Last year, we did self disembarkation on the Conquest and it was a nightmare. Everyone jammed up the lobbies and people were literally screaming at each other. We were hauling way too much stuff and ended up busting our liquor in the middle of the hallway on accident. It took us forever to get off the ship, and it definitely wasn't worth it.
Our cruise on the Miracle ended today, and there was no way we were going to deal with that insanity again. We put out our bags the night before and waited in our room this morning until our steward politely told us he needed to get in to begin cleaning. Then we took our carry-ons down to Deck 3 and waited for our color to be called. It was extremely organized and quick. We were really impressed!
I think the ease of the whole process really depends on the ship and how courteous the other passengers are being.
Booked on Carnival Freedom, Feb. 2012 (Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama)
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005