Seaside Sunday: Sail Away!

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Every week we will take a look at some fun, interesting, or new aspect of cruising the high seas!


One of the most exciting parts of a cruise is the sail away. This is the time when you start off, ready to experience all that your cruise has to offer. The music is playing, the drinks are being served (adult and not), and the excitement is high. As you sail away, everyone you pass on land gives a wave, and you wave back. So much fun!

But some of the reason this time can be so exciting is the preparation leading up to this point. Guests are able to board a ship well in advance of sailing time. Disney offers preselected time slots for guests to arrive at the port. Not all cruise lines do this, but generally speaking, most start boarding around 11 a.m. It will be clear in your travel documents when boarding begins.

Boarding Time to board!

No matter the exact time, boarding at this point in the day allows for lots of housekeeping to be done. No, I don’t mean you will be handed a vacuum as you enter the ship.  But what you will be able to do is start exploring. Get your bearings and familiarize yourself with the ship.  Try to find its highlights. Look for and register your kids for the children’s activities (if applicable). Find the restaurants. You will even be able to have lunch once you board the ship at the buffet venue. Just remember that everyone will be doing this as well, so the crowd levels may be a bit high. The crew will do their best to help you find a seat.

Around 1 p.m., you are able to get into the staterooms. Once the rooms are available, go find your room and drop off your carry-on luggage if you have any. The luggage you checked upon port arrival will be showing up in the next couple of hours. When it does, it will be placed outside of your stateroom and you can get it at your leisure. While staterooms don’t tend to have lots of walking space, there are many little spots to stash your gear. Go ahead and do this once your luggage arrives. But by all means, explore and get yourself settled.

IMG_0697 (768x1024) We found our room!

Before the ship departs, you will have a muster drill. Different cruise lines and ships change the details slightly, but you will be required to report to your muster station and check in. Instructions are broadcast on your stateroom TV, and information will be clear. It’s extremely important that you are prepared to find your location. Elevators will not be operational, so be advised that you might have to walk down several flights of stairs to get to your location.

So, once you have explored, retrieved your luggage, completed your muster drill, and had a chance to get settled into the ship, it’s time to sail away! If you are new to cruising, those housekeeping items can weigh on you, wondering how it all works. But now those are done, and you’re free to embark on your cruise adventure.

So be sure to go up to the deck and participate in the Sail Away Party! Meet your fellow cruisers. Wave to those people still ashore. Be amazed as the ropes drop and the ship comes to life and begins to sail. Dance to some fun music.  Most of all get ready and enjoy all of the possibilities and excitement that awaits you on your cruise vacation.

As an aside, if you are like me and enjoy this experience but can’t cruise once a week, you can watch it from the comfort of your own computer. Check out the port webcams at or and watch the beautiful ships sail away.

Bon Voyage!

  photo We are watching ourselves sail away on the webcam.

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