If you are considering taking a cruise, you may be wondering if you have to get off the ship during your cruise.
Many people like the idea of using a cruise ship as an All-inclusive resort, enjoying the facilities onboard while not actually getting off in any of the ports.
Do You Have to Get Off The Ship on a Cruise?
Guests taking a cruise, do not have to get off the cruise ship at any point if they don’t want to.
If a passenger wants to stay on the cruise ship for the entire cruise, there is no reason why they can’t.
Many guests enjoy staying on the ship for a variety of reasons.
There are a number of reasons why a passenger may wish to stay on the cruise ship, even when the cruise ship is docked in port and there are a number of benefits to doing so.
Why Would A Guest Stay Onboard The Ship When in Port?
They’ve Visited The Port Before
If you have visited a port before you may wish to stay on board and instead enjoy the facilities of the cruise ship.
I have done this in the past and would strongly recommend everybody to try a stay onboard day at least once.
The Port is Industrial
I’ve taken cruises that visit Le Havre in France many times.
Le Havre cruise port is known as the “Gateway to Paris”. There isn’t a lot to see in Le Harve at all, most people travel through it to reach other destinations.
Many industrial or container ports are advertised as “gateways” to other destinations.
The distance between Le Havre and Paris is over 100 miles, and the transfer into Paris usually takes around two ad a half hours.
I am not interested in making that journey – it would be quicker for me to get the Eurostar train from London to Paris than to get on a coach trip from Le Harve to Paris!
I often stay on the ship in Le Harve and enjoyed the facilities onboard.
Once I was cruising on Royal Caribbean’s “Independence of the Seas” and used the Le Havre day to try the Flow Rider.
Below is my first, and only attempt!
No Interest in Visiting The Port
Not everybody picks a particular cruise because they want to visit ever ports.
They may have picked a particular cruise because they like the ship or the cruise line.
They may just not be interested in visiting a particular place on the itinerary.
Chance to Really Relax
If you take a cruise which is port-intensive, it can be very tiring and feel very busy.
Staying on the cruise ship during a port day can give you the perfect opportunity to relax, slow down, and enjoy things at your own pace.
A lot of cruise itineraries have a different port every single day – some have two per day!
I recently took a cruise in Greece where we visited two ports per day. This is not common for cruise ships.
It was amazing, but it was very, very tiring. Sometimes it can be nice just to stay on the ship in order to unwind.
To learn more about the very busy cruise that I took with Celestyal Cruises,around the Greek Islands, check out this post:
What Are The Benefits of Staying on a Cruise Ship During a Port Day?
Guests Can Enjoy a Quieter Ship
There are a number of benefits to staying onboard a cruise ship on a port day.
Many cruisers enjoy sea days where the ship doesn’t dock and I do too. That said, on sea days, cruise ships can be quite busy.
Sometimes it will be difficult to get a seat by the pool or in the bar that you want to sit in. Entertainment venues can fill up fast too.
This can be more noticeable if you’re travelling in a location where the weather is bad and all of the passengers are inside the cruise ship, not out on the top decks.
Create Your Own Sea Day
One of the best things about staying on a cruise ship during a port day is that you basically make yourself a sea day but without all of the other passengers.
The ship is considerably less busy than it would be on a sea day.
It is so much easier to get a seat by the pool. You can find space in any bar or restaurant and entertainment is still happening onboard.
There is usually less entertainment because it is assumed that the majority of guests will be in port, but there are still things going on around the ship.
There Are Usually Port Day Discounts
Another benefit is that you’ll often find discounts on things like Spa Treatments on port days.
If you are interested in something like a Spa Treatment, keep an eye on the daily schedule, or the cruise ship’s App.
To find out why you don’t need to pay for Wi-Fi to use the cruise ship’s App, check out the post below:
This will tell you if there are any port day discounts or discounts of any kind to take advantage of.
The discounts are usually offered on port days because port day treatments are generally less in demand.
Most people who do want to have a Spa Treatment will want to do it on a sea day, because they most likely to be off of the ship on the port days.
You can often save up to a third – or you get additional freebies and bundles if you book Spa Treatments on a port day.
Guests Can Minimise Their Spending by Staying Onboard
Another benefit of staying on a cruise ship during a port day is that you are able to save a lot of money.
You’ve already paid for the food that is on the cruise ship, so staying on during the port day means that you can eat the food that you’ve already paid for.
You’re also avoiding costs like transportation, entry fees to attractions, and general shopping on land.
On the other hand, you may spend more money on drinks than you would on land, but this does depend on your cruising habits and whether you have brought a “drinks package.”
Exceptions To The Rule – When You Must Get Off The Ship
There are of course exceptions to every rule.
If you were cruising somewhere where immigration needs to physically see every person on the cruise ship, you may have to disembark just to go through immigration and then re-embark.
Immigration in Japan Is quiet different, everyone must be personally seen by immigration. Even if you are somebody who wanted to just stay onboard, you must get off the ship for immigration purposes.
Nobody is allowed back on the ship until everybody has been through immigration.
I nearly had a total disaster at Immigration in Japan! To find out more about that cruise and what happened, watch this video next:
This is a very rare exception to the rule and it doesn’t usually happen on cruises.
I have never had this happen to me in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, it’s quite rare.
It is much more likely in these situations that the cruise line will hold your passport and complete immigration checks for you.
To learn more about why this would happen, check out this post next:
Before You Go
When I sailed to Asia onboard Spectrum of the Seas, I booked an “obstructed view” cabin to save money. Find out all about the cabin I was assigned here.
When I sailed on Celebrity Edge, Instead of having a standard balcony stateroom with a sliding door out to a private balcony area, I had an “Infinite Veranda” cabin. They have a large window instead, that opens at the touch of a button. Find out what I thought of that cabin here:
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