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Disembarkation

Tipping: Gratuity policies vary widely. For example, Carnival adds the suggested gratuities (roughly $11.50 per person, per day) to your onboard account on embarkation day. After that, you have the ability to increase or decrease the amount based on individual service by visiting the information desk. Other lines charge you per day, with each day's suggested gratuity added to your onboard account every evening. And, on many of the luxury lines, gratuities are already included in your cruise fare. Bottom line: Be sure to check your line's policy so that you are aware of what is being charged -- and what is expected.


Settling your account: On the last evening you'll receive an itemized bill of your charges. Be sure to look it over and contact the cruise line's purser or hotel desk to dispute any charges. If all looks good, just keep the bill as your receipt; the balance will be charged to the credit card you provided. Some lines will also allow you to settle your account in cash. It's a good idea to check your onboard statement (either at the purser's desk or through an in-cabin interactive TV system) prior to the last night; queues at the purser's desk can be long on debarkation day, so if you can spot a problem and resolve it early, you will be saved the hassle of waiting in a long line.


Packing to disembark: Many cruise lines require you to pack your bags the night before you disembark and place them outside your stateroom to be collected. This procedure expedites the disembarkation process. Utilize your carry-on again for toiletries and any remaining items. And don't forget to leave out a change of clothes for the following morning so you don't have to exit the ship wearing your pajamas.


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