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First time cruisers with concerns!


scottish67
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Hi everyone! We're first time cruisers and are booked on Oasis of the Seas, departing from Barcelona in May 2019 for a 7 day Mediterranean adventure. We're travelling all the way from California and are a bit confused about the embarkation process, specifically how luggage is handled. 

How exactly does the process work? I've read about using porters but it seems a bit risky to hand our luggage to someone and then hope it arrives in our room. We did elect for "The Key" since its our first time but I don't think that changes the fact that we have to use porters. Thankfully my wife is fluent in Spanish, however, i'm a bit of a control freak and are worried that our luggage won't make it on board/into our room.  

We understand the idea behind carry on luggage and will definitely have a smaller suit case with important items (documents, medications, etc.) We're planning to show up to the cruise terminal super early (around 10:00am) to hopefully avoid the crazy crowds. 

Thanks for the help!

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Welcome to the message boards!

I sailed from Barcelona on Symphony (sister to Oasis) this past October.  I documented my arrival into the port and the cruise ship terminal in this blog post:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/9684-symphony-ots-live-transatlantic-oct-28-2018-coming-to-america/&do=findComment&comment=89238

In the 3rd picture you can see the luggage drop area which is the blue carts near the building in the distance.  With my Royal Caribbean luggage tags affixed to my bag I simply hand the luggage to a porter with a small tip and enter the building to go through security and check in.  Here is that picture:

yGLSvZ6.jpg

With many cruises under my belt I've never had a problem with luggage.  

The large ships like Oasis span two terminals.  You can actually check in at either terminal.  

I use reusable luggage tag holders from Amazon.  In the rain like on this day, they keep everything dry and safe and great simplify attaching luggage tags to your luggage.  For $7 they are great:

https://www.amazon.com/Cruise-Luggage-Holder-Seal-Steel/dp/B01E4SQNLS/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1550101443&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=royal+luggage+tags&psc=1

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Giving your luggage to a porter is less risky than checking it on to an airplane.  Since there will only be one ship at the specific terminal there is virtually zero chance of it finding its way on to another ship, as opposed to it ending up on the wrong plane at an airport with dozens of flights leaving every hour.  While being able to speak the local language is never a bad thing porters are just putting the luggage on the carts and pointing you towards the check-in area.

That said, there are some standard tips: important medication and anything you need for the rest of the day in your carry-on.  Errors happen but those are typically of the "luggage ended up at the wrong room so will be a couple hours late" variety.  I second Twangster on the luggage tag holders, they will hold up to most anything your luggage might endure.

Welcome to the forum and I hope you enjoy your cruise!

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Do be sure to tip the porters, though -- I've read tales of people who didn't tip their porter and discovered their luggage mysteriously vanished from the face of the earth! Not just missing from the ship; missing from the port when they returned!

Tips don't have to be massive, just a dollar or two per bag (adjusted for exchange rate to the Euro since you'll be in Spain).

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42 minutes ago, NS8VN said:

Giving your luggage to a porter is less risky than checking it on to an airplane.  Since there will only be one ship at the specific terminal there is virtually zero chance of it finding its way on to another ship, as opposed to it ending up on the wrong plane at an airport with dozens of flights leaving every hour.  While being able to speak the local language is never a bad thing porters are just putting the luggage on the carts and pointing you towards the check-in area.

That said, there are some standard tips: important medication and anything you need for the rest of the day in your carry-on.  Errors happen but those are typically of the "luggage ended up at the wrong room so will be a couple hours late" variety.  I second Twangster on the luggage tag holders, they will hold up to most anything your luggage might endure.

Welcome to the forum and I hope you enjoy your cruise!

Exactly! I'm totally worried about our luggage being lost in transit on the flight since we're going from Los Angeles to Barcelona via a layover in Paris. Made sure there is plenty of time between flights but I'm seriously considering investing in luggage trackers. I've traveled internationally before but always with my parents who are very seasoned travelers. 

Thank you all for the feedback! I've gathered that rooms typically open around 1:00pm, do we know when I should typically expect luggage to arrive before I have a panic attack that something happened to it? I know it seems silly but I can think of nothing worse than a seven day cruise in a foreign country without a change of clothes 

Also purchased the recommended luggage tags from Amazon! 

 

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11 hours ago, scottish67 said:

I know it seems silly but I can think of nothing worse than a seven day cruise in a foreign country without a change of clothes 

Thats not silly as it happened to me in Phuket!  Ever since that happened, I cross pack a few outfits.  I put at least one day, evening outfit plus a swimsuit in another bag so if my bag is lost I'll have at least something.

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14 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Do be sure to tip the porters, though -- I've read tales of people who didn't tip their porter and discovered their luggage mysteriously vanished from the face of the earth! Not just missing from the ship; missing from the port when they returned!

Tips don't have to be massive, just a dollar or two per bag (adjusted for exchange rate to the Euro since you'll be in Spain).

Sometimes even tipping doesn't help.  We are very generous tippers and sometimes it's just not good enough !  I have 2 examples:

1.  In Bayonne a few years back, we dropped off our bags with the porters (they are longshoremen at Bayonne) with a generous tip.  The luggage tags have METAL attach straps so it's virtually impossible for them to "come off".  Our bags mysteriously somehow "lost" their tags and we (along with many others) had to go to a big room on the ship and find our bags.  They were all there but it was  a true PITA.  Later found out that the union was in a tiff with management about a new contract.  Unacceptable.

2.  In Galveston our biggest bag disappeared off the face of the earth.  No idea what happened to it.  It has never been found.

 

1 hour ago, melski94 said:

 I cross pack a few outfits.  I put at least one day, evening outfit plus a swimsuit in another bag so if my bag is lost I'll have at least something.

This is a REALLY, REALLY good idea.

 

You really have no choice but to leave your bags with the ports on embarkation.  The big bags won't go through the scanners so you cannot just carry them on yourself.  However, on disembarkation, we no longer leave our bags outside our door for the porters.  100% of the time, we carry all of our bags off ourselves UNLESS we are using Luggage Valet, which is a WONDERFUL program.

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14 minutes ago, scottish67 said:

Thanks everyone! We're definitely going to go to with cross packing as well as bringing extra clothes on our carry on just to be sure we're covered if we have any issue.   We did pay for trip insurance through Royal so should something be lost, we'll have coverage. 

Trip insurance is a must for me and a great idea to have it, but that certainly doesn’t help with the vacation if bags are lost and you have nothing to wear. That would be a nightmare. I have worried and tried to plan it all out, so to have bags lost, would just be awful!!!!

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On 2/13/2019 at 5:51 PM, twangster said:

Welcome to the message boards!

I sailed from Barcelona on Symphony (sister to Oasis) this past October.  I documented my arrival into the port and the cruise ship terminal in this blog post:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/9684-symphony-ots-live-transatlantic-oct-28-2018-coming-to-america/&do=findComment&comment=89238

In the 3rd picture you can see the luggage drop area which is the blue carts near the building in the distance.  With my Royal Caribbean luggage tags affixed to my bag I simply hand the luggage to a porter with a small tip and enter the building to go through security and check in.  Here is that picture:

yGLSvZ6.jpg

With many cruises under my belt I've never had a problem with luggage.  

The large ships like Oasis span two terminals.  You can actually check in at either terminal.  

I use reusable luggage tag holders from Amazon.  In the rain like on this day, they keep everything dry and safe and great simplify attaching luggage tags to your luggage.  For $7 they are great:

https://www.amazon.com/Cruise-Luggage-Holder-Seal-Steel/dp/B01E4SQNLS/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1550101443&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=royal+luggage+tags&psc=1

Our first cruise in a week, I am stressing way too much. I have printed my luggage tags, just now found your luggage holder link but its too late to get them. I have sealed mine with clear packing tape. Will do several layers and plan on taping them together around our bags. The packing tape is very tough. Is that going to be good enough?

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4 minutes ago, Nay said:

Our first cruise in a week, I am stressing way too much. I have printed my luggage tags, just now found your luggage holder link but its too late to get them. I have sealed mine with clear packing tape. Will do several layers and plan on taping them together around our bags. The packing tape is very tough. Is that going to be good enough?

Yes.  Before buying the holders I would bring packing tape in my suitcase and since I fly in the day before I would do the tape thing at my hotel.

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7 minutes ago, Nay said:

Our first cruise in a week, I am stressing way too much. I have printed my luggage tags, just now found your luggage holder link but its too late to get them. I have sealed mine with clear packing tape. Will do several layers and plan on taping them together around our bags. The packing tape is very tough. Is that going to be good enough?

I always use the clear packing tape - never had a problem.  I use one layer of tape.  Don't attach them until you are ready to leave for the ship.  I ask the hotel for a stapler and staple them when we're waiting for the shuttle. 

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I’ve worried about loosing our luggage on the plane since we are flying, but NEVER at all thought about the luggage getting lost on the ship. This is one more thing I did NOT need to worry about. I had already planned on taking our luggage off ourselves at debarkation, but now handing it over to the porters at embarkation is going to be hard to do. TRYING NOT TO STRESS ?

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  • 2 weeks later...

We will go on our first cruise in September. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I'm worried about luggage and how much is too much. I don't want to over pack or not pack enough. I've read so many stories of packing to much and what to take and what not to take. How much is too much for suitcases for 2 for 10 days?

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  • 11 months later...
On 2/13/2019 at 6:51 PM, twangster said:

In the 3rd picture you can see the luggage drop area which is the blue carts near the building in the distance.  With my Royal Caribbean luggage tags affixed to my bag I simply hand the luggage to a porter with a small tip and enter the building to go through security and check in.  Here is that picture:

With many cruises under my belt I've never had a problem with luggage.  

The large ships like Oasis span two terminals.  You can actually check in at either terminal.  

I use reusable luggage tag holders from Amazon.  In the rain like on this day, they keep everything dry and safe and great simplify attaching luggage tags to your luggage.  For $7 they are great:

https://www.amazon.com/Cruise-Luggage-Holder-Seal-Steel/dp/B01E4SQNLS/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1550101443&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=royal+luggage+tags&psc=1

Hi twangster!  I know this post is old, but I have the same question. We sail in a few days and I can't recall the procedure from our last cruise, which was eons ago.  We sail out of Port Canaveral.  My husband will drive up (not sure how the lanes look), we'll take the suitcases out of the trunk, then we pass them to a porter?  We plan to return our rental car then.

So, we don't get to see the luggage being put on a cart.  We just leave them with the porter?

How much is tipping these days?  I heard some horror stories about people tipping $5-10, and being called cheap, or in Miami (our next cruise), a porter demanding a tip or the bags won't make it.  I would like to know what to expect?

Thanks!

(we have the luggage tags from Amazon) ?

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6 minutes ago, raahc said:

Hi twangster!  I know this post is old, but I have the same question. We sail in a few days and I can't recall the procedure from our last cruise, which was eons ago.  We sail out of Port Canaveral.  My husband will drive up (not sure how the lanes look), we'll take the suitcases out of the trunk, then we pass them to a porter?  We plan to return our rental car then.

You drive into the parking garage and they will direct you to the luggage drop off.  You stop the car and unload the luggage.  The crates that they put the luggage in are right there and you watch the porter walk 2 feet with your luggage to put it on the cart.  ?  Then you're supposed circle around to go park if you are parking, otherwise you just drive straight out the garage exit.

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13 minutes ago, AshleyDillo said:

You drive into the parking garage and they will direct you to the luggage drop off.  You stop the car and unload the luggage.  The crates that they put the luggage in are right there and you watch the porter walk 2 feet with your luggage to put it on the cart.  ?  Then you're supposed circle around to go park if you are parking, otherwise you just drive straight out the garage exit.

That's great, thanks for explaining everything Ashley!  I take it your emoji was for the porter taking our bags ...lol

10 minutes ago, KJones said:

I aim for $2/bag - though this last time we had 2 bags but just gave them a $5

That's what we plan to do as well.  Thank you!

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11 minutes ago, raahc said:

That's great, thanks for explaining everything Ashley!  I take it your emoji was for the porter taking our bags ...lol

Yup.  I always laugh at that and tip them anyways.  They have the big luggage crates sitting right there and they're just throwing your bag on top of the pile.  I guess the bigger the tip the more gentle they are?  Who knows ?

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 8:20 PM, scottish67 said:

Exactly! I'm totally worried about our luggage being lost in transit on the flight since we're going from Los Angeles to Barcelona via a layover in Paris. Made sure there is plenty of time between flights but I'm seriously considering investing in luggage trackers. I've traveled internationally before but always with my parents who are very seasoned travelers. 

Thank you all for the feedback! I've gathered that rooms typically open around 1:00pm, do we know when I should typically expect luggage to arrive before I have a panic attack that something happened to it? I know it seems silly but I can think of nothing worse than a seven day cruise in a foreign country without a change of clothes 

Also purchased the recommended luggage tags from Amazon! 

 

Talk to your travel agent and get travel insurance. Most times they cover luggage. If you don't have a travel agent then call your personal auto or home insurance and they may be able to help you. My husband and I got it for our honeymoon cruise, which was our first. Thankfully we didn't need it, but it covered our luggage as well and many other things. Peace of mind is priceless. Happy Sailing!

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1 hour ago, AshleyDillo said:

Yup.  I always laugh at that and tip them anyways.  They have the big luggage crates sitting right there and they're just throwing your bag on top of the pile.  I guess the bigger the tip the more gentle they are?  Who knows ?

 

I'll have to see it all for myself !!!! ?

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