When you turn up for your cruise, departure day can go very smoothly, or it can be very stressful. It all comes down to careful planning on your part. Make sure your departure day goes as smoothly as possible by following some simple tips, and get your dream cruise off to the best possible start.
Know the Boarding Procedure
All cruise lines will have a slightly different boarding procedure. You should try to find out a bit about this when you book your cruise using an online comparison site so that you know what to expect.
In general, when you arrive at the terminal, you will go through the check-in and security, during which your luggage will be scanned. You will then leave your luggage with the baggage handlers who will take it away and deliver it to your cabin. You will also have to hand over all of your documents so your identity can be checked, and you may then have your photograph taken for security. You may also have to complete a medical questionnaire.
You will normally be given an ID card, which you will use to get on and off the ship and to pay for items on board, and it will sometimes also be the key to your cabin.
Once you have completed check-in, you will go to a waiting area. The suite customers will often board first, followed by groups and wedding parties. However, this depends on the cruise line. When your turn comes, you will go on board and your ID will be checked again. Personnel will greet you when you get on board, and sometimes you will be led to your cabin. However, you may be have to find your cabin yourself with the help of a map.
Prepare Your Documents in Advance
Make sure you have everything you need before you leave home. Check and double check that you have your passport, ticket, insurance, and any receipts for excursions you have booked. Keep them together in one place and don’t leave home without them.
Take a Small Day Pack
Your suitcases will be taken to your cabin, but this process may take a few hours, so it is a good idea to take a small day pack with you that you do not mind carrying around. Use this to pack the essentials such as your medications, something to do while waiting in the queue, and maybe even a change of clothes.
Don’t Be Late
Don’t make the boarding process more stressful by having to rush from the airport. The best idea is to arrive the day before boarding, but if you arrive on the same day, arrange your transfer in advance. Have a plan written out so you know exactly where to go and what time the boarding starts, and this will help you to avoid rushing.
You could aim to get there just after boarding in order to miss the queues, but be careful if you do this because you do not want to arrive too late.
Enjoy a Great Start to Your Cruise
Don’t start off your cruise badly by failing to plan properly for departure day. Familiarise yourself with the boarding procedure, pack appropriately, don’t make it into mad rush, and carry everything you need for the first day. Then you can ensure a smooth, stress-free process so that you can enjoy the best start possible to your dream cruise.
Ryan Posa founded Cruise Republic in 2008 after being the District Sales Manager for Carnival Australia. Passionate about the travel experiences and opportunities offered aboard a ship, he often blogs about his favourite cruise destinations and tips for a successful modern cruise vacation. See Ryan’s Tweets here.