When planning your first cruise you will probably be spending a lot of time on the cruise line’s website. That’s a good thing. You want to see what the ship has to offer and make a “bucket list” of all the things you want to do. Even though the website will be a great resource, nothing can prepare you for the thrill and excitement of stepping on board that ship for the first time. It’s going to be a great vacation and here is a terrific welcome aboard checklist to follow:

Make Calls Before Leaving

Once your cruise ship sets sail, you’ll be saying goodbye to land-based cell towers and hello to very expensive satellite roaming fees. This is why you want to get in any last batch of calls, texts or tweets. In fact, the moment that ship pulls away from the dock, you should turn off your phone for the duration!

Check The Cabin

Just as you would when checking into a hotel room, you want to check out your cabin before unpacking to make sure everything is in working order. Flush the toilet, turn on the TV, flip on the lights and, yes, check for bed bugs. If anything is amiss, then alert the crew immediately. The worst-case scenario might mean moving to another cabin. Then again, that might mean an upgrade and that would be the best-case scenario.


Once your cabin is secure, you’ll want to unpack and stow away your luggage. You might find that they fit nicely under the bed. Putting your clothes away will make it feel more like home.

Say Hi to the Steward

Every cabin has a steward. This is the person who you make special requests to. You also want to be nice to the steward. Remember, they probably have dozens of other cabins they’re maintaining. They know who the “good” passengers are and will often reward them in kind.

Go to the Muster Drill

The muster drill is going to give you all the information you need in case of an emergency. That would be any kind of emergency while at sea. It is very important information for you and everyone in your family. Plus, it is mandatory.

Take a Nap

After all the excitement of getting on board, checking in and the muster drill, you might already be worn out. So, take a nap. Who is stopping you? You’re on vacation and it’s okay if your sleep patterns are out of whack. Besides, there will be plenty to do all night long on the ship!

Attend the Sailaway  

Booming fog horns. Streamers. Music. Drinks. It’s a party all celebrating that simple fact that you’re leaving the dock. Awesome. Get up there and start having fun!

Go to a Special Dinner

Part of your cruise package includes meals in the dining room. That doesn’t mean you have to eat every meal there. On that first night, go to one of the many restaurants on board. You’ll find that they will be less crowded because everyone will be going for the main dining experience. Plenty of time for that later on.

Watch the Sunset

That first day on a cruise is going to end with your first cruise sunset. Take it in. It’s going to look amazing. If you have a chance on the other side, then take in a sunrise over the ocean. Enjoy!