You are on your first cruise! (Part 2)

You are finally on vacation!

If you haven’t read Part 1 of this three-part article, click here!

Once onboard the party immediately begins! Here is what we do when we get on the ship.

We most often will head to the buffet to grab some lunch once we are onboard. You will notice bartenders and servers greeting you with tropical drinks with umbrellas as well as cold beers. If you plan to purchase a beverage package, I would ask where they are being sold and buy it before your first drink. Most cruise lines sell both soda packages as well as alcohol packages. Based on the per drink cost, often a pre-paid package provides substantial cost savings.

The family usually is starving by this time, and a good meal is in order. Some ships will also have other dining venues open for lunch, so make sure you ask once onboard. After eating lunch, we will typically do a little ship exploration; our intention is to give the kids some time before letting them lose at the kid’s pool or splash area.

In our experience, our stateroom has been available after 2:00 pm. If you are lucky, your suitcases will be waiting for you, but if not, you were prepared with the essentials in your carry on luggage. We will typically relax and unpack for a bit in the room then get ready for the sail-away parties on the pool deck. In your room, you will find the first day’s cruise information newsletter. This document will outline all of the activities, restaurant information, kids club, spa treatments and more. Review it so that you don’t miss a thing!

Maritime laws require that every passenger take part in a safety drill called a Muster Drill. Your sea-pass card, as well as signage on the back of your stateroom door, will tell you your Muster Station location. Ship officers will announce to proceed to your designated Muster Station. The drill takes about 30 minutes total and is REQUIRED for all passengers. The bars all stop serving during this time, and you must attend the drill.

After the drill has completed, it is time to enjoy your first day on the ship!

Onboard tips:

-Book shore excursions if you didn’t prebook with the cruise line, or with me. Excursions often fill up, so see the shore excursion desk for more information.
-Get your beverage package if you haven’t already done so
-Make reservations for any specialty dining restaurants that you are interested in dining at.
-Leave your purse and wallet in the safe, all you need is your sea-pass card while on the ship.
-Learn the lingo:
Port = Left
Starboard = Right
Forward/Bow = Front
Aft/Stern = Back
Lido Deck = Pool Deck
OBC = Onboard Credit
-When enjoying the main dining room or specialty restaurants, remember, your cruise fare is all inclusive! Order as much or as little as you can eat, but make sure you save room for dessert! You can also ask for items that are not on the menu if you are craving something different.

Next week I will round out the article with information on your port stops and disembarkation!

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