[tps_header]The big day is finally here. It’s embarkation day. You’ve counted down the days to your sailing, you’ve made the journey to your embarkation city, you’ve arrived at the terminal, but you’re still not able to cross that gangway. Luckily, there are a few easy tips to help speed up the terminal experience and have you embarking sooner than ever.[/tps_header]
1) Documents, Documents, Documents
Checking in at the terminal can be one of the most tedious and time consuming aspects of the embarkation process. Now, in the modern era of technology, you can prepare your cruise documents days before sailing from the comfort of our own home. By filling out all of the necessary information online, you can save a decent amount of time at the check in desks at the cruise terminal. With all of your information on file, you can pick up your keys and head towards that gangway.
2) Timing Is Everything
Showing up at the earliest published embarkation time is only going to guarantee delays. Unless you’re the first guest in line, expect to wait for a substantial amount of time. Many guests choose to show up as early as possible, stretching the terminal’s ability to process guests in a timely manner. Waiting an hour or two later can usually guarantee a leisurely embarkation experience.
3) Be Prepared
Experienced cruisers know the drill. Enter the terminal, fill out a health questionnaire, pass through security, pose for the obligatory embarkation photo, and cross the gangway to the promised land. Knowing what’s ahead and what’s needed of you can save you time searching through all of your luggage for the appropriate documents. When processing security, have your pockets ready to be emptied into the trays. When checking in, have your photo ID, cruise documents, and a credit card at the ready. For the photo, have your bags arranged for a smooth transition into a fun pose. For the gangway, have your key card at the ready. Preparation is key.
4) Perks Pay
Cruise, cruise, and cruise. The more you cruise and the more you spend, the more valuable you become to a cruise line. Many cruisers have earned elite status in the loyalty programs of various cruise lines, earning them the right to priority boarding. This expedited boarding process may even offer a separate, exclusive check in area to shield the elite guests from the chaos of the main terminal. Typically, this expedited boarding is included with elite status in a line’s loyalty program, as a perk of booking a suite (as with Celebrity’s Aqua Class suites), or as an extra cost amenity similar to Carnival’s Faster To The Fun.
Before heading to your embarkation port, make sure you have a game plan thought out. Know what you need, when you need it. Don’t forget any important items at home or in your hotel room. Follow these steps and you’ll be crossing that gangway, lounging on the Lido, and waving goodbye to land before you know it.