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I want to get on asap a i have a 12month old baby and dont want to be hanging about as she usually sleeps at 2 and i dont want her kicking off co she is tire.
You won't necessarily be the first one because everyone has first to queue up for passport and ticket control and then you go to a departure lounge where you wait yet again to have your 'letter' called and that is around 4.00 to 4.30 p.m. I'm sure there are preferential channels for some people to go through if they have the right criteria.
We have arrived at between 12.30 and 1 p.m. and was one of the first on. I don't think it really matters as they are quite quick to board you and in fact we have been sat down having lunch in the restaurant on board by 2 p.m.
At the top of your boarding ticket there should be a time for you to check-in. Suggest you arrive at the terminal 15-20 minutes before that time.
Arrive at noon when desks open
I cruised on Oceana this year. As I like to travel down from Yorkshire the day before I sail and have an overnight stop in Southampton. I am usually eager to get to the terminal early, therefore I usually arrive at about 12:00. This year there was a reasonably lengthy line of people, however once the desks (and there are lot of them) opened, the line moved forward fairly quickly. Once in the departure lounge you don't usually have too long to wait. The order of boarding is Suite Occupants and Gold Portunus Club members first, then groups based on the coded card given to you on entering the departure lounge.
My experience this year was arrive at 12:00, sat down eating a buffet lunch on board by 13:00.
My experience ( albeit a little out of date- 2005) was that boarding does tend to be as indicated with the majority of passengers already waiting in the terminal .
As such first or early boarding would be for those in suites and disabled / wheelchair passengers.
We arrived around 11am but you couldn't board until 1.30. depending on the colour of boarding card you were given.
We left our hotel at 12noon and there were large lines waiting to board the ship so go earlier.
I have found that the best time to arrive at the Mayflower Terminal is between 12:45 and 13:15
This ensures that you can get checked before the
Eavesway Coaches start arriving from all points of the compass
P&O have got the check in procedure off to a fine art
There are lots of check in desks all staffed by cheerful and efficient people
Just have your tickets, passport and also your credit card ( assuming to wish to settle your on onboard account by this method ) ready and you will just sail through
From Jacobs, Waterlooville