One of the great benefits of a cruise vacation is only having to unpack one time as your floating hotel goes from port to port, a big advantage over land vacations. But the cruise eventually comes to an end and we have to pack up and go hone. A relatively new service makes that whole process much easier.
The normal procedure for luggage handling at the end of a cruise has a lot of steps. Leave it out in the hallway the night before disembarkation, get off the ship in the morning, wade through a sea of luggage with everyone else, claim yours, head to the airport, check your luggage again then claim it one more time at their home airport. That’s just the way it’s been done for years.
The procedure has so many steps that passengers often choose a “self-assist” option where they carry their on luggage on and off the ship, bypassing some of the handling.
But now there is a better way and it gets you airline boarding passes too.
Airportbags.com has a new service that allows guests to skip all that, set their luggage out the night before disembarkation then never touch them again until they get to their home airport. Airportbags.com has partnered with cruise lines, airlines and government security forces to make it all happen and the cost is reasonable.
You now have the opportunity to complete the airline and luggage check-in process for your flight home before you even step foot off the ship. Simply complete an enrollment form while onboard the ship and return it to a staff member. The night before disembarkation your airline boarding passes and preliminary baggage tags will be delivered to your stateroom along with detailed instructions on how to proceed once departing the ship.
Ricardo Torres of AirportBags told Gadling “This disembarkation option allows you to enjoy your final hours in the port at your leisure. Imagine your options: 1) enjoy the sights of the city or 2) stand in a never-ending line at the airport–the choice is yours with Onboard Airline Check-In. “
I did a version of this coming off a Princess Cruises Alaska Cruisetour last year where we had to go through customs in Vancouver too. In that case we transferred from the ship to the airport on a sealed bus that followed a sealed truck with our luggage in it. Their version is called EasyCheck and it was simply wonderful.
Most major cruise lines have a version of it too. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises call it the Luggage Valet and Onboard Airline Check in plan. Disney Cruise Line’s version is the Onboard Airline Check-in Service. On Norwegian Cruise Lines it’s simply Bags and Holland America Line calls it Luggage Direct while for Carnival Cruise Lines the program goes under the name of Luggage Express. Prices vary by line but range from free on Disney Cruise Line to $20 on pretty much all the others.
Flickr photo by quinn.anya