What Happens at the Cruise Port?
So...you've finally made it to the day you set sail! Woo-Hoo! But, now what?
My goal is to share a little bit of insight into what to expect once you arrive at your cruise port:
CRUISE TIP #1: Don't forget your passport/drivers license/birth certificate, etc. If you forget these, they won't let you board the ship!
CRUISE TIP #2: Make sure you arrive when your "appointment" time to board is. Cruise lines are beginning to become more serious about these "appointment" times, and you don't want to be stuck outside the terminal (in perhaps poor weather conditions) before it's time for you to prepare for boarding!
You park your car (get dropped off, if you're lucky) or take the shuttle to the port. There are many porters here who will take your "checked baggage" for you, for a small tip (generally I tip $1 per bag), and they will put it on the luggage cart to go directly onto the ship, so you don't have to lug it indoors through security. I always prefer to have them take my bags (yes...I tend to over-pack and don't want to lug it around).
Once inside, you will enter through port security (do put your camera/phone away and don't take pictures). The cruise port security is similar to an airport security checkpoint. All your bags and person will be scanned. So be sure to have ALL your documents ready (to include your identification and boarding passes). If you're allowed alcoholic beverages or drinks on the ship, you'll want to ensure these are in your carry-on and not in your checked bag.
Once you've made it through the security checkpoint, you'll get in cue (think lines like at the bank) to speak with the cruise representative who will confirm your reservation, look at your boarding passes, have you fill out luggage tags (if you've not yet done so), make sure your credit card is entered into their system (if you did not do this prior to arriving on the cruise lines website), get your photo taken for your sea-pass card, give you your sea-pass card and then you finally begin your entrance to your glorious ship! Don't worry....everyone has to go through this process, and you'll be on the ship soon enough, taking in all the sights and sounds (and awesome food and drinks)!
CRUISE TIP #3: This is a great time to ask the cruise reservation agent about any last minute upgrades on staterooms! Many times there are FREE Upgrades or ones available at minimal cost that you can get for a "steal". Hey...it never hurts to ask!
You'll enter the cruise port embarkation area, progressing towards your ship! You can NOW start your vacation!
BON VOYAGE, have a fabulous time!!!
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