Holidaying on a cruise ship is the ultimate getaway, with all you accommodation, entertainment, and food included. The only downfall is the boarding and departure procedure. This can be daunting for new travelers and easy to muddle up for excited seasoned travelers. When going on a cruise, there are the three stages to boarding that should be followed to ensure a stress-free start to your holiday.
Stage 1 – Before you leave
This stage starts before you even leave for the ship. First, you should ensure you have all necessary travel documentation (passport, visa, boarding paperwork) stored in a secure but easily accessible place. We recommend putting these items in your carry-on as it far easier to search a smaller bag than it is to search your entire suitcase in the middle of the terminal.
Cruise ships run on a tight schedule, so being aware of embarkation times! This allows you to plan travel times so you don’t end up watching your ship sail away while still standing in the terminal. Allowing extra time for delays in transportation, check in and peak arrival times will ensure you have an easier time boarding.
Knowing you are heading away for a holiday, the next thing to think about is “how am I getting to the cruise terminal?” Preparing your travel to the ship should be a main priority, consider the options that work best for you. These could be drop offs by family or friends, train services, shuttle services and private transfers, to ensure cost effective and time efficient arrivals. Booking your chosen transportation needs to be done in advance to ensure you get a seat and are able to arrive at the terminal in a timely manner.
Packing your carry-on early lowers the chance of you forgetting something important. Your carry-on should have everything you need for the full day of travel. Think about what you may need for the first day/night on board, as you may not be able to access your main luggage until later in the evening. Carry-on items should include; all your necessary boarding documentation, wallet, phone, keys, snacks, swimmers, spare clothes, sunscreen, book/entertainment for yourself or any children travelling with you, and any other valuables or items you may need.
Some cruise companies send out luggage tags before you depart for your holiday, while others give them to you at the terminal when you arrive, either way the tags should be connected to your luggage displaying your personal information. This information includes; the ship name, your name, your stateroom and number of bags you have checked in. Luggage tags are important to ensure the bags are not lost during boarding, either by yourself or the porter you left it with at luggage drop off.