- You are hungry, but it’s jam-packed. Research ahead of time and find what specialty restaurants might be open. They are often more subdued. Maybe head to the pool and grab a burger and a lounge chair. Or if you love starting your cruise at the buffet (it’s always our family’s tradition) fill your plates and find a quiet table outside on the deck. Take in the last views of your embarkation port and the beautiful water. After all, that’s what cruising is all about!
- You will not be able to get to your cabin right away. Keep in mind, you probably won't be able to get into your cabin until at about 1:00 or 2:00 PM. Everyone is in the public areas so it can get a bit busy. DON'T bring on board all of your suitcases. (Exhausting and stressful.) DO carry a small bag or backpack. Have an extra pair of flip flops or swimsuit to put on and then head up to the pool. Typically, it’s already in full swing with fresh air, lots of towels, food and drinks being served, and dance music playing. Definitely the best way to forget about the crowds.
- You still have to watch the clock. Be prepared…right before sailing, you will have a mandatory muster drill. Everyone will be out and about searching for their designated muster station. Now you know it, so embrace it. About a ½ hour before the drill, find your way to your muster station (always located on your cabin card.) Typically they are in a public area, such as a restaurant, lounge or theater on the main decks. If you get there early, it’s much easier to find a seat. Take this extra few minutes to look over the deck plan of the ship and don't forget to bring the schedule for the day that was given to you when you checked-in or found on your bed in your cabin. This is a great time to see what activities you don't want to miss for the rest of the day! On our last cruise our muster station was in a specialty restaurant so I was even able to get a sneak peek of the menu. Then, keep in mind after the drill it’s always chaotic leaving your muster station. The hallways, stairs, and elevators are jammed. Use this time to head over to Shore Excursions and see if there are any activities you forgot to book. Or head outside to see the port view before the ship sails. Then stop in the dining room and check out your assigned table.
- There is work to be done. This is the most dreaded part. The luggage finally arrives to your cabin in the late afternoon and you have a tremendous amount of clothes to find a place to put away. For me, if I don't do this chore the first day, my family will leave the suitcases in the middle of the floor and rummage out of them for the next week. Storage space in a cabin is a premium; however, there are many nooks you may not realize right away. Look up for storage over the beds. Open cabinets for drawers. Then slide those bulky suitcases right under the bed. Also, keep in mind your luggage may arrive late. It may not all arrive at the same time. But rest assured, it will be there. And if the ship knows that the luggage is running a bit late, they may even change the dress requirements for dinner to allow shorts in the dining rooms. (There were cheers from my boys when this happened!)