This was the second cruise for both my boyfriend and myself, but our first one together. I previously sailed on the Norwegian Dawn (11 day W. Caribbean) and he can't even remember what ship he cruised on last time, as his was a cruise to nowhere many years ago.
Embarkation was a snap!
We arrived at the port at about 11 AM. We had our own car and parked in the port parking lot, which is very close to the ship (maybe a 2 minute walk.) We walked next door to the Queen Mary for early check-in and were processed and ready to go within about 15 minutes. We found a nice place to sit down back at the Carnival terminal and did some people-watching for about an hour before we were told to line up and get ready for embarkation. We were on the ship at about 12:30 with very little time actually standing in lines. Our luggage was at our room when we returned to the cabin after dinner.