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What Happens on Disembarkation Day?

Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end, and disembarkation day is the point when your cruise finishes. The idea of getting everyone off the ship and away to their transport arrangements can sound a bit overwhelming, but the good news is that most cruise lines have got the organisation down to a fine art.

The Night Before

Whichever cruise line you are travelling with, the night before you disembark there are two things that are almost guaranteed to happen. The first is that the cruise line will leave a bill for you under your door. If you haven’t been checking as you have been going, then it is worth taking the time to check it through now. If you have any queries regarding your bill, make sure you call or visit guest services that evening, because if they don’t hear from you most cruise lines will automatically bill your credit card on the final morning of your cruise. Once they’ve done this, it can be very difficult to resolve any issues. 

The next thing that will happen is you will be given a time to disembark and luggage labels to attach to your bags. Your time for disembarkation should match any onward arrangements you have given to the cruise line, but if you’re not happy with your time then a call or visit to guest services will normally sort it out. You will then need to pack your suitcases, attach the luggage labels, and leave your bags outside your cabin door by a certain specified time in the early hours. The next time you will see your bags will be when you get off the ship. This means that, just like when you got on the ship, you will need to keep anything you need for the final morning with you in your hand luggage. Think about any medication, sun lotion, or if you're travelling with kids, anything they might need such as nappies and baby food.

Your ship is likely to dock in the early hours of the morning, while you’re still sound asleep.

The Morning of Disembarkation

The previous evening, you will have been given a time that the cruise line requires you to vacate your cabin. This can sometimes be quite early, however, you will be free to continue to enjoy the ship until your disembarkation time. Just like embarkation day, some of the ship's facilities may not be open on the last day, so make sure you don’t get caught out here. One thing that is usually a certainty is that there will be time to enjoy your last breakfast on-board.

Getting Off

Once your disembarkation time slot comes along, you will hear an announcement stating the deck that you will need to head to in order to disembark the ship. Expect a little bit of a queue to get off, but it normally moves pretty quickly. Often there will be members of the ship's crew lined up to say goodbye, which is always a nice touch. The process after this will be similar to that at an airport.

Immigration, Baggage and Customs

If you’ve ever travelled by plane, the next part will be easy for you. The first thing will be to head through immigration of the country you are entering, and this largely works in the same way as at airports. Next will be to pick up the bags that you left outside your cabin the night before. Unlike at an airport, the luggage will already all be ready to go, and laid out in zones which will allow you to just pick up your bag and head out. In some ports you may then need to take your luggage through a customs check before you get to the arrivals area. It's all normally very straightforward and well organised. Having said that, we do advise leaving plenty of time if you’ve got onward transport arrangements booked for a specific time. 

Heading Away

Once you are off the ship, you can then head off for your onward transport arrangements or the rest of your holiday. It is worth noting that the latest disembarkation times for most cruises tends to be around 9–10am. If you haven’t got flight arrangements until later in the day / evening, then you may want to consider booking a day room at a local hotel or perhaps a last day excursion with the cruise line (see below). Most ports have very limited facilities, so don’t expect to be able to hang around for too long after getting off the ship. If you have transport organised, you will find the areas for those are signposted. If you haven’t booked anything then you will find a taxi rank or bus station nearby too. We do highly recommend pre-booking transport from the port, as although it might be more expensive, the queue for taxis and buses can get quite long. 

Last Day Cruise Excursion?

One of the best ways to maximise your last day, and particularly useful if you have a later onward flight, is to book a last day cruise excursion. You will still follow the same processes as above, but once ready you will be ushered on to a coach with some of your fellow passengers and then whisked off to see one of the local attractions. At the end of the excursion, you will then have the option to be dropped off at the airport, or a central point in the local town / city. When you book these excursions, you’ll be advised of the drop-off time, so you can co-ordinate it with your onward flight time. They will often also have different excursion lengths available, so you can choose one that perfectly suits your onward plans. 

Please note some of the information contained within our cruise guide may differ once cruising resumes in the wake of Covid-19.


Ready to plan your perfect cruise holiday?

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Our Top Selling Cruises

Below is just a tiny selection of our best-selling cruise holidays. Get in touch to discuss your exact requirements and we'll help you find your perfect cruise holiday; 

12-Day Canary Islands with Princess
12-Day Canary Islands with Princess

This 12-day cruise with Princess Cruises departs from Southampton and heads for the warm sunshine of Spain and the Canary Islands. Enjoy 6 ports of call including Lisbon, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Madeira. During your days at sea you'll be able to enjoy the wealth of facilities on-board your Princess Cruise Ship including first-class entertainment and exquisite dining options. The best part of this cruise is that you don't need to fly, so your holiday begins the minute you step on-board!

September departures

Southampton  >  Lisbon  >  Gran Canaria  >  Tenerife  >  Lanzarote  >  Madeira  >  Vigo  >  Southampton

Cruise Holiday Includes

  • 11 nights accommodation on the ship
  • Full board whilst on-board the ship
  • Port fees and taxes

From £799 per person

Price based on two people sharing a Interior Stateroom in September 2021. Other dates and cabin upgrades available. Simply enquire below.

Transatlantic & New York Stay with Cunard
Transatlantic & New York Stay with Cunard

Enjoy this Westbound transatlantic crossing aboard the iconic Queen Mary 2. She is a remarkable flagship, her style and elegance are legendary. With 7-nights at sea the choice is yours. There is as much or as little to do as you please, with more possibilities than you'll have time to discover. After your cruise enjoy 3-nights in New York with 2 full days to explore the 'Big Apple!'

Year-round departures

Southampton  >  Transatlantic Crossing  >  New York

Cruise Holiday Includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation on the ship
  • 3 nights accommodation in Manhattan, New York
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included on-board ship
  • A welcome bottle of sparkling wine
  • Port fees and taxes

From £1,249 per person

Price based on two people sharing an Britannia Inside Cabin on November 2021 departure. Simply enquire below.

Alaska Hubbard Glacier with Celebrity
Alaska Hubbard Glacier with Celebrity

Enjoy a 8-day cruise onboard Celebrity Eclipse as you set sail to discover the spectacular scenery and amazing attractions of Alaska. From the dramatic glaciers, majestic mountains and the amazing wildlife including whales, there is sure to be something to amaze you on this fantastic cruise. The price also include 2-nights in Vancouver at a downtown hotel. (CXC)

May to September departures

Vancouver  >  Inside Passage (Cruising)  >  Sitka  >  Hubbard Glacier (Cruising)  >  Juneau  >  Ketchikan  >  Inside Passage (Cruising) >  Vancouver

Cruise Holiday Includes

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 7 nights accommodation on the ship
  • 2 nights accommodation in Vancouver
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included while on-board
  • Classic beverages
  • Gratuities
  • Transfers and taxes

From £1,599 per person

Price based on two people sharing an Inside Cabin between May and September. Simply enquire below.

Gems of the Danube River Cruise with Scenic
Gems of the Danube River Cruise with Scenic

Enjoy a classic 8-day river cruise along the Danube to discover the historical wonders of Europe from Budapest to Nuremberg. All while enjoying the elegant atmosphere and exquisite service on-board a 5-star vessel with Scenic River Cruises. (SCN)

April to October departures

Munich  >  Nuremberg  >  Regensberg  >  Passau - Linz  >  Melk - Dürnstein  >  Vienna  >  Budapest

Cruise Holiday Includes:

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 7 Nights accommodation on the ship
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners and premium beverages
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • All gratuities
  • Transfers and taxes

From £2,399 per person

Price based on two people sharing a Standard Suite between April - October. Itinerary also operates in reverse. Simply enquire below.

Southern Caribbean with Holland America
Southern Caribbean with Holland America

What better way to see the Caribbean than on this amazing 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise with Holland America. The cruise takes in 9 diverse islands of the Caribbean on a round-trip voyage from Fort Lauderdale onboard the elegant and spacious Volendam. (HAL)

March to April departures

Fort Lauderdale  >  St. Thomas  >  St. Kitts & Nevis  >  St. Lucia  >  Barbados  >  Grenada  >  Guadeloupe  >  St. Maarten  >  Puerto Rico  >  The Bahamas  >  Fort Lauderdale

Cruise Holiday Includes:

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 13 nights accommodation on the ship
  • 1 nights accommodation in Fort Lauderdale
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included while on-board
  • Signature beverage package
  • Gratuities
  • Port fees and taxes

From £2,599 per person

Price based on two people sharing an Inside Cabin between March and April 2022. Simply enquire below.

Charms of South America with Regent Seven Seas
Charms of South America with Regent Seven Seas

This 10-night cruise with Regent Seven Seas takes in stunning ports in three countries along the east coast of South America. Visit vibrant Rio, colourful Buenos Aires and charming Montevideo among others. Enjoy luxury cruising with almost everything included from fine dining and drinks to wifi and gratuities.

November 2021 departure

Rio > Buzios  >  Ilha Grande  >  Sao Paolo  > Porto Belo >  Rio Grande  >  Punta del Este >  Nagasaki > Montevideo > Buenos Aires 

Cruise Holiday Includes

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 10 nights accommodation on Seven Seas Explorer
  • All-Inclusive
  • Speciality Dining
  • Selected shore excursions in each port
  • Gratuities
  • Transfers and taxes

From £5,239 per person


Price based on two people sharing a Deluxe Window Suite in November 2021. Simply enquire below.


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