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  • On Sep 5, 2023
    Vernita from FL Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    If my port time is 1pm and the boarding time is 3:45 do we sit outside the ship all that time or are we allowed on the ship after doing the paperwork to board?

    Welcome aboard, Vernita!  

    Oh boy, your fantastic Disney Cruise Line vacation is almost here – thanks for bringing your thoughtful question to our planDisney crew. I’m happy to help you know what to expect for that magical embarkation day.

    You selected a Port Arrival Time (PAT) during the online check-in process, and it sounds like yours is 1:00 P.M. EST. This means that is the time when you should plan to physically arrive at the terminal at your departure port. I like to plan for time to park my vehicle or allow for some cushion of time for traffic or disruptions and err on the side of being a tad early, understanding I’m not to enter the terminal until just around my official PAT. There will be workers from the port directing you and available for any questions while helping to organize all Guests into queues based on this schedule. You will also hand over any checked baggage for the team to place on the ship for you and you will next see your luggage magically appear in your stateroom later that afternoon. Be sure you have your printed (or electronic) Port Arrival Form with a Quick Response (QR) code on it and each person's travel documentation in hand, and not in your checked bags. 

    When you are called to enter the port terminal, at 1:00 P.M. or just before, you will then go through security with your carry-on luggage. Please see this recent answer by my teammate, Tracie, for another Guest's question regarding the size constraints of these bags and which items are best carried on. You will then see a Disney Cruise Line representative to finalize your paperwork and be given the all-clear to board. When called, you will then walk onto the ship and you are officially in vacation mode! At that time, I encourage you to switch your Disney Cruise Line Navigator App to “onboard mode” to ensure you see all the updates for your specific itinerary, including your personal dining rotation assignment and evening entertainment schedules.  

    The itinerary may state an "all aboard" time of 3:45 P.M. EST, but please know this is essentially a last call time for all Guests to be physically on the ship. Disney will traditionally begin boarding in these organized PAT groups prior to noon in order to meet this timeline. This is an important distinction to remember for the duration of your cruise, as each day when you’re in port the schedule will have a new “all aboard” time. This is the time when everyone must be back on the ship. Similarly, “all ashore” will indicate the earliest time that passengers may begin disembarking that day to set out for fun adventures. Keep an ear out for helpful information and critical daily verbal announcements from your Captain and Cruise Director onboard over the speakers.

    Once onboard, be sure to explore the beautiful ship and get some delicious lunch. You can ask a nearby crew member to confirm, but typically the buffet is open as well as one table service restaurant for your first lunch onboard. Don’t miss the deck party planned during your sail away from port where you can really start to let loose, see some favorite characters, and get ready for an amazing time at sea together!  

    I hope this helps you envision how this special day will unfold for you, Vernita. I’m wishing you a wonderful escape and a truly magical vacation.  

    Bon voyage, 
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Meet the Panelist: Amy, Virginia

Hi friends! I'm Amy, a lifelong Disney dreamer from horse-and-wine country, Virginia. My family of three is BIG on fun and treasures every adventure together. We've been making memories at the Walt Disney World Resort and aboard Disney Cruise Line since my son was a toddler; we love our family traditions balanced with "what's new" each visit. I have a passion for Disney details, a love of digital tools, and an eye for practical planning. I can't wait to help you make the MOST of your magical vacation! Learn More About Amy

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