13 May 2013
I’ll keep this one brief, as I’m in the post-cruise blues: back to work on Monday to a nice full inbox is always good fun! I wanted to talk about Celebrity’s disembarkation process, which actually started a few days before the end of the cruise.
I think about 3-4 days before the end of the cruise Celebrity delivered a form to our stateroom asking us about our disembarkation preferences, and claiming that nobody will experience the typical disembarkation troubles on Celebrity. Because we were cruising for only 8 nights, it felt somewhat like we’d only just got on, and they were already trying to get rid of us. Not something I was particularly keen to think about half way through our cruise.
When we sailed with Cunard, we were given a disembarkation time, and told we could opt for self disembarkation to leave early but carry our own luggage off. This worked very well for us. This time, however, we thought it would be nice to relax with a bit of a lie in, and have a leisurely breakfast in the buffet before getting off. Celebrity allow you to select your preferred time, up to 09:00. So we chose the latest we could.
Our luggage tags arrived a couple of days later, and instructions to meet in the Eclipse Theatre at 09:15 to disembark. We could still use our room until that point (which I was surprised at) so we looked forward to a relaxed morning in the buffet.
Fast forward to final sea day, and our evening delivery of Celebrity Today, and we discovered that the Oceanview Cafe is only open for breakfast from 06:00 to 08:00, meaning we’d have more than an hour to kill before we could leave the ship. I really wish Celebrity had told us that, and we would have opted for much earlier disembarkation time. That, or have Oceanview Cafe open for longer.
The other issue with the limited opening times for Oceanview Cafe is that it was incredibly busy in the morning with everyone looking to enjoy their last meal on board, and fill up for their onward travel from Southampton.
Upon arrival at the theatre, we were told at almost exactly 09:15 that we could now disembark from the gangway on deck 5; the same deck that welcomed us on to Eclipse just 8 short days ago. It was certainly sad to be leaving Eclipse, and we look forward to returning to Celebrity, probably next year.
We eventually decided to abandon our Manchester Premier Inn booking, and drove straight home. It was good to get back, and we arrived back in Falkirk at 18:30, making fairly good time, and including a lunch stop at the Trafford Centre in Manchester.
Overall I think the Celebrity Disembarkation process was fairly smooth, although being able-bodied I would probably opt for self disembarkation in the future. There doesn’t seem to be anything stopping those passengers who opted for self-disembarkation from leaving at their leisure, as the gangway seems open to anyone who wants to leave.