You’ve made it! You’re at the cruise terminal and you’re ready to check in for paradise. Now all you have to do is get through the terminal and get to the lido deck for a frozen concoction.
Cruise embarkation day can be stressful, especially with big families, so take note of these 6 tips to faster embarkation on your sailing.
1. Print Your Paperwork
Print your boarding pass before you leave the house or at your hotel. If you don’t have your boarding pass printing you’ll experience a good 10-15 minute delay in getting through the gate keeper of the cruise terminal.
Have everything together when you get to the front of the terminal. This includes your boarding documents and passport (or other identification). You know those people that you can’t stand unprepared going through security check points at the airport – don’t let that be you!
2. Avoid Rush Hour
The mad rush at the cruise terminal is typically between 11:30 and 2p. During this time you can expect delays in the parking lot, longer security lines, longer check-in lines and a lot of waiting as people board the cruise ship. If you arrive at the cruise terminal outside of those times you’ll have an easier embarkation. Just remember to know what time your cruise ship leaves!
3. Be Honest
The public health questionnaire has become protocol for cruiser passengers. They ask you questions like: have you had a fever, cough, runny nose, diarrhea or vomiting. The forms aren’t made to ruin your vacation but to make sure the ship stays clean and healthy.
If you’ve experienced one of the symptoms – it doesn’t mean you can’t sail – it means that you’ll be checked out by the ships doctor first.
4. Tip The Porter
If you’re checking bags curbside, make sure you take care of the porters that are handling your bags. While tipping isn’t required, it is recommended. A good rule of thumb is to give $1 per bag. If you’re cheap, your bag could show up at your cabin late or even show up at someone else’s cabin!
5. Photograph Your Bag
Take a picture of your bag either before you get to the cruise pier or as you’re off loading it curbside. If anything were to happen to your bag and the cruise line had to send an alert out to the ship, the more detailed you can be with your bags description, the better.
I took advantage of a cruise ship disembarkation transfer once and the bag was tagged JAX (Jacksonville), the baggage handlers threw it into the LAX (Los Angeles) pile. Luckily I took a photo of my bag so I was able to email them the photo to expedite tracing the bag. It finally arrived, three days later.
6. Pack Smart
This includes not packing booze in your carry on bag, breakables in your checked bag and leave the pocket knives and guns at the house. If you have questions on what/how to pack for your cruise check out CruiseFever’s article on What Do I Pack for My Cruise.
Even though most cruisers can’t get into their room until 1:30, I’d rather be waiting on the ship than in a line of people.
This is your hard earned vacation and you’ve spent a lot of money, so make it the best experience possible!