Can I carry my own luggage? First time cruiser..

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Dallas, Texas
527 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Sorry -this subject was covered in another post, but my particular question didn't come up...

When we get to the port and take our luggage out of the taxi, can't we just take it to the check-in place like we do at the airport? I like to keep my eye on my bags, and giving some guy $5 bucks just to throw my bags 10 feet behind him doesn't seem right.

Does everyone do this???

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When we arrived at the Miami port last year, they made sure our tags were on the luggage & took it away. I believe those were the steps they wanted you to take there... drop off luggage, wait in line to get onto ship.

I'm not sure there was another place to take your luggage to.... ???
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Ottawa Canada
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Joined Jan 2006
First things first, just so you know, the porters are employed by the Port not the ship.
When you get to the port, the "check in place" will be a bunch of big metal crates that you give the porter a couple bucks to put your bags in. There is no way in hell that you'd be able to keep an eye on them. The porters also make sure that your luggage tag is filled out correctly. Lock them if you want, after the airport. Plus you don't want to be wandering around with your bags. On 5 cruises I've never been worried about them.
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Greater London, United Kingdom
225 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We have never taken our cases directly to our cabin but share your views on porters.

Many times we have arrived by air and the cruise line collected our luggage at the airport, delivering it to our cabin later, so no problem.

However, when arriving by car we pass our cases over to the porters, but follow them to the steel cages to ensure that our cases are actually put into them (the cages are then taken on to the ship). We have heard of cases being taken from passengers by a uniformed 'porter'.... and never being seen again.

We have also unloaded cases from the car and by-passed the porters, as the cases needed to be taken all of 50 feet into a holding area where the porters were depositing luggage. We thought we could manage this ourselves, although nearly every other passenger seemed delighted to pay for having their cases walked 50'. It depends how far the cases have to go.

Obviously some people are unable to manage their luggae, and when this time comes,Iam sure we'll be delighted to use porters (but will probably still hobble after them to ensure the cases do not disappear!).
New York, NY, USA
11,229 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
You absolutely can carry your own bags onboard IF (and only if) they're small enough to go through the x-ray machines that they have at the security checkpoint. The machines are roughly the same size as the ones at the airport - the ones that are used for carry-ons, not the big ones used for checked bags. But keep in mind that there's also a chance that if you board early enough that your cabin may not be ready yet. If that's the case, you'll have to drag your bags around with you until your cabin is accessible. Personally, I check my bigger bags and keep only my carry-on. Much less hassle.
66 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Hey we are going on our first cruise in just under 3 weeks, how much would you tip the porters? How much is too much and how much is not enough, I've heard stories about people's tags being rip off their bags because they didn't tip enough. Could anyone give me a hand on this one. Thanks a lot.
Ft Lauderdale, Fla.
650 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Originally posted by johnql
You absolutely can carry your own bags onboard IF (and only if) they're small enough to go through the x-ray machines that they have at the security checkpoint. .
This is exactly true. We've done it and loved being able to unpack right away...and not worry about whether the bags will arrive. We'll pack light and do it again whenever possible.
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Honestly I dont see the big worry. the same procedure at the airport, when you give you bags to the ticket counter you dont ride on the belt to the plane with your luggage to make sure they get on the plane I would be more worried about losing a bag at the airport then at the port...I mean lets say you are eager to get on board but you cant figure out why the line is not moving fast enough, could it be cause some one in front of you is trying to manage thier bags gather paper work keep track of children ect..etc..etc thats a small price to pay for teh convinence of lightening the load from a long flight or a drive to the pier..JHMO
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Unless you can pack everything you need into one small rollaboard, it's really not worth the hassle.

Some things to remember are that you will be standing in lines, sometimes waiting in a terminal for a length of time. The elevators are very busy on the first day, lots of people will be carrying or rolling carry on bags around the ship. If you board before 1pm, you will have to keep everything with you, limiting your freedom of movement around the ship.

We've used express disembarkation once and will never do that again. Let the porters handle your luggage for you, especially when embarking. Just $5 or so and you can be unemcumbered for the next couple of hours.

I've honestly never seen anyone boarding or disembarking a ship who doesn't have a mountain of luggage.
Little Rock, Arkansas
37,374 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by Crowell85
How big is too big to fit through the x-ray? I like the thought of cutting out the middle man and have my bags right away.
The x-ray machines have an opening about the same size as the x-ray machines at the airport. Basically if it is too large to carry on to a plane, then it is too large to carryon to the ship yourself.
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Moon Township, Pa
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I have to agree with the others. Unless you can pack all your clothes for a week's cruise into one 19" carry on, then it cannot be done(the reason I say one carry on is if you're flying to the port, most airlines only allow one regulation size carry on per passenger) I've found that some of the scanners they use on ships are smaller than the ones used at the airports. For me, it's just not worth the hassle. In 48 cruises, I've not had a problem with luggage being delivered to the ship by the porters. Another thought. Depending on the ship and terminal, those gangways are very steep and pulling luggage up those things, with a lot of other passengers in front and behind you, can be a problem, and may even be dangerous.
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Dallas, Texas
527 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Here's a related question... Can each of us have a carry on? We each have two suitcases; one larger suitcase and one Airport-carry on size. We are thinking of checking our two big suitcases at the port and then rolling the little ones with us. I'll also have a tote bag with my purse, etc in it.
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Bristol CT
11,061 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Sure. Just remember that you'll each have to take it everywhere with you until your room is ready. Unless you can talk your travelling companion into hauling yours!
Me, the only things I carry on (ship or plane) are the valuables that should not ever be checked (jewelry, camera, electronics, meds). And that (plus something to do on the plane) all fits in a bag small enough to fit under the seat in front of me on the airplane.
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Illegitimi non carborundum
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I see no advantage to carrying all your luggage on board. We did use a carry on so that we had a swimsuit and some personal items prior to our luggage arriving. I’ve never heard of any problems with anyone handing their luggage to the porter and NOT having it arrive on the ship. (I’m sure that is has happened but I’ve not heard of this issue on this or other boards.) I know some have had problems of luggage not arriving from the airlines – but that is another issue.

As for leaving the ship - we often carry our luggage off the ship, especially if we are on a short cruise. We have had our luggage (twice) placed in the wrong holding areas (despite the correct color tag). As we drive to port - this really holds us up.

Tip the porter as you would at any airport or hotel.

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favorite cruise? - the most recent!
7,280 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
You can carry your own bags onto the ship if they will fit through the machines as described above but here's the rub:

if your cabin is not ready you will have to drag all of that stuff with you where ever you go for perhaps a couple of hours until your room is ready. Do you really want to do that?

Also, to take your bags off the ship yourself you must be able to carry them on stairs alone. That means you may not be able to use your luggage wheels. It is much harder than it looks.
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