not enough seating for everyone. People tend to congregate by the entrance even when it is not their turn to board, so navigating through that can be a pain. Staterooms do not open until 1:30, unless you are concierge, so any carry-on luggage has to be kept with you until then.

Late arrival pros - Short check-in lines and often you can get right on board after you check in. The terminal will be emptier and better for pictures. If arriving after 1:30, you can go right to your stateroom.

Cons- In terminal character meet and greets may be finished for the day. The pool deck will be crowded and there will be a line for the slide.
 

JWG

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
We split the difference and try to arrive around 11:00am. That gives about 45-60 minutes until they start boarding. We find that means we're usually only waiting 20 minutes or so to board and we're on the ship by 12:15-12:30. We use that time to have lunch, by then our room is usually ready and we're unpacked and off.
 

meliscan

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
We split the difference and try to arrive around 11:00am. That gives about 45-60 minutes until they start boarding. We find that means we're usually only waiting 20 minutes or so to board and we're on the ship by 12:15-12:30. We use that time to have lunch, by then our room is usually ready and we're unpacked and off.
We have started to arrive at this time as well. Upgrades have been pretty non-existent in the past few years when we have cruised. The plus is that the terminal isn't as crowded and I am not dragging my carry on around the ship for as long.
 
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JWG

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
We have started to arrive at this time as well. Upgrades have been pretty non-existent in the past few years when we have cruised. The plus is that the terminal isn't as crowded and I am not dragging my carry on around the ship for as long.
We tend to book verandah rooms and/or are traveling with connecting staterooms, so upgrades are usually a non-issue for us as well. And, I wouldn't be surprised if at some point (like with Marriott) you don't get an upgrade opportunity electronically close to your arrival date.
 

OKW Lover

Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
In pre-covid times we preferred to arrive about 12:30. It eliminates the long lines at check-in counters and the subsequent wait for boarding to actually begin. Usually at that time its almost a walk-on.
 

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  • ladyofthetramp

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2014
    We too prefer a later arrival time. I like the ability to just walk on board and go straight to my cabin and drop off my bags. Then to lunch without dragging along the carry on. Just more relaxed for us. I can't help but feel things may change post-covid. The terminal was very, very crowded. Remains to be seen how that may or may not be handled
     

    tinkerone

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2007
    In pre-covid times we preferred to arrive about 12:30. It eliminates the long lines at check-in counters and the subsequent wait for boarding to actually begin. Usually at that time its almost a walk-on.
    That is our preferred arrival time as well. There is no line up for check-in, no people pushing in the terminal, walk right on the ship. All the stress of arrival is gone and we are only boarding an hour after everyone else. So relaxing. Great start to the vacation.
     

    DISNEYFAN3260

    "My other car is a monorail"
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2013
    We like to arrive at 11 am. It is unnecessarily early by many people's standards, which I completely understand. I'm just the type who wants to get on as soon as possible to get photos and wander around the ship before the crowds build up on board. It's also nice to beat the rush at Cabanas if that is your plan for lunch. We either wear our swimwear under our clothes or carry it on with us to change most times so we can get great chairs by the adult pool and enjoy the empty hot tubs. I want to get every moment on board that we possibly can.
     
  • AquaDame

    DCL
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2010
    I like getting onboard as soon as possible so I can go in person to see if our request for a private table was met (and if not ask what our options are).
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    I like getting onboard as soon as possible so I can go in person to see if our request for a private table was met (and if not ask what our options are).
    This makes a good point. For those that need to do something on board, like grab a Palo/Remi reservation you'll want to board early so you can be at the front of the line.
     

    Malestrom Troll

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2015
    We always have stayed the night at the MCO Hyatt and took the first bus from MCO. We like being the first ones in the terminal. I hope the new procedures don't prevent us doing this in the future.
     

    bbn1122

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2009
    I am with getting onboard as soon as you can. But one time we were delayed out of NYC and got there at 1pm. It was so easy, terminal almost empty. And since it was just DH and I, eating lunch, getting settled and pool, no worries.

    I will definitely try for the earliest boarding next year when we get to cruise on The Wish.😎👍🏻🌴
     

    anjuan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2012
    Count me in the group with getting to the port as soon as possible so that the vacation excitement can begin right away!
     





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