Ok, now you made it to the cruise pier with no stress. Now what?
If you are checking bags in at the pier make sure you have attached
you cruise ship luggage tags. Otherwise, your luggage will not
arrive at your stateroom in a timely fashion or may even be lost.
Depending on how many times you have cruised with that particular
cruise line, as a past guest, that may determine how early you
board or which line you will check-in. Typically, embarkation
starts after 1pm. Due to new or enforced government regulations,
boarding is more closely monitored. Getting there early usually
means you will be sitting around for a while.
The check-in process is fairly straight forward. Many cruise lines
are having you pre-register on-line, at their web site and having
you print out you boarding pass to take with you at check-in.
Additionally, many cruise lines are now following the airline by
using electronic tickets.
At the pier, you will need to provide your pre-boarding paperwork
and or boarding pass along with a passport, the preferred
identification. Some cruise lines will keep your passport for the
duration of the cruise. This is normal unusual. (Hint always keep
photocopies of your important documents).
You will need a major credit card to pay for your charges on-board
even if you are paying cash at the end of your cruise. You will be
given you stateroom key, a boarding card (which lets you in your
room and allows you to charge your purchases on the ship)
Next, you will be guided along to board the ship. Usually, there
is a ship photographer along the way, to take you individual or
group boarding pictures. They typically use a background with the
ship and sailing date. These pictures can be purchased on-board at
a nominal charge.
Now you're ready to actually board the ship. Your point of entry is
usually the center atrium area from there you may find a ships
crew member to guide you. Depending on the cruise line you may
find a host that escorts you directly to your stateroom. If you
embark the ship early you may not be able to immediately go to your
stateroom. That's not a problem because most ships have lunch being