The Cruise vacation you have been planning for a year is now a reality. You’ve packed your bags with the appropriate clothes for cruise travel. You have filled out all of the cruise documentation, do this at home, don’t wait to get to your cruise ship, and now you are ready for this highly anticipated cruise. There are a few cruises tips about embarkation day that you should know before you head for your cruise vacation.
Keep all of your documents with you, that includes tickets for the cruise, any vouchers, passport and any immigration forms that the cruise line has sent you. That includes bus vouchers from the cruise line that will deliver you to the ship from the airport. In is wise to pack a change of clothes in your carry on in case your baggage gets delayed. If you have purchased the vouchers from the cruise line, a cruise line representative will meet you at baggage claim and take you to the bus or van that will transport you to your cruise ship.
If you decided to handle the transfer on your own, check ahead of time to find out how much a taxi will cost from the airport to the pier. It is good to know how long it will take to make the transfer so you have timed your flights accordingly. Make sure you have attached your cruise line tags with ship name, cruising date, and stateroom number. When you arrive at the pier a porter will relieve of your bags. He will expect to be tipped. The going fare is one dollar per bag.
Cruise tips are always helpful so pay attention to this one. Let the cruise line make your airline reservations. The reason for this is that if your flight is delayed the cruise line will handle it. If there are several other passengers on the same flight the cruise line will delay the departure of the ship. If it’s just you and your traveling companion they will probably put you up in a hotel in the town of your embarkation and get you on the ship at the next port of call. If you opted to do it on your own, you will have to make all those arrangements. So, for safety and peace of mind let the cruise lines do it.
If you have decided to go to the town of embarkation a few days before the cruise, that will not be a problem, so make your own reservations. Some travel insurance companies will pick up these expenses but make sure you read the fine print on the policy BEFORE your cruise vacation.
When you get to your cruise ship, embarkation could be a little chaotic. There will be lines, especially early in the check in process. There will be a lot of stressed out people so just relax and take it in stride. After you have gone through the check in process you will be aboard and your cruise vacations begins. Here is where it pays to have all of your documentation completely filled out. Many of the cruise lines have loyalty programs so if you are a repeat cruiser many times they have preferred check in areas. Many of the cruise lines will have preferred check in for cruisers who have booked suites or mini suites. Check this out with your cruise travel agent.
This is a little off topic but it’s one of the best cruise tips you will hear. Use a cruise travel agent for all of your cruise travel. It is important to deal with an agent that has sailed on many different cruise lines so they can give you an honest opinion on the difference between cruise lines. Check and see if they are CLIA certified cruise lines organization. Be careful they don’t push you onto cruise ships where they have preferred status which means they get a higher commission. Scour the internet for cruise reviews on cruise travel to back up what your travel agent is telling you.
Now back to the pier. While you are checking in you will have to give the cruise line a credit card for any on board charges. Most times your room card is also your credit card and identification for getting on and off at ports while on the cruise ship. If you can get on the ship early in the process you get two benefits. One you get to have lunch and two you get the first shot at spa and beauty appointments. It will also give you time to peruse your cruise ship and then head for the pool. Having been a savvy cruise traveler you knew to bag a bathing suit into your carry on luggage.
Just before you get to the gangway you will be stopped by the ships photographer and a picture will be taken to commemorate your cruise vacation. It will be on display in the ships photo gallery but you are under no obligation to purchase it. Check in procedures will be different from ship to ship even within the same cruise lines. It depends on the experience of the staff and the cooperation of the passengers. Remember that these folks that are checking you in have been working since seven o’clock in the morning off loading the people from last weeks cruise vacation. Then they turn around and start putting on a whole new set of passengers for the next cruise.
The most important advice is to try to keep a cool head. You are headed for the best thing you can imagine, a cruise vacation.
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