A Better Way to Get Your Luggage Home from Your Cruise

by Janis on April 5, 2015

We love cruising.

Being on the ocean. Getting transported to interesting places in luxury. Eating great food.

Holland America LineBut then all of the fun of a cruise comes to an end. You have to pack, get your belongings off the ship and to the airport for your flight home.  Unless you are hand-carrying your luggage, it generally has to be packed and outside your door, the night before arrival into the disembarkation port. Once you get off the ship, you have to find your luggage among miles of other bags, and drag the bags through immigration. There is color-coding, and porters for assistance, but this process can still be a pain.

Which is why programs like Holland America Line’s Luggage Direct is so brilliant. 

Luggage DirectFor a $20 per person fee, you sign up for Luggage Direct while on your cruise, giving the paperwork to the front desk staff.  The cruise line and the luggage-handling vendor get you checked in for your flights, and deliver your boarding passes and luggage tags the afternoon before your departure.

With Holland America’s Luggage Direct service, you put the special airline tags on your bags, and put them outside of your cabin door the night before departure. The next time you see those bags is at the baggage claim in your hometown airport. 

Brilliant!

One you exit the ship, you head to customs and immigration with only your carry-on bag.  Once you are cleared, you head to your transfer bus, shuttle or taxi to the airport. Or, you can take a tour.

When you arrive at the airport, you use your boarding passes to head directly to security.  Your bags have taken to the airport and checked in with the airline by the company providing the Luggage Direct service.

Not having to deal with your bags as your depart the cruise ship and make your way to the airport eliminates a major pain point of disembarkation.

We’ve used the Luggage Direct service on Holland America three different times when getting off of a Holland America cruise in Ft. Lauderdale. We’ve also used the similar Luggage Valet program on Royal Caribbean twice.

Each time, our bags have been waiting for us on at the baggage claim in Kansas City.

A Recap on How You Use Luggage Direct on Holland America Line Cruises

  •  Enroll in Luggage Direct online while on board your cruise through the front desk at least two days before disembarkation.
  •  You will receive your boarding pass and luggage tags the night before the ship’s arrival back into port.
  • You put the luggage tags on your bags and then place them outside your stateroom door.
  • The morning of the ship’s arrival, you will disembark the ship, and go through customs with your carry-on items only. At the airport you will skip the check-in lines and go directly through airport security to your departure gate.
  • When your flight arrives at its destination, pick your luggage up at your flight’s baggage claim carousel.

Notes on the Luggage Direct Program

  • If your airline charges a fee for checked bags, the airline-assessed baggage fees will be applied to your onboard account in addition to the $20 per person fee. We always fly on Southwest Airlines out of Fort Lauderdale, and the airline doesn’t charge for the first two bags per person, so this is not an issue.
  • Generally, your flight out of Ft. Lauderdale has to be for the same day of departure between 11:30 am and 6 pm.  This varies by location, and by participating airlines.
  • Participating airlines include:
    • Southwest Airlines
    • Delta
    • JetBlue
    • United
    • Alaska Airlines
    • US Airways (not sure if this includes American flights, call to check.)
  • The Luggage Direct Service is available at these U.S. cruise ports: (NOTE: we’ve only used the service in Ft. Lauderdale.)
    • Port of Miami
    • Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale)
    • Port of Seattle
    • Seward, Anchorage
    • San Pedro, Los Angeles
    • Port of San Diego

Have you tried Holland America’s Luggage Direct service, or Royal Caribbean’s Luggage Valet program? How was your experience? 

Check out these other cruise and travel tips: 

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