Monday, January 18, 2016

How I Survived (and thrived) on my First Cruise! - By Becca F. at Military Cruise Deals!

How I Survived (and thrived) on my First Cruise
By: Rebecca Forte,


1. I didn’t know how to get to the port the next morning, so I asked the hotel concierge!

I arrived in my port city of Miami to a wonderful hotel with shuttle service from the airport. I felt like a queen being picked up and shuttled from place to place. It truly made for a more relaxing arrival that you can experience too; many hotels offer airport shuttles.

However, one detail wasn’t yet resolved. How would my royal self make it to the cruise terminal the next day?

So I asked the Hotel concierge. They are willing to call a taxi for you, and my concierge also had a partnership with a $12 dollar shuttle per person. The queen rides again!

2. I didn’t get seasick!

I was warned to pick up some Dramamine ahead of time since the seas affect everyone differently. However, I forgot.

Luckily my new friends assisted me with some natural remedies: green apples, and saltines.
Who knew that preventative medicine could taste so good?

If you are just booking and want to prevent seasickness, you can book a room that is on a lower deck and toward the center of the ship. This will lessen the effects of any movement.
However, if you did not book such a prime location, then quickly locate your remedies. Apples are available at the buffet, and Dramamine will be available in one of the shops or at the medical center.

3. Cruise food is amazing! I learned the hard way that everyone gains weight, and then loses it quickly on the return.
Since I sailed on the Italian cruise line MSC, I have to rave about the pizza. I have yet to stop thinking about the pizza. It was so thin, warm, and had the perfect sauce-to-cheese ratio.

However, cruisers with more self control around pizza than me also gained weight. Since all of your food is included, you will likely eat far more than you do when you’re not on vacation. There is nothing wrong with this. When you see that key lime pie, treat yourself!

There are some things you can do to make this change a more comfortable one for you.
  • Wear your tightest clothes at the beginning of the cruise, and your looser clothes toward the end. Hello, yoga pants.
  • Take the stairs. You will get everywhere that you’d like to get faster, and you’ll have the added benefit of free exercise. I was even encouraged to climb from deck 4 to deck 13. That one hurt!
  • Give in.

4. I knew what was happening without the Internet.

Each morning every stateroom receives a daily cruise program with the day’s weather, activities schedule, sales, and important announcements. When we were approaching Puerto Rico we experienced a time change and had to turn our clocks back an hour, so it was in our programs. When we received our disembarkation locations and tags, there were also detailed instructions in our programs. When our itinerary changed slightly due to an elderly passenger’s medical emergency, the new itinerary was in the program.


Everything is in the program.

However, if you prefer to get your news from the television there is also a morning show on MSC where the cruise director samples different parts of the ship while giving you the day’s news. It is silly, and he eats gelato, and it makes you want to eat gelato too.

However, if you didn’t read your program and didn’t watch the show, you can still get important announcements. On MSC the most critical announcements were broadcast over the intercom in the four most commonly spoken languages. The cruise director then repeated the information before the night’s live show. Important information is also added to most cruise line’s onboard apps.

Also, if you want to get in touch with another cruiser you can call their cabin phone. It will give you fun nostalgia for the 1990s as you twirl the phone cord around your finger.

You will feel disconnected, wireless, and carefree. You will feel relaxed. However, even as you’re relaxing, you will still know what’s going on.

5. I wanted a queen bed and I got two twins! So, I got it fixed!

As soon as I met my room steward I reached out and asked for the beds to be moved together. “No problem,” he said! He would be moving bags for the next couple of hours but, “when you go to dinner, then I’ll fix your beds.”

I’m not a patient person. I did not wait until dinner. I tried moving them myself.

“Sugeng! I fixed the beds myself! Now you don’t have to!”

“No you did it wrong. I do it at dinner.”

I did it wrong. When he pushed our beds together he added queen size sheets and a comforter. This turned out to be very comfortable. No need for worrying, just go to dinner and it will be fixed.

6. I lost my card, and it was ok.

First I did the panic dance. You know the one. Then I calmly took the stairs down to the main reception. They took my wife’s key card (since both are linked to the same bank account), had us sign on a clipboard that we were getting ours replaced, and handed us shiny new plastic. It really was that easy.

7. I bought gelato and it didn’t break the bank.

I was really pleased with MSC that everything was priced fairly. My cruise cabin was the first place I’ve ever seen provide a price list for a mini-bar. Everything on it was what you’d pay to get that item in a vending machine.

All around, the prices were fair. I bought migraine medicine for $2.00 in the sundry shop. I bought a Guess purse for $30.00 in the accessories shop.

There is free soft serve ice cream, but the Venchi gelato beckoned me. I paid $2.50 for a small cup and no regrets. Then I took the stairs.

8. I learned the Bachata, Salsa, Merengue, Swing and the Italian Tarantella.


What is there to do on a cruise? I learned how to dance. I played countless hours of difficult trivia. I took Italian lessons. I went to my first Art Auction. I watched a Katy Perry concert, and Pavarotti concert, on the lido deck screen. I tried new foods, and then binged on pizza and gelato. I went in the hot tub.

I dressed up for the formal night, got my jewelry cleaned for free, and then posed for a free photo shoot. I read on the balcony. I went to a Hannukah service and had some fantastic latkes. I tried new fruity drinks. I visited new places.

I people watched from afar, and practiced my spanish with fabulous people at the night time disco. I cheered on a shipboard version of “Dancing With the Stars.” I watched one of the Harry Potter movies on our cabin’s television. I wrote into the morning show and won a prize.

I found quite a few things to do on a cruise.

9. I slept in a balcony cabin and did not fall off the balcony.

This is important. I am a child-sized adult. Standing tall at 4’11” I am eye-level with many second graders. Only my shoulders, neck, and head are above the balcony. It is very large and thankfully see through. I can rest my arms on it, but your children may not be able to. This is fine. I am frequently asked if children fall off of the balcony, and the answer is a resounding “no.”


10. I went on a shore excursion and did not get left behind at the port.

When I went on a cruise line specific shore excursion, one nervous man was very concerned that we would get left behind because our excursion ended close to the all aboard time of 5:30.

This was a silly concern for quite a few reasons. We as the customers would have loudly voiced our opinions in reviews of the cruise line were anything to happen, and should we have been left behind.

We as the customers would have loudly voiced our reviews of the excursion company if anything were to happen and we were left behind.

MSC provided our tour with two “escorts” who would have been horribly heckled if anything were to happen and we were left behind.

There was no chance of us getting left behind.

11. I brought my passport on shore excursions (because we had to) and didn’t lose it!

On our kayak, hike and snorkel tour we were concerned about guarding our stuff while we skipped through nature. Luckily at the beginning of our tour there were bathrooms, lockers, changing rooms, and appropriate clothes for sale.

The rule on our excursion was that our group’s locker wouldn’t be opened until our full group was accounted for. And it wasn’t. My passport and me came safely home.

12. We couldn’t get to our last port-of-call due to a medical emergency- so the cruise line worked to try and get us to a different port!

I was impressed by this. Health comes before all. All passengers were kept abreast of the situation via multilingual announcements, but I still was personally saddened to miss the last beach day.

MSC worked tirelessly and rerouted us to Nassau instead. They announced that all shore excursions to the original port would be automatically refunded and then arranged new excursions for the new port-of-call all from onboard the ship.

I was personally amazed by this entire process, and I found it educational as well. If your cruise line cannot get to a port for reasons out of your control they will try and accommodate you. They want you to be happy.

13. I sat at mealtimes with many new people and enjoyed their company.

As a new cruiser, they all had great tips for me for what to do at the upcoming ports and how to navigate them in inexpensive ways. I also learned about Hawaii, Scotland, England, Canada, and the great state of New Jersey.

I enjoyed my long meals with varied and interesting people in the dining room. However, if you prefer a faster meal or different company, there is always the free buffet as well.

14. I got water for free!

Tap water is free in the ice machines in the buffet. Waiters will also bring you mineral water on MSC, and pitchers are available at meals on most other lines. I refilled using the tap in my cabin’s bathroom sometimes. I drank like a fish and I didn’t need a water package to do it.

15. I got my preferred dining time (by asking nicely) and snuck into the early theatre show!

I am a young person with an old soul, surrounded by similar young people with old souls. We like our 5 pm dinner and 7 pm show because our eyelids are closing by the 9 pm show. In fact, I’m yawning just writing this.

I originally was booked with the late dining time. However, miracles can happen if you ask nicely. I nicely asked the maitre d’ if there was room for two at the early seating. There was! He moved us! With luck, availability, and kindness, you can be moved too!

Now usually, if you sit at the early dining time, then you are expected to go to the late show. However, if you are like me, then you can game the system by eating at the early time quickly in the buffet, and then going to the early show. I recommend my methodology for families with small children, and adults who who have the bedtimes of small children. I fall into the latter category. Goodnight folks!

16. I got a massage for half off!

On embarkation day massages were half off. That was the first thing I did upon arrival (before all the appointments were booked up.) Massages are also often discounted at least 30% on port days since many people are away. Look in your program for these discounts!

If you know for sure that you will be getting a massage, schedule it 6 months ahead of time. MSC has rates that range up to 60% off for early bookers, and I promise you a Balinese massage is worth it!

Keep this sage advice in mind for other purchases as well. Do the math for yourself to see if a drink package is worth it for you when you book. Go to the ship’s stores on port days for extra discounts. Fully indulge yourself for less!

17. I attended every show I could.

On MSC we had a show every night. I know that this is more than the other cruise lines, but they also have quite a few shows. I was thrilled at my chance to see Opera singers, circus acrobats, a hula hooper, a contortionist, and world class dancers. What’s more, each night had a theme, and these artists had their talents woven into a great storyline with exceptional costumes and choreography. I love the theatre personally. With shows this spectacular, I think that you will as well.

18. I carried my own bags off the ship and got to disembark early.

MSC has a program called self-assist where a cohort of early risers can opt to meet at 6:30 for disembarkation while carrying their own luggage. This is the best option for passengers with early flights! I was lucky. The kind man at the reception desk let me switch to self-assist the night before we disembarked.

*I should note that most passengers on the ship do not do this. Most passengers leave their luggage outside their door the night before so that the porters can do the heavy lifting. They then reunite with their bags after clearing customs at the port.

19. I arranged a shuttle from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale at the very last minute, and it was ok!

American Airlines changed my flight time, so I changed airlines to a Southwest. This meant that on the last day of my cruise we were scrambling to determine how we would get from Miami, where the cruise docked, to Ft. Lauderdale, where the plane would be.

We quickly called the Florida Super Shuttle first thing in the morning, and for a flat fare of $35 per person, he came and took us the 30 minutes to Ft. Lauderdale.

However, had we not arranged our transportation via phone, we still would have been ok. There were taxis, and shuttles lined up outside the cruise terminal; outbidding each other while trying to get our business. They were all-set, and ready to go to both the Miami AND Ft. Lauderdale airports. In fact, one taxi driver seemed genuinely hurt that I had prearranged my transportation 20 minutes earlier. We’re just cruise passengers breaking hearts.

20. I had a great time and can’t wait to go back again!

Not your Average Cruise Tips!

My top 10 cruise tips!

  1. Take a backpack instead of a cute beach tote - while I certainly love to look stylish on vacation, my husband complains of shoulder pains from over-stuffed shoulder totes.  One our last few cruises, we decided to take a backpack and our lives were simplified and our hands and arms were free!

  1. Buy your own snorkel gear - A typical snorkel excursion starts at $40 most of the time.  While many of the Caribbean ports have beaches within walking distance, you can purchase your own snorkel gear and go at your leisure.  I got mine  from the clearance section at TJ Maxx for $7!  Total score and I don’t have to share germs with the person that used the communal one before me.

  1. Take a refillable water bottle - Bottled water can be super pricey on some of the cruise lines.  Purchasing it in port is usually much cheaper.  But, it is very convenient to take your own refillable bottle to tote around on the ship with your and to fill up before you get off of the boat in port.  The water and ice machines on the ship are always open.

  1. Have an early day? Order breakfast right to your room - You can order your breakfast by putting the provided menu on your door before you go to bed just like in a hotel. But here's the secret: you don't have to order a full breakfast.  You can just order coffee so that you don't have to leave your room in the morning just to grab a cup of Joe.  And this way, you don't have to wait for it; you pre-select the time you want it to be delivered.  If you wait to call for coffee in the morning, you'll be waiting a long time which is why the schedule system works so well. You can also order light sandwiches and bagels. So, so convenient.

  1. Always take a wrinkle releaser -  A lot of ships don’t have irons or they have them all the way at the end of the ship, which is really inconvenient. I always take a coat hanger from the closet, spray the garment, and then hang whatever I need to steam in the shower. Turn the hot water on and in a minute — air presto! — It’s ironed. In the event that you really, really need something ironed and the shower trick simply won't do, you can drop your item off at the laundry service and they will take care of you for a small fee. Guys --- you can also rent suits here in case you forgot your own!

  1. Prepare for seasickness - If you feel sickness coming on, eat a green apple and the sickness will go away almost immediately. Also, don’t wait until you need one of the seasickness patches because once you’re already sick, the majority of patches won’t work. So if you think you’re prone to seasickness, just take it from the beginning. And if you do get sick, try to get something in your stomach - ginger ale, green apples, crackers, etc. It’ll make all the difference in the world. A lot of people assume they won't get seasick because they don't get car sick... but it can totally sneak up on you at the worst times!

  1. Pack a notebook or bring pen and paper -  I always take a camera, sometimes a few, but I’ll probably forget why I took a particular picture. I always want to take lots of pictures, so with a notebook I can take notes and remember everything about the moment. I also keep a travel diary, but I know that’s not for everyone!

  1. Talk to everyone - You get the opportunity to meet so many people from so many walks of life and such different parts of the world. I feel fortunate that I can look through my contacts and find someone I know almost everywhere in the world.  I’ve kept in touch with countless cruise friends and truly treasure each and every one of them!

  1. Traveling with a baby? Bring dish soap and a bottle brush - It's the only way to clean bottles in your stateroom sink without having to ask the kitchen staff for supplies or track down your empty bottles after entrusting the staff to clean them for you.  I don’t have children, but I know this from speaking to other guests on the ship!

  1. Traveling with a group? Bring Walkie Talkies - In order to communicate with each other while on the ship, this is the cost free way to do it since calling or texting will cost you a fortune. It is a great idea if you have kids, or like us, get separated from our group quite easily! We've done this multiple times. Some walkie-talkie brands work better than others, but it is still such a cost-free, simply way to communicate.

    Have Questions?? -- email me at

My Cruise Experience! From One of Our Very Own Agents!

If you are a first-time cruiser - this is totally the article for you!

I will attempt to answer some of the most common cruise questions for you guys.

To start off, this was my 9th cruise with my husband. We are a 20-something year old couple with no children that began cruising in 2010 and quickly became obsessed with the convenience and glory of it all!

For this cruise, we went with Royal Caribbean’s 5 Day sailing on the Majesty of the Seas which departed November 30, 2015 from Miami, FL and headed to Nassau, CocoCay, and Key West before returning to Miami on December 4, 2015.  

We like to do a little bit of everything on our cruise vacations. Sometimes, we’re in the mood to do nothing but relax all week. Other times, we’re feeling far more adventurous and spend our time sight-seeing and doing as the locals do.

But this time, one of our closest friends came along with us so we took advantage of our youth and did as much as we possibly could in our short trip.

No matter what kind of vacationer you are, there is something to do for EVERYONE whether you are the type that likes to indulge in some island history with your family, snorkel or scuba dive around some pretty sweet shipwrecks, read your favorite book with your butt parked in some soft white sand, or if you’re the kind that likes to dance on bars and relive your 20s! Hey - it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere!

Nonetheless, I have some great information for you all!

First, everyone always asks “what is there to do on a cruise ship?”

Well, I made sure that this time around, I kept all of the Cruise Compass sheets that our lovely stateroom attendant left for us each day.  

No matter which cruise line you are on, your stateroom attendant will leave these handy guides on your cabin.  They give you a complete and total rundown of what is going on around the ship.  

Some of what is on these sheets will look like some mumbo-jumbo to you. But, there is a lot of helpful information on the front and inside of the guides like the weather forecast, where you can get fresh pool towels, any sales or promotions the ship has going on, descriptions of the entertainment or shows that are coming up, and so on.

Then, on the back side of the guide, there is a timeline of the daily activities for you.

I typically tear this page off and stuff it in my purse so I always have it handy.  


We flew Southwest Airlines to Fort Lauderdale and got an Uber to Miami because the flights to Miami were almost triple of those going into FLL.  

The uber ride was a short 40 minute ride for a total of $66. Totally worth the extra savings because we would have had to pay for a taxi from the airport in Miami to the cruise terminal anyway.

The flight arrival times to Fort Lauderdale were also much better for us personally.  Don’t totally rule out flying into to Fort Lauderdale as the hike to Miami is truly not that bad at all.  

Continuing, our driver dropped us off right in front of the cruise terminal.

There will be kind employees waiting there to take your luggage.

If you did not print your luggage tags at home - do not fret! These guys have their own tags that you will quickly fill out and place on your bag.  Super easy.

Once inside, it is sort of like an airport as you will walk through security and need to show proper identification.

From there, you will start waiting in the check-in line to get your sea pass cards.

Seapass Cards

One frequent question we’re always asked here is whether or not guests in the same cabin can have different credit cards tied to their seapass account.  

The answer is YES! You totally can.  

You will simply present them with your identification as well as the card that each person wants to use if the cards are different regardless of your cabin assignments.

You also have the option at the end of the cruise to pay off your seapass account with cash instead of having it billed to your card.

And parents --- don’t worry, you can refuse spending rights on seapass cards for your children if you wish!

These seapass cards make cruising cashless if you want them to as you can even use them in the casino.  However, if you prefer to use cash for your games, that is also an option.

Should you lose your seapass card, you simply go to guest relations to get a new one printed.

Whoever else is using your same credit or debit card will also need to get a new one printed as well.

Once you’ve got your seapass cards, that is it! You’re all set.

These little cards become your way on and off of the ship in almost of all the ports.

There are a few ports out there that will require you to take your passport with you but you will be notified many times before getting off of the ship if you are in one of those particular ports.

Otherwise, it is a good idea to leave your passport on the ship and only take your seapass card and government issued photo identification.

Typically, your stateroom is ready for you once you get on the ship.  

However, it takes a little time for your luggage to arrive.  

So, if you want to change out of your road-trip or flight ensemble, you may want to have a spare outfit in your carry-on tote.

Muster Drill:

What the heck is a muster drill, you ask?

A muster drill is a mandatory exercise with the objective to familiarize all guests and crew with the location (muster station) where they are to assemble in the unlikely event of an emergency. During this drill, additional safety information (i.e., how to don a lifejacket) is presented.

This is totally mandatory on every cruise line.

Each person is accounted for at their preset station indicated on your sea pass card so everyone must attend even if you have cruised before.  

Everyone has to pile together in their designated area. It takes 15-30 minutes depending on how many stragglers are taking their time to get to their area.

You will think it is a total pain in the butt, but safety is absolutely necessary and it is relatively brief!

Drink Packages:

One of the greatest debates in cruising is whether or not you should purchase the drink package. Is it really a good value or just another gimmick for the cruise line to make money?

We’ve carefully taken the time to comb through all of the major cruise lines out there and provide you folks with specific pricing for the packages as well as what you can expect to pay for individual drinks.

My personal opinion as a 20-something year-old relatively experienced cruiser is that you should purchase your drinks individually -- unless at the time of booking you were able to snag a free drink package as part of the cruise line’s current promotion.

Drink’s really aren’t THAT expensive.

We purchased a bottle of wine almost every night at dinner and it didn’t break the bank.

Most bottles start around $30 and go upwards from there.  This is a pretty typical price of what you’d pay if you were dining out at a normal restaurant.  

Domestic beer bottles start at $4 with mixed drinks and shots averaging $7 a piece.

The main reason I find drinking the value of your package so hard to do is because you are in port from the morning until dinner time usually which only leaves you the evening to drink your value.  

Also, most cruise lines these days require everyone in your cabin to get the package.  

Unless everyone in your cabin plans on drinking their value of the package, you may be better off purchasing your beverages individually.  

Some of the cruise lines, like Norwegian, even offer pub crawls on their sailings where guests can pay $25 a person to join a group of fellow cruisers on scavenger hunt type game guest in which they will receive at least 5 different drinks from 5 different bars on the ship.

You can also purchase other drinks during the pub crawl at a discounted price.  

Plus, if you win any of the games, you are awarded with freebies.

What to Wear:

Guests frequently ask this question.

And, unless you’ve sailed before, it isn’t a crazy question to ask.

Feel free to dress as you please during the day on the islands and around the pools onboard the ship.

But to eat in the buffet or some of the casual restaurants around the ship, you’ll want to throw on at least a swimsuit coverup or a tank top.

For evening dining, no matter if you have the first, second, or flexible dining time, you will want to dress as if you are going to a nice restaurant at home.

Men can wear anything from jeans to a suit on casual nights, but sleeves of some sort must always be worn at all times.  Simply put, no tank tops or cut offs.

Shorts are also acceptable.

There is typically always one formal night on each sailing, but sometimes there are two or three depending on the length of your sailing.

Ladies can be seen in anything from sun dresses or pants suits to full length beaded gowns.
How you dress for this night is up to you and your comfort level, but casual shorts and flip flops are typically frowned upon for this night.

Men usually are seen wearing slacks and a button up, slacks and a blazer, a suit, and sometimes a tuxedo.  Again, it is up to the cruiser and their comfort level.   


Is it necessary to book excursions through the cruiseline before I go?

The answer is no, not at all.

However, if there is an excursion that you really want to do, book early because the popular ones will sell out!

Otherwise, you can wait to add them once you are onboard the ship.

I would also like to add that booking shore excursions through the cruiseline is almost always non-refundable so please make sure it is what you want to do before purchasing!

Additionally, you can save yourself a huge chunk of change by booking your excursions off of the ship when you are in port - especially in the Caribbean.

I personally have been to almost every single Caribbean cruise port and know all of the ports that will have kind guides waiting in the port area for cruisers to get off of the ship so they can offer them great deals on shore excursions.

Grand Turk, along with all of the privately owned Cruise line islands, are among the few that will not have these discounted excursions for sale in the port area.  

To give you a recent example of an excursion I booked in the port is when we got off of the ship in Nassau this time, we shopped around with all of the tour guides there and decided to go with Marco Polo’s Bahamas Tours.

Price is set by group size typically.  This time, we paid $30 per person for a round trip tour that took us in an air conditioned mini bus on an island highlights tour.

A similar tour would cost upwards of $105 per person through the cruise line.  

We also stopped at several private beaches for photo opportunities, the straw market for shopping, the Queen’s Staircase for a guided tour, Fort Charlotte (we actually got to go inside), and then back to the port if you’d like or you can opt to be dropped off at Junkanoo Beach which is what we did.

Junkanoo beach is just a short 5 minute walk back to the port when you are finished there.

There is also a Fat Tuesday’s bar with free wifi if you make a purchase right next to the beach area.

There are also many other vendors there selling cold drinks and snacks for you to enjoy.

In CocoCay, we booked our excursion on the cruise ship the day before.

It was an adult- only snorkeling and floating tiki bar beach party.

The snorkeling was phenomenal!   

We were given really nice equipment (to our surprise) and were taken to a surrounding island.  

We saw a few puffer fish, multiple eels, couple of wild stingrays, lionfish, several crabs, a giant family of lobsters, and countless sand dollars, starfish, sea biscuits, and conch shells!


The food is amazing!

The cost of all of your meals is included in your cruise fare.

You do not need to spend any additional money on meals unless you purchase something on the islands or dine at one of the specialty dining restaurants.  

The buffet is open for the vast majority of the day.  Of course, times vary from cruise line to cruise line but the hours of operation will be in your handy guide that your stateroom attendant leaves for you.

Most cruise lines also offer complimentary room service that you can order 24 hours a day.  We ordered something literally every single night on our trip this time.

My favorite in terms of dining is the evening dinner.  

You get to select your starter, main course, and dessert from a different menu each night.

The best news is that there is no limit to how much you can order!

Never had escargot but really want the golden tiger shrimp as your appetizer? Well, order BOTH!

The same goes for your main course as well as your dessert.  You can sample it all if you have room for it!


You have the option to place your luggage outside of your room on your last night of your trip.

If you pick this option, you will get off of the ship at a pre-set time with other guests that are in your same disembarkation group.

This is assigned by which deck your on.

It is convenient because you don’t have to haul all of your luggage off yourself.

Additionally, you can wake up, wander the ship one last time, enjoy a hot breakfast, and truly go about at your leisure until your group is called.

But, if you’re anything like me, you book the earliest flight home because you’re in a race to get back to your fur-babies!

Most of the time, cruise ships are scheduled to clear customs at 7 or 8 a.m.

If you have an early flight, you just want to keep your luggage so that you can just haul it off yourself.

This process is called the self-checkout.  

Around 6:30 a.m., you will want to proceed to the main deck with your bags and get in line so that you can walk off of the ship as soon as it clears customs.

Once you’ve got through the U.S. Border Patrol security check, there will be countless cabs and shuttles waiting for you outside to take you to the airport.

My personal opinion is to take a cab, Uber, or Lyft to your destination instead of a shuttle.

Most of the time, these shuttle vans are only a few dollars cheaper per person if cheaper at all.

You have to wait for them to fill all the way up and are totally crammed.

Waiting for a shuttle van to fill up resulted in a close call for us one time with our departing flight so I prefer to spend just a few more dollars and not have to wait or squish!

Have questions? Email me!