How long does final disembark take?

Sep 28th, 2007, 09:44 AM
Original Poster
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How long does final disembark take?

I'm taking a cruise (my first) with the family next summer. We will be on a 7 day cruise on the Victory, itinerary is the Bahamas and port is Norfolk.

Problem is, I have to run to the airport that same morning (say 11ish) after we disembark to catch a flight for another unrelated trip. The website alternates between 7am arrival and 8am. Is this enough time to make it to the airport?

Thanks in advance!
sperkins921 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 01:02 PM
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That is really pushing it. While the ship may arrive at 8:00 AM, passengers may not start disembarking until sometime later. The ship may allow you to leave early. But then you have to find your luggage. Find a cab. Get to the airport. Get through security.

I'd try for a plane leaving no earlier than 1:00 PM just to be sure.
JimM is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 01:39 PM
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Tell the ship about your early flight - maybe they might accommodate.

Perhaps it's a good idea to call the cruiseline itself to ask what is the earliest flight allowed.
BlueSea is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 03:23 PM
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Do the cruises give you a choice not to put luggage outside for earlier departure? I remember something like this in the last night paperwork on RCCL.
FainaAgain is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 06:34 PM
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If the cruise comes in at 7 AM or near 8 AM be all ready to disembark.

There will be taxis as soon as you disemabrk..go straight to the airport and the taxi will drop you off at the proper terminal of your flight carrier.

If you have a early morning flight you have priority to get off the ship.

Also ,do NOT , I repeat do NOT put out your luggage the night before as the cruise ship will ask you to do.

This choice is yours..simlply have your luggage all packed , shave the night that in the morning all you have to do is shower ,comb your hair and go for an early breakfast.
Then come back to your room, brush your teeth , grab your suitcase by the handle and out the door you go.

Take the elevator down to the exit floor level, hand the ship credit card to one of the agents....walkdown the gang plank pulling your suitcase.....grab a taxi and you are off for the air port.

Percy is online now  
Sep 29th, 2007, 12:58 AM
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i was hoping something like that was possible. I just wasn't sure if the luggage gestappo come and hunt you down if you don't leave your bags out.

Also would you advise telling your room steward of needing to disembark early- or is it someone else i should tell?

Though i am now curious as to how you get your liqour and duty items back from the excursions if you dont have to collect your bags shipside?
sperkins921 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2007, 01:02 AM
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oh, and thank you everyone for the quick replies!
sperkins921 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 09:47 AM
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Liquor should be delivered to your cabin the night before departure to give you enough time to pack it yourself.
FainaAgain is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 02:37 PM
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Some of the information here sounds good, but it's not accurate. You cannot simply choose when to leave the ship, head to the elevators, etc. The ship MUST be cleared by customs and all it takes is one non-US citizen who does not follow instructions to hold up the entire ship.

Even with self assisted debarkation you still have to wait until you are called to exit the ship and the ship must prove that every passenger on the ship got off to US customs, so you cannot just "hand your card to an agent", it must be scanned into the system and they will not do that until you are called to leave.

Some other information is correct, tell the Purser's Desk about your early flight and they'll usually accomidate you and give you instructions on how to one of the first given permission to leave the ship.

I too agree that choosing flights earlier than noon is risky. Airport security can really slow you down.
Hold is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 08:35 PM
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Just a minute ,what you are saying is NOT true

YES you can just take your luggage and walk off the ship.
You do not have to clear customs...the ship has to clear customs.

I disembarked the Star Princess in Copenhagen on August 30th 2007.

The day before we left Oslo Norway.
So Norway and Denmark(Copenhagen )are two different countries.
This is what I did the night before.

1.I packed my clothes etc. into my suitcase.
2.I put all items I would need for my flight home in my carry on case.
3. I did NOT put my suitcase out the night before.
4.I went to bed.
5,Woke up at 6 Am and showered,dressed and went for breakfast.
6.Came back to my cabin, brushed my teeth,grabbed my luggage and went to the elevator.
7.At the elevator I pushed button #4 for the disembarkment floor.

8.I handed the Agent my cruise shipcard and he wished me a pleasant flight home.(No Scanning!!)
9. I walked off the ship ,pulling my luggage and walked up to a taxi and loaded my suitcase in his trunk and off I went.

I DO NOT have to clear customs... the ship has to clear customs.

You say I have to wait to have my cruise ship card scanned... that has NEVER happened in 10 cruises.

You say I have to wait until I am called by my color tag!!!

But you forget I HAVE NO COLOR TAG.

I chose not to use the color code tag and not to put my luggage outside the night before..... so tell me how can I wait to be called when I have no color code tag so how can they call me !! See what I mean.

In fact on your next cruise ,Hold, read the information that comes with your color code tags the day before you disembark.

It will tell you that if you chose to look after your own luggage you can disembark ANYTIME !!!

The day before I tell the Purser:

"I am taking my own luggage tomorrow and getting off right after breakfast."

His answer to me:

"That is fine Sir Thank You and Thank You for cruising with us."

Now let me tell you this:

IF you use the color tag and IF you place that tag on your luggage and put your suitcase out the night before...........then YES you have to NOW wait until you are called BECAUSE you committed yourself to the ships's disembarkment system.

I always ,repeat always ,take my own luggage off the ship and no cruise line has ever told me I cannot and that I have to have a color code for it !


You will have to ask the Purser during your cruise( do not wait until the last night) as to how you can get your duty free I have never bought duty free items on a cruise ship.

Good Night everyone

Percy is online now  
Oct 1st, 2007, 10:00 PM
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I think y'all are talking apples and oranges. Hold's information is correct. Percy, your procedure was different because your cruise did not end in a U.S. port. When debarking in the U.S, all passengers must pass through Immigration with proper ID and turn in their Customs declaration form.

Carnival has what is called Self Disembark and those passengers are generally called first to leave the vessel. If you can handle all your own luggage, do not put it out the last night of the cruise. Just carry it when Self Disembark passengers are called. Security usually swipes cruise cards upon debarkation--this is something that varies depending on cruise line, but it has always been done on my recent Carnival cruises.

In Norfolk, you will go through Immigration to show your ID and then you can grab a porter to assist you. The porter will wheel your luggage to the front of the terminal area where he'll find you a taxi. Tell him you're in a hurry--it's a bit longer to get to the street at that port than at some others so you'll be glad to have help. The airport is about a 20 minute drive from the port.

IF your ship docks on time and IF the officials clear the ship swiftly, you might make an 11am flight. A lot depends on how long it will take to check in at the airport and pass through security.

Just as an FYI, we disembarked a Carnival ship (Celebration) a few weeks ago and there were many Self Assist passengers. We were called by deck to leave the ship--and our deck was the last called. However, we were in our car and leaving the parking lot by 9am. Keep in mind, though, that Celebration is a much smaller ship than Carnival Victory and carries fewer passengers. To be on the safe side, let Reception know about your early flight and ask how you can be among the first wave of passengers off the ship.

I hope that helps.

Linda Coffman
Author, Fodor's The Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises
CruiseDiva is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:01 AM
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That's a good outline Linda ,but I have never ran into any complicatioins about my disembarking ever.

In customs to go through

In Barcelona customs to go through.

In Vancouver Canada (off Alaska Cruise ) no customs to go through!!

Nor have I ever had my cruise ship credit card swipd at the end when I had it to the Agent for disembarking !!

The Agent just takes the card and and puts it into this hand ( which already is full of cards ,like a deck of cards ), he is no where near a "swiping machine".

What I am getting from this ,is that IF you dock and disembark in the USA, then you have to go through customs.?!

Well, if that is true ,I never went through Customs in Fort Lauderdale...I took the City Tour so I could kill about 3-4 hours because my flight out was not until 5 PM.

My wife and I walked off the cruise ship and onto the Princess bus for the tour and then then thye took us to the airport at about 3 at the airport, I went through security BUT not customs.....customs was when I reached my home city....

I have yet to be on a cruise where the day before disembarkment..I had to fill out a customs paper , like I have to one the Airplane.

(Maybe because of the 9/11 the USA has interjected specific rules when disembarking in the USA..I do not know.

I can only explain what I do and how I have done it.

No one has ever told me to " Go back and sit down until you are called"

I cannot be called ,as I have no color tag code for my luggage.

Very interesting topic.

Thank you for your in-put Linda it was much appreciated.


Percy is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:25 AM
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You mention that Norfolk is the port. I don't know if they have made drastic changes or not but that is the only disorganized port we have ever arrived at. It was a couple of years ago so perhaps they have improved - hopefully so. The problem there was being able to get buses taxis etc in to the pickup area. Go to and post there to see if anyone has used Norfolk recently. I am not exaggerating we had to wait 1 1/2 hours for them to allow the hotel limo to even come into the area.
traveller69 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 09:47 AM
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Percy, you are fortunate to have never run into debarkation complications. Some of us have, however. A couple years ago in Fort Lauderdale the entire ship was held up for more than two hours--I barely made a 1pm flight and the FLL airport is only minutes from port.

What you describe is the procedure for European ports. Americans go through US Immigration and Customs upon their first point of entry into the States. That means either at a cruise port or an airport.

The only time I've had to turn in an onboard card was a couple years ago on Regent. That is how they know that all passengers have left the vessel--they collect the cards. Most cruise lines swipe the card into the security system, which also accomplishes the same thing, and then return the cards to passengers to keep as a souvenir. The original poster is going on a Carnival cruise and that is Carnival's procedure. Because his cruise ends in a US port, the Immigration and Customs officials will be at the Norfolk pier when the ship arrives to process identification and collect customs declarations forms.

I agree with traveller69 that Norfolk is/was a disorganized port--my experience was a couple years ago before they completed the permanent facilities. When we embarked there, it was a breeze. When we disembarked a week later, it didn't get disorganized until after we got through the Immigration point and gathered our luggage. Then it took us nearly a half hour to get a cab, even with the assistance of a porter. Without a porter, it might have taken longer. I understand the situation has improved.

I hope this helps.

Linda Coffman
Author, Fodor's The Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises
CruiseDiva is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 12:01 PM
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Well I guess I am as lucky as Percy.

The one time I had to disembark in the USA port,I did not have to go through Customs or fill out any papers.... don't ask me why.!!

Of the European ports of disembarkment that I have done...never any customs, don't know what they look like!

I just pulled my suitcase behind me off the gang plank , gave a cruise person my card and that was that...Cruise over !

Obviously it is quite different in the USA, when ever I can I avoid US ports for disembarkment.( Too much hassles and even more so since 9/11).

I guess we are all learing something here.


jmvp is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 12:53 PM
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Thank Linda:

I am wondering why there is no customs breathing down your neck in the European Ports.

When I got off in Copenhagen ( from Norway), no customs,no customs papers to fill out.!

What if I lived in Copenhagen...,you mean I can tour the Baltics and then just walk off the ship as I DID in Copenhagen and other places. Amazing.

It is not just me ...the other three in our group did the same thing.! and no problems at all.
We were in our hotel in downtown Denamrk at 8:12 AM !!!

I guess the USA is just a bit more "strict" !! is that the proper word.

I want to do a Southern Caribbean Cruise but I want to do it out of Puerto Rico and not out of Fort Lauderdale.
From Puerto Rica I can fly home and then go through customs there.
Thanks again for your input and the different information that you brought forward.


Thanks jmvp , I was beginning to think I was the only evading customs somehow !!
Percy is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:22 PM
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It makes a great deal of difference whether your disembarkation experience was pre or post 9/11. All U.S. port and airport procedures are now very strict, and getting stricter.
Leburta is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 11:32 PM
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We have been on several cruises and each time end up waiting around at airport for hours for 1 PM or so flight - but each time heard from crew and fellow travelers stories of late docking because of weather or mechnical. So I think the above answers are mostly correct - if everything goes according to plan, you will be OK - but just like with flights, things happen and sometimes one is late.

So it depends on your state of mind and how much you need to be somewhere else by a certain time - and if their are other flights later in day from orfolk you might be able to get on if you miss this one.
gail is online now  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 03:07 PM
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Your right gail

Personally I would not want to have an early morning flight coming off a cruise ship.

That is why I spent the whole day in Copenhagen when I disembarked , even though I could have made the 8:30 Am flight because the ship docked at 5 Am.

I felt I just did not need the stress!!!

Percy is online now  
Oct 6th, 2007, 03:10 AM
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wow. Lots of good info!
i'm not sure if i need to worry about a cab-- we live in newport news (across the chesapeake bay from norfolk) so if there is some sort of long term parking in the area that is where the family car will be.

the problem with the flight is that I'm heading to Aruba as soon as the ship docks. I had no say in when the trip to Aruba was, and little say in picking the cruise date. They're with different halves of the family. If you all know a way to fly to Aruba at 2 in the afternoon and NOT have to lay over a day in Miami or the like- I'm open to suggestions. most of the flights I've found that leave later than noon have a day layover in Miami rather than a late arrival in Aruba that same day.
sperkins921 is offline  

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