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sugarnspice0613

Boarding at Port Canaveral

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Hi All,

 

We're going on our first Carnival cruise which leaves from Port Canaveral, and we'll be sailing on the Elation. We bought FTTF specifically for priority boarding due to having a 2 year old, since we figured it would be easier to not have to hold him screaming or attempt to corral him, but now from my readings it seems we don't board all that much earlier than the people who arrive with the first check-in. Our selected check-in time without FTTF is already 12:00-12:30 which seems to be the earliest they start checking anyone in from what I can tell after googling. How soon after they begin checking people in do they normally start boarding with FTTF and without FTTF? I'm starting to wonder if it will actually benefit us at all as this is the only reason we purchased it. Our transportation has us scheduled to be there at 11:30. Based on your knowledge of Port Canaveral and Carnival, is this too early to arrive if we don't want to wait very long to board? 

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When I have sailed from Port Canaveral, I have arrived as earlier as 10 am and they were checking people in. They should start boarding around 11 am starting with wedding parties, then diamond and platinum, then suites, then FTTF. Each group only takes a two minutes or so. Definitely arrive earlier than your 12:00 check in time. Plus your room should be ready once boarded (ignore the signs on the door to come back at 1:00 or 1:30 pm). It's nice to drop your carry ons, use the restroom, and head up to lunch. I think FTTF with a toddler would be great!

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7 minutes ago, TravelE said:

When I have sailed from Port Canaveral, I have arrived as earlier as 10 am and they were checking people in. They should start boarding around 11 am starting with wedding parties, then diamond and platinum, then suites, then FTTF. Each group only takes a two minutes or so. Definitely arrive earlier than your 12:00 check in time. Plus your room should be ready once boarded (ignore the signs on the door to come back at 1:00 or 1:30 pm). It's nice to drop your carry ons, use the restroom, and head up to lunch. I think FTTF with a toddler would be great!

 

Thank you. Yes, we were looking forward to getting on the boat early, throwing our things in the room, and taking him to lunch before there's a crowd. We paid for my in-laws to have FTTF, so we could all board at the same time, and now I'm concerned we'll be paying $160 to board just a few minutes earlier than we would have if we checked in at our 12 o'clock appointment. If the only perk we get is to have our rooms early, it wouldn't be worth it to me as 5 adults are definitely capable of keeping track of a couple carryons. It doesn't look like any of our ports requires tendering which would have been another huge bonus to this package. Do you think it would be better to arrive around 11am?

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We have sailed carnival 15 times. All this was before the assigned check in time but we arrived at 10:30,went thrust security, checked in, waited to board which was usually 11:15’ish. First group after all the priority. Once we became platinum we didn’t have.n assigned time. From what I understand you can pick your check in time while booking. 

We are the crazy ones that likes to be first on ship and first off.

BTW with a toddler an umbrella stroller is a must. The big ones are too bulky and walking the kid or carrying them is a major NO NO. First cruise with grandson (22 months old) there was 4 of us to coral him but the umbrella stroller saved our lives.

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You will also have the FTTF perk of not having to wait in the Guest Service line. It's a perk that I have used on each of my cruises, so I definitely appreciate it!

 

I like to get to the Ports around 11:00am. But, I'm not traveling with a little one. So, if I had to wait till 11:30+ it's not a biggie. 

Edited by Markmom18

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The one and only time I paid for FTTF we sailed out of Port Canaveral (also on the Elation).  We had the earliest check-in time available, got there exactly at the appointed time, and people were already boarding.... so I'd say we probably could have arrived around 30 minutes earlier.  

 

With FTTF we were able to bypass the regular check-in line and go to the priority line, which really wasn't any advantage because when we arrived there was no wait for either line.  It was nice, though, to be able to go directly to our room and dump our carry-on items so we could have lunch without worrying about lugging stuff around with us.

 

Another supposed perk of FTTF is priority luggage delivery.... well, that didn't exactly happen for us - our luggage was delivered while we were at dinner so we had to wear what we had on to dinner that night.

 

 

Edited by groundloop

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Another benefit should also be debarkation after the cruise. We are usually tired and ready to start home once the reality sets in the cruise is over. FTTF should give you better luggage tags to get off ship. 

 

I agree with other posters above, Elation does board earlier than you might think. That terminal is nice upstairs and has space if you have a short wait. Also nice restrooms. Elation is very efficient with her boarding process and moves early in each of our experiences.

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The room being ready/luggage expedite is going to be the winner here for you, trust me!  It would be quite inconvenient with a little one to not have a 'place' of your own as soon as you board - and if anyone has to have a little nap, you're set. 🙂

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The time slots are arrival times not Boarding times. The FTTF purchase allowed you to board anytime after the first priority groups go. In the case when boarding is delayed for any reason, with FTTF you can enter the terminal 

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having your cabin early instead of waiting until 1:30 getting that toddler down for a nap maybe after lunch.   (but just remember that that whistle blows at 3pm and could be quite loud-- jarring  especially if sleeping.

 

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23 hours ago, sugarnspice0613 said:

Hi All,

 

We're going on our first Carnival cruise which leaves from Port Canaveral, and we'll be sailing on the Elation. We bought FTTF specifically for priority boarding due to having a 2 year old, since we figured it would be easier to not have to hold him screaming or attempt to corral him, but now from my readings it seems we don't board all that much earlier than the people who arrive with the first check-in. Our selected check-in time without FTTF is already 12:00-12:30 which seems to be the earliest they start checking anyone in from what I can tell after googling. How soon after they begin checking people in do they normally start boarding with FTTF and without FTTF? I'm starting to wonder if it will actually benefit us at all as this is the only reason we purchased it. Our transportation has us scheduled to be there at 11:30. Based on your knowledge of Port Canaveral and Carnival, is this too early to arrive if we don't want to wait very long to board? 

I cruised out of Port Canaveral this past March, and I had FTTF. Believe me, it is worth every penny! You DO check in faster in a priority line, and you DO board ahead of the others, but the real plus is you DO HAVE IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO YOUR CABIN! Yes, it is worth it to me! I make it a point to try to get in all the time. I would get to port around 10-10:30 instead of 11:30 to fully utilize your FTTF. They begin boarding the ship around 11:00. 

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I live in Orlando Florida and sail out of Port Canaveral twice per year.DW and myself usually arrive around 8:45 am,we usually stand inline and people watch, at 10:00am the doors are open and boarding starts at 10:30am.Although we do not purchase FTTF, we always board around 10:45am as we are always in ZONE 1.Next cruise we will be Platinum so we should be on a little earlier.

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The arrival appointment time means nothing if you have FTTF.  Ignore it.  Arrive as early as you can if you have FTTF.  Especially with a toddler. It will allow you to avoid the mobs of people at the buffet and be sitting in a seat you chose to eat without your luggage.  From my memory of toddlers, this will make for a much better vacation.

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On 12/2/2019 at 8:00 PM, Garf said:

Although we do not purchase FTTF, we always board around 10:45am as we are always in ZONE 1.

 

Are you always in Zone 1 because you are Diamond?  I have an arrival appointment for Liberty in January, and I'm in boarding zone A04, no FTTF.

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On 12/2/2019 at 5:59 PM, grandmarnnurse said:

I cruised out of Port Canaveral this past March, and I had FTTF. Believe me, it is worth every penny! You DO check in faster in a priority line, and you DO board ahead of the others, but the real plus is you DO HAVE IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO YOUR CABIN! Yes, it is worth it to me! I make it a point to try to get in all the time. I would get to port around 10-10:30 instead of 11:30 to fully utilize your FTTF. They begin boarding the ship around 11:00. 

 

Yes, all of what grandmanurse said!!  The immediate cabin access is a huge plus with small children!  At least you will have your own personal space for him.

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On 12/1/2019 at 6:11 PM, sugarnspice0613 said:

Hi All,

 

We're going on our first Carnival cruise which leaves from Port Canaveral, and we'll be sailing on the Elation. We bought FTTF specifically for priority boarding due to having a 2 year old, since we figured it would be easier to not have to hold him screaming or attempt to corral him, but now from my readings it seems we don't board all that much earlier than the people who arrive with the first check-in. Our selected check-in time without FTTF is already 12:00-12:30 which seems to be the earliest they start checking anyone in from what I can tell after googling. How soon after they begin checking people in do they normally start boarding with FTTF and without FTTF? I'm starting to wonder if it will actually benefit us at all as this is the only reason we purchased it. Our transportation has us scheduled to be there at 11:30. Based on your knowledge of Port Canaveral and Carnival, is this too early to arrive if we don't want to wait very long to board? 

The biggest benefit for you would probably be being able to access your cabin as soon as you board, rather than have to wait onboard with your little one in a sea of people until rooms are ready.

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