After waiting in the cruise terminal with your carry-on bags in tow, you’ve finally boarded your cruise ship made it to your cabin. Your home away from home for the next few days.
You’ll probably be tempted to throw your bag down, run out the door and head straight to the pool. Maybe you want to check out the daily drink specials before the lines get too long.
Before you rush out into the excited crowds of vacation goers, consider completing a few key things beforehand.
Taking a few extra minutes to do some minor “housekeeping” tasks can be the difference between a good vacation and a great one. Keep reading for suggestions of what to do before you empty your suitcase.
1. Prep for Muster
One of the most important things you will do on a cruise is attend the Muster Drill. For those of you that traveled on a cruise pre-Covid, you know that the drills have varied over the years.
Once upon a time, in-person Muster drills were the standard across all the major cruise lines. Around the beginning of your cruise, everyone was required to go to their Muster Station. Each person was accounted for before you were dismissed.
In recent years, some cruise lines shifted to an eMuster style program. This process is completely digital and well-received. Some cruise lines have started to go back to the traditional Muster Drills in recent months.
It is highly recommended that you take a few minutes to prepare for your Muster Drill, no matter the type or style. Be sure to inspect your room and make note of your actual Muster station that will be posted, in the event that there was an emergency. Don’t wait until the last minute to find your Muster Station. This leads to confusion and longer processes for everyone.
2. Check the bed
While it may sound strange, checking your bed is pretty important. Before your cruise, you will usually be given the opportunity to choose your bed configuration. Do you want the beds pushed together or separated?
Once you enter your room, be sure that the beds are laid out in the way that you want them for the duration of your cruise. If it is not correct, be sure to let your cabin steward know and they will do their best to accommodate your request.
Be sure to inspect your pillows. Do you have enough and are they firm or soft enough? Many times, the cabin stewards can bring you additional pillows or a variety close to what you may require.
3. Read over the daily schedule
Each cruise line has some sort of a daily schedule that lists activities pre planned for each day. When you board the ship, there will usually be one waiting for you in your cabin.
Before you unpack, be sure to thoroughly inspect the schedule. Each day, all events will be listed, with times and locations. Go ahead and make a game plan for the rest of your embarkation day!
A favorite of many, food and restaurant information is clearly listed on the schedule. Each venue will have operating hours that will be posted.
If a venue or event is not included in the price of your cruise, it will usually be noted as an extra charge on the schedule.
You don’t want to miss the Welcome Aboard Show or the Newlywed Game later in the week. Utilizing the daily schedule will help you plan around the fun, giving you more time to soak up some rays.
Note: Many cruise lines have shifted to offering their daily program on a mobile app. While many love this convenient option, some prefer the traditional paper method. Be sure to ask your cabin steward for a copy of the schedule if one is not delivered to your cabin.
4. Check out the additional paperwork
Oftentimes, there will be additional paperwork in the room on your first day. Be sure you look through it before throwing it aside.
If the cruise line you chose has a room service option, the menu may be offered for you to review. Selections and prices will be featured so that you can make the best choices.
The onboard shops usually have advertisements that will be waiting in your room. They usually offer great deals that are comparable to onshore prices or those found at home. Sometimes, the liquor shop will have special deals and multi-bottle discounts.
The shore excursion desk may provide you with a listing of available shore excursions for each port. If you have an excursion that greatly interests you, go ahead and book it. There is a chance that the excursion you are interested in will sell out. Avoid possible disappointment and visit the shore excursion desk as soon as they open. Check your daily schedule to see their operating hours!
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5. Review any loyalty perks you may have
Do you have any loyalty perks on your cruise? Have you cruised this cruise line before or is it your first cruise with them?
If you have past sailings with your chosen cruise line, many times you will have perks that will enhance your cruise vacation.
Chances are, if you are a repeat cruiser of a specific cruise line, you may have received a discount or special rate on your cruise. The perks don’t always end there though!
Any loyalty perks available to you should be included in your embarkation paperwork. Some cruise lines offer discounts, free drinks, priority booking in restaurants, and even casino perks.
6. Do I have a minibar/refrigerator and what is included?
Be sure to inspect your room for a refrigerator or minibar. Many cruise lines offer a small refrigerator in your cabin that is appropriate for storing beverages and other items.
If you have purchased an unlimited beverages package, make sure to inquire about the beverages inside the minibar. Sometimes these are included in your package, but many times they are not. Check with your room steward if prices are not easily found.
These refrigerators do not keep a stable, cool temperature and it is not usually advised to store important medications here.
7. Check the temperature of the room
Cabin temperature is an often overlooked comfort of your cruise. Your cabin is going to be your haven of rest during your vacation. Be sure that it is comfortable in every way possible!
If the thermostat is not working properly, tell your cabin steward as soon as possible. If there is an issue, they will be able to contact maintenance to repair your air conditioning/heating.
No one wants to come back to a hot room after a day on the beach. Likewise, no one wants to return to a cold room when they have been on an Alaskan excursion all day.
8. Locate storage space
More than likely, you won’t have a ton of storage space but it will be adequate for you and your cabin mates. Cabins are designed to maximize space and provide you with a suitable and comfortable space for the duration of your trip.
You will usually find a closet with a few hangers there for your convenience. Utilizing this space for your formal clothing is always a good idea. You can always ask your cabin steward if any extra hangers may be available.
Drawers and shelves are scattered throughout your room for stowing away your things as well.
9. Make sure the safe is functioning properly
This may not be at the top of everyone’s list, but inspecting your safe is a great idea. You will probably want to utilize your safe throughout the trip to store valuables, passports, and extra cash.
Some safes are the variety that use a code. There will be instructions for setting that up near the safe or just inside the door. One variety uses a magnetic strip reader.
Be sure that your safe is fully functioning before storing anything in it. If there is a problem at all, let your room steward know. They may be able to repair it or contact someone else who can.
10. Be sure the television works adequately
There may not be a lot of time for watching television on your cruise or you may have vowed to not watch any television at all. There’s plenty of time to watch television at home, right?
While this is correct, most cruise lines will put valuable information on at least one of the channels. It is a great idea to check these channels daily.
The safety or muster drill is usually gone over on the first day. Important events and other pertinent info is also given on these channels.
Sometimes, cruise lines will feature information for upcoming ports and towns that the ship visits. Shore excursions may be featured, so that you can get a better idea of what they entail.
Last but not least, many cruise lines include free movies on the television in your room. The movies will usually be newer or still at the movie theater.
11. Check the bathroom
It is always a great idea to check the bathroom. Make sure that you have adequate bath towels, hand towels, and wash clothes for the first day.
You may want to be sure that there is plenty of toilet paper and facial tissue as well.
Now is a great time to locate the storage space in the bathroom and place your toiletries there for easy access during your cruise. Placing these items here will give you more space in your cabin.
Also, check the water pressure and temperature in your shower. If something seems like it’s just not right, let your cabin steward know. If the water never seems to get warm or if it is too hot, let someone know.
We hope that you have enjoyed our suggestions and have an amazing cruise. Doing these few things can make a huge difference in your trip. Cruise lines are just like anyone else. They make mistakes and things break from time to time.
Don’t let that ruin your cruise and make sure that you report anything amiss to your cabin steward right away. They will make it right and they want you to enjoy your cruise as much as you do!