Cruise NewsCarnival Rolling Out Staggered Embarkation in 2016

Carnival Rolling Out Staggered Embarkation in 2016

Carnival Cruise Line will be rolling out a staggered embarkation process in 2016 after an extremely successful testing period in Galveston, Texas according to Senior Cruise Director John Heald. The testing period started on November 12 with Carnival Freedom, Carnival Triumph, and Carnival Magic and has led to less wait times and a quicker embarkation for passengers.

Cruise Fever first reported about the staggered embarkation test in October and due to the success of the test, Carnival will roll the process out to other home ports in 2016.  A schedule will be released in the near future with dates for when each home port will switch to staggered embarkation.

Passengers will check-in online before their cruise like they normally would. When checking in, they will select a check-in window, complete all required travel information and print out their boarding passes. On embarkation day, they will fill out a quick document, go through security, and board the ship. The checkin times will be as follows:

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  • 11:00 am – noon
  • Noon – 12:30 pm
  • 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm
  • 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
  • 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm
  • 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Guests must arrive within 30 minutes of the check-in window. Carnival Cruise Line is strictly enforcing the times to help minimize wait times. Guests who arrive more than 30 minutes before their check-in time will not be allowed to enter the cruise terminal and will be asked to return at their scheduled time.

Passengers who purchased FTTF (Faster to the Fun) and those who are part of the Priority Program (Diamond, Platinum, and suites) must select a check-in window online. However, they may arrive at the cruise terminal at their leisure up to one hour before sailing.

If someone does not select a specific check-in time, one will be automatically assigned to one the morning of the cruise. They will receive an email with their boarding pass that they can print out or save to their mobile phone. A boarding pass will be required to enter the cruise terminal.

The check-in process will close one hour before the cruise is scheduled to depart. All passengers must have a paper or electronic copy of their boarding pass, proof of citizenship, a government issued photo ID, and any applicable visas.

Cruise Fever reached out to Carnival and asked if this staggered embarkation will roll out to every home port or just a few in 2016.  We will update this article when we hear back from the cruise line.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise NewsCarnival Rolling Out Staggered Embarkation in 2016


  1. The trouble is not all guests have the luxury of choosing when they can arrive at the terminal. Personally, I have always preferred to arrive as early as I can to avoid the crowds, but cannot always do so. I think this staggered policy will only add to the troubles normally experienced by guests on embarkation day.

    • Umm Disney has always done this and i think it works just fine. You just select your time show up at the cruise terminal and really it doesn’t matter when you show up its that Disney won’t allow you to check in till your at your time. So you could arrive early and sit there. Now with Disney i noticed that after about 2 its usually free for all. As most people are on board.

  2. I wish that they could figure out a way to make debarkation a little easier, I feel like that’s way worse than embarkation.

    • Problem with debarkation is that people do not the follow directions and try to leave in time slots other than their own. If people followed the times given it would be a lot smoother.

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