Got To Go

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Hello December!  So much going on with work, the holidays, birthdays, and vacation.  Yep we are just a couple weeks away from sailing away on The Breeze.  Scott & I can’t wait to put our feet up and relax.

Just last week I was telling you about the embarkation process and now sadly I have to tell you about the debarkation process.  Carnival is a real stickler for passengers staying past their cruise dates.  As much as they want you on the ship, they want you to get off so others can take your place.  It’s just such a mean turn of events.  We are never ready to get off the ship and back to reality but oh well it has to happen.

The night before we arrive at our home port (in this case Galveston) you will receive instructions in your cabin for disembarking.  No matter how much information Carnival gives people there are always the ones that don’t listen and mess with the process.  It’s not even a difficult process but still mind boggling on the number of people that just don’t care or don’t get it.

You will need to decide if you are carrying your bags off the ship or if you want Carnival to put them in the terminal for you.  There will be luggage tags in your cabin that inform you of your zone number in the disembarkation process.  If you want Carnival to take your luggage to the terminal then put the luggage tag on your bag and set it out in the hall for the crew to pick up the night before.  That’s right, you have to place your bags outside the cabin the night before.  If you plan on doing this make sure you have a carry on bag that you can put last minute items in the morning you disembark.  You will not have access to your luggage once the crew have taken it.

We have only done this once and that was on our first cruise.  We have found that just carrying all of our luggage off the ship ourselves saves time and frustration.  You see the terminal has a very large area that they put all of the luggage.  It’s pretty organized by zones but even with our names on our bags we still had another passenger take ours.  Luckily Scott saw the bag and got it from them before they left the luggage area.

There is also a paper placed in your cabin that asks you to declare the purchases you have made.  I have written a prior post about this so feel free to go back and refresh your memory.  Basically, you have to inform customs of everything you have purchased and the cost of those items.  For example, we tend to purchase t-shirts for family and shot glasses for the older adult kids. When filling out the form we just put general item labels such as t-shirts and the total amount of all of them or glasses and the total amount of all of them.  You can declare up to $800 per person of duty free items.  The whole family can go on one form so no need for everyone to fill it out.  This form should be kept with your I.D. to be shown at the customs area.

If you have purchased alcohol and Carnival is holding it for you there are two ways in which you get your booze.  1: there is a table setup where you can go and pick up the alcohol and sign it out.  2: Carnival delivers it to your room the night before disembarking.  The last time we were on the Breeze the alcohol was delivered the night before to the cabins.  You do need to claim all alcohol and cigarettes that you are carrying into the USA.  These items have fees to be paid at the port.  If you have alcohol or cigarettes that you will be carrying off the ship there is a separate area you have to go to after the identification line.

If you have Faster to the Fun then there is an area that is setup for you to go to so you can be one of the first off the ship.  Each time we have had Faster to the Fun they have asked us to meet in the Ovation Theater. We carry our bags down the steps and into the theater and wait for our row to be called.  Then we head thru the atrium in the line and down the gangway into the terminal.  We follow the signs to the passport/I.D. lines.  The first few lines are for people with passports and then there are lines for people with just I.D.  The passport line goes pretty smoothly.  We did find out the first cruise that passports should be signed so make sure that is done prior.

After you are cleared you can head out of the terminal or into the line to pay for liquor and cigarettes.  When you leave the terminal head on out to your transportation.  If you took a shuttle go to the designated shuttle area with your tickets.  Hop on the shuttle to your vehicle and get the heck out of town.  With Faster to the Fun and us carrying out our own luggage, no alcohol or cigarettes to declare, and taking a shuttle to our car we are usually heading out of Galveston by 9:30 a.m.  In four hours we are home hugging on our furry faced babies.

We like to place a room service order the night before we reach home port.  This way we wake up to breakfast and can get ready to disembark.  We have found that the last morning of the cruise the lido area is pretty full of people.  It makes sense since everyone is getting off the ship around the same time.  Just like the embarkation process, don’t stress and try to have some tolerance for the people around you.  Even the people that hold everything up because they don’t follow directions.

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