Tips for Arriving at the Cruise Dock

The day is finally here. You're heading off to get on your cruise vacation! Here are tips to keep your embarkation as simple and easy as possible.

Pack Ahead of Time
I know it makes sense, but make sure you do it! If you wake up with everything all ready to go, then that is a big worry out of the way. Have a list and double check it. On a land vacation, you can go shopping at a cheap store to get the things you're missing. On a cruise ship, you only have the resort-quality stores on board.

Eat a Hearty Breakfast
Most ships leave in the morning. Whatever meal it is that comes ahead of departure, eat well. Don't skimp because you're in a rush. If you're hungry, you'll be cranky and impatient. Make it easy on yourself and on those you deal with.

Carry Water and Snacks
This also falls into the stay nourished category. Carry a small water in your pocket, and a snack bar or two. There can easily be lines and waits involved. Remember, the ship is only in dock for a few hours and has to unload and load thousands of people. Keep yourself hydrated and snacked while you wait.

Don't Arrive Early
People love to watch the ship come in and be the First On Board. What this really means is that hundreds to thousands of people wait in giant lines, plodding along while every single person is photographed, document-checked, luggage x-rayed, and more. Show up about in the middle of the loading period. By then, the line should be clear, but you have lee-way in case of traffic.

Don't Arrive Late
The last thing you want to happen is that you miss the boat!! There are ALWAYS going to be random delays that hit you, from flat tires to traffic, from forgotten items to getting lost. Don't complain when they happen. Plan for them TO happen and factor the time in to your plan.

Pre-Test Your Route
This goes with the above item. Unless you are hundreds of miles away, pre-drive your cruise route. Know where the tricky turns are. Know where you are going to park. Heck, if you have time, find a nice restaurant or bar in the area, and plan to go in early to eat there. The less things you have to worry about before you get onto the ship, the smoother everything will go.

Pack Correctly
Use luggage that is very sturdy. It's going to be handled, X-rayed and lugged around. Pack it sturdily with plastic containers that can't break or leak. Don't try to sneak on contraband. The rules of the ship are there for your safety and the safety of others around you. If you cause a pest outbreak by bringing on infected fruit, your craving for oranges will turn into a multi-million dollar disaster for a poor island.

Be Patient
The crew has to deal with thousands of individuals, and they try their best. They hear the same requests hundreds of times a year. Your fellow cruisers have been dreaming about this cruise for months and maybe have had a rough week leading up to today. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and smile. You will find it's contagious

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