Taking a first cruise is exciting! There is so much to see and do on-board the ship, and it’s understandable that you can’t wait to board and begin your adventure. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of that first day where you board the ship from your departure port.
- Consider spending the night before you leave in a hotel in your departure city. By already being in town, you can avoid the stress and anxiety of worrying that your flight delays or traffic will keep you from boarding the ship on time. If possible, fly into the departure city so that you’re not exhausted by the drive upon arrival; no one wants to spend the first 2 days of a 5-day cruise sleeping off an arduous drive.
- Be prepared to check in for your cruise. Have all of your cruise documents and paperwork at hand and ready, from your cruise ship tickets to your passport or passport card. Have a pen handy to take care of any last-minute forms.
- Do tag your bags and let the cruise ship porters take your bags to your room when you check in. Really, you don’t want to carry them around the ship until you can get to your room. Staircases and elevators are especially busy during embarkation, and passageways can be narrower than you expect.
- Use a backpack as your carry-on. This way, you’ll be hands-free as you manage the check-in process, navigate the ship for the first time, and if traveling with kids, hold their hands (or their stuff!). Consider wearing swimsuits under your clothes because the pool is typically open right away. Be sure to keep essentials in your carry-on, too, like any medications, hat and sunglasses, sunscreen, or kids’ items like diapers and baby food. It might be a while before your luggage makes it to your cabin.
- If possible, book your shore excursions in advance. While there is an excursions desk on board, it’s staffing or hours may be limited. You probably would rather be doing something fun on-board instead of standing in line to book day trips, and by the time you book on board, you may be shut out of things you really wanted to do.
- It’s common advice but bears repeating: Turn off your mobile phone from the time you pull out of port until the time you return to your home port. International roaming charges can be shockingly high. Purchase an Internet package if you want online access while at sea.
Once you’re on board the cruise ship, it’s time to let go of all your worries and stresses, and settle into 3, 5, 7 days or more of nothing but rest and relaxation.
Now don’t forget the most important part – have fun!