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One of the most exciting days in a cruiser’s life is embarkation day. The countdown has been ticking for what seems like ages and now, the day is finally here! However, before the lines are cast off the ship and you’re plying Caribbean waters, make sure you have all your bases covered.
Here are 7 things you should double check before you hop on your cruise.
1. Banking and Credit Cards
Make sure you call your bank and let them know that you’re going to be on a cruise. If they notice a weird pattern where your debit/credit card is being used in Miami, Cozumel, and then Grand Cayman – they might flag the account to put a stop on it.
The last thing you want is to try to pay your bar tab and have the server say, “I’m sorry, your card was declined.” It happened to my roommate in Cozumel.
2. Check Cellphone Plan
These days, smartphones are everyone’s all-in-one. We rely on cameras, communication via social media or text, and the occasional conversation now more than ever. If you plan on using your phone (even for photos) double check with your carrier to make sure you take the appropriate steps to avoid data roaming charges on the ship’s network. My iPhone’s first cruise cost me over $500 in data charges.
3. Personal Matters
It’s good to double check that someone is collecting your mail and newspaper, feeding your fish, cultivating your crops on Farmville, and taking care of tasks around your house.
Our neighbor went on a 14-day Alaskan cruise and didn’t ask us to bring in his newspaper. After the seventh day, I finally started throwing the paper behind his bushes so his house wouldn’t be a target – or ours!
4. Confirm Transportation
Know the logistics on how you’re getting to the cruise port and how much you’ll have to pay when you get there. Whether it be cruise-line transfers, a cab, or parking at the pier. Also, know the parking policies for each cruise port.
In Miami, you pay $20 per night for parking at the pier at the end of your cruise. In Port Canaveral you pay $15 per day and pay before you park.
You can find cruise port parking fees here.
5. Cruise Documents
It sounds silly, but you wouldn’t imagine how many people forget their cruise documents on embarkation day (me included). Make sure you print your documents and have them easily accessible at the pier. Not having your cruise documents at the pier can delay your embarkation by an hour.
Also, don’t pack your cruise documents in your checked luggage!
6. Passport/Birth Certificate
This goes along the same lines as your documents, but still deserves its own category since a lot of people forget they need a passport, or they bring the wrong birth certificate. Your birth certificate needs to be the original one or a state-issued duplicate with a seal. Copies will not work! Nor will providing a baptism certificate or record of birth issued by the hospital.
My friend almost didn’t get to sail on his bachelor cruise because he brought a record of birth rather than a state-issued birth certificate.
7. Good Attitude
This may be a given, but on cruise day you will experience a lot of waiting in lines. Everything from entering the port, dropping off your bag, going through security, checking in, and waiting for your group to be called to board the ship. There could be a lot of sitting around and waiting, so a good attitude is a must.
You will want to leave no stone unturned on embarkation day. Do you have a cruise day cross check ritual?
Feature photo: Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines