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Before You Board: What You Should do Before You Step Foot on the Ship

We know that you’re anxious to get on the ship. The anticipation of seeing it tower of the Port of Galveston or the Bayport Cruise Terminal is almost too much.

But before you ever see you board your ship, there is plenty that you need you to do. We’ve created a checklist of the items you should take care of before you board that you may not have thought about…

1. Check-in online, ahead of time — Cruise lines now make it easy to check in online, well before your ship leaves the port. Checking in online allows you the convenience of filling out the required forms well ahead of time and in the comfort of your home. It also speeds up the boarding process at the port, allowing you to board faster.

2. Reserve any excursions or meal times you really want — The most popular shore excursions, on-ship activities, and mealtimes can fill up fast. Rather than wait until you board, stand in line, and hope you are able to reserve an activity or a time, cruise lines offer you the ability to do this online beforehand. We recommend taking advantage.

3. Make copies of documents — Whether it’s a passport or a birth certificate, we recommend making copies of your identification documents. This will come in handy if they are misplaced. Better yet, scan a copy of the document and email it to yourself. That way you’ll always have a digital copy as well.

4. Find and book independent excursions — Cruise lines make it convenient for you to book an excursion through them. But you pay for that convenience. That’s why we recommend doing a search for your own excursions before you leave. This can save you significant money and you also may find an experience you would have otherwise missed.

5. Pre-arrange parking at the Galveston port — If you’re sailing from Galveston, you have a number of parking options. And all of them offer a discount for booking online before your trip. Better yet, you won’t have to worry about finding an open lot once you get to the port.

6. Take out some cash — The majority of your cruise will be “cashless.” You normally charge expenses to your cabin, and pay via credit card at the end of the trip. But you’ll want cash when you are onshore during excursions, cash for the casino, and plenty of singles to tip room service and others on board.

7. Get to the port at the right time — Most people show up to the port early in the boarding window. That means if you arrive too early, you’re likely to stand around waiting to board. Plus, just because you board doesn’t mean your cabin is ready. If that’s the case, you’ll have to lug your carry-on baggage around the ship with you. We suggest getting to the port around an hour before the end of the boarding window.

8. Read up on the boarding process — We’ve put together an easy guide about what to expect when it comes to actually boarding the ship. This includes where to go, what to do with your luggage, and the entire check-in process for Galveston. To learn more, see our Cruise Boarding Guide here.