The end of a mass market cruise can be pretty rough! The day before you go, paperwork is arrayed on your bed explaining how you'll be processed off the ship, and the Cruise directors will make jokes about leaving your luggage outside your cabin by midnight. It's possible it may all feel a bit ungracious! The crew needs to get passengers off quickly to welcome new guests, usually by midday, so you'll feel the urgency to get you off the ship quickly. But that doesn't mean your vacation has to be over! Read our Disembarkation Tips to make a smooth transition from a cruising vacation to home.
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By Kathy Klofft
Photos Jeff Klofft
Of course, it really depends on the port where your cruise ends, but here are some ideas for ending your cruise on a high note, possibly enjoying another day of vacation, or at least making the most of the hours before your flight home!
1- Check your itinerary before booking flights.
Check to make sure your flight is scheduled well after the time your ship arrives in port. Be sure you know how long that transfer will take and build in the time you need before your flight. Usually, the documents you receive from the cruise line will suggest the earliest time you can expect to fly based on needing to collect your luggage and pass through customs and immigration after leaving the ship.
Be sure that the airport you choose to fly out of is really closest to your port. Sometimes, there is a smaller regional airport closer to your cruise port than the major airport. Or you might find you need to pre arrange transportation over some distance to get to the main airport because cabs are unwilling to take such a long trip. (This is true especially in Europe) Most cruise lines offer transfers to the airport and that can be a good option. But be sure to research your options. Sometimes a taxi or ride hailing app can be cheaper than the ships transfer for 2 or more people!