Embarkation Day Tips: 10 Things You Should Do on the First Day of Your Cruise

Check out our list of things you should do once you climb aboard your cruise ship.


No matter whether you’re a newbie or an experienced cruiser, stepping aboard one of our cruise ships is always an exciting moment as this is when your cruise vacation begins. But if you’re a first-time cruiser or someone who doesn’t have an embarkation day routine, you may need some helpful tips on how to have the best start to your trip.


Here’s a list of the things you should consider doing to help make the first day of your cruise as enjoyable as possible.

1. Safety first

Let’s start with the mandatory safety drill, an exercise that is conducted by the crew within the first few hours on board your ship. All passengers, regardless of age and cruising experience, are required to attend the safety drill at their designated stations as it provides important information in case of an emergency. Multiple announcements will be made to inform you that the safety drill is taking place to give you plenty of time to get your life jacket from your stateroom and reach your muster station. The crew members will be staggered around the ship to make sure everyone knows where they need to go, so all you need to do is show up and listen carefully to the safety presentation.

2. A quick change of clothes

As you’ll need to leave your luggage with the porters at the cruise terminal, you’re going to want to bring a carry-on bag with you so that you have a change of clothes for when you’re aboard the ship. Make sure you pack your carry-on with all your must-have items, such as sunglasses, bathing suits, comfortable clothing and any prescription medication. You may find that your luggage takes a while to arrive at your stateroom, so you’ll definitely want to be organized and take a carry-on bag for the first day of your cruise vacation.

3. Read the daily program

You can get stuck into lots of different activities on the first day of your cruise, all of which are listed in your daily program. We provide arts and crafts workshops, dancing lessons, quizzes, bingo games and language lessons, and our chefs even hold cooking demonstrations, so be sure to browse through your options to find things you don’t want to miss. Your daily program also gives you information on the lifeboat drill, onboard services, the destinations you’ll visit that day, shore excursions, the evening entertainment and any promotions at the beauty salon or duty-free shop.

4. Explore the ship

Your first day onboard is the perfect time to get to know your cruise ship and familiarize yourself with its layout, restaurants, bars and main attractions. Starting at the top of the ship, take the stairs and have a good walk around the decks and interior to identify which lounges and eateries you want to try first, and remember to take lots of photos. There are some maps and deck plan guides on our ships to help you navigate your way around their key areas. Finding your stateroom and even the right floor can be an ongoing challenge if it’s your first time on a cruise ship, so look for things that are different and stand out on the stairways, near the elevators or in the hallways that are nearest to your corridor to help guide you in the right direction.

5. Book your shore excursions

Some of our excursions have limited spaces and sell out, which is why we advise you book early if you haven’t pre-booked any of the tours. We have an excursions desk on each ship, managed by friendly and knowledgeable staff who can answer any questions you have about our tours and assist you with your choice of shore excursions to help you make the most of your days in port. Once you’ve booked your selected tours, you can start enjoying the fabulous amenities and exceptional service onboard the ship.

6. Head to the spa and salons

If you know you want to book a hair, spa or beauty treatment during your cruise, we recommend you book your appointments when you first explore the ship. The spa and salons will be busy and the most popular treatments get booked up very quickly, so you’ll need to book early to avoid any disappointment. Also, don’t forget to check your daily program for any discounts.

7. Send your last texts and make your last phone calls

If you want to call or text any of your friends or family members to tell them that you’ve safely boarded your cruise, do so before the ship sets sail. Communication at sea is different than on land or in port because your phone won’t be able to access a cell tower, which means there will be times when you and your ship are outside of any service area. Don’t worry too much, though, as your phone will work normally while your ship is near or docked at a destination. You can, however, contact your loved ones while at sea on your cruise by connecting to the ship’s satellite or Wi-Fi, but both will cost you extra.

8. Take a good look at your stateroom

By now, your luggage should be waiting for you outside your cabin, making it the ideal time to unpack your essentials and inspect your stateroom. Have a good look around and make sure everything is in order to set your mind at ease. Check that the taps and toilet in the bathroom are working properly and test out the lights and air conditioning, then introduce yourself to your stateroom steward as they will be able to help you with any special requests and any situation that might arise during your cruise vacation. Oh, and if you plan to spend the next couple of hours on deck, grab your sunglasses and put on some sunscreen before you leave your stateroom.

9. Relax with a colorful cocktail or dip in the pool

It’s the first day of your cruise vacation, so it makes sense to head up on deck to celebrate with a colourful cocktail or two. There are plenty of bars and lounges on our ships, all perfect spots to grab a cold drink, meet people and soak up the buzzing atmosphere. Embarkation day is also a great time to take a refreshing dip in the pool. Many people don’t realize that the pool is open on the first day and most guests don’t pack swimwear in their carry-on bag, which means it’s the least crowded time to go for a swim.

10. Find the perfect spot to bid farewell to dry land

When the time comes to leave the embarkation port, you’ll want to find a good place to sit or stand on deck to enjoy the sail-away. Everyone, including the crew, gets excited at this time, so order a glass of bubbles, find the perfect spot and take a moment to celebrate with your travel buddies and fellow guests as the ship leaves the port.


Looking for your next adventure at sea? Discover our amazing variety of destinations and book your dream cruise vacation today.