Before you are allowed onto the ship, you have to do what is called pre-boarding. Cruise lines call it different things, but that is a term I have commonly heard it called. This is the process by which you furnish all pertinent information to the cruise lines for you and your guests. This would include, name, address, passport information, that sort of thing. It will be during this process that you receive your ship card (also called the s-card). That card is your lifeline for the entire week. DO NOT LOSE IT! We will talk more about the ship card in another segment.
This pre-boarding process also takes away the cumbersome task of having to produce your passport each time you end up at a different destination. The cruise line does it once, and everyone is ready to go. Could you imagine having to check passports for over 1,500 passengers at every stop? You couldn’t. It would be impossible.
Cruise lines have made it easier to get through this process by allowing you, the traveler, to fill out most of the information online before you get inline at the cruise terminal. If you booked your cruise through the cruise line itself, or through a reputable travel agent, then they have a lot of your basic information. If you go the cruise line`s website you will be able to complete the process with the other information.
By filling out the other information now, online, it saves time for you and them when you reach the counter at check in time. What you will do online is basically the same thing the cruise attendant will type in when you register to gain access to getting on board. As you can see it is a huge time saver, for you and them.
On a side note, there is a fear by a lot of people when it comes to entering personal information online. No system is 100% hacker proof. Just make sure that when you are entering your information in online (and this goes for any website asking for personal information), you see the “https” at the beginning of the web address and not the usual “http”. The extra “s” stands for secure, meaning that the website is going to encrypt your data with 128-bit technology.
Now you know how to make your life and your passenger`s life a bit easier just to get on the ship. When you book your cruise, don`t forget to ask your travel agent for the web address to the cruise line`s, pre-boarding process.