Is Priority Cruise Embarkation Really a Priority?

March 16, 2012 | By | 11 Comments

Maybe you booked a suite. Maybe you’ve reached the upper echelons of your line’s past-passenger program. Whatever the reason, it’s always nice when you discover you can bypass long lines at the cruise terminal because you’ve qualified for priority embarkation. But does it really save you time? This question was raised by Cruise Critic member kyriecat — one of five reviewers of the week — in her recap of a ladies-only family cruise aboard Royal Caribbean‘s Adventure of the Seas. She reports, “There was a priority line for suite guests that we used. However, it didn’t seem to make much difference in the amount of time for checking in. The people who were in front of us going through the security line were at the front of the regular check-in line when we finished our check-in process.” Hmm … interesting, indeed.
For her efforts, kyriecat — along with Sunnymom02, CactusGirly, Artemis44 and coold8 — receives an over-the-shoulder travel bag.
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    11 Responses to “Is Priority Cruise Embarkation Really a Priority?”

    1. Gordon Harris
      March 16th, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

      We noticed the same thing in ’09 with Carnival. We are not Platinum cruisers only Gold, yet we were on the ship before the platinum priority guests were. I am not complaining in any form, just chuckled a little bit…

    2. saverio campano
      March 16th, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

      it all depends on your check in time. At the right time it’s no big deal, but it could mean less HOURS at the wrong time and the difference of getting aboard and attending the fire drill right away or getting aboard and relaxing and enjoying the day

    3. Wm H
      March 16th, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

      We are platinum Carnival cruisers. The priority boarding really does not speed things up as they have become very efficient with regular passengers. But, the waiting room and complimentary beverages are nice. Platinum really does nothing to enhance the on board experience other than cutting in tender lines to get off the ship in ports.

    4. Gordon Estabrook
      March 16th, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

      Priority Boarding worked very well for us boarding the Carnival Fantasy last Dec 30 (2011). We had no priority until we passed through Security, that made some sence to me but after that we took the next available agent, they had all our stuff right there and just waltzed to the photos and on board. It worked great for us. And getting off was sweeter still. When we were ready, we went to the Library where we were met and walked off the ship, just like that.

    5. Roberta Gerlach
      March 16th, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

      The embarkation experience can be tedious and hot, since the terminals are not always air-conditioned. However, once on board, you won’t have much chance of seeing your luggage for a few hours, so trying to rush through might not be worth your while. There is no free champagne at the top of the gangplank anymore.

    6. Elizabeth Schaffer
      March 16th, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

      We were supposed to be in the Priority Line, but they started both lines, Priority and Regular, at the same time. I didn’t understand how that would give us faster access.

    7. Rodney Dickhute
      March 16th, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

      Just like usual people find something to complain about. Embakation is just a little piece of the whole puzzle, why let it ruin your whole trip. Plus they recommend you don’t come until around 2:00pm so why show up early no matter what level you are and have to wait any way?? Just an opinoin!

    8. Cherry
      March 16th, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

      I really don’t understand the compulsion so many have to be first on the boat. If you wait 45 minutes after boarding starts you can walk right on with almost no lines or waiting.

    9. Carol Smale
      March 21st, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

      With more than 30 cruises under our belts now, we have never had to wait at all for boarding on the Celebrity ships. With Carnival the lines were very slow and it was always so hot in their terminals.

    10. Richard
      March 26th, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

      We’re Platinum and Elite with Princess. On our last cruise on the Sapphire Princess for New Year’s out of LA, we arrived about 11am, waited for a moment at check-in, walked over to the Platinum/Elite lounge, but boarding had just started, so we joined the line and were onboard in just a few minutes. Extraordinarily easy and quick.

    11. Coralc
      March 30th, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

      Hahahaha. We were directed to the prority line and then to a check in window by shore staff in May. There were only 2 little old ladies in front of us at the window.

      After about 10 minutes, the shore staff person came by again. I said, “I think you directed us to the wrong window”.

      She peeked over their shoulder and determined that the check in person was filling out their paperwork for them.

      No time savings, but the staff person was very efficient and did escort us to the next open window.

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