Taking a cruise can be an amazing adventure, but if you have never been on a cruise before then you may not know what to expect. As the date for your cruise draws closer, you might even begin to feel a little bit of anxiety as you start to wonder exactly what it is going to be like. If you are worried too much about what can happen on your cruise then you are not going to enjoy it nearly as much, so it is a good idea to spend some time beforehand to get a better idea of exactly what you should expect for your first cruise. Here is some basic information about what can be expected on your cruise.
When first checking in for your cruise you will have to go through a basic security checkpoint. Your bags are taken by a porter at the cruise terminal, and next they are loaded into bins so that they can be placed on the ship and in your cabin. While your bags are, being loaded you can continue checking in at the terminal, which typically involves your carry-on luggage being x-rayed, and you stepping through a metal detector. The process is much the same as what you would go through at an airport, and is merely a precaution to protect you and everyone else once you are all aboard the ship.
After passing through the security checkpoint, you can finish the checking in process. You need to present your photo ID, credit card, and cruise reservation information at the check-in desk, at which point you are given your cabin key card and an on-ship charge card that can be used for shipboard purchases.
Once you have checked in, all that is left for you to do is to make your way to the pier and wait to board the ship. If you have arrived prior to boarding, you should be assigned a number or letter, which lets you know when it is time to board. When your number or letter is called, you may then board the ship, much as you would when your boarding section is called if you were waiting for a plane. Many cruise lines have photographers working at the docks, waiting to capture a shot of people boarding for a cruise vacation that they will always remember.
When you board the ship, your bags should already be in the cabin. The ship staff greets you and presents you with a map to help you find your way to your cabin and other ship locations, and in some cases, you may actually be guided to your cabin by an attendant who assists you with your carry-on luggage . The type of service that you receive when you first board the ship depends on the cruise line with which your cruise has been booked, although more cruise lines are moving to a full-service model in hopes of drawing in additional bookings.
After you have checked out your room, you should take the time to locate your assigned dining room so that you know where to go when it is time for a meal. Many cruise ships have several different dining rooms, and the one that you are assigned to should be marked on your shipboard charge card. There is a good chance that there will be alternate dining options available to you as well, although these are generally featured at an additional cost.
You should take the time to read the ship's newsletter as well as the listing of ship excursions that are waiting for you in your cabin. This provides helpful information about both on-ship activities and the various ports of call that you will visit. Some planned excursions may kindly require registration, and it is important that you do so as early as possible since at least some of the more popular ones may be in danger of selling out. Read the excursion list on your first day in order to get a better idea of what you would like to do during the rest of your cruise.
Before the cruise gets underway with the majority of the planned activities, there should be a lifeboat drill to show you what to do in case of an emergency. This drill is mandatory and it does not take long. It should only occur one time during your cruise. Once it is out of the way, you can enjoy the rest of your cruise, making sure to experience some of the planned activities and on-board amenities. This can also help you to avoid missing any activities that you want to take part in during the cruise. If you are about to embark on your first cruise, you should consider these tips and you should be ready for your vacation.