Ok, this is what has been going on for the last few weeks – Pearl Castaway Club members checking in for an upcoming cruise are discovering they are no longer required to select a Port Arrival Time. That being said, it appears that Disney Cruise Line discovered another treasure which was once an exclusive to the Platinum level which they are currently extending to Pearl Castaway Club members in the form of a new benefit for guests who have sailed on 25 or more Disney cruises.
According to various reports from Pearl Castaway Club members, Online Check-In indicates they can now arrive anytime on embarkation day (at least 1 hour before all aboard time) without the need to pick a port arrival time!
The arrive anytime benefit began to appear quietly on guests accounts in July. Additionally, Pearl Castaway Club members began to notice their previously assigned boarding group number was lowered to boarding group #2. Over the weekend of July 15th, Pearl Castaway club members with upcoming cruises (even those already check-in) received check-in reminder emails. Upon logging into to Disney’s website they discovered the following message:
You are not required to select a port arrival time. Please arrive anytime during the Embarkation period, at least one hour prior to all-aboard time at the latest. Once you are fully checked in and boarding has begun, you may make your way onto the ship at your leisure.
The privilege to arrive at anytime with out a selected port arrival time was once a Platinum Castaway Club benefit before the industry shutdown in 2020. With the return to cruising in 2021 the cruise line required and enforced all guests regardless of Castaway Club status to select a Port Arrival Time (PAT) with the exception of guests booked in a concierge level stateroom (who may also arrive at anytime regardless of Castaway Club status) to manage guest arrival at the embarkation terminals to reduce congestion in the terminal as well as reduce the traffic in and around the port area.
As of this morning, Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Club page continues to state “Select port arrival times and complete online check-in 40 days prior to sailing” under the Pearl overview.
Moving forward, I would say enjoy this perk until it shimmers away, or becomes an official Pearl Member benefit. Either way, this is a potential perk/benefit Pearl Castaway Club members are noticing during recent check-in experiences.