With thousands of suitcases to deal with, big ships have established the routine of requiring guests to pack the night before they disembark if they don't want to carry their bags off the ship themselves. You will be asked to leave your bags (except for your carry-ons) in the hallway before you retire for the night usually by midnight. The bags will be picked up overnight and placed in the cruise terminal before passengers are allowed to disembark.
It's important to make sure that your bags are tagged with the luggage tags given you by the cruise line toward the end of your cruise. These are not the same tags you arrived with; rather, they're color-coded to indicate deck number and debarkation order the order in which they'll likely be arranged on the dock.
Luggage Procedures Cruises Photo Gallery
Click on Photos for Next Luggage Procedures Cruises Gallery Images
If you need more tags, alert your cabin steward or the purser's staff. You may also have the option of carrying your own bags off if they aren't too heavy.
If you booked your air travel through the cruise line, you may be able to check your luggage for your flight at the cruise terminal (or even on board the ship for a small fee). Make sure you receive your luggage claim checks. You may even be able to get your flight boarding passes at the cruise terminal, saving you a wait in line at the airport. A bus will then take you to the airport.