The cruise is booked and you are all packed and travel day is looming, if you haven’t cruised before you will be wondering about those first initial steps and what to expect on cruise embarkation day.
Read on for our top Cruise Embarkation Day Tips For couples and families. If you are prepared when Cruising With Kids, embarkation day is exciting for families. It’s all about getting it right, especially with all the new cruise and testing policies.
Download The Cruise App
If your cruise ship has an app download it, many now have online check in, ordering systems for dining plans and drink packages, rooms service, and booking in for shows which makes life so much easier.
Pre Purchase Drinks Packages and Specialty Dining Plans
It is generally better value to book drink packages in advance. Keep your eye out for deals and special offers; most cruise lines run a drinks package sale for adults and kids throughout the year, which you can add to your booking.
Check In Online Before Your Cruise
All cruise lines have apps or online check-in options where you can upload your passport, add your bank details and photos, covid statements and proof of vaccinations. Once completed, you will get a QR code to scan at the port; this will allow quicker embarkation.
Fly The Day Before Cruise Embarkation Day
If there is a delay and you have booked your flights separately, the ship will not wait. This has happened to us before, and it’s stressful, however traveling the day before takes that stress away. And if you get an early flight, it gives you a day and night to explore the port area before boarding your ship.
If You Are Driving To The Port Pre Book Parking
Look at maps of the port to get the nearest parking possible, it’s so much easier when trying to negotiate cases and children. And you will be glad of it when you disembark.
Tell Your Bank You Are Cruising
Make sure your bank knows you’ll be using your credit/debit card in a different region or country every day. You will have pre registered your card during online check in.
Be Prepared And Get Cash Out Ready For Port Days
It costs more to change money onboard so have so cash ready for port days. Research local currency’s of all the ports of your trip and be prepared.
You Will A Need A Stroller At the Cruise Terminal
There can be a lot of walking and waiting; cruise terminals will have either a travelator or lift for buggies, wheelchairs and strollers. Make sure your stroller is narrow enough for cabin doors.
Drop Luggage Off With The Porters Before You Enter The Terminal Building
Before you enter the terminal building, book your cases with the porters. Have your documentation ready and luggage labels filled out and attached to your suitcases. You will see your cases for only a short time. They usually appear outside your cabin around 6pm, for this reason, cruise lines rarely hold a formal night on the first night of your cruise.
Pack A Cruise Embarkation Day Bag
Be prepared and pack an embarkation bag, you may not see your luggage for hours. Items to pack include swimwear, armbands, sunglasses, sun cream any small toys to keep little ones busy.
Can I Take Alcohol on a Cruise?
You are permitted to take a bottle of champagne or wine per person onto your cruise on embarkation day. The amount can vary, so check with your line, however, it’s usually one bottle (750 mL) per adult in a cabin, but limited to 2. Keep this in your carry-on luggage to prevent breakages. However, should you have a drinks package this may not be necessary.
Find A Spot For Lunch
Embarkation day is manic and it’s so easy to get swept along and forget to eat. Once onboard its natural to want to explore, but this is a great time to find a spot for lunch. The buffet restaurant, especially now many aren’t self service will be manic, my advice is find a quieter spot, ships have many dining options and take time to enjoy a glass of wine, enjoy a meal and chill.
Complete The Muster Drill?
Yes, there is a muster drill, but to avoid big crowds cruise lines have changed the way the muster drill works and it’s so much better. You now watch a safety video in your stateroom which takes you through where the lifeboats are, your muster station and what to do in an emergency. You must then head to your muster station to register.
This is logged with the bridge so everyone on board must watch it and register with the muster station before sailaway, and as it’s maritime law the ship can not set sail until it’s done.
Check Out The Cruise News
Don’t underestimate the cruise news it’s an essential part of cruise life. One will be delivered to your stateroom every night detailing everything that will be happening on-board the next day.
If you are cruising with children they will also receive their own copy. On your first day look out for kids club sign up, any shows you may want to register for and meet and greet times.
Visit The Kids Club to Register
The kids club registration on embarkation day is so important. The kids crew are on hand to meet and greet kids and answer any questions. There is also paperwork to fill out to sign your kiddies up so make sure you take your passport and cruise card along with you. Although many cruise lines have now added this as a feature on the app.
If You’ve Booking Speciality Dining Consider if you will Need Babysitting Too?
We love trying out the speciality dining, and as our kids have got older they love it too. However younger kids may not have the patience for long drawn out meals. It’s better to snap up those babysitting slots if you do want a romantic meal. ( This is not the case for drinks packages they are better booked beforehand)
Set an Emergency Meeting Point Somewhere Inside the Ship on the First Day!
Cruise ships are HUGE it’s so easy to lose each other. It only takes for an older child to wander off and you nip to the bathroom and you are lost. This has only ever happened to us once, and can happen anywhere you travel. Agreeing an inside meeting point is a great idea so that in the event of this happening you all know exactly where to go.
Set Balcony Rules With Older Children
There may be times when older children are in your cabin alone. It may only be for minutes if they run ahead to let themselves in. Ensure you have a safety discussion as soon as you enter your cabin for the first time.
This post first appeared on Cruising For All and is Syndicated to Mini Travellers.
Also See Royal Caribbean Drinks Package Guide
MSC Drinks Package Guide
Check out everything we know about the MSC Drinks Package and drinks prices on MSC Cruises.
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Sarah Christie is a craft, food, cruise, and family travel blogger Extraordinary Chaos, Cruising For All and Mini Travellers. Known for her unique perspective and ability to find beauty in chaos, Sarah designs and creates craft projects as well as creating recipes for people who want to cook from scratch the easy way. Whilst also exploring family travel and how to navigate it.