Cruise Travel: Luggage Tags
Then & Now
|Luggage tags then...
|...and luggage tags now
by Linda Coffman
Think back to the last time you were issued an
actual paper airline ticket. Can't remember? Neither can I. The
technology that enabled us to print our own boarding passes and
check in online for flights quickly displaced tickets that were
traditionally necessary to obtain a boarding pass at the airport.
Just in case you are unable to check in ahead of time, or need to
check suitcases, kiosks take much of the burden away from airport
check in counters.
In much the same manner, technology is overtaking
tradition in the cruise industry. For years cruise lines issued a
packet of cruise documents that booked passengers either picked up
from their travel agents or received in the mail. Some came in swank
document holders, but all included the actual ticket, the cruise
contract, and usually several forms to complete with personal
information, including one to establish onboard credit. The forms
were tedious and there was always someone
who hadn't filled them in
holding up the line in the terminal.
Slowly but surely, cruise lines are catching on to
the efficiencies of airline-style ticketing. While only a few
terminals feature kiosks for check in, document packets are
being replaced by e-documents. Either you or your travel agent can
enter all that pre-boarding information online at the cruise line's
web site and then print out the documents you need at check in,
including luggage tags.
Paper Luggage Tags?
While most passengers have no complaint about printing their own
luggage tags printed on paper are a cause for concern. As frequent cruiser George Hall said recently, "Someone
will have to explain to me how these paper tags stay on through the
It just so happens that I've had occasion to print
out and use the paper tags a couple times and I have suggestions for
how to keep them securely in place during luggage handling.
First of all, paper is flimsy and tears easily,
even when folded over into thirds as the instructions indicate. So, to prevent tearing,
"laminate" the middle section of them with wide clear packaging tape
before folding. I then staple them on the suitcase handle and
reinforce the stapled end with tape. Using this method, they have
stayed put without tearing.
However, if you're flying to your
embarkation port and don't want to carry a stapler or tape to attach
the tags before transferring to the pier, you can still obtain the traditional style
tags from luggage handlers at the cruise terminal. Take along some self sticking return
address labels so you don't have to fill that part in and have a pen
handy to write your phone number (cell phone if you have it with
you) and room number on the tags. It only takes a minute.
Many suitcases have more than one
handle (one on the side and one on the top) and for even more
"security" place a cruise ship luggage tag on each handle. If one is
damaged or lost, chances are good that the other won't be.
Finally, always make sure your
suitcases are identified with personal luggage tags. Even those can
sometimes be damaged or lost, so put a card with your personal
information inside each suitcase as well. Lock your suitcases before
checking them in pierside and relax until it's time to unpack and
enjoy the rest of your cruise.
Strong & Secure, A Better Alternative
Since writing the above, I
discovered an even better method of attaching those fragile paper
luggage tags without "laminating" them with clear packing tape. Two
Favors by Serendipity and
WCBS4 Printing have come up with ingenious
Cruise Luggage Tag Holders for those printed luggage tags.
We love that cruise lines are going green and we love these luggage
tag holders made especially for cruise ship paper luggage tags because they are strong, secure, and reusable. Check
them out on Cruise Diva's Blog
here and at the company's websites linked above.