Embarkation day can be a bit confusing if you’ve never cruised before, and there are many ways to get the most of it that may not be obvious straight away. So if you’re new to cruising, this guide gives you some idea of what to expect on day one of your holiday, along with some tips. It’s worth noting that this is a general guide, and that each cruise line is different, so some aspects may not apply or may be missing. And if you’ve cruised before and have your own tips to share, comment away below.
Normally you’ll be asked to arrive and leave your luggage at the porterage service. You won’t see it again until your cabin is ready and even then there may be a delay on it arriving, so make sure you’ve got all the essentials in your carry-on bags. A change of clothes may be a good idea as would a swimsuit if you fancy giving the pool a try within the first few hours of getting on-board.
Once you’ve gone through the necessary forms of identification and you make your way onto the ship, you’ll typically have the chance to pose for a photo and try the special drink. Note that the drink isn’t free and, if you choose to buy a copy, neither is the photograph.
Unless you’re on a special package, the chances are your cabin won’t be ready for you at this point, so it’s generally advised that you try the buffet restaurant which will be serving lunch. While this is a good idea, it’s a good idea for everyone on-board and as such can be busy. It’s worth finding out if there’s anywhere else open on your ship which may be quieter.
You’ll be notified when your stateroom is ready for you, so go and find it. At this stage you’ll meet your stateroom attendant, so if you’ve any special requests now is the best time to make them. Explore your room and unpack – resist the temptation to be lazy and live out of your suitcase. Staterooms, particularly standard inside and outside rooms, aren’t the biggest rooms in the world, so every bit of space counts.
There are now three things that you should do, and it depends on the schedule as to the order. You must attend the muster drill – it’s a safety briefing that won’t take too much time but it is mandatory, so get it out of the way, pay attention, and then you can start relaxing fully. You should also now use your time to book any excursions, speciality dining reservations or spa treatments that you’d like to enjoy, as the best of each often sell out quite quickly.
Finally the third thing you should do is just explore the ship. Get to know your way around, as that way you can start planning exactly where you want to go and what you want to do. Consider attending the Sailaway party as the ship leaves dock, as there are usually some great events taking place. Find the restaurants you’ve made bookings for, and the bars you want to attend. Then your time is your own – start doing whatever you like.
By Ian Lewis