I received a bright orange card with my documents from Royal Caribbean that said "Boarding Time Alert Port of Miami Embarkation. Your ship is expected to begin boarding a 2:00 pm."
I never saw one of these before, however, on our Oct. 15th cruise on the Freedom it was close to 2 pm before we boarded. We will be boarding the Voyager in Miami Saturday and hope we won't have the same problem.
Do you mean they didn't start boarding until around 2pm for the October 15th Freedom cruise? I have to think that made for a crowded mess in the Windjammer since you then had in essence two less hours to feed lunch to everyone - assuming a usual beginning time of around noon for boarding.
The orange card is strange. Maybe you can find out more once you board the Voyager.
Dave, yes, we didn't get on board until just after 1:30. My wife and I were first on board because she had a wheelchair because of her back surgery. You're right, it was a mess because almost everone was there waiting to get on instead of stragging on. We were told there was some problem with U.S. Immigration & Custom in regards to the crew. Now I see this card saying "Due to increased security for all passengers returning to the U.S. on cruise ships, the government immigration clearance has been taking longer than in the past, therefore causing delays in cruise ship boarding.
Oh well, I'll find out when I get there around 11:00 am. I'll be sure to let you know how it the boarding went sometime during my cruise.
This thing also has a sort of cascade effect on hotels and airports too. Most hotels want you out of the room by 11am or noon - so where are you supposed to go for those 3 hours, with all your luggage in tow? That's right - join the mob scene at the pier.
I sort of figured Customs and Immigration had a big hand in it - especially after the leisurely pace they demonstrated when we left the Freedom in June. They need more officers and inspection stations in Miami. I think there were five on duty when we left the ship. Five officers to inspect almost 4000 passengers.
Some hotels will store your luggage till you are ready to leave the hotel ...they just want you out of the room .
You could also see if they will allow you to have a later check-out..
We have done this in Europe & Texas.
Alexandr Pushkin, Carnival-Holiday, HAL-(old)Westerdam, Orient lines-Marco Polo, Royal Olympic-Olympic, NCL-Dream, Dawn-Princess, ACCL-Grande Caribe, Oceania-Insignia (3), Regatta(4) Marina (1) St Lawrence Cruise Lines-Canadian Empress
I'm one who doesn't like to fool around with leaving things in one place, running someplace else for a breathless two or three hours, then having to return to the hotel and then go to the pier. Too busy and tiring for me. We get up, have breakfast, get our baggage squared away, and head to the pier. Nice and simple.