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What Not to do on the First Day of Your Cruise

29th May 2018

If you’re fortunate enough to have a cruise booked and coming up shortly, you’re probably getting more excited every day, and might even be thinking about packing and preparing to get going. If this is the case, take a look at our hints to help improve your holiday from day one. Even seasoned cruisers make faux pas on embarkation day, so we thought it would be helpful to put together a handy guide to explain what not to do on the first day of your cruise.

1. Don’t ignore the crew

The staff onboard the ship are there to help make your cruise holiday the best it can be, so take time to introduce yourself, and remember a friendly smile can go a long way. Embarkation day can be hard work for the crew, so try to be patient and remember you are not the only guest they are looking after.



2. Don’t rush to the buffet

Many cruisers consider the buffet to be their quickest and easiest option for the first day, and because of this, buffet restaurants tend to get very busy very fast. Keep this in mind, and consider trying a different restaurant in which you can enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere and great service.

3. Don’t miss the Muster Drill

Those who have been on a number of cruisers might feel that the muster drill – a safety talk – is not necessary for them. Remember however, that layouts and safety procedures are likely to be different on every ship, and attendance at the muster drill is mandatory.

4. Try not to use the lifts

If you can help it, try to use the stairs instead of the lifts on embarkation day. They can get very busy with cruisers getting to know the ship and of course transporting luggage to cabins, so avoid the wait and use the stairs - and in so doing you’ll free up the lift for those less able.



5. Don’t stay in the sun all day

When cruising in a sunny destination it can be all too tempting to bask in the sun all day soaking up the rays. This is a mistake however as too much time in the sun is likely to cause sunburn, headaches, and even sun stroke – putting a damper on the first few days of your holiday.

6. Don’t drink too much alcohol

If you’re on an all-inclusive cruise, or have opted for a drinks package, it can be easy to get a bit carried away on your first day onboard. Avoid a hangover so early on and try to limit yourself; a good tip is to drink one soft drink (preferably water) between every alcoholic one.

7. Don’t stay in the outfit you travelled in

Get in the holiday spirit straight away by changing your outfit as soon as possible. Getting out of your travel clothes will help you feel fresh and ready to get started with your cruise, whether this is by relaxing, swimming, or simply exploring the ship.



8. Don’t forget to mention dietary requirements

Even if you informed your cruise agent of allergies and dietary requirements at the time of booking, it’s a good idea to ensure this information has been logged by mentioning to the maître d of any restaurants you’ll be dining in.

9. Don’t automatically dine in the main restaurant

As with the buffet, many cruisers will look no further than the main restaurant for dinner on their first day. This means speciality restaurants usually have plenty of availability – so make the most of this and see what you’d like to sample onboard.

10. Don’t forget to book activities

Whether this be the children’s club for your little ones, a lesson on the surf simulator, or a space in the Pilates class, if there’s an onboard activity that you’re desperate to do, make sure you get it booked as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

See our advice for first time cruisers for more useful information.

25 free things to do on a Carnival cruise

10th May 2017


Updated June 2019


To describe Carnival Cruise Line in a nutshell, all we really need to say is that they are all about fun for all, all for fun. Whether onboard or offshore, Carnival ensure that the fun-loving holiday spirit keeps flowing...starting as soon as you step onboard for the Sail Away Party. Boasting some of the largest ships at sea, you'll never be caught short of something to do - what's more is that so much is included! We summarise some of the best free things to do below.*


Family fun onboard Carnival


sailaway party


Sail Away Party

Carnival know how to get the vacation going right, and by right we mean a Sail Away Party. These events are full of energy and if you aren’t in the holiday spirit before, you will be afterwards.

Water activities

Mid ship pools are a great place to relax and watch the big screen or on most Carnival ships, there’s a second pool catching the breeze at the aft of the ship. Waterworks, the onboard waterpark will have you and the kids showing nothing but exhilaration on your faces as you zoom, splish and splash the day away.


cruise waterpark


Dive-in movies

Settle in for a night at the cinema from the comfort of the poolside lounge chairs or even the pool. With movies of different themes such as action, comedy and date night and plenty of blankets and popcorn to go round, we wouldn’t recommend you pass up a starry evening under the stars.


Ever thought you could say that you went on a bike ride high above deck on a ship? This is only possible on Carnival Vista. Open to all of the family; why not compete against each other as you zip safely around the suspended course that’s equipped with an epic view.


carnival skyride



How are you with heights? The onboard ropes course is a fun way to take on a challenge you wouldn’t come across in everyday life. Of course you’ll be safely strapped in, so why not test your abilities and brave the SkyCourse.


Hasbro Game Show

Put your gaming skills to the test in an onstage competition against other cruisers. With games such as CONNECT 4 BASKETBALL, SIMON FLASH and OPERATION SAM DUNK, have fun teaming up with the family to win great prizes.


hasbro game show


CLUE: The Murder Mystery

Like the original but with a seafaring twist, the ship is your gameboard and the suspects have come alive. To play, just collect your free CLUE Case File and visit the scheduled events onboard to see the story unfold as you cruise. The captain is offering a unique reward to the all important answer, whodunit?

Lip sync battle

Carnival will provide the choreographers, music, lighting, probs as well as back up dancers to help you defeat the competition as you channel your inner idols. Think you have what it takes?


lip sync battle



A great day activity for mini-golfers, big or small; mini-golf courses are available on all Carnival ships.

Ball games

Nothing like the sea breeze as you take part in a game of basketball, volleyball or dodgeball!


ball games

Stage productions and comedy shows

Designed to razzle and dazzle, the crowd-thrilling stage shows feature a host of talented performers including singers, musicians and dancers. Enjoy performances such as Latin Nights, Divas and the arena-shaking Epic Rock. Also on offer is The Punchliner Comedy Club, with stand-up acts from the pros who know how to instill a little laughter to the evening. Come along with the family for a more PG performance or adults can enjoy some not so PG performances later into the night. 


Always a popular event, trivia is fun for all the family.

Activities for kids & teens

Camp Ocean

Designed for 2 -11 year olds, Camp Ocean has enough to keep even the most restless of children occupied for the duration of the cruise. Placed into supervised age-appropriate groups, campers can enjoy activities ranging from Musical Icebergs to Pirate Game Night and Marine Life Trivia.


camp ocean

Seuss at Sea

Exclusive to Carnival, the fantastical world of Dr. Seuss comes to life onboard select ships. Seuss-A-Palooza Story Time, Seuss-A-Palooza Parade and Dr. Seuss Bookville are all included for everyone’s enjoyment. Join the characters you love in a spirited procession as you stream down the deck and let the kids spend the afternoon at Dr. Seuss Bookville for story time or quiet time – the shelves are filled brim for hours of fun reading!

Kids’ party time

As soon as you set onboard it’s party time on Carnival, and this doesn’t have to be any different for the kids. Carnival arrange for the kids to get to know each other straight away with a Welcome Aboard Party. They’ll also get a send-off to remember with a Farewell Party.


kids party

Teens’ party time

For many teens, part of the fun of a holiday is meeting new friends to hang out with. Carnival makes sure that there are plenty of parties in the social calendar including the Red Carpet Party, Mexican Fiesta and Dress to Impress Party.

Club O2

On top of the dedicated teen parties, 15 – 17 year olds actually have their own club to hang out in. Watching movies, listening to music, joining karaoke sessions and more can be enjoyed here.


kids club

Teen & kids digital play

Just like a great holiday, gaming allows players to briefly escape real life, but it’s not the antisocial kind of activity it can be thought to be. The separate teen & kids’ digital play areas allow them to play, cooperate, compete and most importantly have fun together.


Activities or the adults

Adult-only retreat

You don’t have to sacrifice blissful adult retreats in order to make sure you book a cruise with exceptional kids' facilities onboard. Well-appointed with hammocks, day beds and more, the adult-only retreat is the perfect place to reconnect with your partner, read your holiday picks or simply do absolutely nothing at all.

Cooking demonstration

If you love the food onboard then why not learn from the chefs themselves as they perform an hour long presentation (taste tests included). Make sure to get there early as this event fills up fast!


cooking demonstration

Art exhibitions, seminars and games

Take the Art 101 lecture series to increase your spectrum of knowledge of the vibrant world. From enlightening seminars to art games, you'll be sure to leave more enriched about art than ever before.


Mixologist competition 

Do you have your own signature concoction or just see yourself as the queen or king of cocktails? Why not test the competition; winning cocktails will be available to enjoy at selected bars throughout the ship!


cocktail class

Fitness centre & sky fitness

For anyone not wanting to leave their fitness routine on land, the well-equipped centre is a great place to let out some steam while you have all of this extra time on your hands. And on selected Carnival ships, there’s Sky Fitness outside on the top of the ship, where you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more perfect backdrop for a workout…


Carnival’s resident DJ’s will be playing the latest hits as well as the golden oldies guaranteed to have you out of your seat. When the bars close, you can be sure the nightclub stays open till the early hours. Make sure to come along on a themed night!


night club

Dance classes

If you’re going to be partying in the nightclub till the early hours, you might want to take advantage of the complimentary dance classes to smooth out those rusty moves and put you in the dancing mood.

More about Carnival | Cruises with Carnival


*Some activities are only available on select Carnival ships, if there are any activities of particular interest, please check with the sales agent before booking.

Even More Modern Luxury For Celebrity Eclipse

16th February 2015

Updated July 2019

Celebrity Cruises comissioned an extensive refurb to their ship Celebrity Eclipse back in 2015, before sailing it back to Southampton for all to see. A few members of our team were lucky enough to get onboard and explore the range of luxurious new amenities and features. Renowned for its stylish décor, contemporary design and 'Laidback luxury' on every level, expectations for what's onboard were set to be high! 



New ways to Revitalise Onboard

After undergoing a multimillion-pound refit, the luxury ship boasts one of the most impressive craft beer collections afloat. The vibrant Gastrobar serves more than 40 handcraft beers, delightful wines, classy cocktails and delectable food. Gastrobar is quintessentially British, with a modern timeless feel. The venue boasts the use of iPads to order food and drink, accompanied by excellent entertainment and music, completing the sophisticated lounge atmosphere.



Goodbye Pool Kiosk, Hello Slush Bar. The poolside refreshment area has been transformed. Slush, the stylish frozen drink bar, serves an array of delicious ice-blended creations. As you relax by the pool and cool off from the sunshine you can enjoy a selection of fresh, flavour-rich alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails to keep you cool and hydrated!

Relax in Style

Indulge and unwind at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club. Celebrity Eclipse has teamed up with one of the world’s leading spas to create the largest and most comprehensive Spa Club at sea. Designed to bring balance and equilibrium to each and every individual, the tranquil ambiance and indulgent treatments will transport you into a healing world of calm. Whether you’re looking to achieve optimum levels of fitness or simply relax with head-to-toe pampering, there’s nowhere better on the ocean to experience this.



Luxurious Living

The beautiful suites onboard will provide guests with a selection of exclusive features. After a day full of discovery, guests can unwind in one of the magnificent suites, dine at any specialty restaurant and relax in the VIP lounge. In addition, guests will be able to enjoy a range of exciting complimentary benefits, from personal butler services, premium beverages, unlimited internet access, and much more.



Luminae, the suite class restuarant, boasts modern cuisine along with impeccable service. James Beard featured chefs will present a range of unique dishes using regional ingredients from worldwide destinations. Paired with divine tasting wines, every meal is sure to set your taste buds alight - ideal for foodies who love to cruise!

Fabulous Features

Savour your unforgettable memories onboard Celebrity Eclipse at 'The Studio'. Create unique and wonderful mementos of your experience at the brand new, unique 'Modern Luxury' venue that will take the portraiture experience to a whole new level. Good news, The Studio replaces the Glass Exhibit, but the spectacular Hot Glass Class will remain onboard for all to enjoy.

Feeling lucky? Ttry your hand at the exciting British-styled Casino. Whether you’re an experienced high roller or looking for an exciting night out, the revamped, world-class casino now has an elegant British charm to it. It's transformation includes a reconfigured layout, British styled slot-machines, a new seating area, larger TV’s and an upgraded bar to quench your thirst.



"The refurbishment of Celebrity Eclipse offers guests the opportunity to experience an enhanced luxury offering onboard. The stylish, contemporary design and installation of new dining and entertainment options, coupled with the Suite Class and Canyon Ranch Spa offers also available will I am sure encourage guests to book time and again." Reveals, Nicki Tempest-Mitchell, Director of Sales, Celebrity Cruises UK and Ireland.

There’s a long list of reasons why cruise enthusiasts choose to sail with Celebrity Cruises, and with all these exciting upgrades it might be time for you to join in and experience the signature charm of Celebrity Eclipse for yourself. If you're feeling inspired, take a look at our Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Deals.

Famous Faces Join Cunard

12th December 2014

The attraction of having a guest speaker onboard a cruise is becoming increasingly popular and Cunard Line have always stood out in providing the finest speaker programme in the industry. The recently announced line-up looks the most exciting to date.

Nicholas Owen, BBC News Presenter

Nicholas Owen has become a renowned news presenter and loved for his passion and enthusiasm. Working for ITN for over two decades he became famous for his work on Channel Four News and News At Ten. It was in his time as ITV’s Royal Correspondent that saw a pinnacle in his career and he was commended for playing a major role in the reporting of the death and funeral of Diana, Princess Of Wales.

Nicholas will join Queen Mary 2 for her Eastbound transatlantic in May 2015 and take two talks 'Life with the Royals' and 'What’s wrong with the media?' He will discuss a range of subjects including what roles the newspapers play and how the news differs from TV and radio.

When and where: Eastbound Transatlantic, 10th May 2015

Sir Jackie Stewart, F1 World Champion

Sir Jackie Stewart has become one of the most famous faces of F1 and holds a prestigious and fascinating career. In 1965 he scored the first of his incredible 27 Grand Prix championship victories and progressed ever since. He was crowned three-time World Champion and has achieved a total of 27 victories our of 99 races. Awarded an OBE in 1972, he was then knighted by the Queen in 2001.

Joining Queen Mary 2 for the second leg of her world cruise in January 2015 he will present a talk titled 'Life in Formula One'.

When and where: Dubai to Sri Lanka, 30th January 2015

Shirley Jones, Academy Award winning actress

Academy Award winning Shirley Jones became a popular actress from when she first entered the acting industry in the 60’s. Her film credits include Oklahoma!, Carousel and The Music Man. However it was her role in Elmer Gantry that won her an Academy Award in 1960. Although famous for her iconic roles in film, it was her role as the loveable matriarch in the hit 1970’s TV show, the partridge Family that won the hearts of millions.

Shirley Jones will sail on Queen Victoria in February, joined by her husband, actor and comedian Marty Ingels.

When and where: Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, 2nd February 2015

Lord Robert Winston

Lord Robert Winston is a Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London and has become a popular figure for his developing techniques. In the 1970s he was able to develop ways of improving fertility treatments including IVF. He now runs incredible research at the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology which aims to improve human transplantation. His latest work has seen him involved in the modification of genes to improve the treatment of many medical conditions.

Lord Robert Winston will join Queen Elizabeth on her Spain and Italy cruise in June 2015 and present three intriguing talks.

When and where: Spain and Italy, 16th June 2015

David Blunkett, Former Labour party member

As a former member of Tony Blair’s Labour Cabinet, his intriguing career took place at a time when the country saw a number of significant changes. He was Home Secretary in charge of counter terrorism, policing, the justice system and immigration at the time of the September 11th attack in New York. David is the first person with sight loss to hold senior office in government during modern times.

David Blunkett will join Queen Victoria during her Rome to Venice sailing in September 2015 and plans to deliver two talks names 'Reflections on gorwing up without sight' and 'Life in the bear pit'.

When and where: Rome to Venice, 12th September 2015

Pam Ayres, Radio and TV Presenter 

After winning TV talent show Opportunity Kocks in 1975, Pam Ayres has gone on to become a famous writer, broadcaster and entertainer. She is one of the bestselling female comedians in the UK and has sold out virtually every venue she has played. Her recent autobiography, The Necessary Aptitiude, was the UK’s bestselling female autobiography and she one of the few people to have bestsellers in the Sunday Times charts in every decade.

Pam Ayres will join Queen Elizabeth on her cruise to Venice and the Adriatic in October 2015.

When and where: Venice and the Adriatic, 21st October 2015

How To Make The Most Of Your First Day Onboard

7th March 2014

Updated April 2018


The time has arrived - there are 0 days left on your countdown, you’ve got through the tedious packing and you have arrived at the port where your ship stands eagerly waiting for you.

With excitement levels at an all-time high, check-in is already a distant memory, and you have stepped onboard for the cruise holiday of a lifetime. But with so much to do and see, where do you start? Where do you go first? Do you want to eat already? Can you get into your cabin yet? What activities are starting?

As well as exciting, the first day onboard can be slightly daunting for some. Once you’ve found your cabin, had some lunch, participated in the guest muster drill, and taken a minute to reflect on the journey you are about to encounter – your holiday officially starts.

People often wonder what to do during their first day onboard and worry about missing out on something. To help assuage these thoughts, we decided to put together a guide to help you make the most of your first day onboard.


Unpack – After not long packing your cases ready for your cruise, the thought of unpacking is far from appealing . However it's advisable to unpack straight away, and then you won't have to worry about wasting valuable exploring time during your second day. It's guaranteed you will feel relieved and settled in your cabin once it’s all done.



Meet your cabin steward – Your cabin steward will become your best friend during a cruise. They are likely to come and introduce themselves within the first few hours of being onboard, and make you feel extremely welcome. By the time your cruise is over, they will be one of the most memorable people of your cruise.


Check your dining arrangements – Dining arrangements are organised by the cruise line before you cruise so it is important to express your seating preferences and dining times to your agent. However, this will only be a request and can not always be catered for. You should check the dining times you have been allocated (normally found on your cruise card) and if you are not satisfied with them, try to have it amended as soon as possible. Normally a dining room co-coordinator will be available at a certain time slot during the first day for dining inquires.


Go to the sail away party – Sailing away from port is one of the most memorable experiences of a cruise, especially the first sail away. With everyone in high spirits, cocktail in hand and congregating on the top deck to marvel at the incredible passing skylines - the sail away party kicks off your cruise in style.



Know your way – It's a good idea to gather your bearings at the beginning of your cruise. While you don't necessarily need to get your ship map out and know exactly where everything is, it is a good idea to work out where your cabin is in comparison to the dining room, outer decks, pool etc.


Book shows – Not all, but some cruise lines require you to make reservations for shows onboard and not beforehand. Yes, do expect queues of people getting their tickets on day one, but isn’t it better to stand in a line for a little while on the first day then waste sunbathing time on day two?



Make dining arrangements – Cruise ships offer an array of speciality dining restaurants with everything from Italian bistros and sushi bars to luxurious steak houses. These are normally popular with guests, especially those wanting to experience something different or those celebrating a special occasion. Therefore, it's recommended that you make a reservation in advance if you want to dine at one of these exclusive restaurants.


Take a selfie – This may sound like a silly thing to do, but taking a selfie - or getting someone to take a picture of you - on the first day of the cruise is a great idea for so many reasons. At the end of your cruise, take a little look back at this picture and you're sure to have a giggle. Have you developed a tan? Increased the size of your smile? Gained fresher looking skin?



Have an early night – After a busy day of travelling and the excitement of your first day exploring onboard, take advantage of the first night to retire to your bed early.  The remaining nights of the cruise will have all sorts of entertainment going on until the early hours of the morning and you will find this far more appealing than sleeping!

See our top tips for embarkation for more help and advice regarding your first day of cruising.

By Sally Grimes 

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