The dreaded last day of a cruise comes too soon.

I never want a cruise to come to an end.  It’s always a bittersweet moment eating that last breakfast on disembarkation day and feeling the pull of reality from land.

What should you do after your cruise is over? These tips will help. Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

But there are a few things you should do right after your cruise is over to make the whole process as painless as possible.  Some of these actionable items on the list can be done while still on the ship and others should be done after being on shore or at home.

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1. Double-check your onboard account

Onboard spending can add up fast, and if you’re more on the impulsive side the total amount might surprise you.  Either way, you should always double-check your account before you leave the ship just in case there are any disputes.

I should note that when sailing with MSC you will have to settle your onboard spending account before you can disembark the ship.  I’ve been turned back before after failing to do this.  There’s nothing like having your cruise card scanned and getting ready to get off the ship only to find that you have to go back and settle your account first and then get back in line.

2. Book another cruise (while still on the ship if possible)

If you really enjoyed your cruise and would love to sail with that same cruise line again, booking the next cruise while still on the ship can score you a great deal.   Cruise lines will often have discounts and onboard credit deals for booking a cruise while on a ship.

So, the best time to book that next cruise could be while you’re just wrapping up your current cruise.

Related: Best ways to book a cruise to save time and money

3.  Thank the crew

The crew are the unsung heroes of any cruise.  Most cruisers pre-pay gratuities and put it in their account, but you can feel free to go above that with some personalized cash tips if you would like.

Either way, be sure to thank them for all their hard work during your cruise.  They work extremely hard, working long hours just to make sure you have the best vacation possible.  Take the time especially to thank your room steward and your server in the main dining room sometime before the cruise is over.

Related: Cruise ships with the best crew to passenger ratios

4. Have documents ready for customs (and put away your phone)

After living stress-free for the last 7 days, getting off the ship on disembarkation day can seem like a slap in the face from the hand of reality.   After getting off the ship you will have to go through customs.

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Make sure you have all of your passports and other necessary documents out and ready to go.  Security is usually pretty strict on the “no cell phones” policies as well, so be sure to put these away.  Customs agents can confiscate your phone if you’re talking on it or trying to take pictures, so don’t test the limits on this one.

5. Enjoy a post-cruise excursion at the port city

If you’re not actually from the port city you might as well enjoy some time there just like you would a port of call on the itinerary of a cruise.   If you flew into the port city you should book a flight back for the day after the cruise or even two days after if you can afford the extra time.

It’s vacation after all, and it would be a shame to miss out on an amazing tour or attraction just because you saw the port city only as a launching point for your ship.

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You can book a 3rd party excursion, but booking a post-cruise excursion through the cruise line will help manage some of the luggage and transportation issues that you would otherwise have to handle yourself.

Related: 10 most overrated cruise shore excursions

6. Have a post-cruise hotel booked

You’ll want to have this taken care of well before your cruise even begins, but I wanted to put it on the list because you might want to go straight from the cruise ship to your hotel so you can drop off your luggage and head out on that excursion I mentioned above.

I always recommend booking a hotel before a cruise begins if you’re flying into the port city, but having a hotel night after the cruise gives you an extra buffer for your vacation as well.  This way your disembarkation day isn’t too hectic and busy and you can actually enjoy another day off from work.

7. Leave a review about the cruise

The best time to write a review about your cruise is while it’s still fresh on your mind.  Whether it’s on cruise forums like Cruise Critic, on websites like, or just leaving a detailed survey with the cruise line itself, express your thoughts about the cruise to help benefit others.

Read more: 7 ways to avoid spending a single extra penny on your cruise

8. Go straight from suitcase to washing machine at home

As soon as I get home from a cruise, I don’t even pass by the washing machine without opening up my suitcase and transferring my dirty laundry.  Unpacking is the least exciting part of a cruise, so you might as well get it done right away.

Just be sure to remove any souvenirs from your trip and empty those pockets before you just dump your entire suitcase into the washing machine.

9. Make sure you get those loyalty points

If you’re a regular reader of Cruise Fever you know how much we value those loyalty points.  Most cruise lines will apply these points to your account right after a cruise, but you will want to check to make sure they went through without any issues.

Related: Loyalty programs of 8 cruise lines compared

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Read more: 5 most overlooked cruise costs first-timers always missWhy you should consider sailing on an older cruise ship

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