Port Arrival Time Selection

We also got later BG/PAT while being Gold and completing check-in by 12:02, not a fan.

Couple of questions from someone who always drives from WDW to PC that may seem frivolous but I'm curious:
  1. Is boarding DCL Transport at WDW 'the last time you touch your luggage'? Said another way, do they just handle your luggage once the bus gets to the port, or do you need to offload it and deal with it?
  2. Is it possible to not ride DCL Transport, but give them your luggage and then drive yourself?
I wouldn't mind having a luggage valet and earlier PAT for a nominal fee...
You will get a letter in your room the night before at the resort. It states when they will pick up your luggage from the room. You keep your carryons . It will also state when and where to meet up for the bus, so yes it is the last you see the luggage until your cabin.

At the airport they have a truck there that takes the luggage when you check in and get on the bus.
 
Just returned from a 7-day on the Fantasy. I arrived at the cruise terminal about 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to my PAT and was able to park in the parking garage at the cruise terminal without any issues.
Did they hold you outside for the entire hour and 15 or did they let you in early?
 
When we cruised out of PC this past September we arrived early, had no problem parking but had to wait in lines outside the terminal that were based on your PAT arrival times.
 
Platinum cruisers; completed online check-in at 12:07 a.m. and got 12:15 p.m. PAT and boarding group 10 for Fantasy Western Caribbean cruise in December. Driving to port. Not pleased with absence of perk of earlier PAT/boarding group - given to passengers using DCL transportation. I will be including a pre-written note in disembarkation survey expressing my displeasure and that we'll be looking at other cruise lines in near future.
 


In fairness I believe in the last they just didn’t give DCL transport guests a PAT but they still arrived before everyone else. It seems like the big change is that they’ve assigned them a PAT and have therefore bumped subsequent groups. I do wonder if they have been boarding later recently?

I don’t fault Pearl, platinum etc for being mad about this change. I think that’s very legitimate. I used to get 11:30-11:45 PATs as silver so if I were platinum I would not be happy to get noon.
 
I believe in the last they just didn’t give DCL transport guests a PAT but they still arrived before everyone else
That’s partially true. DCL Transfers from MCO didn’t get a PAT and were assigned Boarding Group at the port. But typically at most only a couple of buses would arrive before other guests. DCL Transfers from the resorts arrived later (usually after 12:30).

The difference now is all those transfers from the resorts arrive early.

I recall complaints from Platinum CC in the past who wanted to take DCL Transfers from WDW but those arrived too late for the perk.
 
I haven't seen this addressed yet in this thread. My PAT is 12:45 for our December 1st cruise on the Wish. The last time we cruised we weren't even allowed to enter the parking garage until our PAT. Are we allowed to arrive at the parking garage earlier than our PAT? If we don't get on the ship until 1, will the Marceline Market and/or an MDR still be serving lunch?
Yes, you'll be allowed to park even if it's before your PAT-that was a COVID restriction so they could limit crowds. As others said, you won't be allowed to enter the terminal early, though.
 


Seems like all of the platinum, pearl, gold, and silver on our xmas 4 night Wish cruise, that are not taking the DCL transfer, got PAT of noon-12:30 and BGs 10-11. This was checking in right when it opened for their groups.
 
I don’t fault Pearl, platinum etc for being mad about this change. I think that’s very legitimate. I used to get 11:30-11:45 PATs as silver so if I were platinum I would not be happy to get noon.

It’s not just that they took the perk away, but they have made it so that you are essentially punished unless you take their expensive transportation. Like I said, people who are have never cruised before are getting on right when boarding begins while people who have cruised 20 times has to stand outside the terminal for an hour. And then DCL did absolutely nothing to replace the perk.

This cruise line simply doesn’t care about loyalty. What’s the point of even having the CC anymore? The perks they do offer are just clever ways to squeeze more money out of you. Shop discounts, early booking windows, etc.. you are not actually getting anything. Free Palo dinner? All they do is shift the cost since you aren’t in the MDR. Other cruise lines give free WiFi, free upgrades, even a free cruise at the real high tiers. DCL does none of that. Best you get is your name on a wall at Castaway Cay at your 50th cruise.
 
It’s not just that they took the perk away, but they have made it so that you are essentially punished unless you take their expensive transportation. Like I said, people who are have never cruised before are getting on right when boarding begins while people who have cruised 20 times has to stand outside the terminal for an hour. And then DCL did absolutely nothing to replace the perk.

This cruise line simply doesn’t care about loyalty. What’s the point of even having the CC anymore? The perks they do offer are just clever ways to squeeze more money out of you. Shop discounts, early booking windows, etc.. you are not actually getting anything. Free Palo dinner? All they do is shift the cost since you aren’t in the MDR. Other cruise lines give free WiFi, free upgrades, even a free cruise at the real high tiers. DCL does none of that. Best you get is your name on a wall at Castaway Cay at your 50th cruise.
also lost abilty to book on first day of new iteneraies, now platinum can book 2nd day, can make a diff in cabin selection & price
 
It’s not just that they took the perk away, but they have made it so that you are essentially punished unless you take their expensive transportation. Like I said, people who are have never cruised before are getting on right when boarding begins while people who have cruised 20 times has to stand outside the terminal for an hour. And then DCL did absolutely nothing to replace the perk.

This cruise line simply doesn’t care about loyalty. What’s the point of even having the CC anymore? The perks they do offer are just clever ways to squeeze more money out of you. Shop discounts, early booking windows, etc.. you are not actually getting anything. Free Palo dinner? All they do is shift the cost since you aren’t in the MDR. Other cruise lines give free WiFi, free upgrades, even a free cruise at the real high tiers. DCL does none of that. Best you get is your name on a wall at Castaway Cay at your 50th cruise.
Our next cruise is in March out of Vancouver and I suspect there are far fewer people who book ground transport in Vancouver so I am curious how that will impact port arrival times.
 
Our next cruise is in March out of Vancouver and I suspect there are far fewer people who book ground transport in Vancouver so I am curious how that will impact port arrival times.
For our June 2023 Alaska cruise out of Vancouver, as silver, we pretty much got whatever we wanted. It was definitely before noon.
 
Seems like all of the platinum, pearl, gold, and silver on our xmas 4 night Wish cruise, that are not taking the DCL transfer, got PAT of noon-12:30 and BGs 10-11. This was checking in right when it opened for their groups.
The same thing happened on our New Year's Eve 7 night on the Fantasy. Everyone got PAT of noon (earliest) and BG's 10-11.
 
It’s not just that they took the perk away, but they have made it so that you are essentially punished unless you take their expensive transportation. Like I said, people who are have never cruised before are getting on right when boarding begins while people who have cruised 20 times has to stand outside the terminal for an hour. And then DCL did absolutely nothing to replace the perk.

This cruise line simply doesn’t care about loyalty. What’s the point of even having the CC anymore? The perks they do offer are just clever ways to squeeze more money out of you. Shop discounts, early booking windows, etc.. you are not actually getting anything. Free Palo dinner? All they do is shift the cost since you aren’t in the MDR. Other cruise lines give free WiFi, free upgrades, even a free cruise at the real high tiers. DCL does none of that. Best you get is your name on a wall at Castaway Cay at your 50th cruise.
I agree with this. On the other hand I didn’t think it was fair pre COVID that I was loyal to Disney, because I stayed on property and booked their transportation to port. But I only arrived around 1.30 pm. Whereas people who perhaps didn’t stay on property and drove, could arrive earlier. Even if they were first timers or silver and I was gold.
 
It’s not just that they took the perk away, but they have made it so that you are essentially punished unless you take their expensive transportation. Like I said, people who are have never cruised before are getting on right when boarding begins while people who have cruised 20 times has to stand outside the terminal for an hour. And then DCL did absolutely nothing to replace the perk.
Guests who are not arriving on Disney transportation don't have to stand outside the terminal unless they arrive well before their port arrival time (which they can avoid, since they are handling their own transportation).

Guests who are arriving on Disney transportation from the parks don't have control over when they arrive, so if they had to select a port arrival time and earlier times were taken, they would need to wait outside the terminal.

It might be possible for DCL to assign people with higher Castaway Club status who are using Disney transportation to earlier boarding groups. However, that would mean people with lower status would be in later boarding groups, resulting in more people in the terminal at an given time. It appears that the goal of the current port arrival time/boarding group process is to minimize the number of people in the terminal.

I agree that it was great when as a Platinum Castaway Club member I could board whenever I wanted after boarding began. However, waiting 15-20 minutes after boarding begins to board the ship hasn't been that bad -- on my 2 cruises this year, I was onboard before the sit-down restaurant even opened for lunch, well before the Dining Changes area opened. I'd rather stay seated for a few minutes than fight dozens of other Platinum guests to line up at once.

also lost abilty to book on first day of new iteneraies, now platinum can book 2nd day, can make a diff in cabin selection & price
This wasn't really a loss -- Platinum can still book before Gold, Silver, and new cruisers, as they could a few years ago. It's just that Pearl (which is a small number of guests on most cruises) can now book before Platinum. Yes, it is possible that a Platinum person can't get the specific cabin they want because it was taken by a Pearl booking, but there are many cabins available. It's also possible that on a small number of itineraries there could be enough Pearl bookings to result in a price hike before Platinum can book, but I think that's unlikely.
 
This whole conversation just seems so Disney manufactured entitlement. I have heard of no other cruise line with this level of port arrival issues and complaints (pre-covid and now in post-covid). Checking in on another line, you tell them when you are coming. The Royal group has gotten to the point, at their dedicated terminals, embarkation with pre-departure check-in takes 15 minutes or less. If DCL people weren't so gong-ho on being first/arriving early/getting the most out of every dollar it would be the same. But Disney knows that if they acted like any other line, it would be mass bedlam at the Port as all 2500 people got there at 10am.

It is the first day of the cruise. Nothing but the buffet and a restaurant or 2 is open. Activities haven't started, you have to wait to access your cabin. Your luggage isn't at your room until after you have access to your room. Everything is pre-booked, because of course it is being Disney. I just don't understand the nitty-gritty desire to be there at 11am vs 1230pm.

I have never found the hours from arrival to when the engines get going to be of particular value. But maybe I'm just crazy?
 
It appears that the goal of the current port arrival time/boarding group process is to minimize the number of people in the terminal.
That is exactly the intent of PATs due to fire regulations. It started when the Dream launched and the Port Canaveral terminal was not large enough (by fire regulations) to handle the greater passenger numbers.
 
We are leaving out of Port Everglades. Is there any benefit to checking the box that we will arrive by Disney Transport to get an earlier port arrival time, even if we plan to take Uber? Then change the selection later. Or will that automatically change our arrival time?
 
It is the first day of the cruise. Nothing but the buffet and a restaurant or 2 is open. Activities haven't started, you have to wait to access your cabin. Your luggage isn't at your room until after you have access to your room. Everything is pre-booked, because of course it is being Disney. I just don't understand the nitty-gritty desire to be there at 11am vs 1230pm.
There are actually some beverage tastings that occur on day 1. Also, some people may be trying to get onboard earlier to get to dining changes (change their dining time, get Palo/Remy/etc., get a private table, etc.). Some people like to ride the AquaDunk/Duck/Mouse when there's a shorter line. And for shorter cruises, having a few extra hours can make a difference.

To each their own, but there are plenty of reasons why someone may be angling for an earlier PAT.
 
This whole conversation just seems so Disney manufactured entitlement. I have heard of no other cruise line with this level of port arrival issues and complaints (pre-covid and now in post-covid). Checking in on another line, you tell them when you are coming. The Royal group has gotten to the point, at their dedicated terminals, embarkation with pre-departure check-in takes 15 minutes or less. If DCL people weren't so gong-ho on being first/arriving early/getting the most out of every dollar it would be the same. But Disney knows that if they acted like any other line, it would be mass bedlam at the Port as all 2500 people got there at 10am.

It is the first day of the cruise. Nothing but the buffet and a restaurant or 2 is open. Activities haven't started, you have to wait to access your cabin. Your luggage isn't at your room until after you have access to your room. Everything is pre-booked, because of course it is being Disney. I just don't understand the nitty-gritty desire to be there at 11am vs 1230pm.

I have never found the hours from arrival to when the engines get going to be of particular value. But maybe I'm just crazy?
We love an early PAT because my son really enjoys Cabanas that first lunch and it gets more and more crazy (and overwhelming) as the ship fills. We tend to board with swimsuits in carry ons and head straight from cabanas to the pools & aqua duck\mouse for some awesome time without it feeling like people soup. Especially nice on the Fantasy & Dream to be in the Donald pool while watching the funnel vision with hardly anyone else in the pool. By the time we are done swimming the rooms are normally available for us to quickly shower and change and then there is normally a trivia we go to right before the muster drill. We make good use of those hours before setting sail.

Besides the mentioned dining changes etc once you can connect to the ships wifi you can often snap up tastings, royal gatherings, excursions, and other things that were showing as unavailable before boarding.
 

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