It is important to get to know how life is on a cruise ship, what the basic etiquette is in the cabins, restaurants and for example by the swimming pool. The below will give you a good guide to get an insight.
It is advised to arrive a few hours early to the port if you want to be among the first ones to get on board. Make sure that you have your passport and all necessary travel documents handy. Please be patient as there might be a crowd already waiting to set sail. This is a very busy day for the ship, as guests from the previous sailing are getting off, and the new guests are getting on board, usually giving the ship up to 6 hours to prepare everything for the upcoming sailing.
After embarkation, you can enjoy all ship-board facilities and once your cabins are ready, you are welcome to relax in the comfort of your stateroom. Your suitcases will be delivered to your cabin. Avoid packing alcoholic beverages, as based on the cruise lines’ individual policy they might get confiscated, and it definitely slows down the delivery the delivery process. It is recommended to have a small carry-on bag with you, packed with your immediate necessities, change of clothes, medication and perhaps also with your swimming costume, so you can immediately soak up the sun by the pool.
Pool chairs on board most of the cruise lines cannot be reserved. Most operators offer pool side towel service, where you can sign off a towel while enjoying the water, but please remember to return these towels before returning back to your stateroom. Please also follow the pool rules, if you are enjoying the facilities with little ones who are not potty trained yet. Most of the times, little ones in diapers, even in swim diapers are not allowed in the pools due to health reasons. There might be kids’ pools though where this policy does not apply, and they can happily splash away.
Buffets are very popular on board, probably due to the wide selection of food options they offer in a laid back and casual atmosphere. It is suggested to join the line and to make your choices fast, so you don’t hold up others waiting for their turn. And don’t forget to be careful with all those yummy cocktails!
Mainly the attire on board is resort casual, but there might be occasions when the dress code becomes more formal. In the Main Dining Room and in some of the specialty restaurants the dress code is more formal in the evenings, and wearing a short for example is not accepted. If you prefer being simply casual, you can just check out the buffet restaurants and specialty restaurants that do not require a formal attire. It is a good idea to check you daily compass, it will give you a guide what is open when and also informs you about the suggested attire.
Most of the cruise lines offer kids’ facilities on board, offering a selection of interesting and age specific activities and facilities to keep your bundle of joy entertained. Meltdowns and tantrums can happen, and everybody understands that. It is a good idea to pack the favorite blanket and soft toy to ease the situation if anything like this happens. On some cruise ships, there might be a curfew in place, as well as leaving the cruise ship unattended will be restricted to a certain age.
On most of the cruise lines smoking is permitted only in designated areas on the open decks. Cruise ships with Cigar Lounges or Cigar Bars allow smoking there as well of course. All public rooms are non-smoking. Smoking is also prohibited in cabins and on cabin balconies.