Time to get on Ship

What is best time to board ship?


Last time we cruised we notice people already on board been there a while with bathing suits on. Made since to get there and start the cruise?


Have been told in past though you do not have to wait in line as long when arriving later?


Like to hear others experiences?

Tags: When to board ship

8 Answers

Wen get to the terminal around 10:30 - 11 AM. We want to enjoy lunch on board and enjoy the ship's facilities. Yes, the lines may be longer then. If this isn't important to you, then arrive later. It is your choice unless the ship dictates your arrival time rather than just suggests it.

If you have priority boarding with the cruise line, you will be allowed to board the ship as soon as you go through US Customs. I believe in most cases (that I have personally experienced) that is a perk for joining the cruise line's loyalty club, but I could be wrong. In any case, by getting the priority boarding, you are allowing them to take the luggage onboard which will be delivered to your cabin, usually within an hour, but that doesn't mean you will have access to the room to change into bathing suits if you want to use the pool. If you plan on using the pool at that time, pack the swimsuit in your carry on and change in the bathroom or just wear it onto the ship.

You are given a set time to check in or you can board later. The choice is yours.

Some people you see already onboard and in their bathing suits might be B2B cruisers.

Princess Cruises in San Pedro and San Francisco doesn't seem to care what time you check in, no matter what the assigned time is on your boarding pass.

You can check in anytime the counter opens with Princess in those two locations. BUT you can not board the ship until your priority group is called. Elites, Platinums, etc.

Not sure about the other cruise lines.

We prefer the 10:30 to 11 boarding time as well and usually try to set that as soon as the line starts setting booking times. This allows for us to have a bite before things get too crowded and also tour the ship. Things look so different when the ship is empty

We have only been on 2 cruises, the 1st one we arrived at the terminal around 12 or so, and the lines were crazy (Galveston Port) we finally got on the ship around 2. So for the 2nd one we got there around 2 and it wasn't near as bad, we were on board in no time, maybe 2:30-2;45ish.. My husband hates to wait so he prefers to arrive a little later. This next one we will have our little man with us, so I am sure we will arrive around 2ish and hope the lines aren't too bad.

Lot of that has to do with the facilities available at the port itself...I actually enjoy the crowds in the terminal in N.O. as weird as that sounds...course we still get onboard in the first group, so Im kinda cheating in my response...but considering all the cruises it took to get there, I don't feel the least bit guilty....and yes, theres ALWAYS folks in their swimmies, and being refreshed....we do what we do....for you, later is probably better..Ive seen folks boarding less than an hour prior to departure...whether by choice or connection delays, I don't know...but the terminal at that time is probably deserted...


*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on external web sites.

Back to Top