(4:30 p.m. EDT) -- Waiting in line to board your ship may soon be a thing of the past. In an attempt to further streamline the check-in process -- ever more onerous as ships grow in size -- Carnival Cruise Lines is testing out new self-service cruise check-in kiosks at the Port of Miami.
It is the second major cruise line to employ these time-saving machines; Costa Cruises launched check-in kiosks at the Port Everglades cruise terminal in Ft. Lauderdale last year.
To use the kiosks, Carnival passengers must pre-register online and be a citizen of the U.S., Canada or a visa-waiver country. Guests can access their reservations and check in by swiping their passport or the credit card used to pre-register.
Once checked in, the kiosk will print out a receipt, sort of like a boarding pass, that can be exchanged at a nearby desk for a stateroom key. Valid identification documents that cannot be scanned, such as birth certificates and naturalization papers, will be checked at this desk as well.
In addition, the kiosks will be able to accept cash deposits from those wishing to set up a cash-based onboard spending account (rather than use a credit card). The baggage check system, whereby larger items are left with porters to be brought to individual cabins, will not change. Passengers will also still have the option of checking in with a live representative at the desk if they so choose.
If this pilot program is successful, both with the port and with passengers, Carnival will introduce kiosks at its other year-round homeports. Sister cruise line Costa is already planning to establish self-service check-in stations at some of its other homeports, after the success of its Port Everglades program.
Do you think self-service check-in kiosks are time savers -- or more trouble than they're worth? Vote in our poll!
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Carnival Introduces Self-Service Cruise Check-In Kiosks
July 7, 2009