Live from the Dawn - the update on boarding issues

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#41
216 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience related to the longer than normal embarkation times for Norwegian Dawn in Tampa. We are working to resolve these customs-related issues and in the meantime, we appreciate our guests' patience and understanding. We continue to advise embarking guests to arrive to the terminal after 1pm. We hope that you have a wonderful time on your cruise.
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Norwegian Cruise Line
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#42
358 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
What time is the muster scheduled? If persons are standing in line for so many hours, is the muster schedule adjusted?
#43
Ontario, Canada
8,231 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by cacj
What time is the muster scheduled? If persons are standing in line for so many hours, is the muster schedule adjusted?
According to one post and I'm sorry not sure who and which thread I read it on. Stated that some didn't make it and had to do a make up the next day.

Chock this though up to hearsay because I'm not really sure which thread I read it on.
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#44
Ontario, Canada
8,231 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by Norwegian Cruise Line
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience related to the longer than normal embarkation times for Norwegian Dawn in Tampa. We are working to resolve these customs-related issues and in the meantime, we appreciate our guests' patience and understanding. We continue to advise embarking guests to arrive to the terminal after 1pm. We hope that you have a wonderful time on your cruise.
Great to hear from you NCL. Yes some passengers now are saying they are getting a heads up by phone or email to arrive at the time you suggest above, Although my edocs that I received today, still say noon and no more than 1 hour before that. However, that doesn't really help all those that were not given the heads up right up to this current sailing. Those are the ones that appear very upset with NCL.

Also by asking passengers not to arrive until 1pm and passengers have to be there no later than 2 hrs prior to sail. Is that not going to create more congestion and confusion by trying to process 2000+ passengers in one hour (between 1pm and 2pm - 2 hrs before sail). At the most 2 hrs as the latest to be onboard at 3pm, because the muster is usually approximately an hour before sail.

Secondly, the pictures posted of the chaos disembarking the cruise is also quite intimidating to some. So although very happy to hear that NCL is aware of this problem and trying to solve it. Are they also doing anything on the disembarkation side to create less chaos during that process?
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#45
Ontario, Canada
8,231 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by gaylemh
What's the latest you can board the ship? I think I'm going to hang out at the hotel until everything is cleared out. That will solve getting on the ship. Hopefully by being in a suite, I'll be able to be one of the first ones off, and avoid most of the lines.
My edocs say

"BOARDING TIME:
All Guests must be on board the ship no later than 2 hours prior to the departure time noted on these documents
or they will not be permitted to sail."
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#47
Jersey Shore
3,753 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by che5904
Secondly, the pictures posted of the chaos disembarking the cruise is also quite intimidating to some. So although very happy to hear that NCL is aware of this problem and trying to solve it. Are they also doing anything on the disembarkation side to create less chaos during that process?
Thanks for posting this question. I'm not too worried about getting on the ship. I'll just stay at the hotel later than planned. It does concern me with getting off the ship. I'm hoping that being in a suite will make it easier, and I can get off before the long lines start. I have some problems with my back, and it will be a problem for me standing in a line so long.
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#48
Toledo OH
340 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Originally posted by che5904
So if I'm reading this correctly. What you are saying is with or without NCL picking up the guests in Cozumel because this particular itinerary goes to Roatan and Belize City that it wouldn't be the modified process anyway? Therefore, passengers should be expecting longer delays at customs? Which would explain why my friends on a totally different line that never picked anyone up and have cruised many cruiselines and many ports stated "Tampa was a nightmare"

Sorry I haven't went to your link yet, I haven't had the time.
I wondered this too. And I wonder if this was always the case for those 2 ports or recently changed. Because we were on the Carnival Legend in Feb of this year and didn't have any issues going through customs. The itinerary we were on went to both Roatan and Belize City.
#49
689 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Yes, I am unhappy. If only we knew ahead of time, as NCL knew, or if I hadn't been lied to, I could accept it and move on. Just that in life, the first and last impressions are what stay with you. That and missing my Super Shuttle ride that I am fighting for reimbursement that is now my fault for missing the pick up time. All the good things on the cruise to take a back seat except for the scratching due to the flies in Belize that will be with us for 2 more weeks. I know that I will get over it , but I know that Tampa or NCL Darn Dawn will never be in my future. NCL are you listening, you could have averted the problem by being proactive instead of being reactive. Will I cruise NCL again, Probably, I am unhappy, not stupid. Thanks to all you posters for having patience with my rants.
#50
Jersey Shore
3,753 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
I wonder how many people will cancel, because of this. NCL made a contract to pick up passengers in Cozumel, and by the looks of it, it's a very small percentage of the total passengers. I wonder if they will loose more passengers than they gained. I know if I had seen this before I booked my non refundable airline tickets, I would have never booked my cruise in April on the Dawn.

What I still can't understand is the small number of customs agents at the Tampa port. My last cruise on Explorer in October there had to be at least 8 customs agents, and that was on a weekend.
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#51
Ontario, Canada
8,231 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by gaylemh
Thanks for posting this question. I'm not too worried about getting on the ship. I'll just stay at the hotel later than planned. It does concern me with getting off the ship. I'm hoping that being in a suite will make it easier, and I can get off before the long lines start. I have some problems with my back, and it will be a problem for me standing in a line so long.
For the record as I've said previous, this neither worries or upsets me personally but I can see how others may be impacted or have issues. If you have any thought this may be a problem when you sail. Contact NCL and see about getting assistance, that would save you standing all that time.

Or choose a disembarkation colour that is at the end of the process if you are doing assisted (bags) disembarkation. If you are doing easy walk off, do the same as I intend to do. Find a comfy spot on the ship after the "get out of your cabin" time and relax with a nice cup of coffee, tea or whatever your choice is until they drag you off of the ship kicking and screaming. Oooops sorry until the time they give you to be off of the ship. The lines should have dissipated by that time, since it appears everyone wants to be first off of the ship the same as they want to be first on.
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#52
Ontario, Canada
8,231 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by gaylemh
I know if I had seen this before I booked my non refundable airline tickets, I would have never booked my cruise in April on the Dawn.
As NCL points out on this thread, they are aware of the issues and are working to improve them. As you can see they are now contacting passengers to tell them not to show up early, so they are doing more than they were say 2 weeks ago.

So you still have lots of hope that these issues will be resolved by the time April rolls around, that's 4 months away.
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#53
Florida
35 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
I hope NCL will address this issue at a deeper level than contacting guests ahead of time. I wonder if anything can be worked out with the port? Somehow seperating those 70 from the rest? NCL is known for innovation and maybe they can come up with a good solution.

The current situation creates inconvenience during embarkation and tangible problems to guests with flights during debarkation. It is such a pity. Because other than embarkation and debarkation, my 11/24 cruise was great. Lovely ship, friendly crew. I especially appreciate that the captain made the effort to reach all 4 ports on time while quite a few other ships missed ports due to the weather that week. I will definitely cruise NCL again. Just will try to avoid Dawn from Tampa. Lol
#54
Lancaster, PA
607 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by che5904
For the record as I've said previous, this neither worries or upsets me personally but I can see how others may be impacted or have issues. If you have any thought this may be a problem when you sail. Contact NCL and see about getting assistance, that would save you standing all that time.

Or choose a disembarkation colour that is at the end of the process if you are doing assisted (bags) disembarkation. If you are doing easy walk off, do the same as I intend to do. Find a comfy spot on the ship after the "get out of your cabin" time and relax with a nice cup of coffee, tea or whatever your choice is until they drag you off of the ship kicking and screaming. Oooops sorry until the time they give you to be off of the ship. The lines should have dissipated by that time, since it appears everyone wants to be first off of the ship the same as they want to be first on.

Thanks for this suggestion. Im probably going to do this in conjunction with a later flight time. Tho Im not keen on waiting in an airport (or a cruise terminal) for longer than it takes to fly home
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#55
Burlington, Vermont
892 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
On the Dawn repo cruise (11/1-11/15), all non-U.S. passengers had to meet in the Spinnaker. Then, I believe that they were disembarked before any of the U.S. passengers were. We had a bit of a wait but, once we got moving, we were through customs in no time at all. Now, I could be mistaken about who went first(US or non-US) but the announcement was made over and over before we disembarked, telling all non-U.S. passengers to meet in the Spinnaker.
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#56
Ontario, Canada
8,231 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by momoftwinteens
On the Dawn repo cruise (11/1-11/15), all non-U.S. passengers had to meet in the Spinnaker. Then, I believe that they were disembarked before any of the U.S. passengers were. We had a bit of a wait but, once we got moving, we were through customs in no time at all. Now, I could be mistaken about who went first(US or non-US) but the announcement was made over and over before we disembarked, telling all non-U.S. passengers to meet in the Spinnaker.
Odd that they disembarked at a different time. Usually we disembark at the same time. The meeting way before disembarkment even begins is to meet with border services to get cleared ahead of time so they just have to go through the normal questions and checks that all Canada/U.S. customs do when arriving in the country. Only of course they can avoid the question "how long have you been out of the country" think they have that one figured out.
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#57
Port St. Lucie, FL
2,548 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Originally posted by momoftwinteens
On the Dawn repo cruise (11/1-11/15), all non-U.S. passengers had to meet in the Spinnaker. Then, I believe that they were disembarked before any of the U.S. passengers were. We had a bit of a wait but, once we got moving, we were through customs in no time at all. Now, I could be mistaken about who went first(US or non-US) but the announcement was made over and over before we disembarked, telling all non-U.S. passengers to meet in the Spinnaker.
As I posted earlier, Princess does this "triage" procedure and this eliminates part of the problem. If the root cause is lack of agents to process at time of disembarkation then they try the above method before they start the cattle call.
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#58
Bradenton FL
2,348 Posts
Joined May 2011
We did the lifeboat drill at 4:30 and departed sometime after 5:30 and people were trickling in after the Lifeboat drill.


This is our third straight cruise out of Tampa. Paradise, Legend and now Dawn.

There were no major delays at all on the previous two getting off and through customs. (getting on the Legend sucked as it was late due to fog)

Costa Maya is kind of a cool looking port and the Chacoobean ruins are well worth it.
#59
Ontario, Canada
8,231 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by Grego
As I posted earlier, Princess does this "triage" procedure and this eliminates part of the problem. If the root cause is lack of agents to process at time of disembarkation then they try the above method before they start the cattle call.
I really hope that isn't how they plan to handle this like other ships handle this "triage" procedure.

Our clearance on NCL in the past had been quick and painless. Yes we did have to get up at some ungodly hour in the morning to meet with border officials which really wasn't an overly big deal to us since we are early risers and we were allowed to bring our coffee with us, thank goodness We did have to stand in a line, we did have to meet them but then we were on our way.

But the nonsense we had to do on our last Carnival cruise was ridiculous. It was well over an hour (sorry I didn't time it). They had everyone in the room from us non-U.S. citizens to those U.S. citizen's that overspent their quota and had to declare it. OK not a big deal but unfortunately we had to sit and wait for everyone involved to get there before they would start. They knew who was suppose to be there so then they had to go on a search of the ship for those that didn't show up for whatever reason. It was organized at least by the crew, not the passengers that didn't bother to show up on time. But a very painful and unnecessary procedure. They could have just started processing us when we got there.
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#60
Maine
10,071 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
I think there is some confusion here (not just at NCL!), and Aquahound, jump in and help me here.

The Dawn repo cruise, and I believe the Princess cruises mentioned were open loop cruises, but did not embark anyone at a port other than the original US embarkation port. Clearing of non-US citizens on a cruise like this is fairly simple, because as Aquahound points out, the original passenger manifest has been in CBP's hands for several days.

Once you embark passengers at a foreign port, the cruise must be treated as if you are coming from a transatlantic, for instance, and everyone must go through full CBP immigration check. So you could not just separate those who got on in Cozumel, and allow everyone else to disembark normally. Once you embark passengers in a foreign port, you are just like arriving on a plane from overseas, US citizen or not, you are going to go through CBP.

While this does sound like a bad idea from the get go, and probably not thought through completely, as Aquahound has said, the sequestration and government shut down have affected CBP just like other agencies.