If your first cruise is coming up you are probably wondering what happens on embarkation day of a cruise. Here is what happens and what you need to do.
Embarkation day is the day you join (embark) the ship. It is best to read all the information the cruise line gives you before embarkation day arrives.
As there will be a number of things you will have to do before embarkation day.
What do before Embarkation Day
First you will have to fill in an online check in form, like you do for the airlines.
To add passport numbers, emergency contacts, hotels you are staying at before/after your cruise, flight numbers, credit card number for onboard charges, etc.
Print off your cruise summary, boarding pass, luggage tag and any other documents.
Check if there are any visas you need before as if you have not got these you will not be able to board.
When the day comes and you have driven or flown to your embarkation port what happens next?
What happens on embarkation day of a cruise?
On embarkation day make sure to arrive in plenty of time before the departure time.
If you are travelling from a different country or far away from the port, it is best to stay the night before in the same city.
The cruise line will usually give you a time to arrive at, you can arrive at that time or arrive a little earlier so then you can have more time onboard.
When you get to the cruise ship terminal you will have to check in your luggage, as that will be brought onboard for you and delivered to your cabin.
Make sure you have printed off your luggage tag and attached to your luggage.
You can staple it on or you can use a reusable plastic cruise luggage tag that keeps it on nicely and does not rip off.
Keep your hand luggage with all your essentials, passport, boarding pass, medication, wallet and anything that you would like to use when you get onboard.
As you will not see your main luggage for a few hours. Read more about why you should bring a cruise carry on:
Checking In on Embarkation Day
Once you have checked in your luggage you will need your passport and boarding pass to show security.
Then you will check in with the cruise line check in staff and they will give you your cruise card so you can board the vessel.
Once you have your cruise card, you will need to go through security, like at the airport to screen your belongings.
Make sure you do not have any opened bottles of water/soda as you will need to throw those away before.
If the ship if ready for you board, you will be able to go through security again to show your passport and cruise card.
If the ship is not ready for you to board you will take a seat and when your group number is called will be able to board.
Before you board be ready to have your photo taken by the photo staff! Then by ship security team as they scan your cruise card and take you photo for the ship log.
What happens when you get onboard the cruise ship?
When you get onboard if the cabins are ready you can go to your cabin.
If the cabins are not ready the staff will tell you as you board and advise you to go for lunch.
Once you are onboard you can explore the ship and start your vacation.
There will be safety drill before the ship sails away, so check the time and where you need to go for that before it takes place.
When your cabin is available meet your cabin steward and ask for anything extra you need. e.g. hangers, tissues.
Put your valuables in the safe and unpack what you need from your hand luggage. Your main luggage will arrive at your cabin before the ship sails.
When the safety drill is over the ship can legally sail and the deck party begins and so does your cruise vacation!
Embarkation Day Tips
- If the buffet is packed, which it probably will be, eat in one of the dining rooms for lunch or burger bar, pizzeria or atrium bars. These are normally a lot more quieter than the buffet.
- Have all all documents ready this makes checking in/boarding quicker.
- If you would like to try a specialty dining, this evening is a great day to go all most people go to the main dining rooms or buffet.
- There are usually offers around the ship in the shops, spa, bars, etc so take advantage of these special embarkation day offers.
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I hope you have found this information helpful and now know what happens on embarkation day of a cruise. Enjoy your first cruise!
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