The duration of your stay in port can vary, but typically, ships dock for either half a day or a full day. It is essential to check the itinerary pages for estimated shore and re-boarding times for your cruise ship.
Royal Caribbeanwill usually publish the time when your vessel should return to port, but this is only the time the ship docks. This is not the time for passengers to disembark from the ship.
Regardless of the method you use to leave the ship, you'll need to scan your SeaPass card to prove that you've departed. This is especially true for weekend cruises, when locals are eager to get off the boat and get back to work on time. If you can get your luggage off the ship, you can disembark as soon as the ship is dispatched. If you want to reunite with your teenagers later on the coast, they will need an adult to accompany them to leave the ship.
When the walkway is open first thing in the morning, there's rarely a group of guests waiting to get off the boat (unless it's a smooth stopover). The suite concierge can facilitate disembarkation, which means that they will accompany you and other passengers in the suite at a pre-arranged time and avoid some queues. I have found that the longest waits can be to take the elevators on the morning of the last day of the cruise, instead of waiting to get off the vessel. The time needed to get off the ship is usually fairly constant, especially at Royal Caribbean's newer cruise terminals.
The entire process will take a few hours to get all passengers off the boat when the cruise ends. If you choose to have Royal Caribbean take your luggage off the ship for you, you'll have to wait for them to call your group number. Once your number is called, go to the walkway area and scan your SeaPass card as you depart. Usually, a maritime entity will board the vessel and perform some type of inspection to verify that all documentation is correct and that all regulations are met.
If you want to be able to get off the cruise ship faster when it's over, here are some proven methods that work for many people. You can get off before they call your baggage tag number, but you'll end up waiting at the cruise terminal for all your luggage to be brought to you. Don't assume that the time indicated for your vessel to dock at the pier is when you can actually leave.