May 4, 2001
Princess is the latest cruise line to take a stab at easing the cruise embarkation process. It’s new program (soon-to-be-launched), “Your Choice Boarding,” is aimed at travelers who return pre-cruise documents some 40 days prior to departure. Basically, it works like this: You get a special sticker on your cruise ticket that says your paperwork is completed -- and then are just required to sign a credit slip for on board charges before you can board. Well, almost. Princess is not abandoning that time-wasting ordeal of embarkation photos at the gangplank’s base but we can hope. Last fall, Carnival was the first mass market line to tackle the oft-problematic, long drawn-out embarkation process when it tested a new system on Destiny. Carnival opted for hand-held computers that staffers, positioned at the airport or in cruise hotels, could use to clear travelers for boarding. Carnival’s still using the devices in San Juan (where Destiny is based) and says it’s still looking at expanding the program to other home ports that have “high ratios of air/sea passengers” -- such as Miami.