Parking: Cruising out of Baltimore is easy. You pull in, unload your luggage, then if you are parking you pay the attendant up-front. If you are being dropped off your ride can get out without paying. So you could save some money if you have someone drop you off, the only wildcard is when you return you have no idea what time you are actually getting off the boat. So if you have a patient friend who is willing to deal with a 2 hour window waiting, get dropped off.
- You'll bring your luggage into the Port terminal and get in your first line. The first line is some official with a badge that looks at your Passports and Cruise paperwork.
- Once you get through that line you'll get in another line, this one to go through metal detectors no different than the airport except you can bring a SEALED bottle of water, if you opened it it has to be tossed.
- "I'm not sick" declaration. Your next stop is a table where you'll fill out your name, ship name, etc. on little pieces of paper. It asks if you've had diarrhea, cough, fever, etc. in the past few days, I guess they are trying to control the Norvo virus. Well I'm on daily chemo pills so I had to tell my first lie of the cruise by saying "no, I have not had diarrhea" with my fingers crossed.
- Now armed with your cruise documentation, bags, passports and poop certification you get in line #4 where you wait in queue for a cruise person to check you in, take your luggage and give you your Sea Pass. The Sea Pass being your room key and what you use as currency while on ship. ** tip ** bring a carry on with any meds, a book, anything you might need as you won't have access to your room just yet and sometimes the luggage is delayed getting to your room.
- After Check-in you'll walk through a gauntlet of photographers and restaurant folks trying to sell you upgrades. More on that in another post.
- Find a bar and start drinking.
Disembarking - AKA GTFO the ship - I've cruised 6 times now and I've never gotten off the boat when I was supposed to, at the time indicated. Normally you put your luggage outside of your stateroom the night before you get back to Baltimore and it gets taken off the boat and is waiting for you after U.S. Customs when you exit the boat. This allows you to eat breakfast and wait in some comfy chairs until they call your number. But something always comes up to delay. Always.
One time I even tried to avoid the structured GTFO procedure and that was a bigger cluster fuck. You can choose the Self-Carry option. It sounds good, you bring your own bags and you are the first ones off the ship. Well, lots of other assholes have the same idea and are all trying to go down the same set of stairs and elevators at the same time. So instead of sitting in a comfy chair for an hour, you are now standing asshole-to-elbows with other A-personality aggressive assholes that want to get off the boat as much as you do. Don't do this option.
That's if for now. I guess I lied again, I blogged way too much about the travel. Oh well, only weirdos read these things.