IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser, Part VIII – The End

Read about the final heroine in the The Love Boat Bachelor at Write Integrity: Chapter Eight Port of Call: St. Maarten

We’d love to know which chapter you liked best. You can vote for your favorite heroine starting Wednesday at noon on February 4th  through end of the day on Friday, February 7th. The creator of the heroine receiving the most votes gets to pen the final chapter of the book.

Find out who wins Brent’s heart! The Love Boat Bachelor is set to release on Valentine’s Day (February 14th), and for a limited time you can download the complete novella for FREE from (February 14-17). Thanks for sharing out journey!

Weight Gain 2So you gained a little weight. So you got a little too much sun. So you have a suitcase full of dirty clothes. So you bought too much stuff and now you can’t figure out how to pack it all.

As all good things do, cruises come to an end.

Tip 1: A day or two before the last day, you’ll receive legal documents to fill out for reentry into the United States. The Cruise Director will likely give a talk on the last sea day and walk you through the process. Most cruise lines also provide a looped television program with detailed instructions.

Baggage TagsTip 2: Your cabin steward will provide bag tags for your luggage. These come with a number that specifies your Zone Departure number.

Tip 3: The night before the ship is due to dock, you’ll be asked to pack and leave your bags outside your stateroom door. They’ll be collected sometime during the night and staged in the customs area on the dock for inspection. Anything you do not set out, you are responsible to transport yourself. No porters available on the ship.

Tip 4: The ships typically dock early in the morning. This allows current passengers to disembark, cabin stewards to clean the rooms, and new passengers to board before the late afternoon sail time. It’s a well-oiled process. Follow directions.

Bags in hallwayTip 5: If you plan to set all your luggage out the night before – REMEMBER TO KEEP A CHANGE OF CLOTHES and any needed toiletries for the morning!

Tip 6: For those who have casino winnings in the casino bank, you’ll be notified to clear your account by a certain time.

Tip 7: If you purchase alcohol while on your vacation, it will be held for you during the course of the cruise. You’ll be notified to either pick it up, or it will be delivered to your stateroom.

Tip 8: On your in-room television, you can access your account at any time. Check it regularly. Don’t wait until that last time to dispute or question a charge. The lines will be long at the Purser’s Desk and the Information Desk.

Tip 9: Be aware that most cruise lines levy gratuities for your stateroom team and your dining team. They deserve it. They earned it. In fact, if they’re really good (as they most often are), we get envelopes from the Information Desk and leave additional tips in cash for them. You can always dispute the standard amount levied, but remember, just like wait staff in the US, these workers depend on tips. It is also customary to tip the Maitre ‘d on the last night. A token, tucked into an envelope, and handed to him when he greets you at the door is how we do it.


Tip 10: The disembarkation (or debarkation) is designed to get current passengers off as quickly as possible. Don’t buck the system – you won’t win. Those who are “Self Assist” (meaning they didn’t put any luggage out the night before and will carry all their stuff themselves) usually get to leave first. Those with morning airline connections come next, followed by afternoon airline connections. All others are usually dismissed by deck. Be patient. Go wait on the Lido Deck. Enjoy a last leisurely breakfast.

Goodbye 2Tip 11: Once you ding your Sail and Sign card in the security kiosk for the last time (yeah, it’s kind of bittersweet), you’ll traipse down the gangway and into the terminal building. There you’ll find and collect your bags (yes, you can get a porter there if you need – for a fee), and queue up in the customs line. It’s a madhouse. Be patient.

Tip 12: If you made arrangements through the cruise line for airline transportation, find your way to the buses. If you need a taxi, find the taxi queue. If you have someone picking you up, the security staff will direct you to the KISS-ride area.

Ship at nightTip 13: Last, but not least, when you arrive back home, take time to bask in the pleasure of your trip. If you had a great time, leave a comment on the cruise line website. (Some cruise lines will send you an email survey soliciting your feedback.) And tell others. Show them your souvenirs and pictures. Share your memories and excitement. Like I said in the first blog, cruising is not for everyone. You either love it or hate it. I sincerely hope you had a cruise of a lifetime!

Bon Voyage!

 P.S. Here are the “Shore Excursions” from The Love Boat Bachelor:

Marji Laine’s blog: E-mail to Roselle: From St. Maarten

Fay Lamb’s Interview with St. Maarten Heroine, Mercy Lacewell

Write Integrity: Voting Now Open YOU Decide the Heroine

Hello Lovely Readers! Please leave a remark or two.