Cruise Disembarkation

It’s time to pack up and go home. 😕

What you need to know about the disembarkation process. Whether you’re a new cruiser or haven’t cruised in a while this is for you.

What to expect from the cruise disembarkation process

In this post, I’ll go through the basics, so that you can know what to expect and plan the last evening of your cruise.

Cruise lines have strict disembarkation rules.

There are two types of disembarkation, checking your luggage and self-assist.

Checking your luggage vs Self-Disembarkation

When you choose to check your luggage you will be putting it out for the cruise staff to take for you and self-assist you’re responsible for taking ALL of your luggage off the ship.


What time will you be able to debark the cruise ship at the end of the cruise?

There’s no set time when cruisers can disembark.

Something important is that the scheduled docking time listed on your cruise itinerary will not be the time that you get off the cruise ship. This is because the ship needs to be cleared by customs and given permission for passengers to debark.

You won’t be able to disembark until an announcement is made that the ship has been cleared. This is out of the cruise staff’s hands so please don’t get aggravated with them. They are doing their best.

For this reason, DO NOT book an early flight.

Cruise ship debarkation instructions.

On the final day of your cruise, the cruise director will give you the disembarkation process information. It’s IMPORTANT to listen to this because they will tell you everything you need to know and how the process will go.

The lower the number the quicker you will be called to disembark.

You will need to get disembarkation tags. It’s your responsibility for getting these. They will put them in a certain place on the ship. They will let you know where that will be. Take one for each piece of your luggage and attached one of the tags. They will be in zone numbers and that’s how you will be required to disembark in that particular zone. However, if you self-assist, taking all of your luggage off yourself, you will not need these tags.

As you can imagine, debarking thousands of passengers almost all at the same time is quite a process. So, cruise lines keep things organized and moving along by the zones. If you choose to self-assist, carrying all of your luggage off, it will be an easier, quicker process. You will be the first off the ship. I can never self assist, I carry to much. 🥹


Again, this only applies to those checking their luggage for the crew to take.

On the last night of your cruise, you’ll be asked to place your luggage outside your cabin door by a certain time in the evening (they’ll give you the times)

The ship’s crew will be working hard that night taking the luggage to a holding area so that it can be moved off the ship quickly the next morning. It will be waiting for you in your zone number in the port area.

Remember to keep out a few things for the last morning of disembarkation. Things to think about include night clothes, clothes to wear the next day, toiletries, valuables, tech stuff like laptops, iPads and phone chargers, medication, personal ID, and documentation. We normally go after dinner and set our luggage out beside our door. We try to pack before dinner so we are done with that and can enjoy our last evening. We normally keep a small bag and a backpack that I also use as a purse.

The link below is for the bag and backpack/purse that I use.

If you do not purchase your photos before, you will want to be sure to purchase them the night before disembarkation. Most ships have digital photos you can look at on your cruise app to purchase but they will disappear the moment you step off the ship. Other ships have printed photos that you can purchase. If you do not purchase before you step off the ship, you are out of luck.

Verify your cruise account BEFORE you leave the ship. You can keep up with your cruise balance throughout the cruise but check it the night before to make sure everything is right. If you do not prepay gratuities they will be added automatically.

Many people have their account linked to their credit card, so no need to settle your account the day or night before. If you do want to pay off your account in cash, try and do this early in the day as the lines will be long at guest services later in the day. Verify everything is right with your account before you step off the ship.

On the morning of disembarking, you’ll notice that everyone is stressed and ready to get off the ship. As said earlier, BE PATIENT, go where they tell you. They will also have breakfast available early that morning. You will normally have to be out of your cabin by 8:30. The reality is, that the crew needs to clean and turn over that ship in a few short hours so that new passengers can board.

As you get off the bridge it will lead you to your luggage to pick up. We usually get a porter because you can get through customs faster. Yes, everyone has to go through customs when return.

Hopefully, you’ve had a wonderful cruise and will want to book your next soon. 😍

Hope this helps!


💙 Davilyn


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