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Common Sense: An Essential To Cruising

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Cruising is the most exciting form of travel. Millions of people are cruising because of the great deals, the unique ports-of-call, and just plain getting away from it all. Cruising is fun, but there are a handful of mistakes to be avoided. Embarkation day has to be the most hectic, and disembarkation day being the utmost sophisticated. Embarkation day (Day 1) is pulsing with energy. The passengers are all excited about boarding the ship, ready to enjoy that seven, ten, or twelve-day adventure they've been looking forward to for many months. Aside from all the excitement, it takes only one error to alter a passenger's vacation time and time again. They often forget to use their common sense.

Here is a list of the top five things which cruise passengers ought to keep in mind. This advice will help anyone enjoy his/her cruise vacation, no matter when or where they're sailing from. Having taking this advice, cruisers will further enjoy their upcoming cruise vacation by avoiding the same mistakes made by preceding cruisers.

5. ARRIVING AT THE TERMINAL ON TIME. Whether driving to the departure port, taking the train, or flying, it is vital that passengers arrive at the cruise terminal by boarding time. If sailing from a port where flying is required, cruisers have the option of staying overnight in their departure city. They will feel more relaxed, refreshed, and ready to head to the ship. Cruise ships normally begin embarkation at noontime. Once checked in and on board, passengers can explore the vessel and get to know their way around. About one hour prior to departure is the lifeboat safety muster drill. Attendance is mandatory. Please note: Passengers SHOULD NOT try to show up at the cruise terminal one hour prior to sailing. There's a definite chance they will be denied entry. On a few occasions, passengers have broken down in tears, begging pier security to let them in. They were immediately turned away. Not only is it upsetting, but missing the ship is a heartbreaking reality which no cruise passenger should ever experience. After all, it's a lot more fun being on board the ship having a good time. It's a no-brainer.

4. CARRY-ON CONTENTS: Before leaving for the cruise terminal, passengers need to check and double-check that they have the following items in their carry-on baggage. They are to have their cruise ticket paperwork and original travel documents (including passports) close to hand. Passengers SHOULD NOT PACK ANY TRAVEL DOCUMENTS IN THEIR LUGGAGE. Once the longshoremen take the luggage, it's carted away to the sorting and screening area prior to being loaded on board. If a travel document is left inside, it could take a long while for the luggage to be located, if already not already loaded onto the ship. In regards to packing daily medication: Passengers who take daily medications must take their take along their medications in their carry-on baggage. Regardless of when taken, a carry-on bag is the safest place for them. No one's embarkation day should become the longest or most frustrating. The more organized cruisers are with their packing, the better off they'll be.

3. CHECK TAGS! COUNT BAGS! The night before disembarkation, passengers must make sure that they count how many bags they have placed outside their stateroom door. For instance, they should be marked as follows: 1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc. Another way to identify luggage is to put bright color ribbons or Velcro cuffs on the handles. It'll be far easier to find them in the luggage claim area. All luggage, including carry-on, must have personal identification attached to them. One morning, a guest was being assisted via wheelchair. She had assumed that one suitcase was hers, since her family's bags had tags on them. Just after they cleared through customs, the elderly guest realized the bag on the porter's cart wasn't hers. Her bag had no identification at all. When the bag was located, it was shipped to the guest's home. Unfortunately, the guest had to pay the shipping cost. If a passenger is missing a piece of luggage upon disembarkation, it's vital that a missing luggage report be filled out. As long as a report is submitted, the bag will be shipped to the passenger's address free of charge. It is imperative that guests DO NOT leave any luggage behind. Cruise passengers should not want their vacation to conclude on a bad note. Apart from that, they should not want to subject other passengers to the same predicament.

2. PREPARATION, PREPARATION, PREPARATION! Within two weeks prior to sailing, passengers should have received their cruise ticket paperwork. Whether the passengers print their tickets online, or if the travel agent takes care of it, it should all be kept together so that the check-in process is "smooth sailing". On many occasions, guests have shown up at the check-in counter with nothing but a big pile of paperwork, having no clue of what they're supposed to present to the agent. Passengers must make sure that they request the mailing of their luggage tags. The tags have their names and stateroom number printed on them. Some cruise lines require a credit card to be registered online for on board charges. Cruise passengers should bring the same credit card along with them. That credit card will be needed by the agent to set up the on board account. Some cruise lines ask for a credit card to be registered online and the passengers are all set to go. Disney, Carnival, and Princess are some cruise lines which have made it that easy. If a passenger wishes to change credit cards, he/she should have that credit card in hand at check-in. Again, the more organized the passenger, the better.

1. DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION! This is the one part of every sailing day which cruise passengers misinterpret in a multitude of ways. All passengers are responsible for taking along the proper travel documents. If the departure city, or if one of the ports-of-call requires a visa, passengers must be sure to take care of that within an adequate time frame prior to sailing. Please note: Passengers who do not carry the correct traveling documents will be denied boarding. Not long ago, a family from overseas was checking in for a Bermuda cruise. Regretfully, they were denied boarding. Their visas were two years expired. Passengers are responsible for making sure that their passports and/or visas are in good standing. They should also be valid well after the cruise. Passengers should not want their passport to expire while outside the country. Why is that important? Passengers would not want to be denied entry into the country upon disembarkation.

Children's documentation is every adult passenger's responsibility. When passengers are traveling with children who are not their own, they must a have a notarized permission letter from the parents. Aside from passports, visas, and permission letters, passengers should make a habit of taking along back-up documentation with them. A short time ago, a mother and daughter and daughter were checking in. The mother kept her maiden name, and the daughter still had the mother's married name. Aside from their passports, no paper proof was presented to confirm their relationship. In order for them to be embarked, some form of official paperwork was needed. If it weren't for a small technicality, both passengers would've been denied boarding. An original birth certificate or health insurance card work the best.

Cruising is a fun way to travel. There is so much to look forward to on embarkation day. There are also important things to keep in mind for disembarkation. Cruising can be exciting, but it also depends on the passenger's common sense. Carefully reading the cruise line's information online, arriving at the terminal on time, and assuming responsibility for required travel documents are extremely important. Properly labeling luggage, being prepared for check-in, and carrying additional forms of documentation also contribute to making a cruise vacation a smooth and memorable one. The cruise lines have their embarkation and disembarkation processes down to a science. Cruise passengers must keep these five key hints in mind. Putting these five key hints to practice on a consistent basis will help enhance any cruise experience. Cruise passengers, whether first-timers or multi-timers, who follow these five hints will most definitely enjoy their cruise vacation from start to finish. Further, it will be the utmost memorable and enjoyable experience over and over again.

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