Cruise Experts do THIS The Last Day of The Cruise (You should too!)
On my first cruise, nobody prepared me for what it would be like on the last day of my cruise. The last day of your cruise can be kind of stressful. And to be honest, it can be a little bit sad and depressing. So today we’re sharing 10 things cruise experts do on the last day of their cruise. Of course, there are variations on this topic, but these are 10 things that we’ve researched, compiled, and experienced over the years, and we want to share them with you so you have the SAME tools the cruise experts do!
Check your onboard spending account
The number one thing cruise experts do on the last day of their cruise is to check their stateroom account EARLY in the day. On most cruise lines these days you can do that right in the cruise line’s app. You can just scroll, go to “My Account”, look at those charges, make sure everything is accurate and that nothing looks awry.
If something does look awry, you can call or visit customer service (aka, the guest services desk). If you’re not comfortable using the app, you can probably look at a kiosk around the ship. You might even be able to check your state room television to find the details of your account. Or you can go to the front desk and have a look.
Visit guest services early
That leads us to tip number two. If you must go to the front desk to check your stateroom account or deal with any other type of business on the last day of your cruise, you’ll want to do that early in the day. This is because without fail, towards the end of the day and later on in the evening the guest services desk gets very crowded. What happens is – inexperienced cruisers often forget to check their stateroom account early in the day, but when they finally do- they find problems in their final bill, and end up heading to the guest services desk that evening.
Standing in line at guest services on your last night is no fun at all. So get down there early if you must, but better yet, check your account EACH day of the cruise, to cut off issues before it ruins the final night of your cruise.
Have some fun
Our number 3 tip is to plan something fun for the last day of your cruise. You might want to consider going to see an evening show, hitting karaoke, or maybe even making a specialty dining reservation. There’s so many different things that you can do to have a little bit of extra fun and avoid the “Bon Voyage Blues”. Cruise experts keep the fun going ALL the way through the cruise!
Another thing cruise experts learn over the years is that if you pack earlier in the day, you avoid stress and overwhelm in the evening hours. There’s nothing worse than planning an exciting and fun last day of your cruise, only to have to rush back to your cabin and pack. This process is especially stressful if you’re rushing in order to put those suitcases outside your cabin for pickup.
If you do a little bit of that packing earlier in the day, you’re going to avoid some of that “later in the day overwhelm”. It’s something that works really well for us. You could even do it as you go during your cruise. You could put used clothing into packing cubes, pack up the dirty clothes early, and stuff them in your suitcase. There’s a lot of different ways that you can approach it.
Tip the crew
Another thing you may want to do on the last day of your cruise is tip your stateroom attendant and dining staff. The crew work tirelessly to make sure your cruise is the best it can be. Tell them you appreciate them by going above and beyond with a little bit of extra cash tipping. These wonderful folks who have taken care of you on your cruise will most certainly appreciate a little extra. Some cruise experts even tip on the FIRST day, but that is totally optional!
Review the debarkation info
Make sure that you review that debarkation materials provided to you a few days before the conclusion of your cruise. Cruise experts know that protocols around debarkation can change frequently. So experienced cruisers will be sure to read that last day newsletter and see if there’s anything that’s changed and make sure that they understand the protocols for the last morning of the cruise before it’s too late.
For example, cruise experts know that they are not stuck with the luggage tags that are delivered to their room. If those luggage tags do not correspond with the time that you want to get off the ship, you can get new tags by heading to Guest Services and talking to them about it, or possibly even looking for a self serve kind of luggage tag kiosk, where you can just grab a luggage tag that corresponds to the time of day you want to get off the ship.
Keep the essentials
Now, we just talked a little bit about the debarkation process. One thing that cruise experts know to do is if they are allowing the cruise line to take their luggage off the ship for them on debarkation morning, it’s key to keep some essential items with them in the cabin. If you’re putting those bags out (as opposed to self assist debarkation), you’re going to need a few essentials for the morning debarkation process. You might need your medications, a change of clothes, your shoes, some basic toiletries and probably your passport, boarding documents, your cruise card, and a small bag or backpack to put everything in.
So, cruise experts know you gotta keep that stuff with you. Truth be told though, I think the more people cruise, the more they tend to get a little bit lighter with their packing. A lot of experienced cruisers opt to walk off their own luggage, and do some form of self debarkation. Whether it’s labeled “self assist”, “self debarkation”, “walk off debarkation” – whatever it’s called – what it actually means that you keep your luggage with you on the last night of the cruise, and then you walk off with it the next day. This is great if you packed light AND you can manage all of your bags from stateroom to outside the terminal with no assistance from cruise staff.
Confirm flight arrangements
If you’re flying home from your cruise, most airlines have an app you can download on your smart device before your cruise that will allow you to check in for your flight about 24 hours before you fly home. If you don’t have a WiFi package, or you’re not sure how to access that app, or maybe you forgot to download it before your cruise, don’t worry. Go to the Internet Cafe on your cruise ship and see if they’ll allow you to access those airline websites so that you can check in and confirm your flight home. This is something that seasoned cruisers do all the time.
Book your next cruise onboard
This next tip has to be my absolute favorite because I feel like this is one of those things that newer cruisers don’t always know about. Cruise experts and travel agents love to share this tip with you. And that is to book your next cruise on board, or maybe just put down what we call a future cruise deposit on your next cruise. The way that you do that is you visit the future cruise desk on your cruise ship. Whatever cruise line you’re on, they likely have something called the Future Cruise Desk. In some cases it’s as simple as filling out a short form like this one from Princess Cruises, and dropping it into a box.
If you’re not sure where it is, just go to Guest Services. Here’s why you wanna do this. You can likely put down a reduced deposit on a future cruise and get some onboard credit or other perks. It’s a total win-win and as long as you plan to cruise with the same line again in the near future, you really have nothing to lose. In fact, most of the time, you don’t even have to choose a date for your next cruise. The best part is you can transfer these bookings to your travel agent when you get home. Amazing!
Scan your cabin
Our last tip is, after you’ve packed everything up and you’re getting ready to go to bed, do one last sweep through your stateroom, and make sure that you didn’t leave any belongings behind. Cruisers commonly leave items in the safe. Sometimes there’s a little carpet in the safe and things can slide under that. Make sure that you check every corner of the safe. Also be sure to check those bedside tables, and be sure to check all drawers in your cruise ship cabin. This is very easy to do. Just have one person dedicated to doing kind of a little sweep of the cabin.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of best practices from cruise experts!
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