What to expect on a typical Cruise Disembarkation Day

A summary of the Disembarkation Day


The disembarkation is a stressful and tiring process for both the crew members and passengers. The cruise director will often give a talk the night before disembarkation on the customs and immigration procedures, as well as what to do with your bags and when you will be able to get off the ship. The crew onboard are always available to answer any of your questions. 

Immigration forms

In the ports where you need to fill in a customs form, you will get them the night before in your cabin. Save any of the duty-free items you have purchased, making sure you don’t go over the legal importation limit of the return country as the customs officials will know about it.

The night before arrival

The night before arrival, place your luggage outside your cabin door (keep your hand luggage with you in the cabin).

Check the time you will be required to do so as it is often before 1 am, but this can vary from ship to ship. The luggage will be collected from your door and offloaded on arrival.

Make sure you keep aside your travel documentation, medication, fragile items and the clothes you are intending to wear on your disembarkation day.

What is left in your cabin will have to fit in your hand luggage.

And please do respect the time the ship has requested the passengers to place their luggage in front of the cabin. On some ships the crew have 5,000 pieces of luggage to collect!

On arrival day

On arrival day, breakfast will often be served very early and you might, in some cases, also be required to leave your cabin early and wait in crowded public rooms until your colour-coded disembarkation group is called.

 When you leave your cabin, make sure you check every corner of it, including your safe, so as not to forget any of your items.

In most ports, the disembarkation process starts two to three hours form the arrival of the ship in port, to allow officials (customs and immigration) to proceed with pre-inspection of the ship. The crew will only start disembarkation when the ship is ready

Where do I collect my luggage

Once off the ship, you will collect your luggage in the terminal before going through the customs inspection.

Note: Remember that customs know what they are looking for, don't try to outsmart them as they will catch you. In some instances, the ship gives customs a list of all the goods purchased on-board.