Holland America Implements Progressive Cruise Check-In

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With the Alaska cruise season ready to begin in earnest and the region preparing for its busiest season yet, some logistical challenges will need to be tackled. 

Holland America Line has begun informing guests of the progressive cruise check-in procedure that will be tried for sailings out of Vancouver, Guests will now be required to embark on the vessel at set times.

Holland America Informs Guests of Embarkation Changes

With the cruise line planning its busiest season to date in Alaska, Holland America Line also seems to be busy ironing out some logistical challenges, particularly in Vancouver, Canada. The cruise line has informed guests sailing on the April 27, 7-night inside passage cruise onboard ms Koningsdam, that they will be required to embark the vessel in a staggered manner. 

Going from the upper decks down, guests will be allowed to embark starting at 10:30 AM for those staying on deck 10 and 11. Guests staying on decks 7 and 8, will be allowed to embark at 11:30, decks 5 and 6 at 1 PM, and decks 1 and 4 at 2 PM. 

In a letter sent to guests booked on the cruise, Holland America Line makes it clear that the timings will be followed strictly, and guests will need to wait their turn to embark. The procedure is, according to HAL, aimed at easing congestion at the Vancouver Cruise Terminal

Holland America Line said: “We look forward to welcoming you on board Koningsdam. As there will be multiple ships in Vancouver, all guests will proceed through shared security screening and U.S. Customs and Border Protection clearance.” 

“To ease congestion, we have implemented a progressive cruise check-in schedule. Please do not arrive prior to the times advised below or you may be turned away and asked to return later.”

Koningsdam Cruise Ship in Vancouver
Koningsdam Cruise Ship in Vancouver (Photo Credit: Macklin Holloway / Shutterstock)

Guests that stay in the Pinnacle and Neptune suites, 4 and 5 Star Mariners, and Club Orange guests will be allowed to board the ship at their leisure.

The new procedure is similar to how embarkation was arranged post-pandemic, where guests had to pick a slot before arriving at the terminal to embark on the ship. However, the way Holland America Line has designed this format does bring some challenges that guests will not be happy with. 

New Format Could be Challenging

The reasoning behind the procedure is logical, given that with thousands of people embarking on cruise ships simultaneously, it can get quite hectic in a cruise terminal. Yet, only one other vessel is in port besides the 2650-guest ms Koningsdam that day, fellow Holland America Line cruise ship, the 1438-guest ms Zaandam

With Vancouver’s Canada Place cruise terminal designed for handling larger numbers of guests, and expected to welcome 1.27 million passengers this year, the new procedure is likely one that Holland America Line plans to implement for the entire season across all of its ships. That being said, the cruise line has made no announcements that this is the case.

Cruise Ships Docked in Vancouver
Cruise Ships Docked in Vancouver (Photo Credit: Iryna Makukha / Shutterstock)

There are, however, multiple days this Alaska cruise season where up to three large cruise ships, with as many as 10,000 guests embarking and disembarking on the same day. On May 12, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Edge, Brilliance of the Seas, and ms Noordam will all have their turnaround day in Vancouver.

A challenge arises for guests flying into Vancouver and staying at hotels in the city, as they typically must check out by 11 am. If their cabins on the ship are located on decks 1 through 6, they could face a wait of several hours before boarding.

Read Also: Ideal Hotels Near Vancouver’s Port

With Koningsdam, Zaandam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, and Eurodam sailing from Vancouver this summer, Holland America Line has established itself once again as the go-to cruise line when it comes to Alaska cruises. 

Through October 22, 2024, the cruise line will sail an incredible 75 cruises out of Vancouver, and several more out of ports such as Seattle and Anchorage.

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