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Billbo 03-16-2013 07:32 AM

How exactly does boarding work?
Concerned about boarding and mobility issues, I've been unable to learn exactly how the boarding process works on Holland America. My particular concern is with boarding in Seattle, but it may work the same elsewhere...don't know.

How long is a person likely to walk from shuttle drop-off to cabin? How long should one expect to stand in line in the boarding process (or waiting to board)?

Any other tips for those with moderate limits on mobility?

Dave 03-16-2013 08:20 AM

You get dropped off in front of the terminal, where you hand over your checked luggage to the porters. You then enter the terminal and go through a security screening with your carry-on bags: x-ray machine and metal detector walk-through. You then go to the appropriate check-in line, which is usually based on deck number, or if you are in a suite. They will have signs. These are cattle chute style with the maze-like layout of rope barriers to control crowding. Whether your line is long or short really depends on when you get to the pier. Early means more crowding and waiting. Later can often mean no lines and you go from curb to the ship almost non-stop.

Once you have checked in with one of the desk agents, if the ship is open for boarding you will proceed directly aboard, with perhaps a stop along the way for a security photo if they don't take it at the check-in desk. If the ship is still not open, you will be directed to a seating area to wait for boarding to commence. When boarding starts they do it by groups to avoid crowding. Thus, you may have to stand at security and then check-in for maybe 10-15 minutes in a slow but usually constantly moving line. Then another 10 minutes to board. It could be a little longer or quite fast, again depending on your arrival time.

Billbo 03-16-2013 10:39 AM

Very helpful, Dave. Thanks. There are so many "exactly how does this work" issues in anticipation of a first cruise (or first time on a given line or destination). Obvious to veterans. But I could ask questions all day about "How does the ____ work?" ;)

susanmaz 03-16-2013 01:42 PM

If you are sailing on HAL (presumption since you posted in the Holland America section), your cabin should be ready when you board. No more waiting around the LIDO until 1:00 or so. If you have mobility issues, there will be crew and/or staff members available to help you.

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