We embarked at Cape Town port on 30 November 2013. The experience was shocking and put almost everybody on board in a bad mood and soured the first night of the cruise to a large extent. The 'terminal' is a shed. We arrived at the scheduled embarkation time of 12 and found a looooong queue as we arrived. The taxi driver said we were lucky to join the queue so close to the front, as he sometimes dropped people at the entrance of the port!
The facilities comprised 3 porta-potties and we saw some people had bought food but we were too scared to leave the queue and look for the food stall. The baggage drop didn't inspire confidence and I was wondering if the guy who took my bag would ever get it to the ship - there was no security around the bag drop and bags were just stacked in a pile where anybody could get to them.
At 12.30, the queue started to move, by 10-20 people at a time. We eventually got into the shed to find rows of chairs. You find a spot and find that the chairs just serve to shuffle the queue. This part did move a bit faster. Once you leave the chairs, you move into another room in the shed where you stand in another queue.
Eventually at the front, we found that check-in is at desks that the ship had to bring itself. After that we finally got to see the ship. Then another queue to board the ship, up a gangway that the ship had to supply itself.
In total, the embarkation took 2.5 hours and we just made lunch on board!
Overall, the experience of embarking at Cape Town was attrocious. SA ports have a lot to learn from the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong.