Thursday, October 28, 2010

What to Expect with Embarkation

This list is a collaboration from myself and Chrissy. I think between the 2 of us we covered most everything...I hope!

  • Get there early! While the ship will not leave until later that afternoon, often times they will let us on board as early as 11. Today for example, my brother indicated the passengers boarded at 11:15.
  • Cannot officially begin until ship is clear of departing passengers. The timing we board all depends on this.
  • Very similar to an airport in terms of security and documentation procedures. Not nearly as strict though with limitations on liquids and such though.
  • You'll want to decide whether or not you want to check your luggage or if you'd rather carry them on yourself. You either carry your bags around for a few hours until they let you to the room, or risk not seeing your bags until later that evening. I usually opt for carrying on, but thats just my personal preference.
  • If you do decide to check your bags, the first people that you will encounter at the pier is baggage handlers or porters to carry your checked luggage to appropriate place. These are not cruise line employees and the do expect a tip ($1-$2 per suitcase). Be sure the ship’s luggage tags are securely fastened before handing them over.
  • Once inside the terminal you might encounter a check in line.
  • You will be asked to produce documents and any forms that were sent to complete ahead of time or a printed copy of those forms filled out online. You'll need proof of citizenship and a credit card or cash deposit for Sign and Sail Card.
  • You will be issued your Sign and Sail card - this is your boarding card that doubles as a stateroom key and ship board charge card.
  • Health forms-You are required to fill out health forms during the embarkation process before they give you your room key. You will basically have to check a box that says that you haven’t been sick or been near anyone sick in the past week. They take this very seriously, as every once in a while you hear of a cruise that was infected with the norovirus. While I don't want to condone lying on this....I would highly recommend you say you're healthy unless you truly are sick with something contagious. Last cruise I went on, my friend checked the unhealthy box because she had a mild cough the prior week. We ended up waiting a few hours in the port for the nurse come to look at her, while everyone else went on board. Not ideal. My brother also told me that one time their featured comedian indicated he was sick on this form, and after the nurse checked him out they wouldn't let him on the ship. So they didn't have an entertainer that night lol. Im just saying, check that box with caution as they may not let you on the ship. Let’s hope one of the Backstreet Boys isn’t sick!
  • You may have to wait in line for all of patient! Which also goes back to tip 1, which is why I recommend getting there early.
  • Once you’re all checked in, you’re given a group number which is the order in which you will board, and you basically sit in this large room waiting to get on as they call off numbers.
  • Finally the anticipated moment has arrived- they call your number and you're ready to board!! You will pose for an embarkation picture taken by cruise photographers - no obligation to purchase.
  • One more picture, but this time for the security officer. This is a digital image linked to your Sign and Sail card. That way whenever you enter or leave the ship, they know its you.
  • There will be restricted access to cabins until a specified time so I refer you to my previous post on 'What to do First on the Ship'

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all informations you give to all of us, it's pretty cool for us, first time cruiser. (Cynthia Wahl)