Embarkation day for any cruise is an exciting day, but it was especially exciting sailing out of Sydney. I couldn’t get enough of the scenery, the warm weather, and the amazing people. If you haven’t cruised before or if you haven’t sailed out of Sydney, here’s what you can expect.
After checking in at Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT), you’ll make your way up the gangway and onto the ship. Depending on your arrival time, you will either be in a line with other passengers or you might be able to walk right through and onto the ship.
When you checked in you were given your cabin card, which also is your card for payment for everything you purchase on the ship from restaurant reservations, drinks, items in the gift shop, pictures, and more. Have this card ready as you will need to hand it to security or put in the machine where they will match you to the image taken and associated with your card at check in. Leave your cash, credit cards, and passport tucked away in your bag as you won’t need them for the remainder of your trip onboard. Definitely put them in the room safe for safe keeping. This will also be your first encounter with liquid hand sanitizer, either in a free standing motion activated machine or a crew member administering it to each individual guest. The cruise lines are adamant about keeping their guests and crew healthy and this is the easiest way accomplish this task. Be sure to wash your hands after using the bathroom (I shouldn’t have to tell you that, but…), before you enter any dining room, and pretty much any time you can. It’s imperative that cruise guests take responsibility for their health by following common sense hygiene measures.
Take in your surroundings while you board, especially while you wait on line. In addition to loading passengers onto the ship, the crew will be busy working to load your luggage on and take off the luggage from the prior passengers. It’s like watching synchronized swimmers as everything is organized in what would otherwise be a chaotic mess.
Not only do they have to load luggage, but they also have to get all the food and beverages for the cruise loaded on at this time, too. Hundreds of pallets of food have to make their way onboard the ship to feed all of those hungry passengers because the last thing they would want to deal with is running out of food.
I spun around real quick to take a picture of Sydney Harbour Bridge before heading onto the ship. My stomach was all butterflies as I moved through the line and up to the front. This is my favorite part of cruising: The moment before it all begins and the anticipation of everything that’s about to happen is there as you teeter on the precipice and hold your breath as you take a free fall into your vacation.
Ever so simple, but seeing a classic life preserver with the ship’s name on it somehow always feels like you’ve arrived and you’re about to embark on a special vacation. Is there something that you see on the cruise ship at embarkation that feels totally cruise like to you and signals the start of your vacation?
At this point you can now enter the ship and embark on your vacation. You might not have access to your cabin until a certain time, usually after 1 pm. Most people will head to one of the dining venues, usually the buffet, or the pool so anticipate this by packing a swimsuit in your carry on bag and sufficient sunscreen. Either that or head straight to one of the many bars onboard. So leave all your cares behind and savor every minute of your cruise experience.