All Aboard

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It always seems like no matter how much preplanning I do my list doesn’t get smaller the closer to the holidays.  Maybe I should just stop making lists.

Embarkation or boarding the ship is when all of the excitement reaches it’s peak.  Arriving at the port and seeing that big beautiful ship gets the heart pumping and the vacation started.  Today let’s get into what it takes to actually board the ship.

Here is the average morning for us on embarkation day.  Firstly, we wake up and get ready to start the day.  We stop and have a small breakfast because for some reason when I know I’m going to be boarding a ship I wake up super early.  I feel bad for my husband because he is not a morning person and then he has me up before the sun. He handles it pretty well.  He is a real trooper.  This may sound strange but the lighting at the Port of Galveston really messes with my vision and makes me nauseous.  To combat this, after eating a light breakfast I take a Bonine tablet.

We then go back to our hotel room, double check we have everything packed, and check out.  We head to our prepaid parking area at the port.  After parking where the nice attendant tells us to we unload our luggage and head to the shuttle area in the center of the parking lot.  Here they take our luggage and load it onto the shuttle and we take our seat onboard.  Off to the ship we go.

Once at the ship our luggage is unloaded and we receive a ticket to use when we get back from our trip.  I put the ticket in a zipper pocket in my purse.  Scott gives the driver a couple of dollars as a tip and we walk across the drop off area.  There are signs everywhere telling you where to go.  We drop off our luggage at the open bay area and follow the signs to Faster to the Fun.  When you are in a wedding party, platinum or diamond status, or have the Faster to the Fun pass you get to go to a lounge area to wait and check in.

Once at the check in lounge we double check we have our identification (we use passports), our boarding passes, health questionnaire already filled out, and our cash to start our sail and sign account.  Once they announce that we can enter we follow the signs to the check in area.  There are podiums setup with employees that check your identification and send you to the security area.

At the security area it’s just like an airport.  You place your carry on items on the conveyer belt and walk thru the scanner.  If you are carrying on beverages you have to go to a table and wait while they inspect the packaging.  Besides having to lug the beverages around, having to wait in another line for inspection is the reason we do not carry on beverages.  Then it’s up the stairs to the check in area.

Once in the check in area, we hand over our health questionnaire and then are directed to the check in line.  The lines move very quickly if you have all of your paperwork, identification, and money ready to go.  After check in you take your boarding passes to a very large sitting area and wait to board.  This part seems like it takes forever but that’s because I am impatient and ready for the ship life.  Once in the sitting area there are bathrooms, televisions, and a beverage station with complimentary water or lemonade.  Stay hydrated people, it’s important.

Around 11:30 a.m. there will be an announcement of the process to get onboard.  They will first let any wedding parties go on, then diamond and platinum, and then Faster to the Fun.  Finally they will take people in the order in which they chose their boarding time while doing online check in.  You will have to have your boarding pass in hand.  We put our boarding pass in our passport and just keep it handy until on the ship.  Before you take the walk way to the ship there are photographers there ready to commemorate your voyage.  We have only stopped once for the photo area and that was our first cruise.  We might just stop this time so we can have a group picture.

The walkway onto the ship is pretty good uphill walk.  If you have small children I suggest carrying them.  There are of course the people that just can’t move quickly.  Be patient and kind.  This could be you someday. Everyone will get on the ship and the ship doesn’t leave until everyone is on that has checked in.

We like to go straight to our room and drop off our carry on items.  Probably use the bathroom because it’s what I do.  Then we head to the Lido, get some food, and find that perfect people and port watching table.  After we eat we like to go for a walk up top and watch the activity of the port workers.  It’s entertaining to us.

There are quite a few steps to the embarkation process but it’s not hard and there are plenty of people around to help.  The first few times were our learning times but I think now we have a good handle on the day.  We don’t stress and we sure as heck don’t get aggravated by anything. It’s the start of our vacation so life is more than good.

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