There are a lot of things you have to do to get ready for your cruise. Packing your clothes, getting documents ready and traveling to the cruise port. Sounds like normal activities when going on a cruise. But there’s a hidden danger. And that danger could cost you your vacation.
Some cruise lines have assigned boarding times. Others allow you to come whenever you get to the port. The latest most cruise lines will allow boarding is 2 hours before the scheduled departure time. And most cruises leave port sometime in the late afternoon or early evening. So there’s plenty of time to get on the ship.
So what’s the danger?
Where’s The Danger?
The problem comes with when you leave to get to the cruise. Depending on your proximity to the cruise port, this might be an academic exercise. Our rule of thumb is if you have to drive more than two hours to get to the cruise port, you need to proceed with caution.
That’s because you’ll need to fly or drive some distance to get to the port. What happens if your flight is delayed? Will you still get to the ship in time to beat the 2-hour cut-off for boarding? What if your flight is canceled? If you drive, will traffic stay clear until you arrive? What happens if a major accident shuts down the highway? If your flight is delayed, will you have enough time to get your bags and still make the ship’s cutoff window?
The answer to all these questions is, you will probably miss your cruise. And your money will not be refunded. The question you need to answer is, “Am I willing to run the risk of missing my cruise in the hopes that everything will go smoothly?”
How To Avoid That Mistake
The surefire way to make sure you don’t miss your cruise and keep your stress levels low is to get to the port the day before your ship sails. No, your cabin will not be ready. In fact, the ship will probably still be out at sea making its way back. So if you can’t get on the ship, what are you supposed to do?
Plan to get to your cruise port city no less than one day in advance. This will ensure that any unexpected delays will not cause you to miss your cruise.
Doesn’t That Add To the Cost of My Trip?
It’s true that you’ll have to pay for a room at a hotel. But compared to the hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars you paid for your cruise, an extra $89 is more like an insurance policy than a penalty.
But here’s another way to look at things. This affords you the opportunity to get items that you may not have been able to bring with you.
Let’s say that you flew to your cruise port. There are a number of things that you weren’t allowed to bring on the plane. Regular size toothpaste, mouthwash, non-travel sized shampoo and conditioner, foundation and other makeup larger than 3.4 ounces. You get the idea.
The argument could be made that those items can be packed in your checked luggage. And that’s true. However, we’d say it’s a safe guess that you’d rather have that extra space for souvenirs and discounted alcohol you’ll buy at the port or on the ship.
Relaxation Is the Goal
Likely the reason you chose to book a cruise was so that you will be able to relax. There’ll be plenty of time to be stressed when you get back to work. Reduce your stress so you can relax when you get on the ship. Get to town the day before. Use the opportunity to explore the area. Hit the beach if the cruise port city has one.
Start your vacation early, eliminate the stress and begin your vacation before you even step foot on the ship.