Cruise ship cabin

13 Important Things to Do ASAP on the First Day of Your Cruise

Are you going on a cruise? Knowing what to do on your first day is key to making the most of your cruise experience. Right after you board the ship, there are a few essential things you should take care of—things you should do immediately after boarding the ship. Getting these first day tasks out of the way will ensure that you enjoy your cruise to the fullest.

Important Things to Do on the First Day of Your Cruise

1. Drop Off Bags

After boarding the cruise ship, it’s a good idea to stop by your cabin first. You don’t want to be carrying your bags around with you the entire time. Drop off your bags and freshen up before heading out for lunch. 

Do know that depending on the cruise ship, your stateroom might not be ready immediately when you board the ship.  

2. Have Lunch

You’ll probably be starving by the time you get on the ship. Instead of heading to the buffet like everyone else, avoid the crowd and go to a restaurant instead. 

Avoid the buffet at all costs on embarkation day. It’s typically chaotic and crowded, and you’ll have a hard time getting a table. Ask the cruise staff to find out which restaurants are open. Usually, the main dining room will be open for lunch on embarkation day. Trust me, choosing a restaurant over the buffet will make for a much more relaxed dining experience.

3. Muster Drill

You need to complete the muster drill on the first day of your cruise. This muster drill is mandatory for all passengers. Unlike the traditional way, where you had to go to your muster stations physically, the muster drill process has been simplified.

Now, you only need to watch a muster drill video, which you can watch from your stateroom TV. It’s kind of nice that it’s now on video because you can multi-task while watching it. I like to do a little unpacking while watching it on my stateroom TV.

4. Check Your Cabin Configuration

On the first day of my cruise, I always have a chat with my cabin steward about the bed configurations. This is especially important when I’m sailing with kids, and there are bunk beds involved. 

When we go over the layout, he will tell me my options and what he can do in terms of the bed configuration. For example, he can pull apart the queen bed so it’s two single beds instead. He also points out the exact location of the bunk bed and whether there are any sofa beds. Since cruise cabins are generally cramped, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible. You need to be happy with the bed layout. 

Another thing your cabin steward can do is open your adjoining balconies. During our recent cruise, we had booked two adjacent balcony rooms that were not adjoining rooms. Our cabin steward was able to unlock the balcony partition and open it for us so we could get from one stateroom to the other through the balcony instead of having to go out the front door.

Things to do on the first day of cruise

5. Ask the Cabin Steward for Extras

Aside from the cruise stateroom bed configuration, I also ask my cabin steward to bring all the extra things I need. For example, I always ask for extra pillows and extra hangers. I also like him to fill the ice bucket with ice. I also always give my cabin steward a few dollars on the first day; I think it helps us get off to a good start. 

6. Make Dinner Reservations

One of the first things you should do on the first day of the cruise is to make dinner reservations. Sitting down for dinner at 9 pm is not something I enjoy, nor do I like waiting in line for a table.

That’s why, on the first day of the cruise, I make it a point to either call or use the cruise app to reserve our table in the main dining room for the entire week. If I plan to dine at any of the specialty restaurants, I also make those reservations at the same time.

Remember, you can always change your reservation. It’s best to get it out of the way on day one and enjoy the rest of your cruise without worrying about dinner arrangements.

7. Read the Cruise Planner

To make the most of your first day on the cruise, take some time to review the cruise planner. This way, you will know what activities are happening on the cruise ship and can plan your day accordingly. 

8. Register at the Kids Club

If you have kids, you should bring them to the Kids Club to register them. They usually have an open house so kids can tour the club and get to know the staff. You’ll be given the kids club schedule for the week so you know what theme and activity they’ll be doing every day. 

It’s a good idea to go on the first day, but if you happen to miss it, don’t worry!  I have missed the kids club first day registration a few times and they still accepted my kids at the kids club.

9. Buy WiFi

If you’re planning to buy the cruise WiFi and haven’t purchased it already, you should buy it on the first day. It’s because the WiFi fee is the same whether you buy it on the first day or the 3rd day of the cruise. You’re better off buying it on the first day. Also, check with the cruise staff if there are any first day deals on cruise WiFi.

10. Buy Cruise Beverage Package

If you’re thinking of getting the cruise beverage package, it’s best to buy it on the first day of the cruise. Just like the cruise WiFi, they charge you for the entire duration of the cruise, so you want to start using your beverage package as soon as possible. 

Ask the cruise staff about any beverage package deals they may have, since they sometimes give first day deals. Check out my article on Reasons why the Cruise Beverage Package are a waste of money.

If you plan to go on future cruises, I suggest buying your beverage package before your cruise because they usually offer a discount if you buy ahead. Check out my tip on how to get free champagne and drinks on the cruise.

11. Join the Spa Raffle

On the first day of every cruise, I always make a point of signing up for the spa raffle. I also like to go to the spa on the first day because they will usually have specials, free chair massages, and even spa tours. 

One thing to know about the spa lottery is you should note down the time for the raffle because you have to be present at the drawing to win. Interestingly, many people forget to show up for the raffle drawing, which means that your chances of winning are pretty high!

12. Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode

Remember to switch your phone to airplane mode on the first day of your cruise. Using your cell phone while at sea can be incredibly expensive, so it’s best to avoid accidental phone calls or texts. Switching your phone to airplane mode while you’re on the cruise ship will give you peace of mind that there won’t be any unnecessary roaming and data charges.

13. Sailaway Party

I always look forward to attending the cruise sailaway party. It’s a lively event that takes place on the pool deck, usually outdoors, with upbeat music while the ship sets sail. It’s a fantastic way to kick off the cruise and have some fun! Bon Voyage!

First Day Cruise Checklist

Get Your Free First Day of Cruise Checklist

Sign up once and you will get access to ALL exclusive content on this website. After unlocking the printable, just save the printable image and then print it. Use it as a checklist to help you stay organized on the first day of your cruise, so you don’t forget anything! I hope you like it!

Things to Do on the First Day Cruise Checklist

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