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Tips to Maximize Your First Day on Board Your Cruise Ship

The embarkation day of a cruise can be a whirlwind, especially if you don’t know how to get the most out of it. Here are some Dos and Don’ts to ensure a fun and relaxing first day on board your cruise.

Do Check-In Online Before Arriving to the Embarkation Port

Celebrity Cruises has an online check-in which lets you fill out some of the required embarkation paperwork before you arrive to save you time during the embarkation process and get you on the ship faster.

Don’t Automatically Take the Cruise Ship Elevators

With everyone exploring the ship, heading to the buffet, and finding their stateroom, the elevators can take awhile to get on the first day of your cruise. Instead of waiting for an elevator, consider taking the stairs if you’re able to and are just going between a few decks. Or take breaks on each deck to explore it before going on to the next level.

Do Figure Out Where to Eat on Embarkation Day

It’s a good plan to spend your first day on board your cruise ship finding something delicious to eat – both for that day and later on in your cruise since some sumptuous restaurants on the ship will require reservations.

Also, specialty restaurants typically offer a discount for dining on the first night of your cruise so consider checking one of those out – maybe as celebration of the start of your cruise – and then experiencing the Main Dining Room the following night.

Don’t Assume the Buffet is Your Only Option

For eating on embarkation day, you’ll find that most people head straight to the buffet to have lunch and wait for their staterooms to open. But if you book a Concierge Class stateroom, you’ll be escorted to the main dining room for a full service plated lunch. This same service is offered for Suite Class guests, though you’ll be dining in Luminae, which is the specialty restaurant just for guests staying in suites.

Do Make Dinner Reservations

The first day is also a good time to make a reservation for dining at specialty restaurants later on during your cruise if you haven’t done so yet.  Specialty restaurants can fill up quickly, especially for prime nights (i.e. the nights not in port or non-themed menu nights in the Main Dining Room – most people don’t want to miss out on lobster night so will book reservations for specialty restaurants on other nights).

Use your first day on the ship to check out the specialty restaurants on board and figure out where you want to dine. Then head to the concierge desk to make your reservations. You can always change the day and time later if desired (and if there’s space available).

Don’t Assume You’ll Have Access to Your Luggage Immediately

The embarkation process involves dropping off your luggage upon check-in and having it delivered to your stateroom. This helps avoid a clogged gangway and elevators so everyone can more effortlessly board the ship. However, don’t assume you’ll get your suitcases right after you find your stateroom or suite. It can sometimes take a couple hours before they are delivered to you.

Do Bring a Daypack for Embarkation Day

When figuring out what to bring for your cruise, you’ll want to stick in a daypack for days in port. That daypack can also come in handy on embarkation day. Prepack it with a few items you may want right away on the ship, such as sunscreen, electronics and chargers, change of clothes, sandals, and your toothbrush.

Do Pack Your Swimsuit in the Daypack

Get some pool time ahead of the crowds by being savvy and packing your swimsuit in your daypack. Then you can immediately change into it after boarding and hit the pool lounge chairs without having to wait for your suitcase to be delivered to your stateroom.

Do Take Time to Settle Into Your Cruise Stateroom

Once you have your luggage in your cruise stateroom, take some time to put away your clothing and other items and stow away your suitcases and duffel bags so you can settle in and start to feel like your cruise is your home away from home. Introduce yourself to your stateroom steward as well – your steward will help make your cruise memorable and keep your room clean with any information you might need delivered to it.

Don’t Fall Asleep

After a day of traveling it may be tempting to take a nap in your comfortable cruise bed, but instead head to Café al Bacio and get an espresso to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun of embarkation day. Plus, skipping a nap and going to sleep at your usual (on vacation) time will help you adjust your body clock to any time zone changes.

Do Get Some Pampering

Spa services are often discounted on embarkation day. In addition, you can get a tour of the facility on embarkation day and schedule services for later in your cruise.

Cruise Embarkation Day Tips Just for West Coasters!

Do Set a Reminder Wake-Up Call

If you’re traveling east for your cruise, such as to the Caribbean, it’s easy to sleep in the next morning due to the time change. If you don’t want to miss a moment in port or on the ship, set a wake-up call for the time you’d like to start your day.

Don’t Assume You Have Phone Coverage

If you’re setting sail from one of Celebrity Cruises’ west coast ports, don’t assume you still have phone coverage just because you’re close to home. International data plans (which can be very expensive!) can kick in after you’re a certain distance from shore even if you haven’t reached your first international port of call yet. Check with your mobile plan provider to find out where and what’s covered for you.

Do Take a Photo Before Your Cruise Ship Sails

Before your ship leaves the embarkation port, use your phone camera and snap a photo of you having a blast on the ship and upload it to social media to make all those friends back home on the west coast jealous!

Then spend the rest of your cruise embarkation day exploring the ship and relaxing into vacation mode.

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