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What to Expect at the Pier

Here are a few things you will need to know just before and just after getting on the ship:


  •  For the first day of your cruise, pack a small carry-on bag with your travel documents, a change of clothes, bathing suit, workout clothes and any medications you may need.  That way you won't have to wait for your checked bags to arrive in your stateroom. 
  • If you've never been to the departure port before, check out your cruise line's Web site for directions to the pier.  Familiarize yourself with any directions and instructions to help set your mind at ease while traveling.  Keep these directions with your travel documents for easy accessibility.
  • You'll need to give yourself at least 60-90 minutes prior to check in and go through security at the pier. Wait times vary based on available staff and time of embarkation.  If you have not checked in 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure, you will be considered a no-show, and your reservation will be cancelled and cancellation penalties applied.
  • Friends and relatives are welcome to come to the pier to see you off. However, for security reasons, they will not be allowed to board the ship at any port.
  • Cruise lines issue luggage tags for each ship to help your bags get where they need to go. Luggage tags are now personalized with name and stateroom number. Tags for different ships are identified by bolded ship name for ease of identification.
  • Some cruise lines offer memberships to those who have cruised before.  Many will allow you to sign up after or during your first cruise.  These memberships often offer priority check-in or other perks that will make embarkation more pleasurable. 
  • When you first come aboard, be sure to check out your stateroom.  Review cruise line publications that outline activities and dining options for time shortly before and after embarkation.
  • If you're traveling with children, visit the cruise line children's programs.  Meet the program's staff and familiarize yourself with their rules and procedures for admitting children into the program.  Designate a meeting spot on the ship for your family to reconnect should you be separated during the cruise. 
  • If the spa or fitness classes are your thing, try to make your appointments on the first day, as the most popular treatments and times fill up fast.
    Hungry?  After you unpack, make your way to one of the open dining options and grab a bite.  Let your vacation begin!