How Early Should You Arrive at the Cruise Port Terminal on Embarkation Day?

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All your flights worked and your luggage made it and now the day is finally here and it is soon time to board your floating vacation home away from home. Now you just need to get to the ship and the fun can begin.

But what time should you arrive? Is early better or midday or even late when most are already onboard the ship? Let’s dive in and consider what is best for you.

Nowadays, during electronic check-in, many cruise lines are “scheduling” your arrival time and telling you how many slots are open for each time. Keep in mind you do not have to arrive spot on these scheduled times and the cruise lines are doing this as an attempt to reduce everyone showing up in mass at peak times.

people standing at a counter

That said you should be paying attention to how early you can do your on-line checking and scheduling because I can see the day in the near future that you will have a code with a set time range and will be turned away if not at the correct time. We will see if that becomes reality or not.

My personal preference is to arrive as soon as comfortable for me and my family. That means arriving at the port around 10:AM give or take. After all 10:AM is the most common time that everyone must be off who is going to get off from the previous cruise. So after 10:AM they can begin to turn their attention to arriving passengers.

a pink sign in a building

Arriving early, once you are processed, also means first into holding area to board. If you are a loyalty member then you are first of the first group to get onboard. Really the same applies to whatever group you are set to board.

a row of chairs in a building

The worst time to arrive is when when everyone else does. If you are arriving around Noon – be ready to wait and wait a long time. I would much rather have a late hotel checkout and make my way to the ship around 1:PM that would still give you plenty of time before say a 6 or 7:PM sailing to get onboard.

The benefit of slightly later boarding is your cabin will likely be ready for you whereas if you are some of the first onboard you have to drag your carry-ons around for a while until the announcement is made that you may proceed to your room.

Now it’s your turn – what time do you feel is the best time to arrive on embarkation day? Are you like me who loves to be one of the first in line or do you like a more leisurely arrival and experience? Let us know – René

 

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Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert
René de Lamberthttp://www.FrequentFloaters.com
René de Lambert has been a travel blogger for over 10 years covering the travel industry - including cruising.

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