As we all know, all good things must come to an end and so our family cruise is now ending as we return to port in Boston. The ship was expected to arrive into port at around 5 am and we could begin disembarkation after 7:30 am. We received information in our cabins regarding the disembarkation process on our final sea day, which included all the specifics and then some you would need in order to get off the ship. Some of the basics included placing your luggage outside of your door on your final night before midnight. Now why should you or shouldn’t you do this? If you brought small enough bags that you can handle them on and off the ship yourself, then skip this step altogether and opt for self-disembarkation in the morning. As soon as the ship is cleared with customs, you’ll be able to get right off the ship and you’ll be on your way to the airport or home literally within minutes of the announcement.
We normally do the self-disembarkation, but since my husband’s parents and others were going to have their bags brought to the terminal, we decided on this as well. Bags were packed and outside the door by probably about 10 pm. What I really like that Carnival does is that they are constantly patrolling the hallways for luggage so it doesn’t become an obstacle course as is sometimes the case with other cruise lines. If you decide that you’re going to put your bag out, make sure you keep your valuables, medications, a change of clothing, and other important items out for the next day. There was some question as to whether or not to put out the room service breakfast menu and yes, we did learn that they do deliver on your final morning so definitely put it on your door the night before.
As we were all in suites, we were given blue luggage tags with the number one on them for priority service. The notification in our room stated that we would meet in the Golden Dining Room (deck 3 forward) at 8:30 am and proceed off the ship from there. However, after the announcement that the ship had cleared customs, the announcement was made that those people in groups 1, 2, and 3 could now get off the ship and it was far earlier than 8:30 am. I wish they had stuck to the paperwork as we were running around trying to not lose anyone in our group so it ended up being far more confusing and stressful than I think it truly needed to be.
|Grand Atrium, Lobby deck 3|
To get on and off the ship you’ll need to go to the Lobby deck, which is deck three. I highly recommend taking the stairs to get to this floor otherwise you’ll be fighting the crowds to get down to the Lobby deck. Near the elevator bays it was crowded as people were getting a little pushy trying to find their way to get out. If everyone would have relaxed just a bit, they would have seen that it can be and should be an orderly process. I will never understand those people who will push and shove their way ahead of the elderly, disabled, or those with young children. It’s not like Carnival was going to keep us on the ship if we didn’t get off immediately and if they did, it’s not like that would be the end of the world, right?
You won’t have far to walk before arriving over by the door near Guest Services where Security will be standing to take your card for the final time and enter it into the Security machine before you leave.
Let’s review those items you should have in your possession before you arrive at the Security checkpoint:
1. Your Sail & Sign card
2. Your passport or photo ID
3. Your completed customs form
Have all of these items in your hand and ready to go to avoid holding up others waiting to get off the ship. Once again I was surprised to see that there were people who had no clue as to where these items were and/or hadn’t completed the customs form. As a rule of thumb, I will complete the paperwork the day before while I am packing and slip it into my passport and put my cabin card on top of that so I can grab it and go in the morning.
After you’ve gone through Security, slip your Sail & Sign card into your pocket or purse and walk up to the ramp that will lead you back inside the terminal. If you have mobility issues, feel free to ask Security to have a wheelchair bring you down into the terminal. If you don’t, it’s not even a five minute walk back into the terminal where you will find the Customs officers waiting to collect your customs forms. I was surprised that it was that quick because usually you see signs about not bring fruit, vegetables, or meat back into the country as well as plants or flowers, but that wasn’t the case here. We had given my mother-in-law a flower arrangement on the ship that she didn’t take because she thought they would confiscate it. I left half of my fruit basket on the ship because I thought they would never let me bring it through.
Once inside the terminal, we spotted our bags immediately and we were able to get outside in under a minute. This was truly the fastest I have ever gotten off of a cruise ship! My brother-in-law and his family left a few minutes before us because he was trying to catch his flight out of Boston Logan, my in-laws and my husband’s uncle and cousin were waiting for their limousine ride back to New Hampshire, and my husband’s aunt and uncle went with us via the shuttle to the satellite parking area. While they are working on the parking garage, this outside parking area is $50 for your entire stay and you have to pay before you park. Although they didn’t tell me, they do accept credit cards as well as cash. There are always waiting coaches to take you to and from the terminal so you won’t have to wait long at all.
I was home probably within 30 minutes of getting off the ship, taking the shuttle to the parking lot, and dropping my husband off at work. Now that’s how I like to cruise! Pictures of the cruise will be up on the Travel Shop Girl FaceBook page soon — I promise!