Avoid these 10 Boarding Day Cruise Mistakes!

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cruise mistakes at the airport

These 10 Boarding Day Cruise Mistakes will DERAIL your Cruise!

How things go on the first day of your cruise is largely up to YOU. While there are things that will be out of your control, here are ten things we think you should avoid on day 1 of your cruise (aka boarding day cruise mistakes) so you can take CONTROL and have the best, stress-free embarkation day experience. 

Flying in too close to the cruise

The first faux pas to avoid is flying into your embarkation day port on the day of your cruise. Avoid this at ALL costs! Cruise travel has changed a lot in the last few years, and unfortunately, so has flight reliability. Seasoned cruisers are telling us they’re flying in one or even two days before their sailing, especially if they’re cruising during the winter months when weather delays are common. So, book a hotel, and take an extra day off work if you can! Trust us, this is one of the WORST, and most irreparable boarding day cruise mistakes.

Showing up without your docs

The next mistake we want you to avoid is NOT printing luggage tags & boarding docs before you arrive at the terminal. Granted, some cruise lines have boarding docs right in the app these days, but you still need to print those luggage tags. Staple them on AFTER your flight, so they don’t get roughed up, or better yet, put them in a protective cover, like these little holders you can find our amazon store

cruise mistakes passports and tickets

Heading to your cabin too early

Once you’re onboard, avoid rushing to your stateroom. Chances are, it’s still being cleaned, so wait for the announcements that your stateroom is ready (1pm to 1:30pm is not uncommon).

Assuming the buffet is your ONLY option

We also recommend avoiding the boarding day buffet rush. You have another day-one lunch options that are far less frantic and crowded, but the crew may not tell you that. Usually, the staff urges passengers as they board to hit the buffet, and you may be super hungry. Just know you can check the daily newsletter on your app for alternative lunch options, and oftentimes, those choices offer more seating and fewer crowds. 

Expecting your luggage right away

Our next step is to avoid expecting your suitcases to arrive in your room immediately. They may take a few hours, so keep what you need with you in a small embarkation day bag or backpack. Keep it light because you’ll be stuck with it when you board. Things like your boarding documents, passport, wallet, sunglasses, and medications may be enough to get you by that first afternoon on board. 

Packing stuff you shouldn’t

Failing to read your cruise line’s prohibited items list is another avoidable blunder. Yep, packing forbidden stuff is more common than you’d think, but, like an airport, you do have to go through security when you board. Avoid packing things like torch lighters (regular lighters are usually okay), illegal drugs, weapons, or even toy weapons.  It slows down the process, and it’s one of the most embarrassing boarding day cruise mistakes!

cruise mistakes costume with-toy-gun-play

Arriving too early on boarding day

Disregarding your boarding time didn’t use to be a big deal, but now it’s something we recommend you pay attention to.  The cruise lines want to manage crowds now more than ever, so you’ll save yourself some frustration if you show up at the time assigned to you.

Playing “muster hooky”

Once you’re onboard, skipping the safety drill or waiting until the last minute is a big no-no. Most cruise lines have eliminated the long, boring muster drills, but you’ll still have some hoops to jump through, so knock it out early and get on with the fun! 

cruise mistakes muster drill

Missing the tours

Another mistake some cruisers make is missing what we’ll call “day one only events”. We’re talking about things like spa tours and maî·tre d’ “office hours” in the dining room. These special open-house-type hours are only available the afternoon you board, so you may want to check them out if you want to confirm your dining arrangement, or see the spa before it’s filled with paying customers. 

Neglecting reservations

Not booking reservations on day one or even BEFORE your cruise is an increasingly important step you don’t want to skip. If your cruise line operates on a reservation system, get those reservations made ASAP. Things sell out, like shows, restaurants & spa times. As we mentioned, this depends on your cruise line, but in general, researching this in advance is a smart idea. Of all the boarding day cruise mistakes, this may not be the most serious, but we suggest you spend some time making those reservations when you can!

Okay, now it’s your turn! What embarkation day blunders do you try to avoid? What are YOUR worst boarding day cruise mistakes? Shoot us a DM on Instagram!

Like this info? Check out our advice on how to create the PERFECT embarkation day!

Read more CruiseTipsTV articles here.

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Sheri and her family are California based cruise content creators focused on providing practical tips and advice to new and seasoned cruisers. CruiseTipsTV’s audience enjoys following Sheri and her family as they travel the world by ship creating travel films. Sheri has visited destinations like Japan, Mexico, Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean, and has experienced 33 cruises on 6 cruise lines. She was named one of Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 10 Travel Influencers Changing How We Vacation in 2018 and 2019. Sheri has been quoted in the New York Times, CNBC, Forbes, Prevention, and Business Innovator Radio. Her YouTube Channel, CruiseTipsTV has over 87,000 subscribers and 17 million views.