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Disembarkation day - advice and tips
After days spent exactly as you please - be it with long lazy mornings, activity-filled afternoons, or beautiful, elegant evenings - the last day of your holiday can often be a bittersweet one. But, as the end of your Cunard voyage looms, you can enjoy every second to the last thanks to a simple disembarkation process. Avoid worry over the unfamiliar process of disembarkation with this useful guide, so your final day is just as smooth and easy as every day before it.
What is disembarkation day?
Disembarkation day is the day your cruise ends and you step off the ship, to journey home or perhaps on to another adventure. Disembarkation tends to happen in the morning, just after breakfast, and is over by lunchtime, so the ship’s crew can ready everything for new guests to board in the afternoon.
Why is disembarkation day important?
The last thing you want after a glorious voyage with Cunard is a stressful time leaving your ship. Let this final day be a peaceful drift back into ‘normal’ life – unless of course, you are travelling onwards to a new destination to extend your holiday – leaving the wonderful destinations and on board experience as fond, lasting memories of your voyage.
What to expect on disembarkation day
The day begins like most others – you will have time to enjoy a Cunard breakfast of the usual high standard before setting off to your departure meeting point (read further on in this guide to get a detailed view of the typical events of disembarkation). My Voyage, our on board digital planner, won’t contain any events, activities, or entertainment on your disembarkation day, nor will there be any Shore Experiences bookable.
Departures begin at around 7.30am and end at around 10am local time, though this will vary, and you will be given a specific time depending on your stateroom grade and location (much like how embarkation times are allocated).
Top tips for a smooth disembarkation
We have three top tips for an easy disembarkation process.
Dedicate time to packing the night before, ensure your documents are all ready, and check your disembarkation time and location.
2. Stick to your time
To keep everyone safe during the disembarkation process, every guest is assigned a specific time and location to disembark from. This also reduces crowds and queue times on the gangways, in the luggage hall, and at the taxi rank outside the terminal. To minimise your time spent waiting, please keep to the time assigned to you.
3. Expect some waiting
Despite staggering disembarkation times, there will still be some waiting at your location, and there will likely be some queues in the terminal as everyone makes their way down the gangway. Please be patient and allow plenty of space for other guests, especially those with impaired mobility.
Preparing for disembarkation day
Settling your on board account
The evening before you disembark, you will receive a printed summary of your on board account, delivered to your stateroom or suite. This itemised list will show every charge you have accrued on your voyage, from drinks and service charges to spa and Shore Experiences. All charges will be made to the card you registered when you checked in, and will be paid automatically on disembarkation day, or one day later. We strongly advise that you check this list carefully and report any errors immediately so that we can assist you. If you don’t want to wait until the end of your voyage to review your spending, you can view your on board account on My Voyage at any point during your cruise – adjustments and errors can then be corrected early, and before your card is charged. Alternatively, you can request a printout from the Purser’s Desk.
Any items purchased after early morning on disembarkation day will be paid automatically in the days following your arrival back home.
Please note that, to ensure funds are available on your credit/debit cards, pre-authorisation holds are placed on your account throughout your voyage. This ensures peace of mind for you that these funds have been reserved to cover all of your on board expenses. No funds will be debited from your credit/debit card until the final payment is processed. Pre-authorisation holds will vary by your bank provider but should be released within 14 business days.
Casino and library
The night before arrival into port, guests are reminded to cash in any remaining casino credit, and return any library books. These venues will be closed once the ship arrives at the terminal, resulting in lost credit in the case of the casino, and possible charges for unreturned library books.
Packing and organising your luggage
As standard and at no extra charge, our stewards will carry your main luggage off the ship for you on disembarkation day. If you wish to use this service, you will need to have everything packed the evening before you disembark. We suggest keeping a hand luggage bag aside for a change of clothes, toiletries, and documentation for the following day. You can then leave your main luggage outside your stateroom for the stewards to collect; typically this should be done by 11pm. Every item of luggage needs to have a luggage label attached – you should have some already that you used at embarkation, but if these have become lost or damaged during your stay, simply contact reception or your steward for assistance.
If you prefer, you may choose to carry your own luggage off the ship. In this case, you can keep your bags in your stateroom the night before you disembark; they will not be collected by the crew. You will also be able to leave the ship at an earlier timeslot.
Clear your stateroom
After you’ve packed, check and double check your suite or stateroom – you’d be surprised how many people leave items behind. Be sure to check under furniture, the backs of shelves and drawers, and your safe.
If you do leave anything behind, we have a lost property service: simply fill out our contact form on our website. However, we cannot guarantee recovery of lost items.
Top tip: to ensure nothing valuable is forgotten, some guests like to keep one shoe in the safe, to ensure they remember to check it at the end of their voyage!
Check your disembarkation time
You will receive a note in your stateroom informing you of your disembarkation time, and the meeting point you need to report to before leaving the ship. Queens and Princess Grill guests have priority disembarkation, so they will get earlier times; and other grades vary depending on their stateroom location, much like the embarkation process. Your meeting point will be a ship area or venue that, by now, you’ll be familiar with. Simply take a seat and wait there until you are called to disembark.
You will also require any visa or vaccination documentation relevant to your disembarkation port, plus your passport and your cruise card, the latter of which you should hand over to crew members as you leave.
Navigating the disembarkation process
Disembarkation day dining and activities
The usual restaurants and buffet will be open for breakfast on disembarkation day, though the usual times may not apply. Details of timings will have been communicated to you along with your disembarkation time the previous evening. You’ll be asked to vacate your stateroom fairly early – around 8am – so we suggest taking your hand luggage with you to breakfast so that you don’t have to rush back to collect it.
No other on board activities are held on disembarkation day.
Once you have finished savouring every last bite of your final Cunard breakfast – for this voyage, at least! – you are free to make your way to your disembarkation point at your allocated time. Then, sit back and relax until you hear your deck called out on the ship announcement system. It’s at this point you can leave the ship. You’ll be asked to hand your cruise card to the staff at the door, then follow the gangway into the terminal to collect any luggage and proceed through customs.
Luggage collection and customs
Any luggage that has been collected from your suite or stateroom will be removed from the ship and left in the luggage hall for you to collect. It will be organised by deck, via numbered signs – simply go to your deck number and locate your luggage there. Trolleys will be available for you to move your luggage through customs easily.
Similar to airports, customs comes after luggage collection. Officers may be available to process any declarations you may have to make.
Most terminals have public transport routes available, and taxis often queue along ranks ready to take people to their onward destination. If you are arriving at an unfamiliar terminal, it would be wise to familiarise yourself with the facilities and transport connections available, to get to your hotel or next part of your journey.
FAQs about disembarkation day
Can I choose my disembarkation time?
No, unfortunately we are unable to facilitate requests for specific times to disembark. Times are assigned according to stateroom/suite location and grade – suite guests get priority disembarkation, and so will get an earlier timeslot. Having said this, if you choose to carry your luggage off the ship yourself, you may leave earlier.
What do I need to prepare for disembarkation day?
The main preparations are packing, checking your disembarkation time and location, and ensuring any visas/documents are in order.
How early should I schedule my departure transportation?
You can arrange your departure transport as far in advance as you wish if you are travelling by public transport (train, bus, or plane). If you plan to travel by taxi, you can book these at the terminal.
Can I keep my luggage with me until the end of disembarkation?
Yes, you can: if you want to leave earlier, you can keep your luggage in your room and carry it off the ship yourself. Luggage will not be removed from staterooms or suites by stewards.
Are there any special arrangements for passengers with early flights?
If you have already booked flights and are concerned about timings, please call our contact centre for advice. We cannot guarantee that timings will work out, so please ensure you leave plenty of time before any booked onward transportation, including flights.
What happens if I miss my disembarkation time?
You will still be able to leave the ship, but you may be required to queue with guests from the following timeslot and risk experiencing delays.
Can I leave the ship earlier than my scheduled disembarkation time?
To minimise queues and ensure everyone disembarks safely, we request that guests wait at their disembarkation point at their designated time, until called forward to disembark.