Embarkation & Dis-embarkation

Going on a cruise is one of the most stress-free vacations a person can book.  However, when cruising with over 6,000 other passengers, getting on and off the ship can be quite overwhelming. In this post I am going to go over our experience on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.


I am going to jump a bit here but I want to note that dis-embarking the ship is extremely well executed (once you figure out the right deck).  We had our last breakfast up in the Wind Jammer around 8:30am. We turned on our phones and rented a car through Costco while eating our breakfast. This was a cheaper option than getting an Uber or airport shuttle. Then went back to our stateroom to pick up our bags and do a final check to see that we packed everything. Always check under the bed! 

We instinctively went down to deck 3 (which is the deck used at all other ports of Call.  However, when in Orlando the passengers embark and dis-embark on deck 5. Once we arrived on the deck we just followed the crowd off the ship, bypassed the luggage pick up area (because we prefer carrying our luggage off ourselves), and queued up for customs. The line moved constantly and before we knew it we were on our way out the door… Simple and painless.

We always pack a carry on suitcase each and do not bother with checking our bags through so I cannot comment on that process.


The first thing I noticed right away was the lack of communication at the terminal.  In fairness they have to funnel over 6,000 passengers off and another 6,000 passengers on all within a fairly short window. We arrived at 9:30am and were told not to return until 11:00am. We decided to go to Walmart and pick up a few last minute purchases. When we returned just before 11:00am there was already a huge line up ahead of us.  (Note: It doesn’t hurt to arrive earlier than they suggest)

We queued up in line relatively quickly for security and even though there were hundred of people in front of us, the line was constantly moving!  Once we went through security, we were ushered to the next area where we lined up to check-in and get our Set Sail passes. Again, the lines here were constantly moving and in no time we had everything we needed to board. However, this is was just a tease!

You cannot just board the ship when you want. Instead, you are given section number and told to wait until your number is called.  However, you are not told where to wait or approximately how long the wait period will be.  There were people scattered everywhere and they all seemed to have the same bewildered look. It seemed like everyone was just as confused as we were. Eventually our section did get called and we slowly followed the crowd toward the gangway. 

Once we were onboard we wanted to drop of our bags and get some food. However, this was not the case.  No one can enter the halls where the staterooms are until 1:00pm. We managed to find a seat upstairs in the Wind Jammer buffet and enjoyed the first of many meals while waiting for our room. Then Tavis found a lounger on the deck and he sat with our luggage while I went off to explore! Our vacation has officially begun!

I understand that the staff needs to have time to clean the rooms but with my past experience on Carnival we were at least able to drop our bags off in the room before heading out to explore the ship.