Travel agents and consumers have raised questions about the boarding process on the world's largest cruise ship. How long would line-ups and wait-times be when Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas prepares to set sail with a full complement of passengers?
On December 12th the behemoth shipembarked with more than 5,000 guests for the first time. Cruise Week was on hand to observe the boarding procedure at Pier 18 in Ft. Lauderdale. Over a multi-hour period, the boarding process was smooth and speedy. Throughout, the time spent by passengers in getting from the offloading point to the ship’s gangway was less than fifteen minutes.
From the 10 airport-type security screeners and 90 check-in stations; to the four escalators going up to the waiting lounge; to the 2,000 seats in that lounge, there was never a back-up.
Though the staterooms onboard were not going to be ready until 1 p.m., the process started at 11 a.m. with Diamond and Platinum level guests given priority. Then other guests were invited aboard. Within 20 minutes, everyone who was waiting had boarded and subsequent guests were able to walk right on once their paperwork was completed.
With the combination of ubiquitous electronic signage and dozens of staff guiding people, it was a very efficient process.