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 The first day of your cruise has finally arrived!

It seems like you have been planning this trip for quite sometime, and if you are like us, you probably have! Now that it is embarkation day, you are fully prepared to make the most of your vacation.

To help, we have come up with our Top Ten Things to Do on a Cruise on Embarkation Day. Being prepared for the first day of you trip will help ensure smooth sailing for the days, and nights, ahead. Bon Voyage!

Top Things to Do on a Cruise on Embarkation Day 2019

Get to the pier early

Embarkation begins before the cruise line lets on, so getting to the pier early is a great way to start your vacation with few lines. If you have already completed your pre-cruise check-in and have your boarding pass ready, you will breeze through the check-in and security areas. We always aim to get to the cruise terminal mid-morning. That way, we are among the first individuals on the ship. If you haven’t already done so, now is a great time to download the cruise line smartphone app (if applicable).

Things to do on a cruise

Don’t bring any prohibited items

Your cruise line will have a list of items you can not bring onboard. Along with typical contraband (e.g., firearms, illegal substances), review what is not allowed on your cruise. Irons, steamers, and hotplates are common items on the not-allowed list. Don’t try to slip something by security because they will find it, and it will delay your luggage. Be sure to also check your cruise line’s website before you depart for the allowances of things like alcohol, bottled water, etc. Most cruise lines will allow you to bring 2 bottles of wine per stateroom onboard the ship.

Have your camera ready

One of the best times to take pictures is embarkation day as many venues are empty. Get those social media-worthy shots completed early so you can relax and enjoy your vacation. If the weather is good, go straight to the top decks. This might be your only chance to get pictures with no one in the pool (the other option is very early in the morning). Of course, taking lots of pictures is one of our favorite things to do on the first day of any cruise.

Things to Do Navigator of the Seas

Explore the ship

If you’re as vigilant as we are, then you have probably read tons of reviews, studied the deck plans, and know everything about the ship and your itinerary. Still, there is much you can discover once you step foot on the ship. Embarkation day is the perfect time to start the journey. Explore all of the nooks and crannies of the vessel throughout your voyage! If you are able to establish your directional sense early on during the cruise, you will always be one step ahead of your fellow passengers.

Two70 Quantum of the Seas

Wait to head to your cabin

Most ships’ cabins are not ready until around 1 pm. The staff is busy cleaning and preparing the room for you. Normally, this means those hallways and passages are closed off to travelers. Once you have boarded the ship, enjoy all of the open venues while you wait for your cabin to be ready. You will have the rest of the trip to see the inside of your stateroom. An announcement will be made when staterooms are accessible.

Things to do on a cruise

Bring a well stocked carry-on

A bath suiting, change of clothes, medications, and a few vacation staples should be in your carry on so you can get your vacation started the moment you walk on the ship! Yes, you will see your luggage again, but it won’t be for several hours. Make sure you have the essentials you need for an afternoon of fun in the sun. If you are bringing bottles of wine onboard, they should also be packed in your carry-on luggage.

Wait to eat at the buffet, or skip it completely

Many cruise ships offer a variety of complimentary dining options on embarkation day besides the buffet. We highly recommend skipping the buffet for one of these alternative venues. Even if your ship happens not to have any other options open for lunch, wait a little while before trying to grab a bite to eat. In our experiences, the crowds tend to be quieter during late lunch as other travelers head to their staterooms. Eating at an off time is one of the smartest things you can do on embarkation day.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Make any outstanding reservations or appointments

If you have not already pre-booked things like specialty dining, shore excursions, or entertainment (if needed on your ship), then today is the day to get that done. Spots are sure to be limited, and you do not want to miss out on any of the amazing cruise events because you did not reserve it when you had the chance. Get to the appropriate service desk as soon as it opens to make those final arrangements. Now would also be the time to make spa appointments or register the children for the kids club.

Meet your stateroom attendant

Your stateroom attendant will be taking care of you all week, so getting to know him/her will be helpful, especially if you have any special requests. On the first day, he/she will try to track you down, so take a few minutes to have a conversation. This can go a long way and might lead to some special treatment which will really enhance your vacation. We always drop the hint that we love returning to a towel animal in our room.

Pace yourself and don’t go overboard

The excitement of the first day can be overwhelming. Even after all our cruises, we still get pumped when embarking on a new ship. But, you have the entire vacation to do and see everything, so pace yourself. Don’t try to get it all done on the first day because you will burn yourself out. Spread out the fun and excitement. You have several more days of your vacation to enjoy everything. However, we do recommend front-loading your cruise. Those one of a kind attractions like waterslides, laser tag, or ropes courses will usually have longer wait times later on in the cruise.

There you have it, our Top Ten Things to Do on a Cruise on Embarkation Day. Now, all you need to do is figure out what you are going to do on the remaining days of the cruise!



What are your embarkation day must-dos? Are we missing anything in our Top Ten Things to Do on a Cruise on Embarkation Day? Drop us an anchor below to let us know your embarkation day habits.

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About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard! We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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