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Most of us spend a lot of our free time working to book the perfect cruise including what flights will work best and where to stay the day or days before the sailing. Clearly the itinerary matters as well as ports and ship amenities. But do you neglect one of the most important things you should do for every cruise?
With MSC you can fill in most of the information many months before the cruise but still can not get cruise DOCs until closer to sailing. With Holland America, much like MSC, you can complete your check-in long before sailing but have to check back 6-7 weeks before you sail to get your DOCs.
But with Norwegian check-in does not open up until the 21 day mark and shortly after completion you also will have access do your cruise DOC’s (a PDF you can print and/or save to your phone – either work fine at the port).
It is so important to jump onboard, if you will, as soon as you can when you hit the 21 day mark? Here is why:
I don’t know about you but I want to get on the ship as soon as I can to start to enjoy all the ship has to offer! Those who check-in first get to be the first ones to pick the time they want to arrive and I have found the early slots fill up very fast. Not just that but notice what NCL says on their website regarding coming to the ship earlier than you have booked:
“You will only be allowed to enter the terminal during this time.” – NLC.com
OUCH! So am I telling you this is firmly enforced and that you will have to stand out in the sun if you do arrive earlier than booked? In practice I have never seen this enforced. For example, if you do not check-in online the same NCL.com page says:
“You will lose the opportunity to Check-in online 3 days prior to sailing.”
So if you never booked a time how can you have a time and would you not want as much time as possible since it will take MUCH longer to do all the bits in person than if you had done them beforehand online?
But a cruise vacation is all about de-stressing so why not just be one of the first to check-in online when you hit the 21 day mark and pick an early time to avoid any possible issues.
While you are at it, as Norwegian also recommends, download their APP for your phone as it is a great way to not just review your cruise but you can also check-in online via the APP itself if you would like rather than doing so on NCL.com. The latter can be handy as they need a photo of you and you may or may not have a web cam or a photo that will be accepted online vs. the APP using your phone camera. – René
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This really applies to all lines that let you choose a check-in time (MSC doesn’t let you choose, but everyone just ignores their times anyway now), though the number of days before cruise that you select your boarding time varies.