We have done it a couple of times. We keep our luggage in our room on the last night. Everybody else has to put there luggage in the hallway. The last morning, we just get in line, when we are ready. We have never had a problem doing this. There might be an official procedure, but I don't know what it is. We also walk our luggage on the ship. It works for us. Maybe someone knows if there is a actual procedure for self-embarkation. Enjoy your cruise. Bon Voyage Lil' Lori
Thanks Lil'Lori. We do not need anyone to assist us with our baggage...we usually do our own on all our trips...we just figure we are on vacation and have all the time to ourselves so why not do it for ourselves. We are also very light packers so this kind of helps...now if I brought everything but the kitchen sink then maybe I'd look for assistance!
I haven't sailed on RCCL yet, but we did self-disembarkation on the Carnival Conquest and it was a total nightmare. We overestimated our abilities and had a very hard time carrying all of our luggage, plus a piece of artwork and alcohol we bought in port off the ship. Hubby ended up breaking a bottle of coconut rum all over the floor. People were crammed into the staircases and near the elevators and, no joke, were actually yelling at each other and accusing people of cutting. It was a very unpleasant end to a wonderful trip.
However, this may have been an isolated incident, and I have heard good things from other people about the process on other ships. Also, if you pack very light and don't have any major purchases to transport, you may find it much simpler. And, like I said, have not done it on RCCL, so I'm just sharing my experience from Carnival. RCCL may be way different.
My hubby and I have vowed to be the last people off the ship from now on, though! We'll never risk it again. We figure, we're on vacation, might as well relax while we wait to disembark.
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
We just returned from our FOS cruise on Sunday. We had an early flight (10:30), so we needed to self-disembark. The procedure is as follows:
The room steward will give you a form to fill out towards the end of the week asking for the details of your departure. There is a box that you can mark for self-disembarking.
The last day of the cruise you will receive all of the paperwork required to go through customs and disembark from the ship. You will also receive color coded tags depending on how you filled out the card from earlier in the week. These should only be put on your bags if you are leaving them in the hallway the night before departure.
We kept our bags in our room (this was nice because we didnít need to pack everything and plan ahead for the next day like everyone who put their bags in the hall early Saturday evening). Sunday morning we met our friends for breakfast in the windjammer by 6:45 and were finished and ready to get in line by 7:30. We were not light packers. We had four suitcases a backpack and a small carry on. The suitcases had wheels and we were able to combine them into two in order for both of us to just have one each to pull.
When we got to the line to leave the ship, it looked like it was going to take forever, but it turned out that they had a few problems with several passengers sea pass cards not working right and it held things up for a few minutes. Once that was taken care of it went really fast and we just walked off the ship and waited to go through customs. That took less than 10 minutes and we were done we took the elevator down to the first floor and then went out to meet up with our airport shuttle that I had set up before leaving on our trip. We arrived at the airport by 8:30 am and had plenty of time to get checked in and hang out until our flight left at 10:30.
If it is always this easy, I would definitely take this option again. The only draw back is that you do have to leave the ship earlier than everyone else, but they are all just sitting in the designated areas waiting for their numbers to be called, so it isnít like you are missing out on anything, except maybe a few minutes more of sleep.
Now I am really undecided. I like the fact that you don't have to worry about packing the night before and also that it was a breeze to get off the ship. Our flight home from San Juan is not until after 3pm...I'm wondering if we get off the ship so early what will we do for the rest of the time? Also if we just disembark with the rest of the guests what time do you think they will get us off the ship? Will it be that much later?
You have to be in the designated areas by about 8:00 I think (since we didnít do this I am trying to remember). You would probably be off the ship by 10:30 at the latest. They do have port excursions that you can do if you have a long wait before your flight leaves.
I am sure you could take a cab to the beach or shopping if you needed to waste some time. The Miami airport is pretty large, so it has quite a bit to do if you just go right there after leaving the ship.
They also have an option if you fly with one of the larger carriers to check your baggage right from the ship. This would allow you to not have to transport it yourself and let you travel around the city without it. I think our friend said it cost $20 to do this.
I hope this helps and doesnít cause you more confusion. We flew out at 10:30, but then had a 3 hour layover in Atlanta, so we ended up hanging out in airports most of the day. Maybe next time we will drive.
We always use Express Departure..mostly because our TA has us on an early flight home....It is a bit jammed to start with, but you get to say bye or hi to passengers while waiting:-)...As stated...You won't get any help with your luggage and have seen some people that really were struggling with their things...If you don't have an early flight...stay on board, have a nice breakfast and watch all of us leaving the ship....Happy Sailing...