The excitement leading up to a cruise vacation can be overwhelming, to the point where you can’t wait for the day to start. When that day comes, it can be tempting to get on the train early in the morning to start your vacation. This begs the question, how do you board a cruise ship? Is there such a thing as being too late for your travel vacation?
In this article, you will learn how to board the cruise ship on the first day and start your vacation.
How Long Can You Take a Ferry?
Let’s jump right in and see how you can quickly prepare to board your cruise ship.
The most straightforward answer is that it depends on the port and your destination. However, as a rule of thumb, you can expect the peak start time to be four to five hours before departure.
As most cruises leave the port around 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm, in most cases, you can wait for the earliest possible boarding time to spend the day.
This arrangement is due to the fact that cruise ships often have short schedules and can disembark and board on the same day at the same port. Tourists usually disembark from their flight in the morning – around 10:00 am. This gives the staff a few hours to clean up and make sure everything is ready for the next guests.
Some tours require you to select a boarding time in advance. This is often the time when you think you’re coming up for a ride to help drive traffic – it’s not set in stone, and you don’t have to.
Entry vs. To ride
Along with knowing how to board a cruise ship faster, it’s important to understand the difference between checking in on your cruise and boarding your cruise.
Checking in on a cruise ship is similar to checking in on a plane, meaning you can do it in advance. However, check-in times vary by cruise. For example, Royal Caribbean Requests for visitors to check within three days of their visit.
If you fail to visit within three days, then you will be asked to check in at least two hours before your visit on the day.
Although you can check in in advance, you may not be able to board until several hours before your departure, depending on the cruise.
Boarding Time on Cruise Lines
Each cruise line has its own policy regarding the start date of a cruise – basically, how early or how late. To give you an idea, here are the boarding times for the three largest cruises.
Also Read: How Long Does It Take To Get Off A Cruise Ship?
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Royal Caribbean indicates that it will arrive at the time you select on the app. They say that those who arrive before the time they have chosen, cannot go up before that time.
The same is true for those who arrive after the appointed time. So it’s important to choose a starting time that works for you and stick with it.
Although their website does not specify when you can board a Royal Caribbean cruise, you must board 90 minutes before the ship’s departure time, otherwise you will not be allowed to board and travel.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line provides limited information on how to get on board their first fleet. However, like most cruises, you can expect that the earliest you can board the ship will be approximately four hours before departure.
What Carnival is offering as information is that each guest is assigned an arrival time through an Arrival Appointment. Guests traveling on Carnival must select an Arrival Time no later than midnight before their departure date.
You can choose these times up to 14 days before departure. Carnival will provide you with one if you are unable to select your own Arrival.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line does not provide an exact time for late boarding, but recommends that guests who have not completed online check-in arrive at least two hours before the time it is printed on their ticket.
Guests who complete their online check-in can arrive one hour before the start time of their tickets. Norwegian Cruise Line recommends that guests complete online registration at least four days prior to the departure date.
Cruise Ship FAQs
As mentioned, cruise ships usually start boarding four to five hours before departure and will not let you board until they are ready. So there is no point in arriving at the train station first thing in the morning as you have to wait for several hours before boarding. If you need to arrive early for any reason, you may be able to board early, depending on the cruise and how busy the boarding is.
The latest boarding time for your trip mainly depends on the cruise line and its schedules. However, on most cruise ships, you must board an hour or two before departure, at least an hour. If you are late than the standard time that your cruise line states in their policy, you will not be allowed to board, so you better be late!
The busiest time on the day of the cruise is between noon and 2 p.m. So, if you want to be early rather than late, the best time to arrive at this train station is in the afternoon. This is especially true if you have a family with young children, as you may need more time to settle in. Although you may have to wait a little before departure, you will be on the train in time for lunch!
Verdict: Get Ready to Board Your Cruise Ship Fast
In short, when you can board a cruise depends on your travel plans and the time you choose to board. If you want to board early, choosing an early time slot is best.
However, it is better to be wrong too late than too late. Remember that it is always better to hurry and wait a little before departure than to arrive late and miss your flight! Check out this article and others instructions on how to get on a cruise ship.