It's been a month since my cruise and as the post cruise depression fades and the reality of back to work takes over I thought I would share some information on what it is like to board in Barbados, finding information for myself pre cruise was near impossible so hopefully this will be useful for others.
1, embarkation... There is no set boarding times for passengers joining in Barbados, you can get on any time from the ship being cleared by port officials but must be on by 2pm. When you arrive at the port there is a desk set up just outside the security area where you show your boarding pass and id, you get given a plastic card with a number on it, luggage is taken from you and off you go to board the ship which is just a short walk down the pier (there is also a free shuttle bus if you don't fancy walking). You enter the ship on deck 3 and security scan your boarding pass and take your photo then its up to the sensation dining room on deck 8 to get officially checked in. In the dining room you hand over the plastic number card you were given and in return you receive your sign n sail card along with that days fun times and some other paper work. There are refreshments set out for everyone waiting and senior crew members call you up to complete check in and make sure you have the necessary documents (esta/visa etc) for when the ship arrives in San Juan as it is necessary to go through customs there as it is the first US port of call. You get a star sticker stuck on to your s&s to show you boarded in Barbados and after talking through when and where muster drill takes place and procedures for San Juan you are free to enjoy the ship. We were told our cabins would be ready at 12:30
2, muster drill...this takes place in the palace lounge at 3:30pm. You have to check in with the crew and this is done on deck 8 not deck 9. They tie the muster drill in with a mini orientation where you meet the cd and fun squad and they had a free raffle too. After watching the safety briefing video everyone was called up in muster station order and walked to their respective muster station, very quick and painless and much nicer than the sardine can in the hot sun experience I had on the Glory last year.
3, hub app... if you are planning on using this, think again, due to a glitch in their systems the hub app doesn't work for passengers boarding in Barbados, you can still buy internet packages though.
4, San Juan.... All passengers have to get off the ship when it docks in San Juan. We were all asked to meet between 8:45-9:45am in the Passage to India on deck 9 ensuring we had every thing we needed with us as we would be escorted off the ship and unable to return until they had been cleared to start embarkation of the new passengers starting their cruise that day, we were escorted off the ship on groups and had to wear an 'in transit' sticker to identify us to border protection officers, once through customs we were able to enjoy our day in San Juan after moving our in transit sticker to the back of our passport so that we didn't have to queue with the masses trying to join the ship.
5, San Juan muster... As we had already completed a muster we were given a number of options
A, stay in cabin
B, join in the muster drill again
C, go to the library and be entertained by a magician
D, go to the piano bar and enjoy entertainment there. Options c and d also offered free drinks and many cocktails were enjoyed while muster drill went on.[emoji3]
6, disembarking... the sad bit that nobody like [emoji26] the night before there was a disembarkation talk at 5:15pm in putting on the ritz lounge where a number of crew members and the cd came to say goodbye and talk about the departure process. On the morning of the dreaded day bags had to be outside the cabin between 7am and 8:45am and we had to be back in the putting on the ritz lounge between 8:30-09:00am where again refreshments were provided while you fill in customs declaration card and wait for customs officials to board and clear you. You have to be out of your cabin by 9:30 am but can stay and enjoy a few more hours on the ship as long as you are off by no later than 1pm. Luggage is stored right in front of security in the port so you don't have to worry about lugging it around all morning if you have time to kill.
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