Tag Archives: documentation

Sailing day pitfalls: The top 5 avoidable mistakes

There is nothing worse than missing the ship. Guests must always arrive at the cruise terminal on time.

Cruising is the greatest vacation experience anyone can have. Every cruise line provides a unique on board atmosphere, ranging from dining, to entertainment, to shore excursions, and staterooms with all the comforts of home. Whether it is a seven, ten, or fourteen-day adventure, the fun is non-stop. Every cruise kicks off on sailing day. Sailing day is day one. Sure, it’s great to be excited about sailing day. However, it’s vital for guests to make sure they have all of their ducks in order. Amidst the excitement, guests tend to make a handful of mistakes. They can be mistakes that could greatly affect the outcome of their cruise. Here are the top five sailing day pitfalls which guests must avoid:

5) Misjudging sailing time: When it comes to sailing day, it is paramount for guests to arrive at the cruise terminal on time. Guests should not want to miss all the great activities that await once they’re on board (buffet lunch, having drinks poolside, etc.). Boarding normally begins at 11 am. Once on board, guests have all the time to unwind. What are the pitfalls? Often, guests push their arrival to the very last hour of the day. It is one of the most avoidable pitfalls. Pier security is directed to shut the terminal doors within an hour prior to the ship’s departure. If the ship’s departure is at 4 pm, guests should arrive no later than 3 pm. Guests have been turned away for arriving too late. Guests leave their homes for the pier and then get caught in traffic along the way. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help their chances. It doesn’t matter how much money they spent on such a long-awaited vacation. Guests should never wait til the final hour. The ship will sail without them, regardless of circumstances. Of all sailing pitfalls, it is one not worth facing. On-time is the best time!

Cruise passengers worry excessively about packing the right items on a cruise. Travel documents should be packed in carry-on baggage.

4) Luggage concerns: Of all the things guests worry about on a cruise, it’s their luggage. Honestly, it is the one element they worry too much about. Guests should pack in their luggage all of the key essentials, excluding their travel documents. Packing travel documents in luggage is a no-no. That’s true! If the weather forecast is supposed to be hot and humid, guests should be prepared for it. Guests should not show up in a sports jacket and tie, or some outfit that’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. Guests should always have a change of clothing in their carry-on baggage. That way, in case their luggage hasn’t yet arrived at their stateroom, they should not feel forced to bow out of the sailing day excitement. None of these matters should get in the way on sailing day. Worrying about luggage should be immaterial. Being prepared for the weather is always #1.

3) Gratuities: Gratuities always come to question when booking a cruise. Guests are always concerned about tipping on board. Gratuities should not have to be a monster issue. They should not be. Not prepaying gratuities is among the unexpected pitfalls faced by cruisers. When booking a cruise, guests should always ask the cruise line reservations agent or their travel agent if they can prepay their gratuities. If yes, it’s the right call. Cruise lines normally charge $12.00 per day for gratuities and $16.00 for guests in suites. Once the gratuities are prepaid, there’s no need to add a tip when signing room charge receipts. Plus, it saves the guests money on their on board charge account. The best way is to prepay!

Gratuities should be the least of all guests’ worries. Prepaying gratuities makes life a whole lot easier.

2) Repositioning cruises: Repositioning cruises are a lot of fun. They are actually the cheapest of all cruises. What are repositioning cruises? They’re one-way sailings from one major port concluding at another. They take place particularly when the seasons change. There is one major pitfall that guests face when going on repositioning cruises. On repositioning cruises, guests mistakenly drive to the cruise port, thinking they’re on a round-trip voyage. It makes anyone wonder “What in the world are they thinking?”. It happens often. It creates a hardship for the guests trying to retrieve their car. Further, this pitfall results in the guests trying to devise a grandiose plan on when and how they’ll be able to pick up their car. When booking a cruise, guests should make the effort of researching the cruise itinerary first before committing, A repositioning cruise is just as fun as any other cruise. Doing proper research makes a big difference. It is the key difference between a memorable sailing day and a vacation hardship in the making. A repositioning cruise should be the ship’s transition from one port to another, not one obstacle on top of another.

Repositioning cruises are fun and offer plenty of fun. Warning: guests MUST NOT drive to the cruise terminal.

1) Documentation: To this very point in time, guests still encounter multiple pitfalls regarding documentation. Documentation is the #1 step to a successful sailing day. Documentation is the bread and butter of a cruise. It is needed for not just embarkation, but also for re-entry into the country. What pitfalls have guests faced regarding documentation? The pitfalls range from simple faults like leaving passports at home. The middle-of-the-road faults include packing travel documents in their luggage. The most serious matters include failing to obtain the more important documents, including visas, parental consent letters, and medical letters. Medical letters mainly pertain to pregnant guests. Once guests book their cruise, they get too comfortable with looking forward to their trip. Guests MUST research what documentation they’ll need for their cruise, especially concerning minors, visas, and medical issues. Failure to have the proper documentation will result in their denial of boarding.

Inadequate documentation is the #1 of all sailing day pitfalls. All guests are responsible for having the proper documentation for sailing day.

A cruise: it’s the ultimate vacation experience. Cruises offer merely everything under the sun, including good times had by all. Before going on a cruise, guests must be aware of the pitfalls. Multiple mistakes are made. One day, there will be a cruise which all guests will do everything properly prior to sailing day. Wishful thinking, right? It is imperative that guests pay attention to the pitfalls and make the right choices before suffering the consequences. Guests must arrive at the cruise terminal on time. They should allow themselves the opportunity to unwind. Guests must exercise caution when packing their luggage for the reasons previously mentioned. They should prepay their gratuities. When going on repositioning cruises, they SHOULD NOT drive to the pier. All guests must bring along the appropriate documentation for boarding. Failing to avoid sailing day pitfalls results in the hopes of a long-anticipated cruise being dashed. Avoiding frequent pitfalls does more than assuring guests a pleasurable cruise experience. Avoiding pitfalls assures guests a memorable sailing day.

Sailing day: The passengers’ countdown checklist

David Kriso, in front of the Carnival Vista during her inaugural debut in New York City.

David Kriso, in front of the Carnival Vista during her inaugural debut in New York City.

There is simply no news more exciting than hearing that a someone had booked a cruise. Regardless of cruise line, the energy is at a high level. The on board activities, the entertainment, the shore excursions, and the memories all lay head. It’s all good. From beginning to end, cruises are full of good times to be treasured. Prior to sailing day, there is a cheat sheet, a checklist which cruise passengers must adhere to. There is homework to be done, of course. There are things to remember, things to pack, and reminders which the cruise line send out to all passengers in the weeks leading up to sailing day. To have a successful sailing day, cruise passengers should follow a sailing day checklist. It should go as follows.

Before the online check-in process can begin, cruise passengers must make sure that they have made their final payment to the cruise line.

Before the online check-in process can begin, cruise passengers must make sure that they have made their final payment to the cruise line.

5) Final payment: To begin the checklist, the final payment must be made. Before the excitement can build, cruise passengers MUST remember to make their final payment to the cruise line. Normally, the original payments are made out to the travel agency. The final payment is always made out to the cruise line. Cruise passengers have shown up at the check-in counter, and never realized they never submitted their final payment. They end up wondering why their reservation doesn’t exist. Making the final payment is paramount, in order to begin the online check-in process.

Prior to sailing day, cruise passengers must complete the online check-in process. Online check-in is the way of the world in the cruising industry.

Prior to sailing day, cruise passengers must complete the online check-in process. Online check-in is the way of the world in the cruising industry.

4) Online check-in: This is a key component of the sailing day checklist. Having submitted their final payment, the online check-in process can begin. Online check-in is the way of the world in the cruising industry. Only then if cruise passengers have made their final payment, they will receive their booking number. Having done so, they can begin the online check-in process. To ensure a timely embarkation experience, cruise passengers MUST complete this step. It saves a significant amount of time at the check-in counter. Cruise passengers MUST log in to their reservation with the booking code. The online check-in process is laid out like a “yellow brick road”. Cruise passengers need to enter their personal information, passport information, on-board charge information, and accept the terms of the ticket contract. Once completed, they can print out their cruise tickets. If sailing on board Royal Caribbean’s Anthem or Harmony of The Seas, passengers need to upload their security photos. The photo guidelines are provided at that stage of the online check-in process.

Before checking luggage in at the terminal, cruise passengers must attached their provided luggage tags. Shown here are the luggage tags for the Disney Wonder.

Before checking luggage in at the terminal, cruise passengers must attached their provided luggage tags. Shown here are the luggage tags for the Disney Wonder.

3) Luggage tags: Before leaving their home, cruise passengers must make sure that they scratch this part off their checklist. Most cruise lines mail luggage tags to their passengers. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian, provide their luggage tags at the conclusion of the online check-in process. They must be printed out. Passengers then attach them according the the instructions given. The luggage tags will have the stateroom number, the passengers’ last names, and their guest loyalty level (if applicable). Cruise passengers MUST attach their luggage tags to their bags. Carry-on luggage MUST also have luggage tags attached in case they should go astray.

All cruise passengers are responsible for having the appropriate documentation, including passports.

All cruise passengers are responsible for having the appropriate documentation, including passports.

2) Documentation: This is the second most important part of the sailing day checklist. Documentation is the bread and butter of the embarkation process. All cruise passengers are responsible for having the appropriate documentation to sail. Documentation includes passports, passport cards, birth certificates with a photo ID (for passengers age sixteen and older), and valid visas (if applicable). Valid visas are required to complete the check-in process, depending on the country. Other forms of documentation include parental consent letters and medical letters. Cruise passengers traveling with minors MUST provide a parental consent letter. The purpose of letter isn’t just for granting permission to take the child out of the country. The letter also must include a clause granting permission to make medical decisions in case of an emergency. The parental consent letter must also be notarized. Another key form of documentation would be custody paperwork, in case a child is traveling with his/her legal guardian(s). Pregnant passengers MUST provide a letter from the doctor stating they’re in healthy condition to sail. Expectant passengers at six months pregnancy or less are allowed to sail.

To ensure a safe and sound boarding experience, cruise passengers must arrive at the terminal on time.

To ensure a safe and sound boarding experience, cruise passengers must arrive at the terminal on time.

1) BE ON TIME!: Going on vacation is always a ton of fun. It’s simply a no-brainer. The very last step, the ultimate step, is to be on time. Cruise passengers drive, take the bus, take the train, or fly to their cruise port city. Whichever way they do so, it is paramount that they arrive at the cruise terminal on time. The boarding process begins approximately at eleven o’clock. There are three reasons why cruise passengers must arrive on time: 1) They can relax and enjoy explore the ship, 2) They have ample time to sign up for shore excursions and youth activities, 3) They are well-situated in their staterooms and ready for the lifeboat muster drill. The lifeboat muster drill is mandatory and all passengers must attend. Being on time guarantees endless fun on sailing day. Being on time guarantees a successful start to any cruise. Checklist complete!

Having boarded the ship, cruise passengers can enjoy the never-ending array of food choices. Here, cruise passengers enjoy lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace aboard the Anthem of The Seas.

Having boarded the ship, cruise passengers can enjoy the never-ending array of food choices. Here, cruise passengers enjoy lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace aboard the Anthem of The Seas.

GRAND PRIZE…FOOD!: On any cruise, there can never be enough food. Once cruise passengers have been successfully checked in and received their stateroom key cards, they are ready to board the ship. The staterooms may not be ready for the passengers’ enjoyment until one o’clock at the latest. Until then, passengers are welcome to proceed to the buffet on the upper deck. Food is the name of the game. Food is everywhere. All of the passengers’ favorites are available. Hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta, sandwiches, the salad bar, and ice cream are all waiting for them. Cruise ship food is undeniably sinful. Cruise ship food is indeed so sinful, the culinary staff prepares more than twenty thousand meals per day. Every day, plenty of food keeps cruise passengers happy. In case passengers wish to purchase specialty drinks or beverage packages, all they need to have on hand is their stateroom key cards.

Not only is having a sailing day checklist a must-do, but a routine followed by every seasoned cruise passenger.

Not only is having a sailing day checklist a must-do, but a routine followed by every seasoned cruise passenger.

A cruise: the vacation of a lifetime. Whether it’s the first time on a certain cruise line, the first time out of a certain port city, or the first time period, cruise passengers indeed feel a bit overwhelmed. Seasoned cruisers are highly familiar with the sailing day procedure. They know what to do, where to go, what to do when, and how. For first timers under any circumstance, there is a simple checklist to be followed. Cruise passengers must be sure that they made their final payment to the cruise line. They must also complete the online check-in process. Afterward, it gets easier. Cruise passengers must obtain their cruise tickets and luggage tags. The final steps are taking along the proper documentation and arriving at the cruise terminal on time. Having crossed the finish line, they can enjoy all the food they’ve been longing for.

This checklist is to be repeated each and every time. Having developed this routine, cruising will be more than just a vacation. Cruise passengers, regardless of how often they travel, all share their theories to having a good time. When consistently following the routine, sailing day is no longer a method to the madness. Cruising is certainly without a doubt, a science enjoyed by all.