Cruising with MJ – The Series
Cruising with MJ – Embarkation Day (It’s Time to Play)
I’ve been thinking about what to say in this post for a while now. It’s not that I don’t know what I like to do on embarkation day. Believe me, I do. It’s just that I don’t want anyone to think that this is a my way or the highway post. Recently, I was asked to describe myself. I simply said that I am a cruising enthusiast and blogger at Boardingarea.com. You will note that the words expert, specialist, pontificus, or illustrious grand poobah did not make the cut. I have never represented myself as anything other than a guy who likes miles, points, and cruising. That said, I’m fairly certain that I have an above average knowledge-base on cruising. With that, let’s talk about how I handle embarkation day.
If you haven’t noticed, I love cruising. I love ships, boats (hell yes, there is a difference between a ship and a boat), submarines, water, and anything else remotely related to sailing the oceans. I love the way the breeze feels as it blows through my hair. Haha. OK…let’s get serious. Embarkation day is something I really look forward to. Most cruises I book are reserved months in advance. In short, there’s a lot of anticipation involved. Vacation and days off are my two favorite things about working for a living, and a cruise is the ultimate vacation. The ultimate vacation should be fun, and that’s the way I look at embarkation day…..time to have fun.
Most cruise ships start boarding in the 11:30 to 12:00 timeframe, and I plan my arrival at port accordingly. Even if your documentation says 2:00PM, most of the time, you can get on the ship a little earlier. I have found that for your average Caribbean cruise, 11:30 to noon is a sweet spot that makes for a pleasant embarkation experience. I will note that I have recently read that some cruise lines are advising guests to arrive no earlier than noon for certain sailings, stating that immigration formalities have been delayed due to US government budget cuts. YMMV. Now that we got that bit of a downer out of the way, let’s play.
When arriving at the port, have your boarding documents, passport, and a couple of bucks to tip your porter in hand. Even if I am cruising with only my airline style roller bag, I check the bag with the porter. Staterooms typically are not available until 1PM or sometimes later on boarding day, and I don’t want to deal with a carry on bag. Of course, if you arrive after 1PM, you can just drop your bag off at your stateroom. It’s just that my stateroom is rarely where I want to go first. Here is how MJ rolls on embarkation day:
- Make specialty restaurant reservations
- Make spa appointments
- Unpack before lifeboat drill
- Head up top for the sail away party after lifeboat drill