Checking In

Your family checks in just like at the plane, sort of. We walked through metal detectors and had our bags X-rayed, so you'll want to make sure your kids are aware that there will be people with guns and uniforms around. Lines are always a part of such things, so be prepared with whatever snacks, toys or other things that you like to have for lines.

All cruise ships use a variety of charge passes. Basically, you the parent surrender your VISA card number to the ship, who issues you a “pass” with your name on it that serves as ID and allows you to charge everything you buy aboard. Each person, child or adult person, gets such a pass. We didn't like the idea of our 8 year old being able to stroll into the gift shop and charge a $6000 Rolex for Mommy's present, and had to ask that her pass be made NOT valid for charging. You should very much consider doing the same.

Also, the cards can be marked conspicuously to not allow alcohol to be served to the bearer. The cruise dude did this automatically for your younger kids, but those with teenagers with facial hair might want to make sure your heirs get the appropriately marked card. At sea it is the ship's law that applies, so all forms of alcohol were served to anyone 18 or older.

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