When you enter your ship, the first thing you'll encounter is the beginning of your experiences with a positive group of people: the ship's staff will be ready to greet you as you step on board. As temptation as it is to want to explore the ship right away, go ahead and bring whatever belongings you carried on board to your stateroom.
Once you find your stateroom, do not just drop your bags and run – look things over to make sure they're as they should be. Occasional there will be problems, such as beds made separate when they should have been pushed together to form one bed, etc. Catching these things now will give you the opportunity to locate your stateroom attendant right away and have them corrected. The first night is a busy one, both for passengers and crew, so catching any problems early will help your crew make time to correct them.
Also, while you're in your stateroom, be sure to look for any gifts your cruise mates may have ordered for you! If these items were pre-ordered, they should be waiting on you in your stateroom.
If you've bought a neck lanyard for your 'sail and sign' etc. card, now is also a good time to go ahead and put up your wallet, purse, etc. – and place your card on the neck lanyard. On many ships, these 'sail and sign' type cards are the only card you'll need on board – they are your room key, your 'credit card' for purchases on board, etc. Some ships do however still require a second card for your room key, so make sure before you leave your stateroom that you'll be able to get back in. Just think, with this card around your neck, the only thing you're going to need from here on while on board is the clothes on your back! That, in itself, is a big stress reliever. If you do not have one of these neck lanyards, you will likely be able to obtain one on board. If you need a hole punched in your card to be able to attach it to your neck lanyard, the Purser's Desk is able to help with that.
With all this running around, you must have worked up an appetite, right? The next place to visit, then, is the casual dining facility for the ship, to grab some lunch. These facilities are often located near the front of the ship, and are an informal, buffet-type, all-you-can-eat setting. Eat up, you're going to need that energy with all the exploration you'll do today!
The next thing that we highly recommend you do is to go straight to the formal dining room and locate your table there – from time to time, there may be situations where your table accommodations need to be changed, such as when the table is not big enough for your party, etc. If you're cruising only as a couple, you may even want to request a small table for two! We've done this, and it's a nice experience. But be aware that not all ships will have these small tables. Your Maitre d 'will be available in the dining room to assist you with any of these requests.
Speaking of exploring, with our tummies full, it's now time to do just that! We suggest picking up a map of the ship from the purser's desk, and then taking off in whatever direction your heart desires. Also you'll often find some type of map posted near staircases, with 'you are here' type guidance.
If you do not get the entire ship explored the first day (and likely you will not), not to worry – you'll have several days to do that. But go ahead and get started – it's a big place!