Hi my lovely readers!
Many people see the cruise embarkation day as a waisted day or at least a day they pay for, but cannot really make use of as embarkation is normally in the afternoon. Wrong!
A well planned embarkation day can be full of fun and sightseeing rich and seasoned cruisers know how to make the most of their embarkation day by learning tips and tricks and getting on the ship before everyone else.
I got on the ship very late during my first cruise and people were already eating, swimming in the pool and making full use of the facilities.
I made the mistake of staying in my hotel room until I had to check out, looking for something to do to kill a few hours and then getting to the cruise port way later than I could have and planned. I wasted that day and had a lot of stress.
I made this mistake and learned from it, but you do not have to. Here are my tips on how you can make the most of your cruise embarkation day.
To make the most of your cruise even on embarkation day, I would suggest to get on the ship as early as possible. Even though the ship is docked in port, most of the amenities and facilities will already be open for guests to make use of and enjoy.
You would already be able to use the gym, have some lunch in the restaurant, play table tennis, jump into the pool, explore the ship etc.
Related Post: 7 TIPS FOR A SMOOTH EMBARKATION
Some cruise lines have staggered embarkation times to avoid everyone arriving at the same time, basically to avoid overcrowding. The given embarkation time is sometimes linked to the cruise deck or cabin type booked and some cruise lines might just allocate a specific time slot in general.
I would suggest to check with the cruise line what embarkation time is allocated to you. Still, even if you are given a late afternoon embarkation time, you can always pay extra, a premium for early embarkation.
Often suite guests have early embarkation included as a benefit as part of the cabin type they booked. The higher the cabin grade the more benefits are included.
If you do not want to pay extra, you can always try your luck and just get to the port early. Of course, you might be denied early boarding if it is really busy and your boarding time is much later from when you turned up. Still, I found that if it is not too busy the port staff will not turn you away.
SIGHTSEEING BEFORE THE CRUISE
The other option, the one that I personally prefer, is to incorporate some sightseeing into your day before getting on the ship. This way you are not wasting precious time, you get to explore the destination some more and the day does not feel wasted or lost. It is a win, win.
If you are staying in a hotel, you can ask the receptionist to leave the luggage there, which they normally do. You can store the luggage more or less safely at the hotel for the day until you get back to pick it up and head to the port.
Another option is to drop of the luggage at the port early. That is exactly what I did when I took my cruise from New York and Galveston. My partner and I went to the cruise port around 9 am and left the luggage with the luggage handlers from the cruise ship. Both times I travelled with Carnival.
Some cruise lines may charge extra for this, others do not. Additionally, smaller ports might not have the logistics and facilities to offer this service. Again, best to check this in advance with the cruise line.
Often you can also leave your luggage at train stations, tourist information centres or even hotels that offer luggage storage services at an extra cost. These facilities are great if you want to walk around the city centre and do some sightseeing.
Therefore, on embarkation day, you can get up early, drop of your luggage and do some sightseeing easily for a few hours. Once you are done, you just pick up your luggage and head to the cruise port. Just make sure you get to the port in plenty of time and do not leave it last minute.
Lastly, you have the choice of course to get on the ship in the afternoon and closer to the departure time. Not everyone likes to or wants to get on the ship as soon as it is allowed and possible.
Maybe you like to wake up late, have a relaxed morning, enjoy a long breakfast and go for a swim. Maybe you booked a really expensive hotel or are staying in a lovely resort that is all inclusive and just want to use those amenities a bit more. If that sounds perfect, you can ask for late hotel check out to stay a bit longer in the hotel, to stay in your hotel room and to use the hotel’s facilities.