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6 Secrets to a Speedy Cruise Check-In

Getting your cruise off to a great start begins with a smooth and speedy embarkation. Going through security and checking in for your cruise can seem to take forever as thousands of passengers try to get onto one ship in just a matter of hours. Here are 6 tips to help you beat the crowds and zip through the boarding process so you can start your vacation as soon as possible.

1. Arrive Early. Always be mindful of your cruise line’s boarding time, but if possible you’ll want to arrive at the port early. You may have to wait for the crew to begin boarding, but once they do you’ll be one of the first on the ship. Then you can hang by the pool or enjoy a free lunch on board while other cruisers are still stuck in line.

2. Organize your Documents. Make sure you have all the necessary documents for your cruise before you leave home. There’s nothing worse than getting to the terminal only to realize you left your passport at home or don’t have your ID on you.

3. Pack Smart. Once you have your documents in order, put them all together in an obvious section of your carry-on. Don’t be that passenger frantically tossing your stuff all over the cruise terminal as you dig through your suitcase looking for your passport.

4. Print Your Luggage Tags. Save some time at the luggage drop-off by printing out your tags and attaching them to your bags prior to arriving at the port.

5. Check-In Online.  You can speed things up at the terminal by completing your check-in online before your sail date. You’ll simply need to fill out all the required travel information and select an arrival time window for the day of your cruise to access your boarding pass.

6. Be a VIP.  Priority boarding is a perk often given to upper-tier loyalty members and suite passengers. Some cruise lines—  such as Carnival with their “Faster to the Fun” program—  have even allowed passengers to pay for the same privileges . If you really can’t stand to wait in line, you’ll definitely want to consider upgrading.

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