Whether first time cruisers or pros here are 5 tips to remember.
1. Save money on a taxis or shuttle
If you are not planning to stay the night before a cruise in a hotel, plan on using a parking lot in the city, where you can walk to the port. These city parking lots are usually 50% less than cruise parking which can run you $25-$35 dollars a day. Taking a shuttle to the port usually charges per person, anywhere from $15 – $40.
2. Look for a hotel near the port that offers free cruise parking and shuttles.
If I am staying the night before the cruise, I always look for a hotel near the that offers free cruise parking and shuttles. The hotels want you to stay with them so they offer free parking with shuttle service to and from the port. The parking is usually gated and secure.
3. You will stand in line if you arrive early at the port.
If you get the port early, thinking you will be first in line, you will be sadly mistaken. Many fellow passengers have the same idea. Everyone wants to get on board and hit that buffet or the pool before it is too crowded. This results in long lines for check in and a lot of traffic into the terminal. So take your time. Come to the terminal later. There will still be plenty of food and less stress.
4. Have you luggage tags attached before you arrive at the port
You save will save yourself a great deal of time and stress if you have your cruise luggage tags attached to your luggage when you get to the port. There will be a mass of people all trying to get tags from the valet, attaching them to their luggage (not having tape or stapler), and asking how to do it. Believe me, print them off at home and attach them just before you leave for the port. I love these reusable tag covers. The reusable tags for Royal Caribbean & Celebrity are found here. The tags for Princess, Carnival, Costa, Holland America, P&O and Norwegian are found here.
5. Early debarkation will not save standing in line
Just as with early embarkation, you will stand in line with early debarkation. This is where you take your own luggage and leave the ship as soon as it has docked. Many other passengers are also in a hurry to leave so again there is a line. Many times the lines to leave the ship early can stretch around the ship and take an hour to clear. Every time I debark at my scheduled time, I walk right off the ship, find my luggage, and leave. It is very fast and easy.
See Ya Makin Memories!