Self debarkation means that you can manage all of your luggage without assistance, and can carry it all off the ship when you leave. It is important to note that you have to handle it. No porters or other assistance is provided. In other words, don't try it if you have a bunch of luggage. The process is this: those doing self-debarkation don't place their luggage outside the cabin door on the last night. Instead they are responsible for getting all of their "stuff" off the ship on debarkation morning. When they call for you, you gather all your belongings and exit the ship. That is all there is to it. Those doing this on my Oasis cruise were off the ship and either driving home or at the airport by 7am.
I did it in Baltimore. It was nice because we didn't have to pack everything up the night before except what we wanted to have the next day and we got off early.
We were going to do it in San Diego, but they didn't offer it. Something about limited walkways or something. Plus there were stairs which we didn't have in Baltimore, so everyone would have been waiting for the elevator.
I recommend it if you are able to commandeer all of your luggage yourself.
I always do self debarkation, but have run into bad luck when taking a cruise line transfer bus to the airport. Depending on the luck of the draw, you could be amongst the first on the transfer bus. They don't leave until the bus is full. On two separate occasions, I sat on the bus for an hour, waiting for it to fill up.
If you're doing self debarkation because of an early flight, it might be best to plan to grab a cab.
Self debarkation sounds wonderful. We have transfers arranged to the airport thru RC. If Liberty allows this process, am I correct in assuming we can keep our bags and just leave when able in the morning and get on the bus/vehicle to the airport?
It's been years since my last cruise, but I remember the process of waiting for our color(?) to be called and then searching forever to find our luggage and then being rushed to find our transportation amongst a sea of crazy people.
If you can handle all of your luggage, then yes, you can debark the ship, clear customs, then go to your transportation. However, the bus may wait until it is full before it leaves, which can sometimes be over an hour from what I've read.
Regular debarkation is done a little differently now, if you choose to do this option. They will give you a luggage tag with a number on it, and you will meet in a specific lounge. An example, I was on the Enchantment back in October, and I had a green tag with the number 8 on it. At guest relations, they will have departure info, which will also be delivered to your stateroom. This will have all the numbers and luggage tag meeting points on there, as well as the time that you will be led to the gangway.
Once your departure time comes, they will lead you down (or up) to the gangway, and you will debark and clear customs, and claim your bag. You will go to the same area that your debarkation luggage tag has, either by color and / or number.
One thing though. For your departure time, announcements are ONLY MADE in the lounge designated for your departure time. An example, my meeting spot on my last cruise was the Spotlight Lounge, and the departure time was 8:30 am. At around 8:15, I went to that lounge, and at 8:30, we were led to the gangway to debark, clear customs, and get bags. Bags are only available in the terminal after your number has been called.
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)
The new debarkation process is a vast improvement. On the Oasis I had luggage to pick up in the terminal and was still off the ship and sitting in the bus within 9 minutes, and that included customs. Actually the self-debarkation people took longer since there were so many of them. We were delayed a few minutes because of them. Their line was the full length of the promenade. I went to my assigned departure area and they escorted us out when called. As MC says, it was only us and you had to be in the designated area to know you were being called to leave. The funny thing was there were self-debarkation people on the bus I boarded, so they didn't gain any time.
Also remember that self-debarkation means you and your party can handle ALL of your luggage with no assistance. You have to be able to leave the ship unassisted and bring all your stuff with you. If you try to push things with lots of luggage, you cause a problem and can also catch the eye of Customs.
So, what would be the real benefits of using self-debarkation? Would the benefits be having your luggage longer and possibly getting off the ship earlier without having to look for your luggage (and maybe saving a few dollars in tips)?
With self debarkation, you are still assigned to a room to wait for your turn to leave the ship, correct?
If we are not in any hurry to get to the airport (evening flight), then having someone to handle the luggage for us might make better sense? Hmmmmm?
Self-debarkation is not assigned a waiting area. As soon as the ship is cleared they make a ship wide announcement for those doing this to go to the gangway.
It is beneficial for those who don't have a lot of luggage, who drove to the port and can just leave and get in their car, or those who have early flights and will just grab a taxi or pre-arranged shuttle.
If I had late flights I would not do self-debarkation. You aren't gaining anything other than being on the other side of the Customs neutral zone earlier. Why do the Teaberry shuffle when you can take your time?
It's kind of funny, we do just the opposite!! We take our own time about getting off and if we are last, that is just better as far as we are concerned!! They almost have to run us off as we are in no hurry to get back to the real world!!
1992 MV Royal Majesty
1993 MV Royal Majesty
1996 Sun Princess
2007 Liberty of the Seas
2010 Navigator of the Seas
2010 Radiance of the Seas