Carnival Cruise Line Is Testing a New Debarkation Procedure

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Carnival Cruise Line is testing a new debarkation procedure using the Carnival Hub app, with the hopes that it will help streamline the process and minimize crowds while still giving guests plenty of options for how they choose to leave the ship at the end of their cruise vacation.

Luggage Tag Distribution to Change

In an effort to further smooth the debarkation process, Carnival Cruise Line is introducing a way to for guests to use the Carnival Hub app to choose their debarkation time and receive notifications about when they can leave the ship.

“We always want debarkation to be as easy as possible. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not,” said John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador. “I wanted to let you know that we are rolling out a new debarkation system for those guests who put their luggage outside of their cabin door and want to choose what time they will disembark.”

Rather than having thousands of guests head to Guest Services to choose luggage tags, passengers will now be able to select their debarkation time and the number of luggage tags they need via the Carnival Hub app. The appropriate tags will then be delivered to their stateroom.

Carnival Dream Cruise Ship
Carnival Dream Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock)

On debarkation morning, a notification will be sent through the app to alert guests that their luggage is ready and they can leave the ship.

The new process is called “Digital Debark” and is currently being piloted aboard four ships: Carnival Spirit sailing from Mobile, Alabama; Carnival Conquest from Miami, Florida; Carnival Dream from Galveston, Texas; and Carnival Elation from Jacksonville, Florida.

Heald has indicated the new procedure will be gradually rolled out to other ships in the fleet, but no timeline has been confirmed for when different Carnival cruise ships will offer Digital Debark.

What About Self-Assist and VIFP Guests?

The new Digital Debark luggage tag distribution will not impact guests who prefer to use Carnival’s Self-Assist debarkation option. Those guests carry off all their luggage themselves, without the need for any luggage tags at all. Self-Assist guests will still be among the first to debark the ship, as soon as the vessel has cleared immigration and debarkation can begin.

Similarly, guests at the Diamond and Platinum levels of Carnival Cruise Line’s “Very Important Fun Person” (VIFP) loyalty program who have earned priority debarkation as a perk will also not be impacted, as their top level luggage tags will be delivered to their staterooms without the need to select any digital option.

Carnival Cruise Terminal
Photo Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

The same goes for guests who have purchased Faster to the Fun or who are staying in suites, which also include priority debarkation as a benefit.

Furthermore, guests who prefer not to use the Carnival Hub app, whether they do not have a smartphone, have trouble connecting to the ship’s onboard wireless signal for full app usage, or who simply prefer to unplug while on vacation, can still visit the display set up near Guest Services to choose their luggage tags in person.

Read Also: How Long Does It Take to Get Off a Cruise Ship?

Heald does warn, however, that collecting luggage tags may not continue to be an option in the weeks and months to come, hinting that even more functionality will be coming to the app.

“We really believe that [Digital Debark] will help and eventually move away completely from the system of having to collect tags from the board which we all know is not perhaps the best,” Heald explained. “This is another reason to download the Hub App and there will many more reasons to do so in the days to come.”

Multiple Uses for the Carnival Hub App

The Carnival Hub app was first introduced in 2015 aboard Carnival Breeze, and was quickly rolled out fleetwide to offer guests an easy, convenient way to know what is going on during their cruise with event and activities lists, times, and locations.

The app is much more than just a digital version of the Fun Times onboard newsletter, however. It has been updated and expanded over the years to include the ability to make dinner reservations, book shore excursions or spa treatments, preview menus, view deck plans, check-in for a cruise, chat with others in your travel party, check onboard accounts, view photos taken by ship photographers, and more.

Carnival Hub App
Image Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

The Carnival Hub app is compatible with both iOS and Apple devices, and is free to download through the Apple app store and similar distribution sites.

Guests should download the app well before setting sail, or if they already have the app but haven’t used it in several weeks or months, check to be sure they have the most updated version and can log in correctly so they will be able to use all its interactive features and really make the most of everything their cruise offers.

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