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How Do I Prepare For the Last Day Of My Cruise?

It’s the last night of your cruise. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll be back at the port ready to leave your fairytale voyage behind you. What do you do to prepare to get off the ship? Believe it or not, your preparation to leave the ship started hours earlier.

Before we get into the details, we’ll touch on your options for getting off the ship. One thing to keep in mind is that each cruise line has its own protocols for debarkation. So we won’t get into specifics. Instead, we’ll talk about what is common among all cruise lines.

Don’t Forget Your Liquor

A highlight for some when cruising is purchasing alcohol. If you’re unfamiliar with why this is such a big deal, let’s give you a quick tutorial.

Purchasing alcohol on the mainland is going to be expensive. Taxes, shipping costs, and other things increase the price of your purchase. When you go to the islands, you’re not paying taxes. And, because in some cases the alcohol is produced on the island you visit, you don’t pay to have it shipped. 

And to make it easier, on some islands such as St. Thomas, the shops not only have lower prices than on the ship, you can make the purchase by charging it to your room. But be careful. This can make it easy to spend more than you planned.

You can also purchase alcohol on the ship. It’s likely that the price of your purchase may be slightly higher than on the island. But it will still be cheaper than you’ll find at home. On a side note, during your cruise, make sure to check out the tastings held periodically during your cruise. Check your ship’s newsletter for days and times. Usually, it will be during the early days of the cruise. After all, they know you can purchase the same thing on the island too. And they want you thinking about it every time you walk past every time you leave the theater.

Now that we’ve covered how to purchase your alcohol, let get back to getting it off the ship. The first thing to remember is that none of the alcohol you purchase during your cruise either on the ship or on land will be available to you. Hence, you’ll have to remember to take it home.

Depending on the cruise line and the ship, your purchases may be delivered to the room. Or you may have to go to a specified place on the ship the night before debarkation to pick up your bottles.

Walk On, Walk Off

What determines how fast you get off the ship on debarkation day has a lot to do with what you did before leaving home. How many bags did you bring? If you kept your packing light, you will be able to walk off the ship. That means while everyone else is waiting their turn to get off the ship, you’ll be able to leave your stateroom with your bags in tow and start making your way home.

If you have more bags than you can walk off the ship with, you have to prepare earlier. At the beginning of this article, we said that your preparation begins hours earlier. So there’s some prep work you’ll need to do to get your luggage off the ship.

Your cruise line will have times that you will be scheduled to leave the ship. This way chaos doesn’t ensue with everyone rushing the doors at the same time.

That means you’ll have to get tags for your luggage early in the day – the day before you disembark. Most passengers want to get off the ship as early as possible so they can make their way back home. So pick up your tags early the day before your ship comes back home. If the tags aren’t available when you check, keep coming back. Because the tags that grant early departure will be first to go.

Dress the Part

When you go to sleep the night before you pull into home port, you’ll need to leave your bags outside your stateroom. Overnight, your bags will be collected and sent to the terminal once the ship comes into port. 

If you make the mistake of packing everything you came with, you might find yourself in an embarrassing situation when you try to leave the ship. Therefore, pick out the clothes you want to wear to get home. Set them aside, then pack your bags. It seems like a simple thing. But it can be easy to forget and cause lots of difficulties if not planned out.

Fill Up the Tank

Once you’ve claimed all the purchases you’ve made during your voyage, packed your luggage, set aside the clothes you’ll wear off the ship, you can finally go to sleep. When the sun rises, your preparation isn’t over.

At this point, the cruise ship is getting the ship ready for the passengers that will replace you after you leave. Nonetheless, they haven’t forgotten about you. They know you need food. And they’ll be ready to provide it just as they’ve done every day of your cruise. Just be prepared for a scaled-back menu no matter where you choose to dine.

Our recommendation is to go to the main dining room. There are other places across the ship that will be glad to satisfy your breakfast needs. We suggest the main dining room to ease your debarkation. After all, you’ll be waiting around for your time to leave the ship. Once you wait in line to get to the luggage, you then have to search through all the baggage to find yours while not grabbing the Louis Vuitton luggage that looks exactly like yours. You’ll stand in line again to get past customs. Assuming you didn’t drive to the cruise port, you’ll wait in line again for a cab, Uber, Lyft or your brother who promised to be there when you got off.

With all that stress, our recommendation is not to add to it by going to the buffet. In the main dining room, you can sit down and relax while someone brings you your coffee, juice, and meal. There’s no jockeying for seats. No standing in more lines to get the items you want on the buffet. It’s a nice way to bring your vacation to a close before getting back into the routine of life.

Just remember to get there early. They will close the dining room around 10 am to prepare for the next batch of travelers. Check your newsletter for exactly when the dining room will close.

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