Is ending a cruise vacation like checking out of a hotel?
Not at all. The process of getting off a cruise ship, known as debarkation or disembarkation, is unlike checking out of a hotel; you cannot simply leave your cruise ship at any time on the day of departure. However, like at a hotel, you will need to settle up financial matters on the last evening or first thing the next morning. Actually getting off the ship is more complicated, as you must follow a set of sometimes byzantine procedures. Because cruise ships are both accommodation and transportation, you might also need to clear customs after international travel.
How do I find out about the debarkation procedures on my cruise ship?
On your final day at sea, the cruise director usually holds a briefing in the main theater or other large lounge. It's a good idea to attend, but it's not the most entertaining way to spend your last sea day, so check to see if the session will be shown later on your in-cabin TV. It usually is. In addition, the most pertinent disembarkation information will be included in the ship's daily newsletter or in a separate memo left in your cabin. If you think you'll have questions, send one member of your family or group of pals to the talk. It'll be easier to ask the cruise director a question then than to wait in the long line at the front desk later on.
How do I finalize payments for things I've bought onboard?
On the final night of the cruise, a printed tally of your onboard account will be delivered to your cabin. If you're paying with a credit card, all you have to do is make sure that all the charges on the bill are correct. If there's a mistake, you have to get in line at the reception desk to contest the charges. Be aware that these lines can be long. If you're settling up with cash or traveler's checks, ship personnel will tell you when and where to close out your account.
If you don't want any surprises on the last night of your vacation, you can check your onboard bill throughout your cruise. You can get your account information at any time by stopping by the front desk. We suggest you check your account at least once midway through the cruise to keep track of your spending. Some lines have technology that lets you check your account on your in-cabin interactive TV or even through a mobile app.
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