Discover Exclusive Offers and Special Deals on MSC Cruise Deals
Find a cruise and book cruises direct - no booking fee!


Embarkation Day: A Simple Guide of Your First Day on Cruise

If you’re cruising for a first-time, you’re probably wondering what to expect on your cruise embarkation day. You may be even wondering, what does that even mean? So, here is your answer to all your queries related to the embarkation day.

By Cruise Booking Team

Book A Cruise Now

Embarkation day is the first day of the cruising, and everyone is a little bit stress out. Do people think that what if they miss their cruise? What kind of people might be there? What things do they need to carry in a small bag? Who will pick their luggage and so many other things?

But ahoy, our fellow cruisers! Yes, Embarkation day is stressful, but you don’t need to worry. Our experts have explained what to expect on cruising in this article. So sit back and enjoy reading!

11 Cruise Embarkation Tips for First Time Cruisers

1. Check-in online in advance

Make sure you check-in online before the day of embarking and collect your boarding pass, luggage tags, and arrival time appointment. It should be done before your sailing day, as it allows you to check your bags and present your documents before you board the cruise. For calm and hassle-free boarding, take an arrival time appointment in advance.

2. Pack a small carry-on bag

A light-weight small carry-on bag is a must on your embarkation day. Don’t fill it with all unnecessary stuff. Remember to add things that will be useful until your room is ready, so you won’t have to carry anything heavy or bulky. For example, you can pack your documents, sunscreens, swim gear, cover-ups, valuables like jewelry, and electronics. Don’t forget to keep your medicine because it can take several hours to deliver your luggage to your stateroom.

Bonus tip: On-ship shops don’t open till you start sailing into international waters.

3. Keep your documents handy

When you board the cruise for the first time, make sure you carry all essential documents and a boarding pass. There will be a queue, same as an airport queue for checking. So, you need to keep your records handy and not in the checked luggage. The handiest documents you need are:

Boarding pass (mail it to your phone or take a print out)

Photo Id Proof

Passport with visa stamp and other vital citizenship proof

Filled health questionnaire

Keep all these things in your hand purse or carry a separate folder file for your IDs so that you can access them easily for the boarding process.

4. Don’t arrive too early or too late

If you are new in the departure city, leave before time, as you never know when you get unwanted surprises. It will also reduce the time you stand in the long queue and will keep you stress-free at the time of boarding. Moreover, you will get enough time to ensure your baggage and explore the cruises leisurely.

5. Check your luggage with a porter

To avoid luggage dragging with you for the next few hours, drop your luggage with the porter. Generally, a porter comes right up to your vehicle when you unload them from your car. So, please add luggage tags before you leave your place. You can staple those paper tags or add a waterproof luggage tag to avoid falling or tearing. Moreover, ensure that you tip your porter because they are not the employees of the cruise line. Tip them a dollar or two and according to the weight and size of your luggage.

6. Visit the dining room for lunchtime

Make sure you avoid a buffet at lunch on your embarkation day. Many cruisers who are first-time travelers don’t know that they have many other eating options rather than taking a buffet. On embark day, the buffet area is more covered with luggage and not with people—some people who don’t hire the porters dragged their luggage to the dining room. To make yourself comfortable, consider not going to the buffet area on your embarkation day.

There are many cruise line which opens their restaurants on the embark day for their cruisers. You will get peace of mind with the quality of food and a high level of service worthy of your extra time. Also, make sure you check out your cruise line brochure for the embarkation day lunch option.

7. Find your stateroom and settle yourself

On many cruises, you will get your stateroom access after midafternoon. Here you will meet your stew to help you settle on the cruise and provide all-day room service. In case you need anything like extra hangers, a bucket of rice, or a bathrobe, you can ask your stew to grab it. Moreover, if your bed is not set correctly according to your expectation, you can ask them to change it. Just let them know when you want them to make up your bed, and they will do it.

8. Explore the ship and take pictures

Take an hour or more just the explore the ship and click some pictures across the cruise. Yeah, it will take time to know everything about the cruise. Keep an eye on the places you want to visit throughout your journey. Some people love to spend their time in quiet, relaxing, and comfy seating.

Also, check out the venues and dining areas, theaters, and poolside, to know where you can spend your time. On large cruises, sometimes people forget where the elevators or stairs are, so to find them is also one kind of fun you will get.

9. Check out kids play area (if you have kids on trip)

In case you are cruising with your kids or grandkids, consider visiting the kids club and play area available in most cruise lines. Check the kids club opening timing for an open house, or do you need to register your kids for the rest of the cruise. Some kids who are in their teenage might not be thrilled or interested in visiting the kids club. Still, as a parent, you need to encourage them to see the embarkation day’s club at least.

10. Unpack your luggage

It might sound odd that unpacks bags on the embarkation day, but you will regret it if you didn’t do it beforehand. Your stateroom has ample drawers, closet, and shelf space to organize your stuff like clothes and toiletries. If you have to use packing cubes for smaller items, you can put them in the drawers. Moreover, if you unpack your bags on the same day, there will be no wrinkles at the time of hanging. Plus, you can slide your empty luggage under the bed or on the shelf to make it easier to walk around or clean it.

11. Set sailing…

Before the ship departs from the port, take a glass of your favorite beverages, and head towards the top deck for dazzling views. Enjoy the sail away party that is organized by your cruise director.

When the sailing starts, the day ends, and it wraps up with dinner in the main dining room or any of the restaurants. You can even try one of the many lounges and clubs for some live music, karaoke, or watch movies under the open sky with your friends and family.

If you want to dive deeper into cruising and want more tips and tricks for your first cruising, check our cruise tips and tricks page. The page contains many useful articles to help you in getting the right cruising experience.

Tips to Boost Your Immunity While Traveling on the Cruise

Book A Cruise Emergencies doesn’t knock your door and ask you where it can come or not. They come in the form of illness, injury, or pain. Even it can turn your happy vacation into [...]

August 11, 2023

COVID-19 and Cruising: Here’s How to Cruise in this Pandemic Outbreak on a Cruise

Book A Cruise Now As you all know that, the number of COVID-19 cases is still increasing day by day. So, too does time it will be until the cruise's return. And this pandemic has shutdown the [...]

November 16, 2022

The Most Beautiful Beaches in Europe

Book A Cruise to Europe Europe is famous because of its white-sand, rugged coastlines, and hard to beat photogenic beaches. It boards pristine coastlines, charming islands, secret coves, and [...]

December 28, 2022

Cruising Trends to Watch for the Year 2023

Book A Cruise There are many benefits to taking a cruise. From a protected vantage point, cruises offer a fantastic way to see the world. There are a few trends to keep in mind when planning a [...]

February 19, 2024

Our cruise experts will help you to plan your perfect cruise vacation!
phone number with country code (hyphen allowed)
0 / 500

Cruise Inquiry