If you’re a first-time cruise-goer, you probably have loads of questions about all aspects of the cruise experience – not least embarkation day. With horror stories aplenty, embarkation has become the stuff of nightmares for even the most seasoned of cruise passengers. But, despite what you might have heard, there’s no reason to fear embarkation. In fact, you should be excited about it – you’re going on holiday after all!
To help your first cruise go off without a hitch, here’s some hints, tips and words of wisdom on how to enjoy a hassle-free embarkation day.
Consider Travelling a Day Early
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in your cruise departure destination, you’ll need to fly, drive or catch a coach to the appropriate terminal. To reduce the stress of embarkation, we’d recommend travelling to the departure destination a day or two before you travel. Why? Should your flight be delayed or the roads be clogged with traffic, you’ll have a thoroughly stressful time of it, and could even miss boarding depending on the severity of the delay.
Know Your Embarkation Times
Like flying, cruise ship departure times are different from embarkation times, so it’s important to know when embarkation opens and closes. Leave it too late, and you risk being denied entry, even though the ship hasn’t yet departed. Embarkation often closes an hour or so before departure, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with the exact boarding times.
Whilst your suitcase might be packed with bikinis, vests and all-manner of hot weather gear, the climate might be quite different at the cruise terminal. To ensure you and your family can enjoy embarkation day to the fullest, pack a change of clothes as part of your carry-on luggage; we’d recommend carrying a light jacket, sun hat or pair of shorts, but obviously it depends on the weather. In short – dress accordingly, and check the weather before you leave home.
Prepare for a Long Wait
Whether you arrive early or late, chances are you’re still going to encounter a sizeable queue or two; that’s the nature of embarkation day. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to bring some snacks along, as well as enough water to keep you and the kids hydrated. If you’ve an impatient youngster in tow, pack some games, a book or a tablet to keep them entertained until safely aboard.
Prepare Your Documents Carefully
Forgetting your passport is something you think will never happen to you, and then, amid the chaos of packing your bags and leaving the house, it does. No matter how organised you claim to be, it’s vital you prepare your travel documents carefully prior to departure. We recommend using a travel wallet or folder to keep all of your documents in one place – including your booking information, boarding card, passport and holiday insurance certificate.
To browse a comprehensive range of upcoming cruise breaks, visit the Cruise1st Australia website or call our customer services team on 1300 857 345.
All images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Stephen Birch, Michael Coghlan, Alexander Baxevanis