The First Day Of Your Cruise

People who are new to cruises and cruise holidays may find that after the packing and planning is done, the first day on the ship can be a bit intimidating. This comes from not knowing what to expect, not being sure of proper cruise etiquette and not quite knowing what will happen once the cruise sets sail. So, what should one expect on the very first day of a cruise?

sunset from the cruise deck

What To Expect

Before new passengers can embark on their vacation, the previous week’s passengers must be let off the ship in a process called disembarking. The previous travelers must be ushered off of the ship, the ship’s rooms and hallways are cleaned from top to bottom and made ready for the new week’s guests. Food, beverages and supplies are delivered to the ship for the next trip and have to be unloaded and put away. Lastly, the new crewmembers are brought on board.

Your Arrival

If you’ve been lucky enough to land one of the great cruise deals that can be found, you’ll soon find yourself on a plane and arriving at your destination. If you have any of the baggage handlers carry your bags for you, be sure to tip them as they work for the airport and not the cruise line. Have your ticket and identification handy as you may be asked to produce both once you reach your destination. A great travel purse or bag will be incredibly useful!

Don’t worry that you don’t quite know what to do once you arrive at port. The cruise line has employees at the ready to show travelers the way. If you arrive before your boarding time, you may find yourself checked-in and directed to a holding area or you may be asked to wait; this process can vary depending on the policies of the cruise line. It is virtually guaranteed that you will be asked for any forms, documents and identification you have at check-in. Be sure to have these readily available for inspection.

Along with your documents and identification, have a credit card in your travel bag. You’ll be asked for your card at check-in to pay for any on-board charges that are not included in the price of your ticket. You will then be directed to an area in which you and any hand bags will be passed through security. Now is the time to gather your patience and get ready to wait. Lines can be long but expect the ship’s employees to move everyone onboard as quickly as possible. Everyone is as anxious as you to get their vacation started; bear that in mind as you wait in line!

On The Ship

Now that you have finally made it aboard the ship, you will probably be asked to stop and pose for a picture. It takes just a moment so stop and smile. Having your photo taken is free and you don’t have to purchase any pictures if you don’t choose to do so. As you walk down the hull, you’ll be greeted by staff and asked to produce the boarding card you were given at check-in. At this point you will either be directed or escorted to your cabin or the buffet if your cabin isn’t 100% ready.

Once you do get to your cabin, make sure you understand where everything is located. You should easily find life jackets and a copy of the ship’s itinerary. Take a moment to look it over and highlight the things that you don’t want to miss. The itinerary will also include the time of the muster drill (think of it as a fire drill) that each guest must participate in. Don’t expect to see your checked luggage in your cabin just yet; it takes some time to get everything on board and delivered to the proper rooms.

Now is the perfect time to head to the welcome buffet or take a tour of the ship. As you walk along, no doubt you’ll see staff offering drinks in souvenir glasses. These drinks are a fun way to kick off your cruise but do be aware that that credit card you provided earlier will be charged. As you tour the ship, be sure to head to the Shore Excursion Desk and book any tours, spa appointments or other activities that you wish to take part in.

The rest of the day will be spent taking part in on board welcoming activities, finding your table assignment in the dining area and taking part in the muster drill. You can expect your luggage to arrive in your cabin by the early evening. If it doesn’t, however, be sure that you’ve packed toiletries in your carry-on so you can freshen up. After dinner, you’re ready to kick off your cruise will a Welcome Aboard show!

Last minute cruises can offer a great holiday. Now that you know what to expect on your first day, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Jeremy Haze is a blogger and a travel enthusiast, and marketing consultant for StudentFlights. For more information on on the benefits this company has to offer please visit