Top Things to Do on a Cruise on Embarkation Day 2019

We show you how to make the most out of the first day of your cruise with our insider tips- Top Ten Things to Do on a Cruise on Embarkation Day!

Top Things to Do on a Cruise on Embarkation Day

 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.

Embarkation Day

How to Make the Most of Embarkation Day
Top Things to Do on Embarkation Day of a Cruise
Top Ten Things to do on Embarkation Day on A Cruise
Top 10 Things to Do on a Cruise on Embarkation Day
Don Bucolo, or “DB”, loves everything about cruising- the ocean, the food, and the atmosphere. While he may be obsessed with doing extensive amounts of research on ships and all elements of a cruise, Don enjoys sharing his new found knowledge with fellow cruisers. When he is not sailing the high seas, he does whatever his wife tells him to do-it only took 10 years to realize this.
Previous Post «
Next Post »
Cruiseline module – Remove Title

40 comments on Top Things to Do on a Cruise on Embarkation Day 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Embarkation day is my favorite day. It means that cruise you have been looking forward to for a long time is finally here!

      So true Matt! Thanks for the comment and taking time to read our blog! We love embarkation day too, but also Day 2, Day 3, Day 4….I could go on. The worse day of a typical cruise is Day 8, the day you depart the ship!

      Oh yes, embarkation day is definitely the most exciting day. Discovering the ship you’ve never been on before is always the privilege of the first day.

    Your tip on bringing a well stocked carry on bag for embarkation day is perfect! The last thing you want to do is to watch everybody else going swimming in the amazing pools while you can’t because you didn’t bring a bathing suit!

      Appreciate the comment Ashley. Bring a few items in your carry is a great way to beat the crowds and make the most of your first day on a ship. Sometimes your luggage does not arrive until later in the day, so why be stuck! Thanks again for reading. Happy cruising.

        First time cruise in December. Question, do you have to drag your carry on around for most of the day then?

          Hi Anne, Yes, first time cruiser! Welcome to the awesome world of cruising. Great question. It depends when you board the ship. If you get there early, as we suggestion, your cabin will not be ready. They are usually ready around 1pm to 2pm. Which means you would have to roll your carry-on for a few hours before you can drop it off in your room. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Which ship are you sailing on in December?

            We will be on the Norwegian Escape. So excited!

    My recommendations on embarkation day is to schedule your spa visits! If you have kids aboard with you check out the kids club.

    Thanks Dhilton for the suggestions, we completely agree. Often you can take advantage of spa deals if you book early in the cruise. Yes, checking your kids into the kid’s club is also a must on embarkation day. Appreciate the additions to the list. Happy cruising.

    Great tips! Those are all the things we do the first day onboard too!

      Hi Ashley, thanks for the comment. Glad you found these tips useful. The first day of a cruise is vital to starting your vacation off on the right foot. Thanks for reading and sharing. When is your next cruise?

    Your tip #6 is definitely one that I always share with friends – – I typically embark from warm-weather ports so I board as early as possible and, sun worshiper that I am, I head straight for a comfy deck chair (usually a level or two above the main pool deck) and start my sun-soaked vacay immediately. I usually wear a bathing suit under a sundress so I can slip off the dress on deck and waste not a minute. My tote contains a bathing suit cover-up, hat, sunscreen … everything I like to have at hand while spending a day sunning. And I do carry anything I would need to prepare for dinner just in case my bags are delayed – casual outfit, toiletries. Why waste a single minute of fun in the sun? … Again, I’m a sun worshiper, so others may be much more inclined to explore the ship, sit down for lunch, etc. … to each his own … make your cruise your own!

      Thanks Stacey for reading and the comment. We love the sun too, but not as much as you!! Glad you prepare for the first day, it really sets the tone for the entire trip. When is your next cruise?

    We are taking our first cruise in December and I am taking notes from all you veterans on how to make it the best! Any links to how to make other days just as great please let me know!

      Hi Brittany, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. What ship will you be on next month? We have some suggestions that are ship specific. But, in general, check out the daily activity magazine left in your room each night and always get to events 15-30 minutes early to make sure you have a spot. Have a great cruise!

    Hi, my teenage girls and I are going on our first cruise this coming January, it’s surprise Christmas present!! Thank you for the tips – do we need to take our own beach towel?

      Hi Michele, What a great gift! Thanks for reading and the question. You do not need to pack any towels. Your cruise ship will have plenty for you to use while onboard, and will let you take them ashore. Just remember to return them when you are done or you will pay $25 a towel (or more on some lines). What cruise ship will you be sailing on in January?

        Thank you so much for the advice, that will definitely save some luggage space. We are travelling P&O out of Sydney – so exciting!!

    can someone alone go on cruise and have a good time. Have someone alone in the past did it. Thanks

      Hi Pascal, thanks for reading and the question. Of all vacations options out there, cruising is one of the best for solo travelers. Some cruise lines are better than others. Norwegian Cruise Lines has several ships with solo cabins that give single travelers the opportunity to meet other similiar travelers. Cruisers are very social people and you quickly make friends when onboard. Let us know if you have any other questions.

    I love a sit down lunch on day of embarkment. I do not like running with the crowd up to the buffet. A nice relaxing lunch is best for me.

      We so agree with you Judith. Thanks for the comment. When is the next cruise?

    Never been on a cold weather cruise…sailing on the Royal Princess October 26 from Quebec City for two weeks! Do women still wear dresses? How do u pack for this?

    Great Tips!! Bringing a well stocked carry on is a great idea! Every time I get on a cruise ship I think that I should have brought more things in my carry on!! I also love to get onboard early so that I can check out the ship and get a cold drink to get my vacation started!! ???

    Great Tips!! Bringing a well stocked carry on is a great idea! Every time I get on a cruise ship I think that I should have brought more things in my carry on!! I also love to get onboard early so that I can check out the ship and get a cold drink to get my vacation started!! ???

    My husband and I are taking his first cruise ever and only my second cruise. We are going to the South Pacific in April 2020 to celebrate my 50th birthday. Our cruise does not leave until 8 PM. We are flying in the day before how early is too early to arrive at the ship? We are sailing out of Auckland, New Zealand.

    Hi, I use a back pack for my carry-on. Saves having to, well, carry a carry-on.

    Should a carry on be a bag of sorts to carry (shoulder bag, backpack, etc.) or a small rolling luggage case that would be a comparable carry-on for airlines? Is either easier?

      We usually take a backpack, but either option is allowed. Just remember that rooms are usually not ready until around 1pm, so you will need to keep the bag with you until then.

        Yep, bring whatever you are comfortable lugging around for a couple hours. Something on wheels is nice but you can add a lot of wear to those tiny wheels! A shoulder strap on a bag can get heavy or cumbersome, a backpack or beach bag may be your best bet. (That said, I bring my leather carry-on with a shoulder strap …works for me)

    Make sure to buy a travel sized packet of Clorox or Lysol wipes. When you get into your cabin wipe down every door handle, phone, remote, draw handles, balcony door handle, light switches, etc. Anything that the previous occupant may have touched. Hopefully this will help prevent any contamination by germs.

      Thanks for the tip! 🙂

    Hi ther , we are coming all the way from Africa for our cruise on the symphony of the seas in December. I’m hving difficulty finding a link that’s helps u to decide which shows to book when , during our 8 day Caribbean cruise . We want to mke the most of this once in a life time opportunity, so planing ahead to try an get in everything the ship has to over …. esp entertainment. Thank you

    What vaccines do we need for a Caribbean cruise in December ? (Crown Princess). What kind of proof do we need?…first time cruiser

      Cruising from the US, you should have no problems. Nothing special is required.

    Going on my 4th cruise in about one month, can’t wait!
    Most things have been covered already. *Arrive EARLY (around 10ish)
    *try to avoid the buffet or hit it EARLY (or late) and move on.
    *it’s a perfect time to explore the ship, head to the top (grab a drink) and work your way down deck by deck.
    *Pack a swim suit, it’s also the perfect time to try out one of the hot tubs as they are usually fairly empty at this time! It’s fun to sit back in the bubbling waters with a drink watching jealous passengers walk by!
    *before you do anything, first check the main dining room table assignment (unless you are doing a “my time” dining option that I suggest you do not do; let your waiters get to know you and get to know them!), especially if traveling with a group, get any mistakes caught before it’s too late! It’s also a good time to check out the entire dining room, once the cruise starts you may never wander farther than your table.
    *and while not something “to do” that first day, this is something NOT to do:
    do not get too worried if your luggage is a bit late to your room! It will find it’s way, don’t fret it.