Carnival App Review plus Pre-Boarding and Boarding Experience Arriving Early at the Port

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screens screenshot of a cruise ship

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a cruise ship in the water

As a quick background, I like being one of the first to the dock for any cruise I take. I don’t mind sitting for say an hour to be one of the first to be allowed to board. Now with my NCL Diamond status I have much less stress about being really early as I know I will be some of the first onboard (after suites and Haven guests that is).

a view from inside of a car of a cruise ship

On my last one and only Carnival cruise I got to the port early. We were in line and Carnival was pushing us to pay for “faster to the fun” to board early. We declined and it looked like we were in for a long wait until they simply let us on when all the elites and faster the to the fun folks had boarded.

a group of people walking on a sidewalk

In the Carnival app in the days leading up to our cruise it instructed us to arrive at 3:30PM with the ship sailing at 5:30PM. I searched a bunch online to see if we were going to have to wait for many hours if we arrived early and found mixed results. We risked it and arrived early and there were very few folks waiting to board.

a group of people standing in a line

In fact we hardly waited at all and were able to be some of the very first onboard. That said I have to say that, unlike most days, the GLORY was the only ship in Barcelona and this was not a normal sailing for the ship that had just come out of drydock in Spain.

screens screenshots of a boarding pass

Having our digital boarding passes all set in the app well before we arrived aided in our quickly being able to zip through the embarkation process and I strongly urge all do both download the app well before your sailing and check-in with the app before you arrive at port.

screens screenshot of a phone

 

Once onboard we were able to watch the safety instructions in the app and check-in at our muster station and the app then reflected we were done and could go have fun. Sweet and so quick.

a blue and white website with a globe and text

 

We paid only $268 for Starlink fast internet for the cruise (for one device) and I was most impressed. Not only did it “feel” as fast as a land based connection it was solid and reliable. Carnival now has Starlink on all it’s ships and if they keep prices at these levels I would always pay to have the service (on longer cruises like the 14 day one with many sea days like we had).

a screenshot of a menu

We chose flexible dining but most days went early-ish. We found even checking in at the moment dinner check-in opened up resulted in an hour long wait. Do keep in mind we had many sea days so this likely had an impact on wait times. But the process worked well and we were notified when our table was ready.

a screenshot of a cruise ship

Even choosing what time we wanted to leave the ship was quick and simple inside the Carnival app a few days before arrival in Florida.

Being an NCL fan, who offers a very basic app, I have to say I was and am impressed with other cruise lines app technology. Carnival has done a great job. Maybe not as great as Holland America but close and I have nothing but good things to say about the experience! – René

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Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

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