11 Cruise Tips Before Sail Away

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IMG_1533 By: Sarah Phillips

You’ve finally made it onboard your cruise and its vacation time!  Want to make your vacation even better? Take some time before you sail away to check everything out, get acquainted and get your bearings; this is going to be your new home for at least the new few days after all. Here are 10 things to do or find before you sail away.

11 Cruise Tips

1. Room Location

This is almost always one of the first things I find when I get onboard. I want to drop off all my carry-ons and get exploring! You may not spend a whole lot of time here during your cruise, but it’s good to know where your room is in location to everything else. This one’s really important if you didn’t pick your room out when you booked your cruise.

2. Dining Areas

For me, eating is one of the 1st things I do onboard. I LOVE cruise ship food and can’t wait to check it all out. Dining options can be quite numerous onboard a ship – in fact, the new Norwegian Breakaway has 27 different dining venues! By taking some time on the first day to explore all the options, you’ll be able to please even the pickiest eater in your party.

3. Find Reservations

Since most cruise lines let you make advance reservations before sailing, take some time to figure out where things like the spa, shore excursions desk and specialty dining are located.

4. Stake out the Sun

Well, the sun areas anyway. Most ships have multiple options and locations for getting your daily dose of Vitamin D. Depending on the day, your preference, and your traveling companions, it’s good to be aware of your options: Lido Decks, Serenity, Adults Only, Water parks, Kids Places, and more.

5. Gym

Yes, this really does exist – on almost every single cruise ship in fact. You can usually find this on the free spa tour offered on Embarkation day. In addition to some great fitness equipment and classes, the gyms typically offer sensational panoramic views.

6. Theater

Most of the time, the theater is where you’ll find your large-scale entertainment options, like Broadway style shows, game shows and live productions. Most ship embarkation day tours start here too.  Usually spanning at least 2 decks, it’s hard to miss this location.

7. Scout out Bars

Bars are a lot like dining options – something for every taste and type. A lot of newer ships are offering specialty or themed bars designed to give a world-class feel onboard. In addition, there are quiet bars, low-key bars, rowdy and party bars, bars with live music and more.  Usually you’ll know which one is going to be your go-to bar pretty early on in the cruise, but do yourself a favor and sample them all.

8. Meet your Cabin Steward

Some of the hardest workers on your cruise ship, they’ll make sure your room is perfect – several times a day! Most of them will make it a point to introduce themselves within a few hours and know your name and preferences by the end of the first day. I’m still trying to figure out how I can get one of these at home too.

9. Find Guest Relations

Got questions? Need some assistance? This is the place you’ll find that – once you find out where it’s located on the ship. Guest relations offers more services than you might realize. This is a must find resource for your cruise. They were lifesavers on my first cruise; they had Bonine for seasickness!

10. Muster Station

Safety’s the name of the game here. Some cruise lines require you to go to your muster station as part of the safety briefing. If your cruise line doesn’t, make sure you take a few minutes to find the exact location. In the very rare case you’d need it, you’ll be glad you know where it is.

11. Take a Ship Tour

A fantastic way to see all the items listed above (except for your cabin of course). This is especially great if this is your first ever cruise or your first cruise with this particular cruise line. You can usually learn some fun facts about your ship and find some hidden treasures too.

Feature photo: Florida Cruise Traveler

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