It’s the year 2024. The cruising industry is booming. Newer, bigger, and all-the-more innovative ships are taking to the waves. Since the pandemic ended, the cruise industry has forged ahead with bigger and better experiences to come. Just as prior to the pandemic, there is plenty of excitement amongst every family when it comes to an upcoming cruise. Regardless of cruise line, ship, itinerary, or occasion, guests still need to be mindful of one major detail. With so much excitement awaiting onboard ship, it pays to be at the cruise terminal on time. Every sailing day begins with a stellar sailing day. A stellar sailing day begins with adhering to a designated arrival time.

As the pandemic winded down to its conclusion, cruise lines required guests to strictly adhere to a designated arrival time. The arrival time is assigned, predicated upon the completion of their online check-in process. Once an arrival time is assigned, guests must adhere to it. They should not arrive earlier than that time given, nor show up any later than that time. Post-pandemic, the cruise lines have lifted that sailing day protocol. Despite the lifting of the arrival time protocol, guests are required to arrive at the cruise terminal at an acceptable time frame. How so? Disembarkation normally concludes around 10 am, with embarkation beginning approximately 11 am. Why an arrival time of 11 am.? Once at the terminal, guests will need to park their vehicles (if applicable) and check in their luggage with the longshoremen. Afterward, guests proceed into the cruise terminal with their cruise ticket paperwork, and travel documents (i.e. passports/passport cards). Finally , guests get officially checked in by a member of the shoreside staff. Once successfully checked in, it’s off to the gangway and onboard the ship. From that point on, adventure awaits.

A majority of all cruise lines no longer enforce a designated arrival time. It’s now up to the guests to arrive on time so that they can enjoy the vessel as much as they desire. Disney Cruise Line, on the other hand, still enforces a designated arrival time. Disney operates according to five standards-safety, courtesy, efficiency, show, and inclusion. To assure a safe and efficient sailing day experience, Disney requires guests to adhere to the arrival time they are specifically assigned upon completion of their online check-in process. All cruisers have experienced being at the cruise terminal and had to wait an hour or more before finally checking in. To Disney, a scene such as that is bad show. No sailing day needs to start that way. Even for guests who need wheelchair assistance, waiting a long time can put a dagger through their day. Disney requires guests to adhere to their arrival time, to allow a “smooth sailing” experience at the curbside, inside the terminal, and during the boarding process. Once aboard the vessel, guests can truly appreciate how far Disney goes to assure a satisfactory sailing day experience. By sticking to the arrival time, guests are sure to get on board the ship at the right time, all the time.

Sailing day-it is the most magical day of every cruise vacation. It is the day which cruisers look forward to for a long period of time. Whether it’s their first time, third time, or twentieth time, there’s never an absence of energy on sailing day. Before boarding a cruise ship, cruisers must remain mindful of one vital hint of information. Arrival time means being at the cruise terminal on time, all the time. With the exception of Disney Cruise Line, all cruise lines urge all guests to use their common sense and arrive at the cruise terminal at 11 am. Sticking to that time, guests can board the ship, enjoy the buffet, sign up for the youth activities, and whatever they wish to do with time to spare. Disney Cruise Line, being family-oriented, requires all guests to adhere to their assigned arrival time. The designated arrival time allows for a fluid experience in the cruise terminal. A designated arrival time means no lines, no hassle, no loss of patience, and best-no lost sailing day. The arrival time is the right time to begin any cruise vacation. It’s the tell-tale element on which every memorable cruise vacation begins. The ship cannot wait all day; nor do the waves. The arrival time is the right time, every time, all the time.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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