On our most recent cruise, HAL Ryndam disembarking in Vancouver, we opted for the airline check-in program briefly described in the article. For $16 per person, HAL printed our boarding passes, gave us airline baggage tags for two items of luggage apiece, and then brought those bags to the airport. We didn't see them from the time we set them outside our door until we arrived in Boston nearly 20 hours later. This was great -- just like my initial days of cruising, only for a fee, which was pretty modest, IMO.
Regarding designated waiting areas, we've had this on several ships, and enjoy it. The main downside is that if you are traveling with friends whose departure arrangements differ from yours, there's a good chance you won't be able to wait it out together. But, that's not so much of a big deal.
I did note from the article that Carnival estimates that 40-50% of passengers utilize the Self-Assist option. Wow... that equates to more than 1,000 pax on some ships! No wonder the lines snake around the deck for so long.
As for the rest of the issue, I haven't finished reading it yet, but I did enjoy the article on Boston. Some of it is a little dated (the photo of Quincy Market provided by the Breater Boston Convention and Vistor Bureau shows a highway that is no longer there; the Ritz Carlton is now the Taj Boston), but that is to be expected with long times between composing and publishing.