For first-time cruisers, it can be overwhelming to take those first steps aboard the ship. But fear not, we've got scoop on everything you need to know:
Find your stateroom
First things first, locate your stateroom and get rid of your hand carried items. Chances are you will be greeted by the friendly ship personnel who will help you find your way. Otherwise, your travel documents folder will tell you everything you need to know. Inside your stateroom, browse the library of reading material that will help you navigate the ship’s many places of interest, as well as plan your day with the daily ship’s activities.
If you haven’t got access to your room yet, head straight to the informal dining are to get a bite to eat or drink and celebrate the fact that you’re now on holiday!
Get to know your stateroom steward(s)
You'll find your stewards milling about around your stateroom location. Find out their first name and let them know yours. Get on a first name basis and make friends and you’re well on your way to a more fun voyage.
Welcome to a world where food is aplenty. Breakfast can be found in the casual restaurant area and is a buffet style service. Most cruisers will never visit the formal dining room for breakfast but it’s worth trying at least once to experience the best food and service. Lunch service begins around 11am (or thereabouts). The formal dining room offers a great lunch and dinner service, whereas if you chose "anytime" dining, you'll be seated on a “first come, first serve” basis between the open seating times. If you have chosen an early or late seating, you will be introduced to your waiters and your table location on the first night.
Depending on your cruise ship, the specialty restaurants will offer a culinary experience you won’t forget. Don’t miss out! And if you get hungry in-between, you'll also normally find snack venues near the pool and spa areas offering a whole menu of fast and/or healthy food options. Is your mouth watering yet?
During the day
There are countless ways to spend your time on board. Countless. And the majority of them are free. Depending on the ship’s size, you can expect open-air movies, spa pampering, beauty treatments, fitness centres, libraries, swimming pools, shopping and more. Feeling sporty? Try out rock climbing, driving range golf, putt putt, bowling, volleyball, tennis and even ice-skating. Many ships also offer workshops, ranging from wine tasting and cooking to language lessons and dancing.
Of course, you can always just lay back on deck with a good book.
When the sun goes down
Nightly entertainment might include performances such as Vegas-style dancers, Broadway musicals, ice shows, comedy, and bands. Be sure to check out the cruise line’s website before you board so you don’t miss out on tickets to the hottest shows. Most ships will have at least 10 to 12 lounges and nightclubs, with some of the newer ships having up to 20! And we haven’t even started on the on-board casinos…
Something for the kids
Cruise ships know how to keep kids so busy, you'll forget they're even on board! The trick is to acquaint yourself with the location and hours of the various kid venues on board. Check out the age requirements and policies on adult supervision – older children can usually participate on their own. Kids activities are often organised according to age groups, so your children will make friends with kids their own age.
Explore the shore
One of the best things about a cruise is that you get to visit some amazing destinations. Take a minute to pre-order shore excursions before setting off, as the popular trips might sell-out. It’s always worth checking out the excursions desk onboard too in case last minute places and deals become available.
Your cruise really is what you make it. But one thing’s for sure – from the second you step aboard the ship, you won’t be bored. Bon voyage!