Introduction/Who we are: I must begin our review by thanking all the reviewers who came before us. Your suggestions really helped us!! After reading all the reviews, we felt very much at home once on the ship! You should know that all of our comments and suggestions are just that—suggestions—the following is our opinion based upon our individual experience aboard the ship and clearly this will vary from person to person. We are a young couple from Maryland—Samantha (24) and Michael (28). Michael's dad is a travel agent so he has been on more than 25 cruises all over the world. This was my third cruise.
Embarkation: After a leisurely four hour drive up from Maryland, we arrived at the Bayonne port around 2:30pm—correctly disregarding the insert that said we should arrive after 5pm. We had read about the chaos at the terminal so we were expecting the worst. This is definitely not what greeted us. We did wait a little bit in a line of cars, but quickly realized this was the line to drop passengers off. We drove to the RIGHT and quickly parked our car literally 50 feet from the entrance to the terminal. Had Michael pulled up to drop me and the luggage off, he would have had to circle back around and wait in the line again. We suggest you park and wheel your luggage over the short distance. The cost to park is $60 for the five day cruise. A porter greeted us immediately and took our bags.
By this time it was 3:00pm. We snaked through empty security lines and went right to the front to get our SeaPass cards. Because we filled out our forms online beforehand, the whole process took less than 10 minutes. We waited in the terminal for a bit eating the hot dogs. A band played happy music and an entertainer walked around making balloon animals. Soon our number was called and we boarded the shuttle buses to the ship. We boarded around 4:00pm. We received our luggage after we came back from dinner so be prepared to have a change of clothes and your toiletries ready if you want to freshen up after a long day of travel.