When your departure date arrives and the long wait for your cruise is finally over, only one thing stands between you and your ship – check-in procedures. Once you have checked-in, you will be free to start exploring your vessel and enjoying your holiday. Boarding your ship at your departure port can sometimes seem daunting and frustrating – especially for first-time cruisers. This guide will explain the process, giving helpful tips and advice, to make sure your cruise check-in runs smoothly, so you will be able to start enjoying your time aboard in no time.
Getting to the Port
Before you begin your cruise check-in, you will need to get to your port. Those people using public transportation to get to the harbour will not need to worry about parking, as it is likely to drop you of fairly close to your vessel. Cruisers who decide to drive to the port will need to locate the nearest long-stay car park, to make sure they can leave their car in a safe place not too far from the harbour. Cruise lines will provide you with a pack of information, which should contain specific instructions on where to park your car and how to find your cruise check-in terminal. Some lines will run a shuttle bus or valet service, so make sure to keep a small amount of money on you in case tips are required.
Much like the airport check-in process, you will need hand over your larger bags at your cruise check-in, so that they can be hauled onto the ship for you by the crew. Passengers will usually be able to keep any smaller hand luggage on them, but check in advance to make sure you aren’t separated from any important items. Also, be sure to attach all of the appropriate tags and labels to your larger luggage, so it can be delivered to your cabin promptly once you are aboard.
As you would expect, you will need to pass through security before you board your vessel and complete you cruise check-in. This will include metal detectors and x-ray machines, similar to those you would find in an airport. Before going through, double check that you have removed any metal items from your pockets. This will spare you the hassle of being pulled aside or searched.
You will probably need to show your passport and tickets several times during your cruise check-in. Try to keep them in an easily accessible place until you are safely aboard the ship. Confirm exactly which documents you will need well in advance of your departure, so do not get any unwanted surprises when you arrive at your cruise check-in. Different cruise lines have different approaches when it comes to checking-in. Royal Caribbean International, for example, allow travellers to check-in in advance, so make sure you are aware of your cruise line’s policy beforehand.
Expect to be greeted by long lines when you arrive at the harbour. Cruise check-in can sometimes be a lengthy process, especially if you arrive at the port too early. Try not to get frustrated with long queues. As long as you are well-prepared, the overall cruise check-in process should run smoothly, despite the occasional but inevitable standstills.
Enjoy your cruise!
Once you are aboard, you can finally starting enjoying your cruise getaway. More often than not, you will not be able to access you cabin immediately, but cruise lines will usually provide a buffet or some form of entertainment to keep guests occupied whilst their accommodation is being prepared. When you are allowed access to your room, you bags should arrive shortly after, so you can set sail and discover why so many people nowadays are choosing to cruise.
(1) Sean MacEntee – flickr.com
(2) Toshi Kawabata – flickr.com