Cruise Planning – Embarkation Day – Part 2

You’re onboard the ship, all the necessities in your carryon bag, and you’ve had lunch in a nice (non-buffet) location. Now what should you do? There are a number of things to which you should still attend before sailaway.

First, check your dining arrangements. Make sure that you were assigned your preferred dining time. If not, now is the time to go see the Maitre ‘D and ask for a change. While there are no guarantees, the cruise does its best to accommodate as many of these first day requests as possible. Coming earlier definitely gives you an advantage, so if there’s a real problem, you may want to do this before you head to lunch. This is also a good time to make reservations for any specialty restaurants you wish to visit, or for any kind of special meal (such as a Chef’s Table dinner).

You can also book your spa treatments now, if you did not do so before boarding. Additionally, most cruise lines have relaxation areas in the spa, such as the Persian Gardens on Celebrity, the Enclave on Princess, or rainforest rooms. These relaxation areas generally have thermal loungers, steam rooms, special showers, etc. Access is limited, and there is an extra charge. On the first day of the cruise you can take a tour, and if you like what you see, you can book access for your entire vacation. Some cruise lines also have reserved areas on the open deck (such as The Sanctuary on Princess, or the private cabanas at Lawn Club on Celebrity). Again, this is the time to take a tour and book access, if you wish.

If you have children, or are thinking of bringing children on a future cruise, the first day is the best time to tour the children’s areas. You will get to see the facilities for the different age groups and meet the counselors. Adults are generally not permitted in the children’s areas after the first day, so if you are interested, this is your chance to explore the area. It is also a good time for your child(ren) to meet the counselors and get to know them a little bit.

It is also important to check your stateroom. While it should be clean and ready for you, you will want to make certain that everything is in working order, and that it contains everything you need (enough towels, life jackets, robes, pillows. etc.). If there is anything you need, contact your room steward (he or she should introduce themselves to you relatively quickly) and let them know. They will be happy to assist you.

Cruise ships hold a safety drill before ever leaving port, and attendance is mandatory. This of this as being equivalent to the safety briefing on an airplane before takeoff. But once the cruise safety drill is over, it isn’t too long until departure!

As you are sailing away, there is one last thing you need to do: you must turn all of your mobile devices to airplane mode. You are leaving the country and unless you have a generous cellular plan, your devices will be roaming and attempting to download data at exorbitant rates. Turning your devices to airplane mode prevents unexpected surprises on your bill. You can always purchase internet access onboard and connect to the wifi there, or you may receive some free internet minutes as a past passenger benefit.

You are ready to enjoy your cruise! Relax and have fun!