Ocean cruises have been a popular way to vacation for decades, and for good reason. They’re affordable, convenient and offer travelers peace of mind knowing that everything they need for a fantastic getaway is all in one place. What could be better than that? Enter River Cruises!

You might think that the words “inland” and “cruise” are incompatible. Well, they are not! Let me show you how on AmaWaterways, just how superbly well they go together. AmaWaterways river cruises combine all the comfort and convenience of an ocean cruise with the excitement of European excursions at each port of call.

To all cruise-lovers, perhaps it’s time to shake up the ocean liner experience for an entirely new way to explore the world’s waterways. Let us book you on an AmaWaterways river cruise that will take you inland for a unique and relaxing tour of Europe.

Here are the top 10 reasons we know why you’ll love river cruising, specifically on AmaWaterways!
1. Expand Your Options

While ocean cruises take you to countries, river cruises take you through them. There simply is no way to reach river cruise destinations on mega cruise ships.

2. Intimate Experience

River cruising offers a more intimate setting. Most ships range from 144 to 196 passengers. This means that you’ll never have to wait in line, which means you’ll have more time to enjoy all the amenities and have a more personal experience with other passengers and crew. From ordering a beverage to getting on and off the ship, you’ll enjoy the absence of long lines.

3. Dive into the Local Culture

Get away from the touristy ports and explore hidden gems. Large ocean liner ports can receive up to 20,000 visitors on the same day but with a river cruise, you’ll arrive into port with only a few hundred visitors. Not only will you avoid long lines at your destination, but you’ll also enjoy leisurely excursions at each incredible port of call.  You’ll be able to take in the local culture and history of every unique town that you visit.

4. No Need to Rush Back

With many departures from the destinations being later in the afternoon or evening, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the nightlife in select ports of call. Whether you choose an evening walk through cobblestone streets, a local show or performance, or one last glass of wine after dinner while listening to a local musician, immersing yourself in the evening culture together with the locals is a unique experience.

5. Castle Views

That’s right, castle views. From Amsterdam to Basel along the Rhine River, and in Budapest, Bratislava, Dürnstein and Passau on the Danube, you’ll see colorful architecture and castles that will blow you away. But don’t stop at just viewing the castles, why not hike or drive to them and then explore their fabulousness with a knowledgeable guide? You’ll literally be walking in the footsteps of world history.

6. 5-Star Reviews

5-star reviews are only earned through 5-star service. When you’re relaxing with a glass of wine on the Sun Deck, enjoying a night under the stars, or having an unexpected encounter with kind locals that your tour guide has arranged for you, you’ll know where their 5-star reviews come from. See what people are saying about AmaWaterways flawless service.

7.  Entertainment for the Whole Family

With a variety of activities and plenty of stops along the way, we’re sure everyone in the family will have an unforgettable experience. River cruising is perfect for multi-generational families. From grandparents to teenaged grandchildren, the entire family will bond over a range of topics and activities from food to history to countryside excursions. There really is something to do for everyone onboard at each destination. Some members of your group may choose to take advantage of spa services, or the sundeck pool, or cultural activities, while others may prefer to seek out a quiet space with a book. Mealtimes are the perfect opportunity for everyone to come together again as a family. It really is the perfect multi-generational vacation for your family or group of friends.

8.  Taste the Difference

Whether you’re into wine tasting or local street food, a river cruise provides an exceptional culinary experience both on the ship and at every destination. The onboard culinary team focuses on utilizing fresh local ingredients. Dishes are paired with local wines. There’s absolutely no mass-produced and basic buffet food when you cruise with AmaWaterways!

9. Variety of Experience

Let’s not forget just how special every European country is! The towns and cities may be close in proximity along the river, but don’t be surprised by the unique feeling and experiences that each destination gives you. Choose from visiting local breweries, hiking to castles, biking through trendy neighborhoods or visiting museums that highlight the local culture.

10.  World-Class Accommodations

One of the reasons we love river cruises so much (and we know you’ll agree) is the feeling of walking into a luxurious suite or twin-balcony stateroom that will be your home away from home for the next 7, 8, 10 days or more. Each of AmaWaterways staterooms is tastefully decorated and is river facing. Whether you choose to have a window view, a private balcony, or even a twin balcony (with both a French and outside balcony), you’ll always have a room with a view.

So, there you have it. 10 great reasons why you’ll love your first river cruise on AmaWaterways.

Contact me today to learn more about River Cruising and allow me to match you with a River Cruise that matches your interests and budget!

Royal Caribbean’s Cruise with Confidence has been enhanced to more flexibility than ever! You can now choose an option that is most suitable to your needs.

  • Previously announced on March 6, 2020, the flexibility to cancel up to 48-hours prior to sailing in exchange for a 100% Future Cruise Credit will continue, though the eligible sailing window has been extended to now include all sailings through April 2022 (all open deployment as of May 6, 2020).
  • Lift & Shift for those guests simply wishing to move their existing booking to next year. Eligible for rebooking between now and August 1, 2020, guests can protect their original price and promotional offering simply by selecting a future sailing on the same itinerary type, sailing length, stateroom category, and within the same 4-week period of their original cruise date same-time-next-year.
  • Keep your reservation as is and you are eligible to take advantage of Royal Caribbean’s Best Price Guarantee up to 48-hours prior to your cruise vacation start date, ensuring the best rate and/or promotion. Price variances will result in a rate adjustment if requested outside of final payment or an Onboard Credit when inside the final payment period.
  • If desired, guests wishing to cancel prior to final payment can absolutely do so for a full refund of all monies paid to-date, and all nonrefundable deposits returned in the form of a Future Cruise Credit. After the final payment, the standard cancellation penalties apply for those guests not interested in taking advantage of the Cruise with Confidence policy.

Please note that to be eligible, the reservation must be an active booking (not previously canceled) with no other cancellation offers previously accepted.

For a free, no-obligation quote, please contact me today!

Having peace of mind if your travel plans are more important now more than ever. In response to this, Disney Cruise Line has made temporary modifications to their standard booking policy that allows your family to adjust their sail date should you need to.

For any Disney Cruises booked by August 31, 2020, for sailings through March 2021, you can rest assured knowing that you can change your sail date up to 15 days prior to departure.

Important Details

  • Guests who have booked before August 31, 2020 have the ability to change their sail date up to 15 days prior to embarkation.
  • Guests scheduled to sail on or before March 31, 2021 may take advantage of this offer.
  • Guests who wish to change their sail date must move to a future sailing that commences prior to April 1, 2022. Standard prevailing rates will apply.
  • Guests cannot change their reservation back to the original sail date after taking advantage of this offer.
  • Should you cancel your new sail date, any cancellation fees applicable to the original sail date will be deferred and applied as a minimum cancellation fee to the future sailing.
  • Standard air cancellation fees apply for Guests who booked flights through Disney Cruise Line.

For more information on this special offer and for a free, no-obligation quote, contact me today!

As if sailing on a Disney Cruise wasn’t magical enough, chart a course for more magic as you share in special day-long celebrations on select Disney cruises. You can step into the epic saga of Star Wars or thrill to an amazing Marvel Day at Sea. As you sail, delight in enchanting entertainment and activities throughout the ship.

Star Wars Day at Sea

Celebrate the ways of The Force with a special deck party, photo opportunities with characters, and deck party with fireworks! Kids can take part in an onboard version of Jedi Training Academy and special food and beverages will be served. Each week a different guest presenter will share their stories.

Star Wars Cruises
2020 – Disney Fantasy: January 11 – February 29

Star Wars Day at Sea will only be offered on nine Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral:

  • Departing Jan. 11, Jan. 25 and Feb. 22, 2020, the eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.
  • Departing Feb. 8, 2020, the eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Castaway Cay.
  • Departing Jan. 4, Jan. 18, Feb. 1, Feb. 15 and Feb. 29, 2020, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica and Castaway Cay.

Marvel Day at Sea

Meet your favorite super heroes, including Black Panther, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, Loki, Doctor Strange, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, plus Star-Lord, Gamora and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. Kids will take part in Marvel-themed games and activites, then the whole family is invited to see Doctor Strange host an interactive show that allows children train in the “fundamentals of the Mystic Arts,” and finally an action-packed deck party with fireworks closes out the day.

Marvel Cruises
2020 – Disney Magic: select sailings January 9 – March 9

Marvel Day at Sea will only be offered on nine Disney Magic Caribbean and Bahamian cruises sailing from Miami.

  • Departing Jan. 9, Jan. 27, Feb. 10, Feb. 24 and March 9, 2020, the Bahamian itinerary includes Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.
  • Departing Feb. 1, Feb. 15 and Feb. 29, 2020, the western Caribbean itinerary includes George Town, Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay.
  • Departing Jan. 18, 2020, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico and Castaway Cay.

For a FREE, no-obligation quote to experience Star Wars Day at Sea or Marvel Day at Sea or any other Disney Cruise Line sailing, contact me here.

U.S. News & World Report rates more than 150 cruise ships based on an analysis of expert and user opinions that factor in traveler type, overall cruise ship quality, reputation in the industry, types of itineraries, approval ratings and more. To read more about their ranking system, click here.

Best Cruise Lines for the Money

#1 Royal Caribbean International

#2 Celebrity Cruises

#3 Norwegian Cruise Line

Best Cruise Lines for the Families

#1 Disney Cruise Line

#2 Royal Caribbean International

#3 Carnival Cruise Line

Best Cruise Lines for Couples

#1 Viking Ocean Cruises

#2 Seabourn Cruise Line

#3 Crystal Cruises

Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean

#1 Disney Cruise Line

#2 Royal Caribbean International

#3 Seabourn Cruise Line

Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean

#1 Seabourne Cruise Line

#2 Crystal Cruises

#3 Viking Ocean Cruises

Best Luxury Cruise Lines

#1 Viking Ocean Cruises

#2 Seabourne Cruise Line

#3 Crystal Cruises

For a FREE, no-obligation quote to experience any of these cruise lines for yourself, contact me today!

Royal Caribbean International has announced it will build a new private island destination in the South Pacific, dubbed Perfect Day at Lelepa, Vanuatu.

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley revealed during a ceremony last week that the destination would be created in partnership with the community of Vanuatu to showcase its natural beauty, highlight local culture, provide employment opportunities and educate residents on the islands.

In addition, Royal Caribbean has vowed to keep construction and operation of the destination sustainable. Perfect Day at Lelepa will become the first carbon-neutral private cruise destination in the world and safeguard the island’s ecosystems.

“Vanuatu is a true paradise for both our people and the visitors we welcome to our shores each year. Today marks a major step forward in our island nation’s close relationship with Royal Caribbean and one that will support sustainable growth for future generations. The Ni-Vanuatu people look forward to welcoming Royal Caribbean guests from around the world to enjoy extraordinary adventures and relaxation during their Perfect Day at Lelepa.

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Charlot Salwai

Perfect Day at Lelepa will have a different look and feel from Royal Caribbean’s popular Perfect Day at CocoCay located in the Bahamas. Royal Caribbean has said they are looking to create the ideal South Pacific experience.

For a FREE, no-obligation quote for a Royal Caribbean Cruise to visit Perfect Day at Lelepa or any other cruise, contact me HERE.

In early 2021, Disney Cruise Line will return to New Orleans for a limited-time engagement with sailings to the Bahamas and Caribbean, including visits to Disney’s private island paradise, Castaway Cay. A lineup of popular itineraries will continue across the Disney fleet with cruises to tropical destinations from Texas, California and Florida.

Return to New Orleans

Back by popular demand, the Disney Wonder will return to the bayou from late January through February 2021 with a series of magical voyages. A pair of four- and five-night cruises to the Western Caribbean kick off the season from New Orleans. The five-night voyage includes a visit to Progreso, Mexico, a new port of call for Disney Cruise Line on the Yucatan Peninsula. This quaint town is filled with treasures for families to explore together, from ancient Mayan ruins to hidden swimming holes filled with crystal-clear water.

Three seven-night sailings to the Bahamas with a stop at Disney Castaway Cay, plus a 14-night Panama Canal cruise, round out the departures from the Crescent City in early 2021.

Guests sailing from New Orleans will experience the flavors and flair of the Big Easy both onboard the Disney Wonder and ashore. The sounds and sights of New Orleans come to life at Tiana’s Place restaurant, where families are transported to an era of southern charm, spirited jazz and street party celebrations with live music and other surprises inspired by the Disney animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” Before or after their cruise, your Clients can savor the city’s distinct cuisine, visit family-friendly museums and parks, and take in the sounds of world-renowned live jazz music. 

Popular Itineraries from Texas and California

The Disney Wonder will also return to the popular home ports of Galveston and San Diego in early 2021. Guests sailing from Texas can enjoy the white-sand beaches of the Western Caribbean on a series of four- and six-night cruises to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. One seven-night departure will feature stops at Key West, Nassau and Disney Castaway Cay.

Following the season in New Orleans, the Disney Wonder heads to the West Coast for a variety of sailings to Baja and the Mexican Riviera departing from San Diego. Families can hunt for gold aboard a pirate ship in Cabo San Lucas, embark on an off-road adventure in Ensenada or sunbathe on glittering sand beaches on cruises ranging from three to seven nights.

Bahamian and Caribbean Getaways from Florida

Disney Cruise Line will have three ships sailing to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida in early 2021, and every cruise includes a day at Disney’s private island paradise, Castaway Cay. This award-winning destination, reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line Guests, is the ultimate escape for everyone in the family.

  • From Miami, the Disney Magic will sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian and Western Caribbean cruises.
  • From Port Canaveral, the Disney Fantasy will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
  • From Port Canaveral, the Disney Dream will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises.

Platinum, Gold or Silver Castaway Club members, can take advantage of the opportunity to book early 2021 itineraries before they go on sale to the general public on Oct. 3, 2019.  You can book either online or by phone during the designated booking window:

  • Sept. 30, 2019: Platinum Members
  • Oct. 1, 2019: Platinum and Gold Members
  • Oct. 2, 2019: Platinum, Gold and Silver Members
  • Oct. 3, 2019: all Guests

Disembarkation day is the final day of your cruise as you leave the ship and the saddest day of all. Disembarkation day can be somewhat stressful and full of long lines and lots of waiting – waiting for an elevator, waiting for your disembarkation group to be called, waiting in the line to exit the ship, waiting to go through customs, waiting for transportation, waiting at the airport for your flight home.

Knowing the process of disembarkation and what to expect may help ease the stress on the last day of your cruise vacation. This process is very different than checking out of a hotel, you cannot just leave when you are ready. All passengers must pass through immigration and customs, and not everyone can be processed at once, so passengers are divided into groups.

A Few Days Before

Two to three days before your actual last day on the ship, the cruise line will ask you to complete a short disembarkation form with the details of your departure. This information is how the cruise line will assign you a disembarkation group. The assigned group will determine the time you will be permitted to leave the ship that will fit with your travel plans.

You must also complete a customs form to disembark the cruise ship because you have visited international ports, even if you didn’t make any purchases or never got off the ship. Only one form is needed per family. The form has questions about your activities while traveling, ports visited and items you are bringing back into the country. Fill out the form before debarkation but keep it easily accessible as you will need to present it to the customs agent when you leave the ship.

This is the time to review your onboard account. You may be able to access a copy of your bill on the television in your stateroom. You must settle your account before disembarking the ship. You probably presented a credit card when you checked in, so if everything on your bill looks correct, you don’t have to do anything. If you have an issue on your bill or want to pay with cash or gift card, this is the time to visit the Guest Services desk. The line at Guest Services on your last day on the ship will be long! The earlier you visit the Guest Services desk, the better. On some cruise lines, you can continue to use your cruise card on the morning of departure and all charges will be billed to the credit card you have on file.

The Day Before

At some point, your stateroom attendant will leave disembarkation information in your stateroom. This will include disembarkation instructions, a group number, colored luggage tags, estimated time your group will disembark, available breakfast options and where to wait for your disembarkation group to be called. If you see any problems with your assignment, visit Guest Services as soon as possible. If you need additional colored luggage tags, you can get them from your stateroom attendant.  

There will most likely also be a disembarkation video playing on one of the TV stations with detailed step-by-step information on the disembarkation process. If any information is unclear, visit the Guest Services desk and they will be able to answer any questions you have.

This is the time to visit the photo gallery if you want to purchase cruise photos or make one last stroll through the shops because they will not be open in port the next morning.

Unless you pre-paid your tips, they are automatically added to your shipboard account, but you will also have the option to provide additional individual cash gratuities to staff members who provided you with exemplary service. Stateroom attendants, main dining room attendants and bartenders are those most often given additional tips. You can pass them out on your last evening on the ship before disembarkation day. Guest Services often has small envelops for cash tips for your convenience, if there were none left in your stateroom.

Getting your luggage off of the ship is different than anything you may have experienced before and can be confusing for first-time cruisers. You can carry your luggage off without assistance or use general collection. Carrying your luggage off or self-disembarkation can sound like a good idea, but you must vacate your room early on disembarkation day and you must be able to handle all of your luggage with you through crowded hallways and elevators, up and down stairs and keep it with you while you have breakfast. This is a great option if you travel light and wish to get off the ship as soon as it clears customs. This is the first group allowed to disembark the cruise ship.

If you opt for general collection, you will attach the colored luggage tag to your luggage and place it outside your stateroom the night before disembarkation. The exact time will be in the disembarkation information your stateroom attendant left for you. Sometimes it is before dinner and other times it is by 11pm. You will not see your bags again until the next morning in the terminal, so it is important to pack a small carry-on. You will need your cruise card, passport, custom forms in addition to any valuables and medication. Don’t forget to leave out your toiletries and a change of clothes so you aren’t disembarking in your pajamas!

Some ships offer valet luggage programs and you will need to check with Guest Services after you board to see if your ship and the port where you disembark offer it. With this service, your luggage is taken from the cruise ship and checked in with your airline. You will not see your luggage again until your final destination. This service generally costs between $20-$25 per person.

Disembarkation Day

The ship will pull into port very early in the morning and begin being cleared by customs. The arrival time on your itinerary is the time the ship arrives in port and not the time you can exit the ship. Customs generally moves very quickly, but sometimes it can take longer. This is why it is advised you never book a flight before noon.

The entire ship must be prepared for a group of new passengers on the day you are leaving. You will most likely be asked to leave your stateroom before 8 am even if your disembarkation time isn’t until a few hours later. Be sure to check your disembarkation paperwork to see the hours and location for breakfast. After breakfast, you will have to wait in one of the lounges with your disembarkation group until you are called.

In general, early flight and loyalty passengers will disembark first, along with passengers who are carrying all their luggage. It is during this time that crew members are moving collected luggage from the ship to the claim area in the terminal. Once the first set of luggage has been sorted, disembarkation zones will begin to be called. Luggage is delivered to the customs area in colored groups that match up with your disembarkation group number. If you debark before your zone is called, your luggage may not yet be unloaded, and you will be waiting in the hot, crowded terminal.

Once your group is called, you will proceed to the gangway and disembark. Follow the signs and keep your group together. You will need to retrieve your luggage (if you didn’t valet it). It will not be on a carousel, like at the airport, but placed in rows grouped by the colored luggage tag for your disembarkation group. There may be several hundred bags in your luggage group, so it is best to mark your luggage so that it stands out against the rest. I have a hot pink luggage strap!

Once you have gathered your luggage you can enter the line for customs. You will want to have your customs form and passport handy. You will show it to the customs agent, and they may ask you some questions.

You should have a plan for transportation to the airport or hotel. There will be thousands of people disembarking during a relatively short period of time and you may even start to run into passengers arriving for the next cruise, so expect chaos. There will be a long line for cabs and the rideshare area will be congested.

You can use a car service, which is great if you have a lot of luggage. The cruise line will also offer a shuttle bus to the airport. You can book prior to your cruise or while onboard, but you will need to make reservations in advance. For more than a few people, a taxi, rideshare, or private car will be less expensive than the cruise line shuttle.

As you can see, disembarkation day can be hectic if you don’t know what is going on! Now that you know what to expect, you can hopefully have a more relaxing end to your cruise vacation. Now it is time to book your next cruise!

For more information on cruising or a free, no-obligation quote, contact me here.

Before Arriving at the Port

There are many ways to arrive at the cruise port – taxi, lyft/uber, shuttle or even driving yourself and parking at a nearby garage. Regardless of how you arrive at the cruise port, make sure you have your boarding documents and passport/ID handy as you may need to show it to security as you enter the port area.

If you are driving yourself to the port, there is often ample secure parking on site, but you may be able to find less expensive parking nearby. It is best to do some research before you arrive to see all of the options and read reviews.

Arriving at the Port and Luggage Drop Off

There may be many cruise terminals at the port, so don’t just follow the crowds. Be sure to read the signs to go to the correct terminal.

When you arrive at your ship’s terminal, it will be well organized chaos, but rest assured, these folks know what they are doing. You will be guided to drop your luggage with the porters before entering the building for check in. Make sure your bags have the luggage tags attached to them (that you printed from online check in). The porters will load your luggage directly onto the ship and your luggage will magically appear outside of your stateroom a few hours later. It’s a good idea to have a few small bills to tip the porters.

There are often several hours between when you board the ship and when your bags arrive at your stateroom. It is a good idea to pack a small bag or backpack with valuables, a change of clothes, toiletries and any medications you may need. If you pack your swimsuit you can jump in the pool or go on the waterslides as soon as you board the ship! You will also need your cruise documentation (that you printed from your online check in) and passports/ID with you!

You are not required to check your bags with the porters.  If you carry all of your bags on with you, will need to keep them with you until your stateroom is ready which can be as late as 2pm. Also, elevators are often very full on embarkation day and you may need to use the stairs.

Pro tip: Take a picture of your luggage with your phone before you hand it off to the porters. While it is completely safe and I’ve never heard of lost or stolen luggage, the paper luggage tags can rip off and the cruise ship staff may not know whose bag is whose.  If you have a photo of your luggage, it will be much easier for the cruise ship staff to identify which bag is yours and get it to you quickly. We prefer to use these reusable plastic luggage tag holders. They are made to fit the printed cruise luggage tags but take note that due to size, they are not universal, so make sure you order the correct size for your cruise line.

Security & Screening

The bags that you checked with the porter will be screened. Your suitcase may be opened to identify unknown or prohibited items inside, so be sure not to lock them. Prohibited items will be confiscated.

As you enter the cruise ship terminal, you will also be required to pass through security. Your carry-on bags will be screened, and you will pass through a metal detector. Any prohibited items will be confiscated. Some cruise lines allow you to bring on water, soda and wine/beer on board, but it must be carried on. Check your cruise line for specifics on what and how much you can bring onboard.

There are obvious items that are prohibited like weapons and illegal drugs, but there are many other items that cruise ships do not allow on board. Check your cruise lines website for specifics, but the biggest no-no’s that get confiscated are irons, steamers and power strips that are not cruise approved.

Cruise ships do not have a weight limit on luggage nor do they limit the number of bags you bring. Just remember, your stateroom is tiny and you will need to store that luggage somewhere. Unlike the TSA, there is no limit on the number of liquids and sizes you can bring onboard.

Check-In

Depending on the time you arrive, the cruise ship terminal could be busy with several long lines at the check-in stations. There will be port staff everywhere to guide you to your check-in location and answer any questions you may have.

Once at the check-in desk, you’ll need to show your cruise documents (that you printed from online check in) and passports/ID, as well as a credit card for your onboard account for any expenses. Your cruise card photo may also be taken at this time.

It is at this point you will receive your cruise cards. This is your stateroom key, onboard charge card and ID. Ships are cashless and this is the card that you will use to charge items to your onboard account. You will also use this card to exit and board the ship at ports of call.

Pro tip: Bring lanyards to carry your cruise cards if you don’t want to carry a wallet or purse.

Boarding the Ship

After check-in, you will have your cruise cards and you are almost ready to board the ship. If your boarding group hasn’t been called, you will need to have a seat until it is.

When it is called, it is time to start your cruise! You will head towards the gangway and often pass the ships photographer who will encourage you to take a boarding photo. While we generally don’t purchase cruise photos, this is the exception! It is a fun souvenir of the trip. You can opt out of the photo or just have them take it and decide once onboard if you’d like to purchase it.

Security will scan your cruise card as you board the ship and they may take your photo at this time if they didn’t take it at check-in.

You are Finally Onboard

Your cabin most likely will not be ready until after 1pm (but could be later). You are free to start exploring the ship. Most people are going to head to the buffet to get something to eat. The lines will be long and it is difficult to find a seat. Add to that, a lot of people will have luggage with them and you can see how this could not be much fun! Instead, do some research or ask a crew member what else is open. There are generally 1-2 restaurants that are open and will be less crowded!

This is also a great time to put on your swimsuit and jump in the pool. This is when you will find it least crowded. Somewhere near the pool will be a towel station. This is where you will check out, exchange and return towels. Keep track of your towels! If you don’t return them, you will be paying for them. Last I heard it was $25 per towel!

Keep in mind that if your ship has a casino, it will be closed any time you are in port. The casinos can only operate in international waters.

Muster Drill

Before the ship ever leaves port everyone on board must attend the safety drill, known as the muster drill. This generally happens right before you set sail around 4pm or so. Your muster station area will be listed on your cruise card. There will also be instructions on your where your muster station is located on the back of your stateroom door. Cruise ship staff will be located throughout the ship during the drill to instruct you on where your muster station is located.

The muster drill is mandatory and they will take attendance with your cruise card. If you do not show up, you will be paged and the entire ship will need to wait for you to check in at your muster station.

The muster drill will give you instructions on what to do and where to go in the very unlikely event something happens at sea, so it is very important!

Every cruise line is a little different, but children under a certain age will be given a wristband when they board with their muster station area on it. These will be distributed as you board the ship, at the kids club or at the guest services desk. You can ask when you check in, on where to get them. Children are required to wear them during the entire cruise.

As you can see, the first few hours of your cruise vacation can be hectic, but hopefully by understanding what to expect on embarkation day, the process can go smoother!

For a free, no-obligation quote for a cruise, please contact here and I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Two new ships, an all-MedallionClass fleet and 63 amazing itineraries – Europe 2021 is going to be a season to remember, and it’s going on sale soon! Elite Circle Members will have an exclusive window to book these new sailings on August 13, a day before Europe 2021 goes on sale to the general public (August 14). Book early for the best possible stateroom and take advantage of Captain’s Circle Member Launch savings.

For a free no-obligation quote, contact me today and I will get back to you within 24 hours!