It’s a question that we get asked a lot. People want to know if they should simply come into the port the day of their cruise (whether flying or driving), or if they are better off coming in a day earlier and staying the night in the port city.
For many people it’s an important question that has some big consequences. Coming in early requires finding a hotel room to stay at, figuring out what to do with your extra time, and having to take an extra day off of work.
And while it might be difficult for everyone to do so, we highly recommend coming in to your cruise port at least a day before your cruise departs.
Why do we feel so strongly? First, while everyone is excited about cruising to exotic locales, the embarkation port is another port city on your trip that many people seem to ignore. However, these cities typically have a ton to offer. For example, Galveston, Texas is one of the most historical cities in Texas, with a ton to offer tourists like beaches, the Seawall, and seafood. New Orleans offers tons of culture and nightlife, as do ports in Florida like Miami and Tampa Bay. Seattle is a great place with enough to do to spend 2-3 days before a cruise.
But coming in early for your cruise isn’t just to get vacation started a little earlier. It serves practical purposes too.
If you are flying in, that extra day can be invaluable. If your flight gets delayed and you are coming in on the day of your cruise, then there is a definite chance of missing the ship. The results could be even worse if your flight is cancelled. That extra day gives you more breathing room if something goes wrong instead of stressing whether or not you are going to miss embarkation.
We also like being able to take our time getting to the port, instead of having to rush and meet a deadline. See a place you want to check out? Want to stop at the store for some last minute items before getting on the cruise? Simply don’t want to have to wake up at 5 a.m. to get on the road to the port for cruise day?
No matter the reason, having that extra time makes it so much more relaxing to get to the cruise port. That means the start of your vacation actually feels like vacation… instead of a mad dash.
Do yourself a favor. For your next cruise, try to get to port the day before. You’ll have less stress and be ready to enjoy yourself right from the start.