Information & Advice
What is "Luggage Valet"?
Many people have asked us about the luggage handling services available by the cruise lines. The most common service is one where you can check your bags from the ship to the destination airport. This means you don't see your bags again until you arrive at the baggage claim in your local airport. This is a great convenience if you are traveling home the same day as the end of your cruise.
This service requires that the Cruise Line, Port Authority, and Airline work in congress to assure a smooth transaction. Since there are all these parties involved, the service may not be available in every cruise port, cruise line, and airline combination. Unless you know someone who's used the service with a specific combination, you won't know if the service is available until you board the ship. You can find out from the concierge or purser's desk aboard the ship after you embark.
How it works. After you've signed up for the service, you check your bags with the airline through the ship. They will charge the baggage fees to your folio (shipboard) account and typically a handling fee of $20-$25/per bag (although suite guests and luxury lines may offer complimentary, a.k.a. free, service). Be aware that there may be restrictions on the number of bags and what you may have checked in the bags for security and safety reasons. The cruise ship will issue your baggage claim checks and special tags for your luggage. If you've booked your airline through them, the airline tickets will be provided as well. Usually, these won't be available until later in the evening the day before debarkation. Your luggage should be placed out in the hallway before 11PM as usual. Be sure to use the SPECIAL tags with your luggage, not the standard ones they give you by default!
Check out Episode #62 which discusses luggage service options.
Parking Your Car
In Episode 4, I mentioned that anytime you leave your car at a garage or lot during a vacation, it's really important to remove any items you might think someone would want to take. Here are a few things to consider removing from your vehicle when parking publicly while out of town:
Waiting Could Pay Off
We've always planned our cruises well in advance of embarkation day--sometimes as much as 18-months in advance--but you should know that if you have the flexibility, booking closer to a cruise could mean saving hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Industry experts agree that booking 30-90 days out could mean that you'll find special reduced fares and/or premium cabins suddenly available when they were not before. That's because cruise lines have a certain date when passengers are allowed to cancel without penalty. If you can find out when that is, you can probably zero-in on some great deals or snag that balcony cabin near the main elevators that you had your eye on.
Do a little leg work and you can make your vacation dollars work for you!
What is a "SeaPass" card?
The SeaPass card or Sail & Sign card (and known by other names depending on the line) is the credit card-sized card you use on board the ship to make purchases for drinks, services, and other goods. Typically, this is the only way to make purchases while on the ship. The card is also your room key and your "ticket" to get back onto the ship whenever you are in port. You don't want to lose it. If you do lose it, be sure to report it lost immediately and get a new card issued. Treat it like you would a credit card.