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5 Things You Should NEVER Leave Until Disembarkation Day

It is often a bit of a rush on disembarkation morning – getting up and out of your cabin early and leaving the ship at your designated time.

There are lots of things you can do in advance to make sure disembarkation day runs as smoothly as possible!

Emma in disembarkation day t shirt

#1 Check Your Onboard Account And Sort Out Any Problems

I like to keep a careful eye on my onboard account as a go along and if any problems arise, I go straight to the Reception Desk to sort it out!

On many cruiselines with Apps or interactive TV’s in the cabin this is easy to do.

On cruiselines without such good technology – like Azamara for example – you might have to go to the Reception and get a printout of your bill.

Why is it important?

You will get a final account probably late on the last evening, or early on the final morning – and at that point you have to go to the Reception desk to try and sort any problems out.

Lots of other people will be doing exactly the same thing! Do you really want to be queuing/waiting in line on the final morning of your cruise? I prefer to just get up and get off the ship.

Once you have left the ship, it is very difficult to sort out any onboard account problems – it may take months, and you might not get it resolved to your satisfaction.

Normally, onboard accounts are pretty accurate. But there are times when the accounts aren’t right and they have tried to charge me for:

  • An expensive bottle of wine – when I had a drinks package and don’t drink wine anyway.
  • Water from the Mini Bar when I don’t ever use the mini-bar ( unless it’s included of course!)
  • Charging daily gratuities – when I pre-paid them upfront

It isn’t a good end to a cruise to find out you have been charged for something you didn’t have – so keep a close eye on your account.

#2 Book Onward Travel

If you know you are going to want a Taxi at the port, or you will be taking a train to the airport, book it in advance.

You might have to estimate the time you need it for – but often booking in advance is far cheaper.

This particularly applies to train tickets in the U.K.

Better to go for a slightly later train time to allow yourself time to disembark and get to the station – you can always stop off for a well-deserved cup of tea or coffee to kill time once you are there.

Always allow plenty of time when using public transport. Buses and Trains can be cancelled or delayed, and you don’t want to worry about missing your flight home.

Southampton Airport Parkway Train Station
Photo: Hassocks5489

#3 Packing

Normally you pack your bags and leave them outside the cabin door on the last night of your cruise.

I normally do the bulk of my packing on the last afternoon onboard, then I just need to add last-minute things, like any dirty clothes in the evening and put the bag outside my door.

It’s very important that you don’t pack anything you are going to need! Make sure you have a hand luggage bag with:

  • Passports and important paperwork
  • Credit cards and cash
  • Phone
  • Clothes – and shoes for the next morning
  • Toiletries and makeup
  • Medications
  • Cruise card – you will need it to disembark

We have all heard stories of people who pack all of their clothes, and have nothing to leave the ship in! Don’t be that person…

Why not buy yourself a Disembarkation Day T-shirt? Then you will always have the perfect reminder to leave clothes out for the last morning…

This is My Disembarkation Day T-Shirt


** LIMITED QUANTITY and not available in stores **

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Emma and suitcase
Ready to disembark P&O’s Arvia in Southampton

If you prefer you can try “Self Disembarkation.”

If you self disembark, you are responsible for getting all of your own luggage off of the ship, and you can just leave in the morning when you are ready.

Remember though, that the lifts/elevators are likely to be at their most busy on disembarkation day, and you need to be prepared to carry your case down multiple flights of stairs.

This isn’t a problem for me if I just have a cabin bag-sized suitcase – but if I have a larger case, I put it outside my door the night before and pick it up in the terminal building the next day at the designated time.

#4 Download Photos

If you have bought cruise line digital photos, download them to your phone before you leave, so you are sure you have them.

Some cruiselines offer to download them to a USB stick – take one with you, so you don’t have to buy one.

You may be able to access the photos via the cruise line’s website once you have left ( depending on the cruise line) but it is nice to know that you have them if you have paid good money for them.

You can often still buy photos onboard if you don’t like the digital options.

I personally prefer digital copies, as I left some professional photos I had taken on the Norwegian Spirit back in 2019 in my cabin when I left.

Although I rushed back to the cabin and asked the cabin steward before disembarking – he said he hadn’t seen them.

They were never seen again! Who knows where they might be now…

My lost professional photos – I left them in my cabin, and never saw them again!

#5 Tip Staff

Many cruise lines charge daily gratuities to cover tips for the staff.

British cruise lines include tips in the cruise fare, as we have a different tipping culture to people from the USA.

If you have received very good service from a crew member and wish to tip them individually on top of the automatic gratuities, you are more than welcome to do so.

I would recommend finding that crew member and thanking them before the last morning – particularly if they are cabin stewards – they will be extremely busy on “changeover day.”

Before You Go

Find out everything you need to know about disembarkation day in the article below:

Disembarkation Day – Everything You Need to Know – Hints and Tips For A Stress-Free Day

Find useful hints and tips for getting off ship in port here:

Getting Off The Cruise Ship in Port – What To Expect, What To Take – And Other Useful Hints and Tips For A Successful Day Out!

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