By Wendy Campbell, Be Well Publishing Partner
I could live on a cruise ship! I grew up watching the Love Boat, my favorite tv show. The Pacific Princess sailed to exotic places and everywhere you looked, everyone was smiling, laughing, dancing, swimming and having the most amazing time.
I took my first cruise in 2007 as a single mother with kids. I didn’t have the money to cruise the way I desired, but since then I have been on more than a dozen cruises and have definitely learned how to cruise like a Pro.
I love to research my trip from beginning to the end. Before I became a travel business owner, I used Google to search every aspect of my trip. My favorite sites are Cruise Critic and YouTube where experienced cruisers regularly post tips and tricks of cruising, hidden gems off the beaten path, even the best places to eat, photos of the ship, ports, and the best excursions.
Embarkation day is the day you board the ship, and it sets the tone for first time cruisers. Thousands of people are excited to get aboard, get lunch, and explore the ship.
Navigating the crowds, luggage, and getting settled can be a little overwhelming, but now you have the inside scoop on how the pros do it, so enjoy your cruise. Do everything, or do nothing. Your cruise is your own. I love cruising, and I am certified with several brands, including Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, Virgin Voyages, and Royal Caribbean just to name a few. I am ready to plan your first cruise or your next cruise. It will definitely not be your last cruise.
A FEW THINGS TO HELP YOU THROUGH EMBARKATION DAY.
Download the cruise line’s app.
You can do everything from the app including, managing your onboard account, order room service, and access your boarding pass. Some apps even have a chat feature to communicate with family and friends for a nominal fee.
You will probably wear half the clothes you bring, but bring several swimsuits. Your suitcase will be checked in at the curb before boarding the ship, and may not arrive at your cabin until after dinner. Carry a small duffle, or backpack with the essentials you will need. If you board the ship before noon, most likely your cabin will not be ready until after 1pm. Pack a necessity bag light enough to carry around for a few hours, but only things you may need right away, like a change of clothes, any medication, chargers for your devices, sunscreen, and a refillable water bottle. Bring cash in smaller denominations for port visits. Most ports accept the US dollar, and you will save on atm fees on the ship or in port.
Everyone loves to gather at the lido buffet for their first meal on board.
Take this opportunity to try one of the dining rooms for lunch. It is less crowded, and an option if you want to skip the embarkation day excitement.