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Boarding Times - All Lines Getting Specific


Capt Bill
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New news item item about Changed Boarding Times & Reasons for them. We are Holland American Lines cruisers, & HAL has started these too. It occurs to me that there are multiple factors at play here. Desk Spots 

1. There is a labor shortage everywhere right now. Last boarding for us, there were fewer people "in the terminal" welcoming & advising arrivals where to go, what to fill out, & even fewer spots to check in. Is Labor Cost a factor or simply hard to find people willing to work part-time on Saturday or Sunday?

2. Everyone has a "carry on" (or more) in line. Medicine, medical equipment (we both use CPAP units), & even wine, soft drinks, or even animals to process. There were only three (3) X-Ray units in operation with two sitting unused. Labor? Mechanical issues? Lots to process ...

3. Most everyone wants to board as Early as possible. To start that cruise experience sooner rather than later. HAL assigns earliest spots to those who fly in using HAL arranged flights. Unfair to "other" arrivals?

4. That first ("free") meal onboard is an issue for people who have traveled far. HAL used to have coffee, lemonade and pastries available for those waiting. No more. The MDR closes it's doors at 1300, leaving fewer choices, including the always swamped LIDO (Buffet). I'd like that time pushed back to 1400. Comments?

5. Is getting in stateroom instantly upon boarding a "nice to" or a "must" to most people. We like to, if only to drop bags, even if room isn't serviced 100%. Often gives us a chance to meet cabin stewart's too; give them our usual 'advance' gratuity. Let them know what we'd like in room. 

6. Can you occupy yourself on board without getting in cabin until sailing time? We can, but know others say they can't. What say you?

 

 

 

 

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1.  I think a combo of both cost savings and labor shortage. 

2.  Same as 1

3. Hmmm I don’t have an opinion on this

4. Can’t say we’ve ever done the MDR for embarkation lunch even though we have been part of the first 25 people to board in the past. We like the hubbub of that 1st day buffet excitement. 
 

5. Access to the stateroomS early is nice but not necessary. I have learned to carry minimal “stuff” onboard with me. If I’m tippin the porters, let them handle all my stuff. 
 

6. We have no problem exploring the ship and getting our drink on before staterooms are ready. 

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@Capt Bill I think we will continue to see restructuring of boarding. The cruise lines have all made many changes to their onboarding protocols, trying to prevent the spread of germs. You are right, the lack of labor and budget cuts play a huge factor in much of the areas you mentioned within your post. 

1. I think the port needs to recoup financially and staffing is definitely an issue. After laying lots of workers off, I doubt the ports have fully recouped from their losses. The port doesn't pay the best either, I would say it's not that enticing to work there part time when employees can make more elsewhere. It is also a strenuous job. 

2.  I think it's a labor issue. They can't open additional entry lines if there is no one to staff them properly and safely. 

3. I wouldn't say this is unfair. If you are paying extra to book flights through the cruise line, I would say you likely deserve the benefit of arriving early and getting priority boarding, especially after flying all day.

4. I don't think an hour would make much of a difference for the majority. This may not be cost effective enough if it's a minority only opinion. 

5. I'm very much accustomed to not having my stateroom ready once I get on board. I don't mind this protocol and I actually prefer not to rush the housekeeping staff or get in their way while they are working in a rush to flip the staterooms. There are plenty of things you can do to occupy your time while they are getting cleaned. One of my favorite things to do is pack a bag with a small towel, sunscreen, and a swimsuit. Usually at least one pool is open, and I grab a drink and head to the pools with my kids (usually they are very empty and we get the pool to ourself for a change.)

6. I answered this question above but reading a book with a drink out by the pool is always fun! You can't go wrong with being on a cruise ship, in a sun lounger with a drink in hand. I also love to explore the decks onboard, walking the ship before it gets too crowded is also very entertaining. 

 

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