For many cruisers, the best part of any family cruise vacation is the various ports of call. Some cruisers just love a chance to disembark the ship and spend time in a new town or city, learning all about a new culture or visiting unique shops and restaurants.
At Cruise Lady, our Book of Mormon trips include a vast array of different ports of call. If this is your first cruise, what should you be expecting on the day of a port of call stop? Here are some basic areas we can recommend considering.
Here’s an obvious fact, but one that needs to be stated regardless: You aren’t the only one who knows port of call day is approaching, and you won’t be the only one who looks to get a head start. Breakfast will often be served earlier than normal on the ship on these days, and you’ll notice other cruisers getting up even earlier than this to get in line. If your plan is to have breakfast on the ship and you still want to get a full day of activity in, plan to be up early.
Even if you aren’t planning to quickly disembark, being up and on the ship’s deck early can be beneficial. You’ll likely be reaching land during these hours, and many cruisers really enjoy watching the scenery and other parts of the docking process.
Beyond just having eaten, prepare everything in advance if you’re looking to get off the ship quickly. Lines will generally form on the bottom decks to disembark – make sure you know the procedure here.
Once you’re off the ship, keeping time becomes by far the most important item on your to-do list. For starters, make sure every individual in your group has a timekeeping device of some kind – not just one or two of you, in case you get separated. In addition, make sure everyone knows both where you’re going and how to get back to the ship.
On top of this, read and listen carefully to directions before leaving the ship regarding when to return. Know exactly what time you need to return by, then plan to be at least 15 minutes early for this time. Once a ship has pulled away from the pier, it will generally not come back for late passengers.
Once you return to the ship, plan for there to be some small to medium lines getting back on. This is due to scanning guest cards and performing security checks – it does not mean you can be late for your designated arrival time, however, as many lines get this security process done quickly and you’ll be left behind if you aren’t on time.