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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Having Fun From Day 1

The day’s finally come. Your cruise is about to start. How do you make sure you have fun from Day 1?

Be an early bird and add hours to your trip. Think about it: a seven day cruise is really six days.
Especially if you get on board on the late side on Embarkation Day. Most ships let you start boarding at 11:30 a.m. You usually can’t get into your room until 1-ish, but you can beeline to the buffet for an early lunch, carry-on in tow, then drop by your stateroom for a quick change and be at the pool by 2.
The way in. As you climb up the gangway and your home for the coming seven days looms closer, if you’re on Celebrity, you’ll get greeted with champagne. On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, you’ll walk right into the busy Promenade. However you come in…
…Be ready for hectic. E-Day is a swirl of madness. Thousands are boarding at once with their carry-ons, sun hats and smart phones, elevators fill to the brim and no one has a clue where they’re going. You’re searching for your stateroom among hundreds that all look the same, squeezing past crew members in narrow hallways, who are lugging luggage, linen carts and vacuums.
Doing lunch. There aren’t a whole lot of choices on E-Day for lunch. Most head for the buffet, which is why you should expect it to be like Disney during school vacation. Best advice is to find a table first—it’ll take some patience and perseverance—claim it with a sweater, newsletter or other stuff—and then go get your chow.
Go on a treasure hunt…for your room steward. Your steward should introduce himself soon after you settle into your room. If he doesn’t, check the desk or coffee table for his name and give him a call. Don’t be shy about giving him your wish list. Consider:
·         Water and/or ice every day 
·         Thin blanket (really, duvets for the Caribbean?)
·         Wine glasses
·         Empty out frig (to make way for your wine)
·         Mattress pads (Princess ships!)
Get the lay of the land…uh, ship. Wander the decks, study the directories on lobby walls, get your bearing and learn your way around. Some ships have guided tours to speed this process; check your newsletter to see if yours has one. Oasis class ships have fabulous touch-screen finders in the lobbies; with a few flicks of your fingers, you can find out quickly how to get from here to there.
But don’t get too comfy too fast. You haven’t gone through the muster drill yet. It’s usually right before takeoff. You can’t get out of it, so don’t even try. You’ll want to know what to do in an emergency anyway. And they’re typically short and painless. Besides, when else will you get a chance to see quite how many others will be sharing your space in the days to come?
The time to change is now. If you need to change your main dining room seating, this is the time to do it. Ask guest relations when and where the maĆ®tre d’ is camping out and get in line.
The beginning of the end of the first day as Ft. Lauderdale magnificently floats away
Get organized. With the muster drill out of the way and your dinner seating settled, it’s time to unpack, stow your luggage and go play. Check out the party at sail-away or go out on the balcony to party your way! 

Musing’s Top Tip: Heading for the Bahamas? Check out this great site for what you can expect on the heat, humidity, water temp, number of sun hours and more!