The long wait is finally over! The time has come for you to head to the cruise terminal!
I found the best time to arrive at the terminal is around 1130-1200. The ship has just opened to new passengers to board and the crowd hasn’t formed yet.
When you arrive at the terminal, you will first be greeted by staff from the cruise line to assist you with your baggage.
It is best to print off your baggage tags in advance from the cruise planner. This provides your stateroom number and location for the bags to be taken to. If you do not have access to a printer or forget to print off the tags, don’t worry all the baggage staff are able to assist you.
Make sure that you have every thing you will need for the next few hours; PASSPORT, Swimsuit, Medications ect. This will be the last time you will see your bag for the next 3-5 hours or so.
Simply use a small backpack, you will be carrying it around for the next few hours or at least till your stateroom is available.
Check-in / Security
Check-in online! You can add your passport information as well as upload your photos for your profile and enter your credit card information for incidentals.
You will next enter the terminal where you will go through standard airport style security screening; X-ray, metal detector.
After you pass through the security line you can then head into the check-in area. There will be plenty of counters with agents to assist you. This is where you will require your passport. If you printed off your boarding pass prior to arriving it will help speed up the process.
This part takes only a matter for 2-3 minutes if you already checked in online and provided all your information and uploaded your photo.
Now head around to have your souvenir photo taken. You are not required to and can pass this part if you like.
Boarding the Ship
All that is left is to head up and board the ship. Have your boarding pass ready to scan then head on up!
You are now on board the ship.
You can head over and grab some food in the buffet or head for a swim in one of the pools. Start to explore and see what all the ship has to offer!
Keep your key with you at all times! You will need it for EVERYTHING on the ship.
If you purchased any beverage package it will be printed on your key. If you purchased it on the ship then they will apply a sticker to your card.
If you are on a Quantum Class ship then you will be one with your stateroom.
On Harmony of the Seas we had to purchase ours if we wanted one. They were $4.99 each.
They act as your room key as well. HOWEVER there are some restrictions that cause some issues.
- You have to take them off every time you order a drink at the poor from any of the wait staff or in any of the bars (Except at the counter itself)
- You can not get off the ship with it. You MUST have your issued key card with you.
- Does not work in the casino very well.
I found carrying the key was easier. That said I would say these are better for any kids / teenagers in your party. They will be less likely to lose the band over a card. Overall I like the idea, just needs some improvements.
One benefit is you get to keep them and can have them reactivated on future sails.
Your stateroom will be available around 1300. The doors from the stairwells will open up and you can then head to your room. For Harmony of the Seas your keys will be just outside your door on the mail slot. Each passenger has their own personalized key-card.
If you pre-purchased anything, the information will be in your stateroom. Some items could include; Soda cups for beverage package, internet access code, restaurant reservations ect.
EVERYONE!! must attend the muster drill. This is simply the ship getting everyone familiar with where they need to go in the event of an emergency on the ship that may require evacuation.
The crew will scan your room key as you enter to ensure you where there.
You can find where your assembly station is by looking on your room key (mine was A1) which on Harmony was in the fitness centre. This can also be found on the back of your stateroom door.
The process takes about 25-30 minutes and once you are released by the ships Captain you are free to enjoy your vacation!
Sail Away Party
Head onto the pool deck and watch as the ship leaves port. All the people on land will be waving you away! Time to PARTY!!
I will be posted about the Cruise Compass next! It is your daily breakdown of what is going on on-board the ship that day.