All good things must come to an end, and no one was sadder than I was to leave behind the Crown Princess, because Princess had done so many things so well -- just not the Entertainment, Enrichment, and protecting the passengers from scams.
Most hotels let you check out at noon, but no such luck on a cruise ship.
They have just a few hours to turn over the boat, and new passengers typically start arriving at 1pm, so you will probably need to be out of your room by 8am.
All three thousand people can't get off the boat at once, so the process goes like this.
If you have any luggage larger than carry-ons, then you will be checking your luggage, and it needs to be ready to go, tagged, and outside your door the night before.
In the morning, you will be assigned an embarkation group, which is the a color and a number that corresponds sto the tags you put on your luggage.
By now, you know the drill. Each group is invited to hang out in one of the lounges at a particular time, and then every five minutes one of the groups from one of the lounges is called. It takes a few hours to get to everyone, so if you draw one of the later groups, keep a book handy. The Promenade Deck was off limits during our embarkation.
When your group is called, you will exit the ship by having your magic blue card scanned one last time.
Your luggage will be waiting for you on the way out.
Whether you have to clear customs depends on your itinerary. Going from Athens to Barcelona via Montenegro and Italy, we did not.
If you just have carry-ons, then you are free to change your disembarkation group at Guest Services so that you are first to leave at maybe 6:00am. But if you are not in a rush to leave the ship, go have one last breakfast at the Horizon Buffet and cry into your orange juice about all the things you'll miss -- the views, the excursions, the fresh air, the endless food, the cabin service, time spent with special people, or just the general carelessness of it all.
You'll probably be back -- Costco has great prices on cruises, and the ships just keep getting better.
I loved the Crown Princess. Maybe you will, too, or maybe a different ship or another cruise line will suit you even better.
The Horizon Buffet
The Dining Halls
9. The Scams
Fine Art Auction
YOU MIGHT NEED...
You could find yourself in a lounge waiting to disembark. Kindle Paperwhites are commonly seen because they are so portable, and because their battery life is so good. If you hate amazon, many other eReaders, as well as eReader software on a tablet, also work well.