9 Things to Do on the First Day of Your First Cruise

Affiliate Disclaimer

In all the excitement (and a bit of confusion) on the first day of your first cruise, here’s a list to help newbies out.

1. Muster drill

Let’s start with the less-than-thrilling safety drill onboard ship known as the ‘muster drill’ or ‘lifeboat drill.’ The last thing on your mind after boarding is an emergency – or maybe it’s the first? In any event, this is a mandatory attendance event for all passengers.

Crew will show you how to put on lifejackets (which you won’t need), where your lifeboat is (which you won’t need), and escape routes (which you won’t need). But…if you do need them, you are prepared. So go learn. File it away. And let the fun begin.

2. Change into your ship clothes

Your luggage might take a bit to arrive at your stateroom. So pack ‘ship’ clothes in your carry-on, and change out of that land-lover travel outfit you’re wearing. This also might include a swimsuit since the pools are often slimly occupied on the first day.

3. Make onboard reservations

Go ahead and book specialty dining reservations, spa appointments, shore excursion plans, and purchase your drink package(s). If you don’t do these things on embarkation day reservations can fill up fast. On the first day, the prices are usually cheaper too.

4. Use your phone for the last text, and turn off ‘roaming’

Don’t let your phone take over your first cruise vacation. Often cruisers spend too much time chatting and checking social media for the latest from back home. What was the reason for heading out on the cruise int he first place? It’s to get away from everyday life, experience something new. Enough said.

5. Unpack

Not exactly a thrilling activity. But you only have to do this one time on a cruise, and it’s done! Many cruisers will often not unpack at all! It does really depend on how long the voyage is but no matter what you’ll want to get all your essentials out.

6. Take loads of pictures

Nothing like the first day of a cruise when everyone’s expressions are giddy, happy, and not-yet sunburned. You did bring sunscreen and hats, right? (Read about 7 Things People Forget on Their First Cruise.)

7. Explore the ship

This is your new home for the next days/weeks of your first cruise vacation. There are maps and apps, so get to know your surroundings. And, take the stairs when you’re exploring. That elevator, especially on the first day, will ‘never’ arrive at whatever floor you’re standing on!

8. Be on deck when she ‘sails’

It is a festive and giddy time to see and feel your cruise ship leave the dock. Usually, there’s music and celebration at different locations on the ship. But be aware, there will likely be no one on the dock sending you out into the open ocean, like they do in the movies. That was a blow to me on my first cruise – I wanted to wave at someone!

9. Introduce yourself to the cabin steward

They are the experts and can help with any situation that might arise during your first cruise. Also, it’s just fun to talk with professionals on the ship – they know all the ‘best’ tips.

Angela Minor
Angela Minor
Enchanted with cruising from my first voyage in the Bahamas on the SS Emerald Seas to Alaska’s Inside Passage. Professional freelance writer and published indie author. Find out more about us here.


Free expert cruise tips and news from Cruise Hive! We'll send you the latest cruise updates daily to your inbox.

Cruise Boards
Copy link