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What is the check in process?

The content covered here will give you all the information you need to know about checking in for your cruise. From priority embarkation, online check in, and registering a payment card.

We want your holiday to get off to a great start with quick and easy check-in and embarkation. 

Embarkation at the terminal

Due to the large number of guests embarking our ships, we operate a staggered check-in and embarkation process in our home port of Southampton. You will be allocated an Arrival Time which can be found on your e-ticket.

To ensure you spend less time in the terminal and more time on board, we kindly ask that you adhere as closely as possible to your allotted Arrival Time. 

For more information about e-tickets please see What is an E-Ticket?


The earliest Arrival Time is at 12.30, which is reserved for:

Ligurian Tier members*

Suite, mini-suite and conservatory mini-suite guests

Guests who have booked a wedding at sea (this is applicable to the bride and groom only).

*Baltic and Caribbean Tier loyalty guests will also be given priority from 13:00.

After the above, priority will be given to those who arrive at their allotted time.

You are welcome to arrive earlier of course, but if you do we will ask you to make yourself comfortable in the terminal until we are able to check you in. This may well be before your allotted time, we promise we won’t make you wait around unnecessarily.

The latest time you can check in is one hour before the ship departs.

Fly Cruise

If you are flying out to meet your ship, then you will find no Arrival Time on your e-ticket. On arrival at the airport in the destination, you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to the ship.

Arriving by coach

Guests arriving on our preferred partner, Intercruises coaches will be issued with a separate colour card before leaving the coach.

This group letter will be called forward to check-in usually within 20mins of entering the terminal.

Any guest arriving on Eavesway or any other coach service, will be viewed as "independent" and they will be called forward as soon as we are able to slot them in.

Late arrivals

On the day of departure, if you are running late and likely to arrive at 3.45pm or later, please call the Enquiries Desk at your cruise terminal: 

Mayflower Cruise Terminal – 023 8033 0106
Ocean Cruise Terminal – 023 8033 0730
City Cruise - 023 8048 8800  
QE2 Terminal - 023 8065 6400


Online Check In

After a successful pilot and in order to enhance the efficiency of the check in process, P&O Cruises has rolled out the enhanced online check in facility which guests can complete prior to departure.

Guests will be able to log in and fill out their passport details and also register a payment card for their cruise. Guests will have the flexibility to register one card for all guests travelling, or a different card for each guest in the booking. 

We are constantly looking at ways to enhance the guest experience and believe this will reduce the time spent in the terminal, allowing you to start enjoying your holiday on board with us even quicker!

Guests will be asked to visit and enter their log in details. These are first name, surname, date of birth and booking reference to log in.

Once logged in guests will need to:

  1. Enter Passport information for the guests they wish to check in
  2. Enter payment card information
  3. Select which guests the payment card will be applied to.  All children must also have a card added
  4. Guests with passport information completed and a payment card applied to them are now checked in
  5. Download Boarding Pass for completed guests


Registering a payment card

Registering a payment card for use on board can be done via the online check in portal or at the terminal at the time of embarkation.

You can register a different credit card for each passenger, or just use one card for all members in your party. The value of your on board account(s) will be automatically charged to the registered credit card(s) at the end of your cruise.

It is possible for a third party who is not travelling to have their card registered, though the card holder must be present in person at the check in desk. The alternative to this is to purchase on board spending money prior to cruising.  

If you wish to pay for your on board account in cash please see What do I need to do if I am paying my on board account in cash?

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