Embarkation Day Bag

An Embarkation Day Bag: What is It and Why Do You Need It?

in Cruise Tips

After you do all that careful planning, collect all the items you want to bring with you, find a way to pack it all into your luggage, you then travel to your port of departure and finally get to board the cruise ship and let the fun begin. It’s finally here! Embarkation Day.

The embarkation process for a cruise is very much like preparing to board a plane. You arrive at the port, check your luggage with the porters and then head through security to board the ship. But once you’ve handed your bag(s) over to the porter, it can be hours before you see them again. Sometimes you won’t see them until after it’s time for dinner that first day on board.

Wait…what? So you’re saying I have to wear the same clothes I boarded with all day??

Exactly! This is where an embarkation day bag comes in really handy.

An Embarkation Day Bag: What Is It?

Very simply, an embarkation day bag (or cruise boarding bag) is similar to a smaller carry-on bag that you may use (or did use) when you flew in. Instead of checking that bag with the porters you can keep it with you during the entire boarding and embarkation process. This allows you to carry the items you might need until your luggage arrives in your stateroom later that day.

Why Do I Need One?

Your first day on board will be much smoother and a lot less stressful if you take the time to plan ahead and prepare to carry on an embarkation day bag. Keep in mind that the cruise line is still trying to clean the ship from the previous cruise which can impact many things. So the earlier you board your cruise the more time there may be before you get your larger bags.

What if you want to swim or layout but the pool? Unless you wore your swimsuit under your clothes you may be out of luck or worse yet – sunburned on day one because you packed your sunscreen away. Want to change for your first dinner on board but you don’t have you luggage yet? Looks like you’re wearing the same clothes from this morning.

If you take the time to plan ahead you can avoid most hassles by utilizing an embarkation day bag.

What kind of embarkation day bag should I use?

There are several things to consider when choosing your embarkation day bag but almost any carry on type bag will actually do.. What you want to do when you first get on board or what you want to be prepared for, will be the biggest influences on your choice of bag. Another thing to consider is who you are packing it for? Should you have a embarkation day bag for each person in your party or would a slightly larger one do for your entire family?

Here are 3 embarkation day bag types for you to consider that we think would serve most situation*.

What Should I Put in My Bag?

Pretty much whatever you think you need. It’s best to keep it simple though. If you try to cover every conceivable situation you might as well be carrying on your big luggage. Here are some things to consider when preparing to pack your embarkation day bag:

  • Swimsuit/Wrap: The pools are practically empty on embarkation day. That makes it the perfect time to take a dip if you bring along your bathing suit. Don’t forget your sunscreen too.
  • Change of Clothes: Having a change of clothes probably should be a must for an embarkation day bag. It will give you the option to change for dinner or just get cleaned up after a long travel day.
  • Essential toiletries: Toothpaste/toothbrush, deodorant, makeup, prescription medications…just a few of the essentials you may want to consider in you bag. Especially if it’s been a hot day and you want to clean up. It can also serve as a safety net if the unthinkable happens and your bags are delayed.
  • Deck of Cards or a Book: Scheduled cruise activities normally don’t start until the evening. Make sure you have something to entertain yourself (and your travel companions) in the interim.

It’s really up to you as to what to pack in your embarkation day bag – its a personal decision. In our minds it is one of the smartest decisions you can make to kick off your next cruise adventure.

Bonus Tip – What Does the Cruising Know it All do?Cruising Know It All Logo Carry OnIf you’re like us, we aren’t fond of carrying on anything when we fly so how do we use an embarkation day bag? First, since we always fly to our departure port the day before embarkation we don’t need to pack our embarkation day bag until the next morning. That means we can pack an empty bag (typically duffel bag) in our checked luggage and load it up with the things we need.

We're here to help you make the most of your next cruise adventure. We are avid cruisers who believe that how you cruise is as important as where you cruise. Take a look around and let us know if you have any questions.

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