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Published April 2, 2018


The check-in process can be very hectic. Before arriving at the port, your cruise line will provide you with a time to arrive at the port, however, the time is usually a several hour windows wither being in the late morning to the mid-afternoon with the busiest time being noon to about 2 pm. The best time is to arrive either before or after this time period. You have to make sure that you arrive before the check-in has ended because you will not be able to board, no acceptations.

When you show up at the cruise terminal, have all your documents ready. Your boarding documents and your passports. By doing so it makes the process much easier and faster. You will then pass through an x-ray machine at the security station like you would at the airport, however much less meticulous. Cruise line staff are there on the other side to guide you into roped off lines and check-in stations.

At the check-in, you will give all your documents and passports to the staff member at the desk. You will also need to fill out a form asking if any of your party has been sick or feeling symptoms in the past couple weeks. This is to avoid getting others sick, if you have been feeling these symptoms this doesn’t mean you can’t go, they might just ask for you to stay in the cabin until the symptoms subside. You will then be handed a boarding card that works like a credit card. You put all your charges onto this card, as well as your room key. A schedule of the vents per day is handed to you along with a map of the ship. Some cruise lines will replace the cards for a wristband.

Once you have checked in and have your cruise card or wristband, you will either follow the staff onto the ship or will be asked to wait in a waiting area with instructions on when you will be able to board. As you board there will be the ships photographers for purchase, taking a photo of your embarkation with the ship in the background. You can always choose not to have this done by saying no to the photographers. Once on the ship staff members will scan your cards or wristbands and will direct you to either the main atrium, the buffet or your room if it is available.

As for your luggage, you have to option to keep your luggage or handing it off to a porter for it to be put in your room for you. We recommend handing it off to the porter as you don’t want to be lugging around your heavy luggage, and if your room isn’t ready right away, you might have to carry it for longer than you expected. Another recommendation is that if you do decide to hand off your luggage, packing a carry on with a change of clothes and maybe a bathing suit to relax by the pool is a good idea.

If you are traveling with children, you will have to remind them that there are long lines and a lot of waiting. Bringing some snacks and entertainment is always a good idea.


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