Alas, the time has come when you must think about getting home and back to reality. Take that last dip in the jacuzzi, savor your last meal and say goodbye to the wonderful friends you've met, and plan to meet again on another cruise!
- Your cabin steward will place tipping envelopes in your cabin towards the end of your cruise.
- Is tipping mandatory? The answer is a hesitant "no," but it is the ONLY way most of your staff excepting officers get paid. Some folks complain that this is not an acceptable practice and needs to change, refusing to tip. However, this doesn't immediately help the staff who need the money right now. Many of them are non-US citizens who depend on tips to send home to their families as a sole source of income. If you wish to affect change, the best way would be to write a letter to the CEO of the cruise line.
- During your cruise, remember to leave yourself enough cash to place in the envelopes. The onboard ATM many times is out of money by this point. You can obtain cash advances from your shipboard account, or visit an ATM while in a port.
- Suggested tipping amounts will be given to you in some manner by the cruiseline. However, if your cabin steward, waiter, or other staff member has been especially helpful to you please remember them appropriately!
- If you prefer, many cruise lines now have the convenience of the tips automatically charged to your shipboard account. If you wish to give more, leave cash in an envelope. There is much controversy over this practice among frequent cruisers, as it impersonalizes the whole experience of thanking your staff members.
- The a day or two before the final cruise night you will receive in your daily newsletter very important instructions about settling your account, Customs regulations, and getting off the ship. Please read this thoroughly, as not following the instructions can lead to delays for all passengers in exiting the ship.
- You will probably be asked to fill out a questionnaire asking about your departure plans, i.e. flight information, method of travel etc. The time you are given to exit the ship will depend on your filling this out correctly.
- Based on this previous information, you will be given color-coded luggage tags to place on your bags. The bags are to be placed outside your cabin door the night before your leave, to be whisked away during the night.
- DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE YOURSELF CLOTHING FOR THE NEXT DAY :-) There has been more than one occasion of a passenger finding himself with only his PJ's the next morning.
SETTLING OF YOUR ACCOUNT
- The last day of the cruise you will receive your account balance. You may make alternative method of payment at the Pursers Desk if you wish. Lines are very long the last day, so it would be a good idea to visit late at night or early in the AM. Of course, the easiest is to leave it on the credit card you used when checking in. No need to do anything more in this case.
DAY OF DEPARTURE
- The morning of departure, you will be asked to vacate your cabin by a certain time and wait in one of the public areas for your color to be called.
- NO-ONE will be allowed to leave the ship until all accounts have been settled and US Customs has cleared the ship. At times, this can be a long process. The Customs officials may find a problem or someone has not followed the correct procedures. The individual will have to be located and problem settled before they will let anyone go.
HINT: some cruise lines allow passengers to take their own luggage off the ship. Usually this results in your ability to exit the ship either first or much earlier than the others.