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We’ve all been there. Waiting to get on the ship, like a line at Walt Disney World; it just doesn’t seem to be moving. There are ways around being one of those walking zombies, moving a few inches every few minutes.
Here are Six Embarkation Tips:
1. It Starts At Home – Way before you get to the pier, the cruise lines send you luggage tags or you print them out. Have the tags completed and ready to go when you roll up to the curb. If you don’t know your room or have luggage tags, the porter has to look through the cruise line manifest to try to find your last name and room number. It can become quite the production.
2. Have Your Documents Out – When you get to the security line and the check-in counter, have your passport, credit card, and sail documents in your hand and ready to go. If you forgot to print your sail documents, they have to be done by hand and it creates extra work and a longer wait time for the people behind you.
3. Arrive Earlier or Later – Anytime between 12 – 1:30 is what the cruise terminals consider “rush hour.” If you want to get on the ship early, arrive early and you’ll beat the crowd. If you want to wait until the crowd dies down, take your time getting to the port. However, remember that most US Ports require you to be checked in by 3 – 3:30 pm, so don’t run too late.
4. Check Loyalty Perks – Certain cruise lines have loyalty programs for their frequent cruisers. Sometimes those programs offer quicker embarkation. It is definitely worth joining any loyalty program.
5. Buy Your Way In – Carnival Cruise Line offers a “Faster to the Fun” program on certain sailings. The concept is you pay a flat rate per cabin and everyone gets express check-in, expedited luggage service, and allowed access into their room before the usual 1:30 pm. Carnival also has airport cruise check-in in Miami, so when you land you can check in and avoid the lines at the pier.
6. Be a Smart Traveler – Have your documents handy every step of the way until you board the ship. If you are traveling with kids, make sure all their documents are in line. Remember that you have to go through metal detectors, so have all your electronics and metals pulled out before you go through the security check point. This is your vacation, and it only requires a few minutes of concentration before you can go have fun!