Nothing matches the excitement that comes with first stepping aboard a cruise ship. From first getting a sense of the massive size of the ship to the anticipation of the fun times you’re about to have on your vacation, all of those emotions seem to hit at once as you board.
Amid all of that excitement is the question of what to do first. Find your cabin? Hit the buffet for a quick snack? Grab your first adult beverage? All are good choices, but if you want to make the most of your first hour on the cruise ship, then there several things you can do to get your cruise started off on the right foot.
Make Any Last-Minute Phone Calls or Texts
Unless you have an international calling plan or want to makes calls through the ship’s expensive cellular service, go ahead and make any final calls before the ship leaves port. Once the cruise departs, you won’t be able to make calls from regular land-based cellular towers. Take a few minutes to call anyone you might need to talk to before you leave, send any last-minute texts, or check your email one last time.
Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode
After you make any last-minute calls, you want to either turn your phone off or put it on airplane mode. Once you are outside of the reach of land-based towers, your phone will automatically search for service, and could possibly go into roaming mode. That by itself isn’t an issue, but if the phone starts using data (such as with automatic downloaded updates) or receiving text messages, you could be charged considerably more for the service than you would on land. The easiest thing to do is simply avoid the situation altogether.
Sign Up For Any Reservations
Do you plan to eat at the ship’s steakhouse or do you really want that spa treatment at 10 a.m. the next morning? If you have your heart set on a specific reservation, you want to get down to the ship’s Guest Services desk as soon as possible. Reservations for the most popular times can fill up quickly, leaving you with your second choices if you wait until later to sign up. Remember, you can always cancel a reservation later if you change your mind, so there is no harm is signing up right when you board the ship.
Test Your In-Room Safe
No feature of your room is as important as your in-room safe. It’s a convenient way to keep your valuables stored while you are out of the room or on an excursion. Take a few minutes right when you board to understand how to open and lock your safe, and make sure it functions as it should. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to let your room steward or Guest Services know as soon as possible.
Organize Your Cabin Before You Head Out
When you first board the ship, you likely want to spend as little time as possible in your cabin. But before you head out for the evening, definitely take a few minutes to organize your cabin. Get out your toothbrush, put your luggage in the closet, and clear any clothes or bags off the bed. You don’t need to completely unpack in the first hour, but a little organization can go a long way. You’ll be thankful you did when you come back from an evening of fun and don’t have to move around a bunch of heavy bags or dig through your luggage to brush your teeth and get ready for bed.
Take a Photo of the Ship’s Daily Schedule
As you enter your cabin for the first time, you’ll be greeted with a whole stack of mail. This includes the ship’s daily “newspaper” — a 4-6 page brief with the schedule of activities and information about the ships, ports, etc. Before you head out for the evening, grab a quick photo of the ship’s schedule for that evening. This way you’ll always have the schedule at your fingertips without having to carry around the entire paper schedule. It’s an easy way to make sure you don’t miss anything that you want to do on the first night of your cruise.
Prepare for the Muster Drill
No one likes the muster drill, but it’s required by law and all passenger must participate. If you haven’t heard of muster, it’s a safety drill where each passenger meets at their assigned station on the deck as they would if there were an emergency. The drill usually takes place before the ship departs and you will hear announcements related to it once you board the ship. To prepare you don’t need much, just your room key which will have your assigned muster station on it. Just be prepared to drop whatever you are doing when the drill is called and don’t let it surprise you.
Have other things that you do right when you board? Let us know in the comments below…