Alright. You’ve decided that you want to give this cruising thing a go. You’ve determined where you’d like to go and have already booked your cruise with your preferred cruise line. What should you expect the day of the cruise?
How do I check in?
Each Cruise Line is different but Celebrity allows you to check in well before your sail date. If it’s possible, I would recommend that you do that. If you are familiar with flight check- ins at the airport, this works the same way. You will go to the cruise line’s website, create an account and put in your information. This in effect, pre-registers you for the cruise. You will be able to print out your guest ticket which will give you pages of info on what to expect during your cruise, your cruise itinerary, etc.
We received luggage tags via regular mail with our stateroom number stamped on it and were advised to affix them to our luggage before leaving home. One can only imagine the logistics involved in keeping up with the luggage of thousands of passengers, so we made sure that we followed their instructions to the letter.
I’ve heard that it’s best to arrive one day before your scheduled cruise departure. Why?
Most cruises, particularly, Caribbean cruises depart in the late afternoon. That might lead most people to think that it’s a safe bet to fly in on the day of the cruise. My advice is to plan on flying in the day before, this will allow you breathing room to be prepared for embarkation the next day. Can you imagine booking a flight on cruise day and something happens to delay the flight? Trust me, the cruise lines will not wait for you, so save yourself the stress and fly in the day before.
What if I choose to drive directly to the port from my home?
This has become such a “thing” that you will find that hotels located close to ports will offer “Park, Sleep and Cruise” specials. If you pay for one night’s stay, they will allow you to park your car on site for free and reclaim it at the end of the cruise. They will usually provide a complimentary shuttle from the hotel to the cruise port.
This might be the most desirable option should you choose to drive in because port parking fees are high (approximately $20.00 per day). I rented a car during my last cruise and after dropping it off at the rental agency, I was shuttled to the port by the agency for free.
What can I expect when I arrive at the port?
We flew into Fort Lauderdale (FLL) because the flights were cheaper but our port was in Miami. We hired a shuttle service to drive us to our Miami hotel and the next day we took the hotel’s shuttle to the port. It cost $10.00 pp but it was worth it to assure that we’d get to where we needed to be on time. As soon as you reach your particular cruise line, the driver will remove your luggage and you will then turn it over to the porter who works for the cruise line.