Continued from: First Time Cruiser? Before You Leave Home

This series is to help you know what to expect on your first cruise.

Arrive at the port during your assigned time. If you are later than your assigned time, that usually doesn’t cause a problem, but you MUST be there before the ship sails. There is a time stating when you must be aboard the ship, so be sure to leave plenty of time to go through security and check in at the port (I recommend at least and hour and a half before you must board). Remember, the ship will NOT wait for you.

When you arrive at the port, there will be porters to take your checked luggage. Be sure to take a carry on bag for necessary items like important documents (don’t put your paperwork, id’s, and passports, etc. in your checked luggage), medication, a change of clothes, swimsuits, sunscreen, etc. You may not see your bags again for quite some time. They will, however, eventually be delivered to your stateroom.

Next you will enter the port. The length of the line could be rather long, depending on when you arrive at the port. You will first wait in line for the security check. Someone will make sure you have your paperwork and passports before going through security. This is similar to going through airport security, but not as intensive. They know you will have some things you normally wouldn’t be able to take on an airplane, like a metal nail file, maybe your favorite shampoo, etc. You could put it in your checked luggage if you don’t think you’ll need it before dinner.

Next you will check in with the cruise line. At that point, your paperwork and passports, etc. will be checked. Your picture will be taken for your on board identification. You will then receive a card or other object that serves as your stateroom key and your method of payment while on board. The cruise ships are typically cashless, so everything will be charged to your stateroom.

To be continued…