Today is the day! Your vacation begins. You want to get on the boat and relax or check out all the ships amenities. First things first. You need to get to the cruise port and get on the ship. Here are some stress-free tips for your arrival day.
Check your cruise line’s policy for the proper identification for all members of your group. Passports and Passport cards are the best identification to have and are accepted by all cruise lines.
Passport cards are a great alternative to a passport in terms of cost to obtain, and are easy to keep in a wallet.
Original Birth certificates are an acceptable form of ID as well. Check with your cruise line to find out if there are any restrictions with Birth Certificates.
You will only need your identification for check in, some ports of call and disembarking so put your ID’s in a safe place — like the in-cabin safe.
The only thing you will need while on the ship is the card given to you by the cruise line- always keep that with you especially when leaving the ship at a port of call. That is how they keep track of all people coming on and leaving the ship.
Paperwork & Your Cruise Documents
To ensure that your embarkation process goes smoothly, before you leave home, make sure to go online and login to your cruise account and fill out all your paperwork. All cruise lines offer this, and it will become available a few weeks prior to your departure date. This will make the check in process much quicker.
Typically you are able to setup your on-ship account for purchasing and link directly to a credit card. We recommend always using a credit card, never a debit card due to the holds that the cruise lines love to place on them… it’ll tie up your funds for DAYS in your checking account if you use a debit card.
Some cruise lines also allow you to pre-register your kids for their age specific “kids clubs” – doing this now will allow you to complete the needed paperwork and avoid the lines and your little ones hanging off of you as you’re trying to read and sign paperwork.
Arrival at the Port
Our family always arrives at the cruise port around 11am to 12pm and we always request to board the ship around then. Its a great time to arrive because:
- Traffic is gone from the morning traffic from the previous cruise
- If you drive to the port you can find more convenient parking
- There are a lot of baggage handlers free to take your luggage (HINT: Always give a nice tip to them and our bags have always made it to our room in a timely manner)
- The lines for check in are minimal to non-existent
- More times than not the boarding process has already started, and you can walk directly on the ship.
Let the Fun Begin!!!
Once you are on the ship you can start to explore, get the kids signed up for their clubs, kids under 12 usually need a special bracelet that identifies your muster station (tables for that are prominently displayed as you get on the ship), sign up for excursions if you didn’t do that prior to arrival, relax by the pool, or find an open bar.
The options are endless, and the choices are yours. ENJOY!!!