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What is the check in process?

The content covered here will give all the information guests need to know about checking in for their voyage. From embarkation at the terminal, priority check in, and registering a payment card.

We want guest's voyage to get off to a great start with quick and easy check in and embarkation. 

Southampton/New York departures

  • Guests will be allocated an Arrival Time, which can be found on My Cunard 21 days before departure.
  • Due to the large number of guests embarking our ships, we operate a staggered check in and embarkation process at Southampton, New York and Hamburg turnarounds. To ensure guests spend less time in the terminal, we request that guests don't arrive prior to their allocated Arrival Time. If guests do arrive earlier than their allocated time, they may have to wait longer than those guests adhering to their Arrival Time as they will take priority - this is to stop congestion in the cruise terminal and to enhance the guest experience.
  • We are unable to change embarkation times. If there is a party travelling together, then they can arrive at the later Arrival Time assigned but not at the earlier time.
  • The latest time that guests can check in is documented on their My Cunard and Boarding Passes. Please don't advise guests of a departure time for the ship as this is subject to change.
  • If guests are trying to Check-In online with their airline, flying to JFK in New York, and it will not let them choose "in transit", they can use the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal address: 72 Bowne St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, United States.

Priority embarkation

  • Guests booked in Queens Grill, Princess Grill, and Britannia Club have the additional benefit of priority embarkation at Southampton, New York and Hamburg turnarounds. The Boarding Pass time is allocated accordingly, so all guests should arrive at the time stated on the Boarding Pass** and join priority boarding in the terminal. Priority selection of disembarkation time is also available to those in Queens Grill, Princess Grill, and Britannia Club and will be arranged on board.
  • Diamond and Platinum members of the Cunard World Club have priority embarkation at Southampton, New York and Hamburg turnarounds. Diamond and Platinum members should arrive at the time stated on the Boarding Pass** and join priority boarding in the terminal. This means that they can join priority boarding in the terminal, but can't arrive earlier than is stated on their Boarding Pass.
  • If a Diamond/Platinum Tier member is travelling within a stateroom with a lower-tier guest, they can both embark at the priority check-in desk (at the time stated on their boarding pass).
  • Brides and grooms who have booked a Wedding at Sea have priority embarkation when arriving at their allocated arrival time as per their Boarding Pass. This means that they can join priority boarding in the terminal, but can't arrive earlier than is stated on their Boarding Pass. This benefit does not apply to other members of the wedding party.
  • Guests with mobility requirements are entitled to priority embarkation, and should arrive at the time stated on the Boarding Pass and make themselves known to the assistance team on arrival. This means that the assistance team will be able to prioritise boarding for the guest from the time stated on the Boarding Pass.

** Please note that if these guests arrive later, they will still be prioritised.

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

Hidden disabilities

We recommend that guests who have a hidden disability arrive at the cruise terminal in Southampton from 15:00, as this is a quieter time with less chance of queueing and being in a stressful environment. Alternatively, these guests may arrive at their allocated time and can make themselves known at the enquiries desk if they require further assistance. We're unable to move the Arrival Time to an earlier slot.

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 20 minutes  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.


If guests are flying out to meet the ship, then they will find no Arrival Time on My Cunard. On arrival at the airport in the destination, guests will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to the ship.

Online Check-in (OLC)

Cunard has rolled out the enhanced online check in facility, which guests complete prior to arrival at the terminal from 21 days prior to departure.

Guests will be able to log in and fill out their passport details, register a payment card for their cruise, upload a photo(s) and download boarding pass(es). Guests will have the flexibility to register one card for all guests travelling, or a different card for each guest in the booking. Online check-in for minors (guests under 18 years old) must be completed by an accompanying adult on 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 them to start enjoying their voyage on board with us even quicker!

Guests will receive an email advising that online check-in is open for their cruise and 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 payment card added.
  4. Upload a photo. Doing this will reduce time in the terminal, however it is not mandatory and if the guest is unable to upload a photo, one will be taken at the terminal at the check-in desk.
  5. Guests with passport information completed and a payment card successfully registered (mandatory) are now checked in. Uploading a photo is not mandatory to complete Online Check-in.
  6. Download Boarding Pass for completed guests.


Key points:

  • Guests are still able to complete Online Check-in from D-21 until two hours before midnight for the day of embarkation.
  • The layout and functionality remains the same for the new Online-Check-in, with some improvements for guest experience.

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.

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

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