As I write this post, Lynn is packing for our next cruise leaving tomorrow! Although this will be our 26th cruise, we still pretty much follow these steps each and every time we board a cruise. Hopefully you will find them helpful as well.

  • Check-In/Boarding - Arrive at the cruise terminal inline with your scheduled time window. This will help ensure a speedy process for everyone. When checking in, follow the instructions provided by the cruise line as they are not the same across all lines. Have your passport, boarding pass and any other required documents ready to present.
  • Explore the Ship - Once onboard, take some time to roam around the ship, maybe even get lost. Familiarize yourself with the layout and locate key areas such as restaurants, bars, pools, spa, gym and entertainment venues. The cruise line app is a great resource as it will have deck maps already loaded and ready to go.
  • Grab Lunch - Head to the buffet for lunch. Or, if available, check out one of the other main dining options as it typically will not be as wild and crazy as the buffet on the first day!
  • Attend Mandatory Safety Drill - All passengers are required to participate in a mandatory safety drill prior to the ship getting clearance to sail. Fortunately almost all cruise lines have moved most of the drill to their app. This allows you to watch a safety video and then stop by your assigned muster station and be checked off by a crew member.
  • Unpack and Settle In - In most cases, your luggage should make it to your stateroom by 3pm. This is the time to unpack, organize your cabin and settle in before the next thing to do.
  • Attend the Sail-Away Party! - Most cruise lines host a sail away party out on the pool deck as the ship heads out from port. Join in and have a little fun, while enjoying the views, as you leave the world behind.
  • Dinner - Make reservations at one of the specialty restaurants, or head to the main dining room for your assigned seating. Be sure to check on the dress code as they vary by cruise line and restaurant.
  • Evening Entertainment - After dinner it's time to take in one of the onboard entertainment options. These could include theater production shows, headline entertainers, comedians or live music around the ship. Check the daily schedule of activities on your app for all the 411.
  • Relax - Wind down from a busy first day by taking a stroll up on deck, having a beverage at one of the lounges or simply chilling in your cabin.
  • Plan for Tomorrow - Before calling it a day, take a few minutes to review the daily schedule and plan some of your activities for the next day.

But, remember, it's your cruise! Do as much, or as little, as you want!