Royal Caribbean International has notified guests booked aboard several Allure of the Seas cruises to adjust their boarding times on upcoming cruises from Galveston.
While the delay is just for one hour, the fact that multiple cruises have been alerted to the same change may indicate growing pains for the newly opened cruise terminal.
Embarkation Delays for Allure of the Seas
Guests booked on a number of sailings for Allure of the Seas have been notified about pushing back their boarding times by one hour and advised that the ship will also set sail one hour later than originally scheduled.
“To allow for additional time to complete the debark process from our previous sailing, we kindly as that you arrive 1 hour after your previously selected arrival time,” the email said.
“Space in the terminal can only accommodate a specific number of guests, so those who arrive sooner will be turned away and asked to return during their new time to avoid overcrowding in the terminal.”
The email also notes that should guests disregard the adjusted times and arrive early, they may be required to wait outdoors in all types of Texas weather conditions.
While the weather in southeastern Texas is generally pleasant in January, with average daily temperatures in the mid-50s Fahrenheit (12-14 Celsius), if these delays continue the weather can quickly become uncomfortable.
In July and August, for example, the average daily temperature is roughly 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Celsius), with higher precipitation and humidity that can make waiting outside very unpleasant.
“Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We can’t wait to welcome you onboard soon!” the email concludes.
Sailing From Galveston
Allure of the Seas is currently homeported in Galveston, and is sailing primarily 7-night Western Caribbean cruises that visit Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.
The Oasis-class ship is sailing from Royal Caribbean International’s new 161,334-square-foot cruise terminal, which has facial recognition software for customs and passport screenings as well as other updated features to support a smoother, faster, more efficient embarkation and debarkation process.
These adjusted embarkation times, however, have been going on at least since mid-December, and may indicate other issues impacting how fast passengers can be processed between cruises on the mega-ship.
Why the Delay?
Allure of the Seas is the fifth largest cruise ship in the world, welcoming as many as 5,484 guests per sailing when booked at double occupancy, and home to as many as 6,780 guests when fully booked with all berths filled.
With so many guests onboard each sailing, it may be taking longer than initially anticipated to process baggage through the terminal to be collected, or there may be staffing concerns at the terminal without enough personnel to process baggage, handle customs and passport checks, or otherwise complete the necessary duties for debarkation and the following embarkation.
It is also possible that not all security checkpoints or other necessary technology are yet working at full capacity, slightly slowing the steps for processing passengers.
Delays could also be the result of issues onboard the ship, such as lower staffing rates for stateroom stewards that make it more challenging to turn over all 2,742 staterooms in time for new guests to arrive. A slight embarkation delay can then provide more time for essential housekeeping chores, which could make it possible for more guests to go directly to their staterooms when they board.
Finally, it is also possible that the cruise line could be testing a slightly more relaxed debarkation process, permitting guests onboard more time to enjoy the final morning of their cruise before they depart the ship.
Regardless of the reason, it is important that all passengers booked on Allure of the Seas – or any cruise ship – stay in close contact with their cruise line for embarkation time updates and other adjustments as their sailing date approaches.