Following a system adopted by Princess Cruises in September 2006 -- and long embraced by the airline industry with e-tickets -- Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line have announced that they will begin offering guests the convenience of all-electronic cruise documents.
Carnival's "MyDocuments" Web portal, available now, and NCL's paperless system, set to launch on May 28, will give paid guests 24-hour online access to their cruise docs and the ability to make any necessary changes in "real time." Here's how it works:
Guests will be able to print boarding passes and luggage tags, check on shore excursions, etc. up to 60 days prior to sailing with NCL. Upon payment with Carnival, guests will have full access to their online documents, including printable luggage tags for assigned cabins; excursion booking opens 180 prior to sailing. Customers who have purchased an air/sea package through Carnival will also be able to view air schedules within 75 days of their departure date.
Carnival cruisers who prefer the traditional snail mail process will still have the option of having paper documents mailed to them 30 days prior to their scheduled sailing date. NCL, however, will be going completely paperless. Guests who have already paid for their NCL cruise will receive a "Freestyle Cruising Kit" in the mail in advance of the e-documents. After May 28, they will be notified via e-mail that their e-docs are ready for inspection. No Internet access? NCL will print and send boarding passes to guests who booked directly with the line (not through a travel agent).
Don't lose your booking number. It's required for access, along with passenger name, ship and sailing date.
In an interesting note, neither line mentioned the potential environmental benefits of a paperless system in their statements. Why not save a tree while you cruise? Print your e-boarding pass on recycled paper.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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NCL, Carnival Go Paperless
May 17, 2007