Index of Embarkation Ports
Global Cruise Ship Embarkation Port Index
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Dress comfortably for boarding
You may experience long lines depending on the time you arrive and any delays in boarding, etc., will only make the wait longer. You could be in line for as little as twenty minutes, or two hours. An hour or more is fairly standard if you arrive at peak times. At the very least - wear comfortable and supportive shoes! Flip flops are NOT a great idea.
Once you're on the ship, you may begin suffering the "elevator blues". A condition that may come on suddenly or gradually, depending on your temperament. The condition may have you asking yourself if a cruise vacation is really a vacation. It's like the feeling you get when you get up to the gate at the amusement park and you say to yourself, "my, I hope this isn't an indication of what it will be like inside..", ha!
Elevators on the first day are full with staff helping passengers and with large families or groups trying to stay together. And on occasion, luggage may be the only passenger catching a ride. We've learned to map out our cabin in advance and embark with as little carry-ons as possible. We use the stairs to avoid long delays. It's rare and can only be attributed to pure luck that you will get an elevator to stop on your floor, much less have room for you and your family to step on. Usually, the only way to get an elevator on embarkation day (before sailaway) is to have a staff person assist you or you get one by chance.
After you drop off bags and other personal items in your stateroom, you'll want to discover the ship and grab a bite to eat. We recommend you use the stairs until dinner time if you are physically able to do so. Elevators will stay constantly busy until the sail-away.
Once you arrive at the port, your luggage (except carry-on) is immediately turned over to the porters. They will take your bags and place them in the big steel crates that carry the luggage to the ship. $1.00 per bag is a customary tip for the porters. Make sure you carry your cruise documents, passport, medications, and valuables with you.
Your luggage may not arrive at your cabin until later on in the afternoon or early evening. If you want to have a change of clothes, carry an outfit with you on the ship. Wear your suit underneath your clothes if you plan on spending time at the pool before 5 p.m.
Port of Miami - Biscayne Causeway
USA East Coast
USA Gulf Coast
USA West Coast
More ports coming soon
US Homeland Security
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2008) requires all cruise lines to provide final passenger manifests 60 minutes prior to departure from U.S. ports. This means that ALL sailing passengers must arrive at least 90 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. Terminal doors will be closed 90 minutes prior to scheduled sailing time, late arriving passengers will be denied entry to the cruise ship due to these new time restrictions. This is a major change from past boarding practices! All sailing passengers MUST complete their Online Pre-Registration with the cruise line, no later than 6 days prior to sailing! Anyone who does not pre-register online, must arrive 2 hours prior to scheduled departure time to complete this process, late arriving passengers could be denied boarding the cruise ship. We’ve actually seen a few exceptions to this rule (not knowing the circumstances) since 2008, but we recommend you don’t push your luck.
Tips for Air Travelers
Getting to Your Cruise Ship
If you book your flight directly with your cruise company, most companies (read the fine print) guarantee they will get you on the ship (at some point) no matter what.
The cruise line has two options:
The company will delay the ship from leaving port, depending on how many passengers are delayed, and for how long. Cruise lines usually have a window of time available to get late arriving passengers onboard, and the ship out of port before the Port Authority demands additional fees. I can remember a few times when our cruise was delayed for this reason. It’s a cheaper option for the cruise line if they have the time.
If the ship can’t delay departure, the cruise line will fly or ferry you to the next available port and get you to the ship. In addition to the transportation, cruise lines have been known to offer some type of onboard-credit or credit towards your next cruise to help make up for any time lost. Keep in mind, flights booked through cruise lines usually cost more than if you book yourself.
If you book your flight outside the cruise company, the cruise company has no obligation to assist you if you’re late. If the cruise ship leaves before you arrive, you are responsible to get yourself to the first port of call (if you so desire) or you forfeit your cruise.
You can purchase travel insurance that may cover your out-of-pocket costs for additional travel (flights to the next port) and other costs associated with a late or missed flight. Ask your travel agent.
To avoid all the worry, extend your vacation and arrive a day early. Reserve a room in a hotel that offers great views and free transportation (from the airport and to the cruise port.) If that’s not possible, we recommend a flight arrival with at least a 5 hour window.