If you are embarking on a cruise anytime soon, here are all the things you should do on embarkation day. If it is your first cruise or you are a longtime cruiser, these are things to never forget to make your life easier during your cruise.
Get your Board card from your cabin
Your board card is the most important thing you must have onboard. Once you are allowed to enter your cabin, go get it and keep it on you at all times. This is also your room key, so no need to go to reception to check in or get one. Your cabin door will be open when you arrive and your cards will be inside.
Register a Credit Card
You need to activate your card by adding money to it. The easiest and simplest way to do this is by Credit Card. You can find machines all around the Swarovski stares. They operate in more than six different languages and are very simple to use, so you should have no problem. You can also do this by cash, but that means you need to stand in line at the reception to deposit cash, your account can be blocked when the cash runs out which means another trip to the reception, and you will also need to settle your account at the end of the trip at the reception. All these can be resolved by using a credit card. If you are really having trouble with the machine, someone from reception is normally around to help you.
Check if you have all your tickets for pre-booked excursions
If you have booked your excursions in advance, your tickets should be in your room by the time you arrive or later that day. Check if you have received the correct ones and all the information on it is correct. Double check the language and if the ticket is for an adult or a child. These are the kind of details that get entered by hand, so mistakes can be made.
Check your dining time
If you want a specific dining time, you can request it during booking, however, that is not a guarantee. Once you arrive onboard, your dining time is printed onto your board card. If you would like to change it, talk to the maître de. Your Daily Program should tell you when he is in the office and where you can find the office. This is something only he can change, so there is no point in complaining to the reception. If you cannot change it the day you arrive, but there are more embarkation days, you can try another day again to see if they have availability.
Check if your luggage has arrived
When you drop off your luggage at the gate, it will be put on crates and taken onboard. From there it will be delivered to the cabins. This can take some time, so be patient. If your luggage does not arrive by about 6PM, you can call the reception to check. It may be that your luggage is with security because there is something in it that was caught by the scanner. This is not a big deal, just means you need to open your luggage and remove whatever it is. You will get it back when you disembark.
Check about your drink package
Once you have your board card, your drink package should be on there. In case you got water or a coffee packages or something, the coupons should be in an envelope on the bed or somewhere in the room. In case the package is wrong, or you do not have your coupons, contact the reception or the bar and they will change it.
Book your spa experience
If you are planning to do a massage or a haircut onboard, you are best off booking these the first day. It is your best chance to get the day and time you want and maybe even a discount. You can, of course, do this at any point in time, but slots on sea days or in the evening book up fast.
Cancel your service charge if possible
Mandatory service charge is something many cruise lines have implemented. It is meant to go to the crew as tips, but it doesn’t really work that way. It is simpler if you cancel this charge and tip the people you want to. Your Daily Program should tell you if you can cancel the Service Charge on your cruise or not, and what the procedure is. If you decide to tip in cash, also remember the bar and other staff who might have impressed you, not just the waiter and the housekeeper.
Call to have furniture moved in the room
In case something in your room is not as you booked it, call reception. Sometimes cabins have one king bed instead of a double bed, which can be easily fixed. The simplest thing is to call reception and they will call housekeeping to fix whatever you need done.
Explore the ship
If this is your first time on that particular ship, use the first day to get familiar with it. Find out where all the places are you will need most often. Find your cabin, restaurant, and the theater. It is always good to know the location of the reception and the excursion office, but those are not essential. However, the more you know the ship, the less you have to ask for directions.
Those are all my tips for embarkation day. Having worked on a cruise before where we had embarkation day six days a week, these are mistakes that have cost many people a lot of time. Hope it helps you avoid them.
If you have anything else you usually do on embarkation day, tell us in the comments below or on social media.