The few weeks and days before your cruise can be a hectic time. You’re trying to organize your entire cruise while also dealing with the realities of your non-cruise life. So, to help you prepare for your next cruise, I have compiled a small list of important tasks that need to be completed before you can enjoy your cruise vacation.
A passport or other form of identification will be one of the most important documents will you need for your cruise. All cruise lines require that you bring some form of identification with you to the port, whether it be a passport or a birth certificate. Most cruise lines recommend a passport, as it can be used if you would need to fly home during your cruise for an emergency situation. Most likely you won’t need to use it for an emergency, but a passport is the best form of identification and if you use it as your primary identification, it will most likely speed up your check in at the port. I suggest applying for a passport or renewal a few months ahead of your cruise. The State Department says it will take anywhere between 4-6 weeks from application to receive your passport. Plan accordingly.
In order to check in at the port, you will be required to bring the necessary cruise documents. These documents are usually found in your online cruise account. Most cruise lines require that you fill out these online documents about 2 weeks prior to sailing. These documents usually ask basic information that is used for your check in at the port. Online check in will also give you the chance to set up an onboard spending account, although you may set this up later at the port. Online check in is very easy to complete and will take no time at all. These documents are very important for check in, in fact, they are required for check in. If you do not bring these documents to the port, you will not be allowed to board. Make sure that you complete and bring these documents!
3) Arrange flights accordingly.
Most cruisers will tell you to fly into your embarkation city the day before your cruise. Along with having the ability to explore and enjoy a city for an entire day, you may also just save yourself from missing your ship. Unfortunately, if your flight is delayed or cancelled, the cruise ship will not wait for you. The best advice I can give you is to fly in the day before your cruise. I have flown into my embarkation cities both on the day of and the day prior. Let me tell you, flying in the day of your cruise can be a very stressful situation. In 2009, we showed up at the port about a half hour before they closed the gangway. Trying to drive fast through Miami rush hour traffic is never fun when you have a ship to catch. Luckily we made it, but unfortunately these people missed their ship…