How To Make The Perfect Embarkation Day

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Embarkation day Tips

What you need to know to make your cruise embarkation day perfect

Hey cruisers,

We are back with more quick tips on one of the most important (and stressful!) days of your cruise!

Yep, you guessed it. Today’s quick tip is all about embarkation day. In this article and companion video we’ll be sharing five ways to have your best embarkation day ever. This is not an exhaustive list because our goal is to keep it quick and simple. So just five easy things to think about this time.

If you need a little pick me up, here are some fun embarkation day videos to get you in the cruising mood before you read on!

Keep it light

The number one thing that we suggest that you do actually starts before you board the ship. Keep your carry-on bag light. Why do we recommend doing this? Well, you might be stuck with whatever bag you choose to carry on for a couple of hours, and that bag could really really slow you down. If your state room isn’t open yet, you won’t be able to drop it drop it off in the cabin. That bag is going to start feeling heavier and heavier as the day goes on. Our embarkation day packing list will get you started. But DON’T feel like you have to take it all! They are just suggestions.

Embarkation day tips - Carry on bag

So take only the essentials that you think you absolutely will need. For instance, your boarding documents, sunglasses, a swimsuit, medications, and anything you might need on that first afternoon of your cruise. if you keep it light, you’ll be so much happier and less encumbered!

Don’t put off the muster

Our number two tip for having an awesome embarkation day is to get that muster drill over with as soon as possible. Cruise lines are making the muster so much easier for us now. Gone are the days when we had to go sit in the theater or worse yet cram together on a hot promenade deck.

Embarkation day tips - Old Muster
Old Muster on Promenade Deck

Basically, the muster drill these days is a concierge experience. It goes something like this:

  • You walk up to a couple of crew members in a designated area.
  • They give you a brief orientation on how to put on a life jacket, and then sign you off or scan your cruise card.
  • After that you watch a quick safety briefing on your phone and you’re done.
  • VOILA- cocktail TIME!

Just just no reason to dread the muster drill anymore. Just get it done so you can move on with the fun. Right?

Embarkation day tips - New Muster 2.0
New Muster 2.0

Get settled in your cabin early

Our number three tip today is to unpack everything before the sailaway party. Make it a goal to get into your stateroom and get those suitcases unpacked. They’re gonna give you a nice little cover to protect the bed, so it’s just super convenient. This will help give you that feeling of being settled and ready for the fun to start.

Embarkation day tips - Unpacking

Our subscriber Elizabeth had yet another reason for doing this. Sometimes the first night on a cruise can be a little rocky as the ship moves out to calmer waters. If you have hangers in your closet that haven’t had clothing put on them yet, they’re likely to sway back and forth and make a bunch of noise in the closet. Elizabeth says she doesn’t want to be kept up all night listening to those hangers clicking and clacking together. Isn’t that a good one? I love that tip!!

ONE more good reason to unpack ASAP!

Embarkation day tips - Hangers

Skip the first night MDR madness

Our number four tip is totally up to you, but it’s a personal preference that has never failed us on a cruise. We’ll often skip the main dining room (aka the MDR) on the first night. There’s typically a hectic feel about night one in the main dining room, and long lines are common. Skipping the first night keeps you away from all that. One option is to go to the buffet, but we like to take it a step further. We love to book specialty dining like the steakhouse on the first night.

We don’t mind dressing up a little bit, and the extra special culinary experience makes us feel more like we’re on vacation. Traveling all day can make you feel sweaty, and tired. So taking a shower, and putting on some nice clothes (or not, casual is almost always fine on night one!) is a nice way to kick off a vacation. Make a reservation at specialty dining, and you will think you’ll feel the same way. It is a wonderful thing.

You can’t do it all on day one

Our last tip for you today is an important one. Embarkation day can be overwhelming. You’ve possibly been traveling all day. Maybe you traveled a long distance. Maybe you had a delay with your luggage. Maybe check-in was a little bit bumpy. Maybe check-in got delayed. There’s a lot of stressors. Once you get on the ship, our tip for you is to not try to do it all. You don’t have to do everything on day one. Relax, try to find some peace and quiet. Maybe settle into your room with a good book and remember that you have the rest of the cruise ahead of you. There will be plenty of time to do more.

I think sometimes we sort of add to that frenetic pace of the first day unintentionally by thinking we have to do it all. You might think you have to go on the spa tour. You have to go to the sailaway party. You have to walk around every inch of the ship. You have to locate your table in the main dining room. You have to try this restaurant or that bar.

Well… maybe you don’t. Maybe you do nothing. Maybe you take a nap, grab a cocktail, grab a mocktail, hang out on your balcony for sailaway instead of going to the sailaway party. Think about doing what’s right for you and don’t wear yourself out.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed these quick tips. We look forward to sharing more embarkation day tips with you in the future. Thank you so much for your support, and until next time, we’ll see you on the high seas!

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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.