I am booked on the Monarch of the Seas for New Years Eve. It is my first cruise and I have a question about boarding. The ship sails at 5:30pm, how early can we board? I know we have to board by 4:30pm, but can't find out how early boarding starts. I need to book airline tickets and don't want to get there to early. Thanks.
Usually boarding starts around 1:00...I've been on a few cruises where we were let on board at 12....but then again, one of the cruises, we didn't get on board until 4:00 because of a late arrival due to fog. A lot depends on the turnaround from the last cruise....they want the ship to be in the best condition for the next set of passengers. Just don't be late:-)
Happy New Year on the ship...The Monarch was my very first cruise when she was brand new...the addition to cruise only has gotten stronger:-)
The "official" boarding time is usually 1:30 or 2pm, but actual boarding time varies slightly each week. It depends on how quickly the ship is cleared from the last cruise that arrives that morning. Sometimes they start boarding as early as 12:30, sometimes not until 2pm.
In most cases boarding starts around noon. If get on board before 1:00 you won't be able to go to your stateroom until that time. However, you can go to the windjammer, or the pool area until the staterooms are ready.
You may be able to board as early as 11:00 am. As stated earlier, it depends how quick of a turn around they are able to do from the previous sailing. I was on board the Majesty for my cruise around 11:00 am or so back in the beginning of October, even though my documents stated that the boarding time was 2:00 pm. However, if you do board before 1:00 pm, your staterooms won't be ready before that, but you can go up to the Windjammer to have lunch and/or relax by the pool until that time.
Try not to cut it too close. That was why I was on board as early as I was. With the timing of the flights from where I was coming from, there was a flight that got in at 10:00 am and a flight that got in at 3:15 pm, and figured the 3:15 pm flight was cutting it way too close for a 5 pm sailing, even though the Miami airport is only about 15-20 minutes from the Port of Miami.
2007 - Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas)
2009 - Enchantment of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2010 - Freedom of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2013 - Golden Princess (Alaska, roundtrip from Seattle)
I've checked in around 12:00, even though my document said 2:00 check-in. My family likes getting on early, before the crowd. You can walk around the ship and get familiar with where everything is located. As mentioned, you can have lunch in the Windjammer. Before you know it, your luggage has arrived at your cabin.
Getting to the ship early will get you through the check-in line fast. I recommend doing your check-in on-line.
I can't remember exactly what time we arrived but I think it was like 11:30. When we pulled in there was a short line at the door. We got through all the lines rather quickly but then got in a stopped line right at where you enter the ship and take your boarding pic. Which I wish you could go around. Seems like such a drag to stand in line for that with the ship "right there" i never buy those ones anyway- does anyone? Anyway by the time we got to the stopped line we stood there for like 5 min and then we were off to the pic line and were on board fast after that. I prefered getting all the paperwork out of the way and got on board early. Our first cruise we waited until the 1:30 boarding time what ever it was. By the time we got turned around the right direction it was lifeboat drills, then rooms, then dinner, then 1/2 the first night was gone before we knew what was happening 9and it was only a 3 day so 1/2 day was a big deal)
Carnival Fantasy 6/05
RCCL Sovereign of the Seas 4/07
RCCL Navigator 12/07
RCCL Navigator 11/08
RCCL Liberty 7/4/09