What Happens Once You Board a Cruise Ship

What Happens Once You Board a Cruise Ship

Once you’ve checked in and gotten your cabin key card, it’s time to board the ship. If it’s your first cruise, you probably have a mix of excitement and feeling a bit overwhelmed. There’s a lot to learn about before the ship actually sets sail. Instead of looking like a cruise novice, check out our guide below that answers some of the most common questions that passengers have when they first set out on a cruise.

Safety Drill

Not long after you board the ship, you will have to undergo a safety drill with other passengers. This drill is crucial as it will prepare you for what you should do if there’s the off chance that an emergency happens while at sea. Crew members will go over things like how to put on life jackets and where to go if an emergency arises. Not only is attendance important, but it’s mandatory.


You’re probably wondering how the food works, where to eat, what to wear, how much it will cost etc. For the most part, cruises are pretty informal and you can wear what you want. However, if you do plan on attending a formal dinner, you will need a suit for men and a cocktail dress or evening gown for women. There will be food options available basically 24/7 while some eateries will only be available at certain times. If you have questions about what’s open when, check with the eatery. Most of them will be free, while a few known as specialty dining will have a charge. They will let you know this before you even sit down, and these specialty restaurants require reservations, so don’t worry about eating at a restaurant only to get a hefty bill you weren’t prepared to pay for later. The day you board your cruise head over to the buffet and enjoy lunch.

The Ships Daily Newsletter/Event Schedule

Each day you will receive a newsletter in your cabin. It’s an important piece of literature as it contains things about the daily programming the next day. You can find everything from a one time performance that will be occurring to a special meal that will be available at one of the eateries. Make sure you check the newsletter each day as the information in there can be pretty useful.

Sail Away Party

Every cruise line has their version of a sail away party.  There will be live music and drink specials so head over to the pull deck and watch as the ship pulls out of port.  It’s a great way to meet people and get in the cruise mood. This generally happens within 30 minutes of the end of the muster drill.

Walk Around

Take your time to tour the ship and get to know where the main dining rooms are, the theater, etc.  A great way is to start at the top of the ship and work your way down.  Check the maps near the elevators though as you will not want to waste time on a deck that has only cabins. If you have children, make sure and stop by the kids club to learn about the available programs and schedule.


We suggest getting it out of the way ASAP so you can focus on relaxation.  Your cabin steward will stop by and introduce themselves.  Make sure to ask for ice daily as that is not automatic anymore on most cruise lines as well as any special requests such as extra soap, shampoo and conditioner or an extra pillow.

Shore Excursions

Stop by the shore excursion desk and book anything that might interest you before they sell out. You can ask for suggestions. If the desk is crowded when you stop by check the times as they are often open until 10 pm the first night so you can always go back if its too full.

Talking To Your Loved Ones

Once you’re on board there’s a good chance that you will look down and see that you have cell service. Don’t expect this to last long though because the farther you get from your home port, the worse your service might be. In fact, if your phone service works at all, you will probably get hit with hefty roaming fees. If you want to keep in touch with friends, but not pay an expensive phone bill once your cruise is over, why not email your friends and family members instead? Cruise ships offer Wi-Fi that is available by the minute or through a package. If you can wait until you get to a port, utilize an internet café in the city you are visiting. This will probably be your cheapest option.

Enjoy a Special Meal

If you are considering a specialty restaurant, there are often specials for dining their on the first day of the cruise.

Our next post in this series will focus on things to do while on a cruise ship.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here