How to Have a Stress-Free Embarkation Day

Until you and your luggage are safely inside your cabin, there is an almost never-ending number of ways your embarkation day can become stressful. From the car breaking down on your way to the port and leaving your important documents in your suitcase to unnecessarily spending hours queuing up and battling with hundreds of other travellers for the final slice of lunchtime pizza – there are loads of things which could turn your ideal holiday into a total nightmare.

So you don’t end up being put off cruise holidays for life, we’ve put together a short list of cruise embarkation day tips to help you have a completely stress-free first day or cruise.

Cruise embarkation day tips: Start your holiday a night early and stay in a hotel close to the port
Start your holiday a night early and stay in a hotel close to the port: Photo Prayitno / CC 2.0

Cruise Embarkation Day Tips

Get there the night before

Unless you live in the same city that your cruise liner departs from, it’s a good idea to travel to the departure city the night before and stay in a hotel. This way, if you have any transport troubles, you should still have enough time to get to the port and begin your cruise. Better still, if you arrive the night before your cruise is due to depart, you’ll be able to begin your holiday a day early with a special dinner.

Cruise Embarkation Day Tips: Save time by checking in online
Save time by checking in online: Photo Long Road Photography / CC 2.0

Check in online

Most cruise liners today let you check in online around one month ahead of the departure date. Not only does this save you time on the boat – since you won’t need to queue up and check in with hundreds of other people on embarkation day – but it will also give you a little extra time in the departure city, since people who check in online don’t usually have to board as early as those who haven’t. Check in policies differ from cruise liner to cruise liner, so make sure you double check with your cruise company so you know just what to expect and don’t turn up late.

Cruise Embarkation Day Tips: Pack your swimming gear in your hand luggage so you can hit the pool on embarkation day
Pack your swimming gear in your hand luggage so you can hit the pool on embarkation day: Photo Ricky Brigante / CC 2.0

Pack essentials in your hand luggage

When you first board the ship, you’ll be asked to leave your luggage so the on board staff can take it to your cabin. The thing is, with anywhere from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand pieces of luggage waiting to be delivered to cabins, it could be hours until you see your suitcase again. With this in mind, consider packing everything you could possibly need for an afternoon in your hand luggage – such as change of clothes, medication, swimming gear, children’s toys and cruise documentation – and keep it with you.

Cruise Embarkation Day Tips: Check out alternative restaurants, such as the Santa De restaurant on MSC Cruises' Splendida
Check out alternative restaurants, such as the Santa De restaurant on MSC Cruises’ Splendida: Photo Heather Cowper / CC 2.0

Skip the main dining hall

Queuing up for hours on end can make you seriously hungry, which is why most travellers head for the main dining hall as soon as they board. So instead of following everyone as soon as you step foot on the ship, ask at reception about the other restaurants which are serving lunch. Unless the ship is remarkably small, there is always at least one other restaurant serving lunch where you can go for some peace, quiet and a tasty lunch.

For more cruise embarkation day tips, check out this page which covers what to do when you first board your cruise ship.

About Nicola Quinn

Website: http://www.happyhealthymotivated.com

Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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  1. 4 Must-Do Things on Your First Cruise Day | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] there’s no official list of rules of what you’ve got to do on embarkation day, there are a few tips and tricks to set you up for the best cruise […]

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