The cruise is coming to an and and its time to get back to reality. Debarkation day can be pretty hectic to be prepared and it will be less stressful. Check out these tips for making it easier.
1 Flights Home
For the most part cruise ships will arrive into the home port before you even get up. But the debarkation may not start until 7:30 AM or later. Flights should be no earlier than 12 noon or maybe 11:30. This gives you plenty of time to get to the airport and get through security. Ports like Miami and Port Everglades can be quite busy making the airport busy.
2 The Day Before Debarkation
It is important you pay attention to notifications regarding debarkation day. Even if you have sailed before, send at least one person from your party to the debarkation talk to make sure you have all the information. Procedures can be different depending on the port and even sometimes the ship.
3 Carry Off Vs Checked
You most likely will have the choice to either carry your luggage off the ship with you or have it taken off by crew. Depending on how much luggage you have and how early you want to be off the ship will determine which is the best option.
Carry Off or might be called self assist is when you carry all of your luggage off the ship with you. Usually you would be the first off the ship. and this can be quite early. This is a great option if you do have an early flight especially if you don't have much luggage. One important note, crew is unable to assist you until you are in the terminal where the porters are waiting. They will call you either by a tag number you get the day prior or deck number.
If you want to let the crew take off your luggage, you will need to leave your luggage outside your stateroom the night before for collection. Just make sure you leave clothes for the next day in your stateroom. Typically the day before you will be given tags for your luggage. Then on the morning of debarkation, they will call the tag numbers when its ready to be picked up and you will be able to leave the ship and get your luggage and proceed through customs.
One of the options I had when I sailed Regal Princess is one I will use again. Since I was flying out the day we returned, I was able to pay a small fee and my luggage was checked from my stateroom into the airline, I did not have to touch my luggage until I landed in Jacksonville so no dragging it through the terminal and customs. This was offered on Princess Cruise Line in Fort Lauderdale but may not be available everywhere.
For the last day they will often have a early breakfast in the dining room and the buffet, room service is usually not available. It is the last meal so take advantage and eat what you want. Just remember, you cannot take any food off the ship with you. Another tip for this, just leave your luggage in the stateroom and go back for it. There is just not enough room in the dining room or the buffet for all your luggage and you usually have until 8:30 AM to leave your room.
So for those who need to get to the airport or a hotel, you will need transportation. The great part about the cruise port, there are a lot of options.
If you are going to the airport, the cruise line often offer transpiration you can book on board or prior to your cruise. You can even find shuttles parked outside the terminal for a per person fee, they will take you to the airport or hotel.
Ride shares like Lyft and Uber can be an option but sometimes it can be an issue. For example, in Jacksonville, you can be dropped off by a ride share but they have a contract with a cab company so they are not allowed into the port. So do some research prior to making plans for a ride share. Of course you always have taxi service available right outside the terminal as well.
Just like embarkation day, pack your patience, it can be a long day. But, you will carry memories from a fantastic vacation for the rest of your life.
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I have a passion for travel and believe travel is about experiences. Experiences create memories and are the stories we tell to friends and family - even with a little fudging on the facts.