Cruise Day One, Embarkation Day – What to expect while boarding

Embarkation Day, Getting Ready to Board the Cruise Ship

(The checking-in process, and what to expect while getting prepared to go aboard your ship)


This is the third in a series of six “Cruise Mini Camp” informational offerings pertaining to cruising procedures

Preparation to Departure – Prior to departing for your cruise vacation you will want to be sure that you have adequately taken care of some pre-trip needs. I try to remember it by the acronym “DIMLY”. Documentation in the form of travel and boarding paperwork, items such as tickets, terms and conditions, insurance paperwork, boarding passes (that was preprinted prior to leaving from home), Excursion Coupons/Event tickets or receipts from online purchase etc. Note: Many Cruise Lines will retain all tickets that you have purchased prior to boarding, and will deliver them to your stateroom, or they will be awaiting your arrival in your stateroom. Identification items such as Passports, Drivers Licenses, other photo identifications. If you don’t have your passports you can click here for help and information. You SHOULD ALWAYS have your passport, even if you are cruising to a destination that does not require one. Because if something should happen to you or a family member take sick or become injured and require being taken to an on-land hospital (and you will need to travel back by air), You will then be required to have a valid passport in order to leave the country and re-enter the US. You should also be sure that your passport expires at least six months after your scheduled return from your cruise or travel abroad. If you are being accompanied by children you may wish to carry their birth certificates along. If the children are not your children it is a good idea to have written permission from their parents, or other legal guardians to be cruising with you. Medications, be sure to have an adequate supply of medications you take to get you all the way back home with some extra to spare. Never go with the idea that you can easily get more while on the trip, as that should definitely be taken care of prior to leaving your home area. Luggage, all such items securely packed, and identified with your name, address, and telephone information. If you are unsure on just what to pack, click here for some tips. Also if you need some helpful hints on how to effectively pack “check out this link“. It’s a good idea, to have your preprinted bag tags from the cruise line attached to each bag as well. Note: these items are no longer provided by the cruise lines in the same ways as in the past. Each passenger is now responsible for taking care of this task on their own (by printing of paper bag tags through the on board registration process) prior to departing from their home. While I agree, that these are not the best type of identification means, (and are especially easy to get torn off) but the cruise lines like every other business is trying to cut back every where possible. I definitely recommend a stronger (less likely to become destroyed) vinyl bag tags, that you will just hand write your ship/sailing information onto. Last but most importantly is Your patience. Remember that you will be under certain stresses that you are not accustomed to as in your normal day to day routine. It’s preferable to arrive at your ship with ample amounts of patience at your disposal.

 Leaving from Home – It might be helpful to use a Departure Checklist in your pre trip preparation. If you don’t have one ask your cruise planner/travel agent. If they don’t have one, contact me and ask for a copy of our checklist, and I will send it to you. Did you remember to turn off all non security lighting, air conditioning/heat? Stopped Mail and Paper Delivery? OK it sounds like you are actually ready to depart for your vacation cruise adventure. One word of advice, I strongly encourage cruisers not to attempt to fly into their port city on the day of sailing. I have experienced far too many airline delays/cancellations resulting in destroyed cruise plans. I prefer to arrive at least a day prior to the ship’s departure.

Arrival at your destination Airport – OK your beginning to get a little excited. Yeah you’ve arrived at airports before, but this time your getting ready to head to your ship. Keep your head about you as there are some important tasks you need to accomplish, and I’m going to help you over the anxiety by reminding you how things will work out for you. First head to baggage claim and gather your luggage. It’s really a good idea to rent one of the rolling bag carts you can normally rent for a few dollars in the baggage claim area. Bag Valets are not a real good idea, as you are going to be normally going a little distance from the bag claim area, certainly further than the valets typically go. Besides at up to $5 per bag that can get rather expensive. This is one good reason to never pack any piece of luggage that you can’t physically maneuver yourself. Once you have all of your luggage, locate the Cruise Line Personnel in the baggage claim area, and be sure you give them your name as he will be taking groups of folks out to the coach arrival area every few minutes to head to the port terminal. If at this point you have not purchased transfers. You are what we refer to as “OYO” (on your own). If this applies to your situation, then you should proceed directly outside the doorway and find the ground transportation valet personnel so that you can secure a ride to the Port Terminal. Various forms of transportation can be done. Taxis, Shuttle Services and/or Shared Vans (normally must be contracted prior to your arrival) and Limo Services (while normally the cheapest Limo rides can only be secured with prior purchase) you can still take a limo from most airport arrival areas directly to the port terminal. While I generally recommend to clients to take advantage of cruise line airport transfers, certain airports/port terminals are situated so close to each other, that I recommend just grabbing a taxi, as they are much cheaper, and faster getting you to the pier Terminal. One such example is Port Everglades/Ft Lauderdale Airport in Florida. (OK back to what’s next). Now that you have been escorted out to a curbside waiting area to await the arrival of the next motor coach you will be standing outdoors most likely under cover with your luggage. Once the coach arrives, you will then be instructed to leave your luggage, (which the driver loads onto the coach under belly storage area) and get aboard the coach. At this point you will start to make friends with other passengers who will be on your cruise. I recommend you start meeting/making some new friends now as you will be seeing many of them for the duration of the cruise.

 Arrival at Pier Terminal – Once you have arrived at the Pier Terminal area, you need to be sure that your luggage is properly left with (in the custody and control of) authorized baggage personnel. Be sure to get a bag receipt or claim check as it will be the only means of retrieving your bag back, until it has been delivered to your stateroom. Remember that each and every piece of carry aboard luggage items you take with you will have to go through the pre boarding screening process before you are allowed onto the ship. Check out a video on Terminal 18, located in Port Everglades Florida (click here to see the video) While this screening process is not as thorough in scope as those when boarding aircraft (with needing to remove liquids/gels/medications etc). You will have to keep your carry on item(s) with you everywhere you go until you can get access to your stateroom. There is no ability to check (or leave) it somewhere before getting to your stateroom. After clearing through the bag screening process you will then proceed to an initial waiting area, unless you have arrived early or late and can go directly to a “Check-In”, or “Boarding processing” station. At some point during the check-in process you will be required to complete a medical fitness questionnaire to be turned in to the boarding processing stations. Once there, they will actually imprint your credit card, verify your identification/boarding documents are complete. They will also take your photograph which gets transferred to the ships passenger computerized identification system. So that each time you enter and leave the ship and scan your access card the ship’s personnel will actually see your picture along with your identification information displayed on their podium screen. You will know when the process is completed as you will be handed your stateroom key card. This card is your everything. Keep it in your hand as you will be needing it throughout the boarding process. Not only is it your room key, is also functions as your on board money, as well as mentioned earlier is your means of positive identification when getting on and off the ship. Be sure to have it, along with your passport/or other photo id ready for final inspection to board the ship.

 Awaiting to Board the ShipOnce you have finished the administrative process of checking in and have secured your Sea Pass Card; what happens next will depend on the particular cruise line, and the time of day in the boarding process. Normally at this point you will get assigned (whether you realize it or not) in some type of boarding priority. Whether it’s going ahead to board, or whether into a holding area somewhere still within the Terminal Port Building. Boarding priorities takes place in accordance with specific cruise line policy, but typically have to do with certain rationale. First is by Room Category, i.e. suite customers generally are the first to board, as they are the first rooms to be readied, since most suite passengers from the proceeding cruise where the first to depart the ship earlier that morning. Then there are Wedding Parties, Groups, and Loyalty Program Customers. Frequent Cruisers are afforded priority in the embarkation/debarkation of the ship as well as for tender departures (in non docking ports) from the ship. Then the next rationale is time of arrival/completion with the registration process. Don’t worry even though it may feel that your group has been forgotten you will get to board as soon as the rotation is ready to have you board. It is also important to know that general boarding of the ship does not get to occur until custom’s has completely cleared the ship. That means that all previous passengers have disembarked, and that security and safety inspections have all been completed and the ship is being allowed to take on new passengers. So as you can see, the boarding commencement is not within the total control of the cruise line itself. Please remain patient.

 Permission to Go Aboard – OK!!! Now it’s your turn. If you have been in a holding area, you will now be proceeding to actually board the cruise ship. Remember when I advised you to keep your Sea Pass Card and your passport in your hand. Yep, this is where you want to do that, since there will be one final check point to go through, and then you can put your passport away, but you will still need your Sea Pass Card to present to the Ships Personnel shortly after stepping on the ship. You probably will at some point before actually stepping onto the ship be given an opportunity to pose for the obligatory pre cruise photo, with a backdrop of a life preserver or something nautical in nature generally with the Name of Cruise Ship on it, that you and your sweetie will stand in front of for your first ship photo moment. Go ahead and pose. Remember you can pose for all the photos you like, you are not obligated to buy any of them. You will get that chance to purchase as you will see later on and all throughout the cruise in an area generally referred to as the Photo Shop. Just know that they will put the photos out in public view, so if you really don’t wish them to be seen (by everyone on-board) either buy them and take them away, or take them from the display and give them to photo shop personnel and tell them you are not interested. You finally made it!!!!!!– You’re actually on board.

Our next module is Things to Do While/Once You’re On Board and you (can click here) to move on to that article. 


CruisewithMike: for more information on Preparing for your Cruise or Travel you can  contact Mike at email  or tweet him at  or you can join our Cruise Club at  Mikes web site can be found at . and also follow his blog at .

Please give us your comments on the contents of this article. We are always on the lookout for suggestions on issues or topics that you would like more information on. Wanted:Guest Writers, and Contributors. We appreciate your visiting this daily blog, and we hope you return often!!-Thanks Mike

  The End – Embarkation Day,  Getting Ready to Board Your Ship!


About cruisewithmike

Mike is a Professional Cruise Wedding Planner, Wedding Officiant,and owner of CruisewithMike Wedding Planners. With over 20 years of experience in the Travel Industry, as an Independant Travel Consultant, Customer Service Agent, and a retired Va. Magistrate, and Clergy. Mike has a very unique perspective on Customer and Wedding Service Needs and strives to provide custom service that's "TOPS" Totally Outrageous Professional Service, with every customer he works with.
This entry was posted in Preparing to Cruise/Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

107 Responses to Cruise Day One, Embarkation Day – What to expect while boarding

  1. Good blog with some useful information. I’ll be back.

  2. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will be grateful to you.

  3. Carlyn Ziada says:

    maintain at it man, your almost there , thanks for the read!

  4. I frequently read your blog admin try to find it quite fascinating. Thought it was about time i show you , Sustain the really fantastic work

  5. en linea says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

    • Great Comment! It is very complicated for many people. Unfortunately this blog article was never intended as a Blog Short. It is actually one part of a six part educational series I wrote for clients to be better enlightened as to what to expect when…………type of approach to cruising. Most often cruise goers are first timers without proper expectations on what to be aware of, so if you find the topic somewhat cumbersome, maybe you cruised before. But again I agree it is rather lengthy and all inclusive. Thank you for reading, and I do hope you will return for more!-Mike

  6. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    • Absolutely! When it comes to piracy on the high seas I hate hearing or falling victim to same. However, when it comes to using ANYTHING I put out there, I rather consider it the highest form of flattery……………..Use it as you wish. Hope that you come back and visit often. – Mike

  7. My spouse and I definitely think that this short article was highly informative.

  8. Christopher says:

    Great post. I hope you don’t mind but I have linked to it (dofollow) on my website check it out:

  9. I’m delighted that I’ve noticed this weblog. Lastly something not junk, which we sift through extremely frequently.

  10. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

    • Carolann, Thanks for your read, and especially your comment. Cruising can seem overwhelming to folks at times. Especially to first time cruisers, and for those who seldom take to the high seas. But as with many things in life; it gets easier with practice. Having some information on cruise related matters can only help with the getting ready to board gitters as well. Setting the proper level of expectations, while illiminating the unknowns should be the goal of any cruise planner worth their salt!!-and I shall do my best to educate as many who tune in to my Blog. Hope you come back and visit often.Bon Voyage!……….Mike

  11. Larry Orpen says:

    It is the best time to make some plans for the future, and I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you write more articles referring to this subject. I want to read even more things about it!

    • Larry, Thanks for the read and the comment. This is actually part of a series of info sessions on the topics of Cruise Travel which I publish here in this blog. I do hope that you will return often. – Mike

  12. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  13. Econo forex says:

    Attractive content. I just stumbled upon your website and in fact enjoyed your blog posts. Anyway, I’ll be subscribing to your feeds.

  14. Ali Fevold says:

    Hello There. I found your blog using Google. This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

  15. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    • Muriel, thanks for the read, and the wonderful comments. Glad to hear your interest in Brussels. Actually our upcoming Tulip Time River Cruise, through Holland will make a special trek to Brussels. It is an absolute marvelous city, with a combination of new and old world charms. I do hope you get to return to our blog often!-CruisewithMike

  16. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.

  17. Craig Nol says:

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is magnificent, let alone the content!

    • Thank You first for the read, and secondly for the very nice comment. I have been blogging just for a short while now. But never let that be a hinderence to your own efforts. Practice makes Perfect, and writing is no different!! Hope you visit again often.-CruisewithMike

    • Thanks for the wonderful comments. Hope you get to return often!-CruisewithMike

  18. Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understood your stuff previous too this, and you are extremely great. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific site.

  19. Hello very nice weblog!! Guy .. Stunning .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…

  20. Unquestionably I believe what you said. You managed to hit the nail upon the head! Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  21. Congrats on having actually one of the more refined blogs I’ve come across in some time.

  22. I loved your article. The content and layout is attractive, your authored material is informative and stylish. You nonetheless command a following.

  23. Just the right ideas here. Congrats on getting linked from ProBlogger! Keep up the great work.

  24. frostwire says:

    I think this is among the most important information for me. And I am glad reading your article. But wanna remark that the website style is great, the articles are really excellent!

  25. We just couldnt leave your website before saying that we really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new stuff you post!

    • Thanks for the wonderful comment. Do come back often! Thanks for not only the read, but especially for taking the time to post such a complimentary comment. I appreciate it much!-CruisewithMike

  26. Mario Piting says:

    Having read this material, I have learned for myself a lot of the new things about cruising. Thanks

  27. Ike Didonna says:

    I was referred to this website by my cousin. I am sure to be back again. You’re amazing! Thanks!

  28. I’m not capable of viewing this website correctly on firefox, which is a definate drawback.

    • Dear Doris, I am truly sorry to hear of your viewing difficulties. I too have encountered some drawbacks to Mozell’s translation for Apple users. Seems to be in the details where it encounters trouble. But Thanks for the comment I will do some looking into this-CruisewithMike

  29. I usually don’t publish in Blogs however your weblog forced me to, superb work.. beautiful …

  30. fairings says:

    *An impressive share, I’ve given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumbs up for this blog post!

    • Dear Sahli, I just had breakfast too, but I had to make it myself. Thanks So Much, for the nice comment. This is definately one of our top views. Originally written as part of my educational series for clients, I am glad to have shared this with the Internet. I shall definately update this as time goes on, and I was also thrilled to hear your efforts won you a good meal too! Thanks Again, and please visit back often.-Cruise with Mike P.S. (from a fellow biker, and Harley Nut) Ride Safe!!

  31. Great post. Kept me interersted the whole time. Please do more.” rel=”nofollow”>High Waist Shorts

  32. Love your blogpost. I hope this post will help others.

  33. What i don’t understand is that you’re not really a lot more appreciated than you may be right now. You are so intelligent. You obviously understand the subject greatly, and allowed me to see things in a different way.Your personality shows in your work. In time it will all come together. Thank you Again!

  34. Toms Shoes Coupons says:

    I discovered your blog site on google and checked a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the good work! I just linked up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you later on!…

    Reply-Thanks Hope you will visit again-CruisewithMike

  35. Acai Berry Diet Pursuing says:

    Stopping by your blog, it helped me to get what I was looking for.
    Reply Thanks, Glad to Hear it!! From-Cruise with Mike

  36. Geek Gab says:

    I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.
    REPLY: Thanks for your kind words. Hope you can visit back often-Cruise with Mike

  37. Schlussel at Vistaprint Coupons says:

    Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

    REPLY: THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME TO SEND THE COMPLIMENT. Certainly you may use content from our Blog, and the link back to us would be greatly appreciated. Please Visit Back Often. CruisewithMike

  38. Immigration Solicitor says:

    I’ll immediately grab your rss as I can not find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

    We do have a SUBSCRIBE BUTTON located in the UPPER RIGHT CORNER of each blog post. THANKS for the Comment, and the question!-CruisewithMike

  39. Learn to Fly Game says:

    I just could not depart from your site without first letting you know that I extremely enjoyed the wealth of information that you provide for your visitors! I will definately be coming back in order to check up on new posts

  40. magic tree says:


  41. PenelopeS says:

    Wonderful and Informative Content. I stumbled across your site and was absolutely amazed. I just had to tell you how much I enjoyed your blog posts. I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and look forward to your new posts as well.
    REPLY: Thank You very Much Penelope.-We appreciate the feedback.-CruisewithMike

  42. zygor says:

    I like this web blog very much, Its a really nice position to read and incur info .
    REPLY: THANKS Zygor, for your comment. Hope you visit back often.-CruisewithMike

  43. Family Man says:

    I like what you guys are up to as well. Such intelligent work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I have incorporated your content to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site 🙂
    REPLY: Thanks Family Man! Appreciate the nice words!-CruisewithMike

  44. annageography says:

    I think other website owners should take this internet site as a model, a very clean and great user genial design.

    REPLY: THANKS ANNA! Appreciate the comments!

  45. I was trying to remember how I found your post – Cruise Day One, Embarkation Day – What to expect while boarding | Cruise with Mike – but I’m not sure. I think others would be interested in it as well, so I shared this page – – on my Facebook page. I hope this is alright.

  46. Howdy! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and terrific design.

  47. hi-ya, I like all your posts, keep them coming.

  48. I have bookmarked at, so my friends can see it too. I simply used Cruise Day One, Embarkation Day – What to expect while boarding | Cruise with Mike as the entry title in my bookmark, as I figured if it is good enough for you to title your blog post that, then you probably would like to see it bookmarked the same way. I am certainly not an expert in this area; However, I like to surf the net and see what interesting articles are out there in order to keep me informed and entertained. Your Cruise Day One, Embarkation Day – What to expect while boarding | Cruise with Mike was very informative and entertaining. Thanks again for a great post!

    Reply: Dear Hamma, Glad you liked the post. Please visit back often.-CruisewithMike

  49. Monica says:

    Hello, I LOVE this site just thought i’d let you know ^^

    Reply, Many thanks Monica. Thanks for sharing!-CruisewithMike

  50. I am just indeed in love with this website , it aids me so much with assembling excellent info about how to look after myself.

  51. mql4 generator says:

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I to find It really helpful & it helped me out a lot.

  52. JamesSmith says:

    How are you? This is a really awesome site

  53. LA Weight Loss says:

    I got what you mean, thanks for swing up. Woh I am glad to feel this website through google. Thanks For Share Cruise Day One, Embarkation Day – What to expect while boarding | Cruise with Mike.

  54. Julio Andaverde says:

    I enjoyed the details,in this wonderful post.

  55. Kole Leapheart says:

    Just wanted to say, keep up your high quality of writing. It is uncommon to see a great weblog like this one today!

  56. limewire license key says:

    Do you mind if I quote a small number of your blog posts as long as I provide credit and sources returning to your webpage: I’m going to also make certain to give you the appropriate anchor text hyperlink using your website title. Thank you much.

  57. Mario Lewinski says:

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

  58. Hipolito M. Wiseman says:

    Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and we are starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  59. Mike Avellano says:

    Great post. I have been continually reading your blog site and I am impressed! Very useful information particularly this article:) Such information is rather hard to come by these days. Thank you and good luck for continued success.

  60. napkins says:

    My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different website and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now I am following you. Look forward to looking over your web page again. Thanks

  61. I’ve been searching on the web significantly more than three
    days today, but I never ever found just about any
    intriguing post similar to your own.

    Reply: Thanks!-CruisewithMike

  62. great read!

    reply: Hope you found this info helpful Linwood!-cruisewithmike

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s