Cruise Embarkation
Requirements From Homeland Security

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Homeland Security And
Need For Early Embarkation Arrival

Not long before this requirement went into place, I was held up by Labor Day traffic and road construction on the way to the Port of Norfolk.

Once finding it, I dropped off my cruise partner and our luggage and spent 30 minutes following the confused directions to the parking lot, then spent another 30 minutes waiting for the cruise bus to leave for the terminal.

I finally arrived at the terminal just 10 minutes before the ship's departure. Thankfully, everyone knew I was coming. Even so, I had to race through the process and barely stepped on board before the appointed departure time.

Moral of the story: Don't take chances. I surely would have been left behind based on today's security regulations. It may be worth arriving a day early and overnighting to ensure you board in plenty of time.

The Regulations

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires all cruise lines to provide final passenger manifests 60 minutes prior to departure from U.S. ports.

This means that ALL passengers must arrive at the pier for check-in, at least 90 minutes to 2 hours, prior to the ship's scheduled departure time, so they can be processed and onboard, at least 60 minutes before sailing, or they can be denied boarding.

The clock starts ticking as soon as the manifest is transmitted...all guests that are checked-in at the 60-minute mark are on the manifest and the manifest is transmitted to US Customs and Border Protection.

If a passenger shows up 20 minutes before the scheduled sailing time and expects to get on the ship, and IF the cruise line lets them on, which they probably will not, the manifest needs to be re-transmitted and the 60-minute clock starts ticking all over again.

Which means that these late passengers have held up the entire ship by an hour. This is why you must arrive at the pier in plenty of time, to avoid being denied
boarding, because the check-in has already closed.

Also...All cruise passengers MUST complete their Online Pre-Registration with the cruise line, no later than 6 days prior to the sail date. Anyone who fails to complete this process, will be required to provide this information at check-in at least 2 hours prior to the ship's scheduled departure, or they may be denied boarding.

East Coast Ports

Return to Port of Baltimore, MD

Return to Port of Jacksonville, FL

Return to Port Canaveral, FL

Return to Port Everglades, FL

Return to Port of Miami, FL

Gulf Coast Ports

Return to Port of Tampa, FL

Return to Port of Mobile, AL

Return to Port of New Orleans, LA

Return to Port of Galveston, TX