The traditional "hurry up and wait" disembarkation process that has long been a cruise industry tradition is now history aboard Princess ships, as the line introduces a new, streamlined farewell process for passengers.
Contrasted with the typical end-of-cruise departure where passengers listen to public address system announcements for their luggage tag color to be called signaling the staggered times they will disembark, Princess has debuted an efficient, more relaxed process for passengers leaving the ship. Passengers are each given an assigned time and place to assemble on the final morning and are personally escorted to the gangway by a member of the ship's staff, eliminating the guesswork as to the actual time passengers will be disembarking.
"We've been praised for our innovative embarkation program that enables passengers to board the ship without long delays, check into their cabins early, and begin enjoying the cruise amenities including meals and beverages," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service. "Now with the addition of this new disembarkation process which gives our passengers a more gracious send-off on their final morning with us, we believe we're offering the best passenger experience both at the start and end of their vacation."
The new program is in the process of being rolled out fleetwide, and has already been met with enthusiastic response from passengers. The new system eliminates loudspeaker announcements calling color-coded departure groups, and instead provides passengers with a letter the day before the end of the cruise that outlines their designated time to meet in an assigned public room, depending on their return air arrangements. There they will be met by a member of the ship's staff who will wait with them until departure time, when they will be personally escorted to the gangway.
The revised system enables passengers to easily plan their morning without the uncertainty as to when they should prepare to depart the ship. It also eliminates passengers congregating in the ship's atrium near the gangway, plus creates a more relaxed flow for morning breakfast.
"Passengers have told us that they're enjoying their final morning on board much more since we've started this program," noted Swartz. "It gives the departure a much more personal touch and creates a great beginning to their onward travels."
In addition to the enhanced disembarkation program, in many ports departing passengers can also take advantage of an express disembarkation option in which those who choose to carry their own luggage off the ship can elect to be part of the first group exiting the ship, allowing them to get an early start on their post-cruise travel plans.
The new disembarkation process complements Princess' innovative early embarkation program, which makes staterooms available to passengers immediately upon boarding. Arriving passengers can also enjoy a full dining room lunch in addition to the ship's Horizon Court buffet.