The way it works at cruise ship ports is that the ship you will be on, will arrive at the dock in the morning of departure, at around 6 or 7 am. It no sooner docks than the baggage that belongs to the departing passengers is offloaded.
At the same time at other locations of the ship, garbage will be removed, and provisions will be taken on, and possibly fuel, although it may wait until a port stop if it costs less to buy it elsewhere.
But I am getting ahead of myself. The actual boarding of the ship will not start until around noon.
Since the ship doesn’t load passengers until around noon, there is time for a nice breakfast in the nice hotel or motel you booked into last night. I hope you booked your transfers to the ship last night, but if you forgot, you can still do it this morning at the desk in the lobby. Sometime during his period, it is good to get checked out of your room, particularly if there are lot of folks going on the same ship. The desk will get crowded.
While you are sitting around after breakfast, you will likely find yourself chatting with the other guests waiting for transfer to whatever ship they are going out on. There may be any number of ships sailing today from essentially the same pier, so it is a good idea to look after your bags, so that they don’t get picked up to sail on Carnival when you are on Disney! Our last cruise had 5 ships sailing at roughly the same time the same day. Motel guests were going to one of any of the ships. One other thing you must get done is to put the cruise line baggage tags they provided to you on each of your bags. You have big problemo if you fail this one.
Or you may do as we often do, go for a walk around the motel grounds or if the neighbourhood warrants it, and the day is nice, check out the neighbours! We have always enjoyed that.
About 10:30 a bus will arrive to get your stuff, and you. You go out, check in with the driver or porter, or the co-coordinator, put your stuff where told. Your bags may or may not go on the same bus as you are on. Sometimes they go in a separate trailer that will travel with your bus to the ship.
You are now underway, out to the pier where your ship is tied up. You will now be treated to an unguided tour of the city, in our case, Miami. It can take as much as 40 minutes but can take a lot less depending on the motel you stayed in. It was sunny and fairly warm on our last departure so the ride out was good and the scenery was sure different than the snow covered fields we left behind.
Soon we spot a row of ships all tied up at the dock, and our driver manages to get to the one we want, and our baggage truck pulls in in front. Thing continue to look up! People are milling around all over the place, and your porter on the pier tells you where to head to board. So, you tip the porter, going rate is a buck a bag, as it was a month ago anyway, he will arrange to have your checked stuff go on the ship and get delivered to your cabin. You will make sure your bags are all there, and let the porter know, wont you. Yes it works OK.
So now you simply follow the porters directions, and keep following the signs in English and Spanish to your ship entrance.
Upon entering the building, you will be met by a security person, who will make sure that you have your ship boarding pass, that you printed at home a month ago, and that any visa or passports are yours, (and yes she checks them).
Ok, but you are not there yet. Depending on the entry protocol of the port or the ship, or the US Coast Guard, you will now check your carry on stuff through a TSA like scanner, and you will do the same. If you do not get scanned at this point, it will all occur shortly after, but always before you actually get into line for your boarding card.
You are now getting closer to boarding, and now you will need to know what your sailing status is, so that you will know if you get to be favoured by the cruise line priority boarding, or if you are a passenger cruising with them for the first time. On Celebrity, belonging to the Captains Club will earn you some kind of priority entry. If it is your first cruise, be sure to sign up after you get on board. It is free, if you do not count the endless amount of email and snail mail you will get.
Now you have found the line to be in, and after having moved closer to the front, you will be faced with a long counter with all those passengers lined up in front of it. At the head of the line, you will be directed to a ticketing agent by one of the people assigned to this duty. This is now the easy part, the person behind the desk, welcomes you, asks for your paperwork, the passport, and your boarding pass.You will be given an agricultural certificate to fill out, if you have not already done so. You hand over the credit card you used to sign up for the cruise, or at least the one you said you wanted to use for payments on board. They may or may not take your photo to match up with your card, but it will be taken as you check onto the ship, regardless.
The check in person, will chase down your boarding card, and it will given to you, keep it handy. You will soon need it to board the ship. The nice check in lady will direct you at this point to the entry area of the ship. You follow the arrows or the guides set up along the way, you get on the gangplank or gangway, and wander along with your carry on stuff to the actual point of embarkation!
It is a good thing that you kept your ship board card handy, because now you need to have it scanned in one of a couple of different ways, and for sure you will now have your picture taken and it will become embedded as a code onto your boarding card. Your boarding card will now be used every time you disembark, or embark the ship.
How about that, you made it, you are on board,and are headed to your stateroom, but if you have cruised with Celebrity, you will know that you will be greeted just passed where you got on, by a young lady usually dressed in a very nice gown, offering you a welcome and a glass of champagne! I never found this on any of the other cruise lines we have sailed. A very nice touch I think.
So, you are on board, you know the deck you are on, and what your cabin number is. OK you head for your cabin, but maybe not quite yet. If you are on board before about 2:30, your cabin may not be made up yet, and since you likely missed lunch, it may be time to go to one of the various eating places on the ship, sit down, have lunch, and wait for the call to go out that deck X passengers can now go to their cabins.
You get your cabin, maybe meet up with your cabin attendant right away, get to unload and pack away all the carry on stuff, just in time for your first big bag to arrive, and you can get it packed away.
Around this time an announcement will come over the speakers that a safety lifeboat drill will be held at whatever time within the next hour, and it is mandatory that you go. People will be there to direct you to the muster station you will need. You must have your boarding card with you as well, for one thing you will need it to get back into your cabin! Bet you never thought of that!
When you get back to the cabin, it is likely that your other bags will be at your door. If you have time before dinner, you can get the contents put away, before dinner. The small bags go into the big bags and they all go under the bed, and yes they will all fit there.
You ship will likely be underway before you go for dinner, so you just might enjoy sail away from your veranda if you have one, but anyway you will soon go to dinner at the location you designated when you booked the cruise. Have a great dinner, and a great cruise. You have earned it!
Cruise page, A very good cruise site, Cruise Critic
Think the fear of the radical Muslim movement is irrational. Think again. Irrational
Video of the Holocaust survivors looking at the film today. Amazing footage. Holocaust
Barack Obama at a recent rural elementary school assembly in East Texas, asked the audience for complete silence.
Then, in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands once very few seconds, holding the audience in total silence.
Then he said into the microphone, ‘Children, every time I clap my hands together, a child in America dies from gun violence.’
Then, little Richard Earl, with a proud East Texas drawl, pierced the quiet and said: "Well, dumb ass, stop clapping”…..!
A Little Canadian Humour
When I went to church last week I heard a sweet elderly lady in the pew next to me saying a prayer. It was so innocent and sincere that I just have to share it with you:
"Dear Lord, This sure has been a tough four to five years. You have taken my favourite actor Patrick Swayze, my favourite musician Michael Jackson, my favourite Blues Singer Amy Winehouse, my favourite actress Elizabeth Taylor, my favourite singer Whitney Houston, my favourite author Tom Clancy and now my favourite comedian Robin Williams!
I just wanted you to know that my favourite politicians are Rachael Notley, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Rob Ford, and that Trudeau kid."
Three fathers in jail, 13 kids and on food stamps. and a Cadillac!lunacy!