Top 7 Must-Do Activities Upon Boarding a Cruise Ship

Making the most of embarkation day can set you up for an enjoyable cruise vacation.

If you’ve never cruised before, embarking a modern vessel for the first time can be truly overwhelming. You don’t know what you don’t know, but by not doing certain things within the first hours, you risk spoiling your dream vacation.

The embarkation day process for a cruise is like a streamlined airport experience. Cruise lines provide a time window, usually from late morning to mid-afternoon, for arrival at the port.

Upon arrival, keep your boarding documents and ID ready. Once you’ve dropped off your luggage, cruise staff guide you to check-in where you’ll present your ID, complete a health form, and receive your cruise card or wristband.

This card acts as a boarding pass, room key, and payment card onboard. Some lines offer keyless embarkation, allowing direct access to rooms and cards collected at the cabin. Before boarding, you’ll go through a security line, albeit less rigorous than at an airport.

Once onboard, make sure to do these seven things as soon as you can. From checking your accommodations to enjoying the iconic sailaway, these steps ensure you maximize your onboard experience right from the start.

As soon as you enter your cabin, inspect everything to ensure it meets your expectations and everything is in working order. Check that all facilities, such as the shower, toilet flush, lights, and electrical outlets, function properly.

If there is anything amiss, this is the time to contact guest services. You should expect a long queue on embarkation day, but the sooner you identify an issue, the higher the chance of a quick resolution, especially if an alternative cabin may be required.

You should check your cruise ship cabin and meet your room steward as soon as you can on embarkation day.

This time also gives you an opportunity to stow your valuables in the cabin safe, and freshen up if desired.

Introduce yourself to your cabin steward. They are key to ensuring your stay is comfortable, and will most likely call on you as soon as they realize you have arrived.

Discuss any specific preferences or needs you might have, such as extra pillows or allergies, or mention if you are late sleepers, for example. If you have any queries about room service or laundry options, now is the time to ask.

Cabin stewards are consistently professional, however, introducing yourself to yours early can add value to your shipboard experience.

Cruise ships of today boast an impressive variety of dining and entertainment choices. Booking early is vital for high-demand onboard activities, reservations for meals, and off-board excursions.

In certain scenarios, popular activities might have been booked full before the cruise. For activities that require on-board booking, head to the corresponding info desk or utilize the shipboard app to secure your bookings as quickly as you can.

You’ll want to check your arranged dining time as well, especially if your ship has a fixed dining scheme. If you are not satisfied with the arrangement, approach the maitre’d to ask for modifications.

The only critical task on the first day is the muster drill. Before the pandemic, multiple cruise lines obliged physical presence in the theater or another large venue to review the cruise safety procedures.

In recent times, nearly all cruise lines provide a digital muster experience. Often, a safety video can be viewed on the cabin TV (which needs to be watched prior to using other features) or even on the cruiser app.

You might still need to report to your assigned lifeboat station to have your attendance recorded, but this is simple and takes only a few minutes.

When you enter your cabin, review your daily planner to discover if there are any introductory tours or activities arranged by the cruise line.

Embarkation day can be hectic and overwhelming. Join a guided tour to get your bearings.

Ship tours are ideal for first-time cruisers unfamiliar with the ship’s layout and generally how things work on board.

Keep an eye out for embarkation day tours or introductory sessions at the spa, fitness center, or casino. These often include special promotions or offers to kickstart your cruise experience.

To avoid hefty roaming charges, switch your phone to airplane mode. While at sea, your device could inadvertently connect to a cellular maritime network, which incurs high costs or data.

Even without engaging with your phone actively, background data used by your applications may result in a considerable bill before you even get an SMS alert, if you get one at all.

A large number of cruise ships provide Wi-Fi packages, so think about getting one if you need to maintain contact. Bear in mind that cruise line applications generally need a connection to the ship’s Wi-Fi network, but they can be used without procuring an internet package.

Alternatively, consider this an opportunity to disconnect and appreciate the respite from constant connectivity. If this is your choice, use the period prior to sailing away to send some goodbye messages.

Don’t miss the sailaway party, a time-honored cruise tradition. Top decks on many lines will offer live music and celebrations as the ship sets sail.

It’s the perfect time to grab a drink, meet other travelers, and take in the stunning views as you set sail on your adventure. If you want to toast the sailaway, be sure to get a drink in good time, as the bars will all be busy.

Set sail on a voyage of discovery with – your ultimate destination for all things cruising! Explore the latest news, insightful reviews, and thrilling cruising adventures from around the globe. Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-time traveler, is your go-to source for expert advice, insider tips, and inspiring stories to fuel your wanderlust. Embark on a journey like no other with – where every wave brings new excitement and endless possibilities on the high seas.

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