What Time Do You Have to Board a Cruise Ship?

By Robert Palmer

Cruise ships are a great way to vacation with your family and friends. Cruises offer a variety of destinations, activities, and amenities.

But before you can enjoy the fun of your cruise, there is one important question: what time do you have to board a cruise ship?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the type of cruise you are taking, when and where you booked it, and the company’s policy. Generally speaking, most cruise lines will require passengers to board their ships at least two to three hours prior to departure time.

If you have booked an early sailing time on a popular route or during certain peak times of the year (such as summer or holidays), then it is best to arrive at least four hours before your scheduled departure time. This will give you plenty of time for check-in, security screening, and boarding procedures.

The sooner you board the cruise ship, the more likely it is that you will get a better cabin selection. Many cruises offer premium cabins that become available on a first-come-first-served basis. By arriving early, you may be able to snag one of these prime locations.

Additionally, it is important to note that some cruises may require passengers to board even earlier than stated above. For example, cruises that leave from international ports may require passport control checks which can take an extra hour or more.


Overall, it is best practice for passengers to arrive at least two to four hours prior to their scheduled departure time when boarding a cruise ship.

This will ensure that they have enough time for check-in procedures and security screenings as well as giving them their desired cabin selection. However, in some cases such as international cruises may require extra time for passport control checks.