Whether you are an expert cruiser or a rookie, these tips can help you make the most of your journey at sea.

On day 1:

  • Tour the ship! Get to know your way around and check out areas that may be inaccessible to you later in the trip, such as the spa, salon and kids clubs. You might even get a spa teaser!kids club
  • Get to know your dining options and plan ahead if there are specialty restaurants you want to try before the most popular eating times fill up.
  • Speaking of restaurants and the spa, sometimes there are great specials available on that first evening at sea. Go ahead and get your massage early so you start off your trip relaxed!
  • If you have kids, sign them up right away for the on-board activities and let them get to know the staff and play area while you are present. Then, they should be less hesitant when you check them at another time.
  • Attend a shore excursions presentation if you have not already predetermined where you want to go. The most popular tours fill up fast.
  • Decide on day 1 if you want to purchase a soda package or alcoholic beverage package to get the most for your money. But keep in mind if you don’t normally drink heavily, this may not be a good deal for you. Also, days at port take away from your drinking hours and you may find that the packages are not worth the price you have to pay.
  • Go to the dining room that you are assigned to on the first night. That way, if you have table mates, you can get the introductions done on the same day as the rest of your table. Also, if you find your table mates truly distasteful, you can make a change right away. If you are seated at a large table and would rather be alone, let the maitre’d know on the first day so he can attempt to make the change as soon as possible.
  •  Alert you wait staff right away if you have any dietary restrictions.
  • If your dining time isn’t when you would normally eat, find out if there are openings during the other dining time or consider flexible dining (if it is an option).NCL Jewel 02
  • Pack a change a clothes and your  swim suit in a bag that you carry on board. That way you don’t have to wait for your bags to arrive at your room to get out of your travel clothes or hit the hot tub (which is usually less crowded because people didn’t follow this advice).
  • Take a picture of your cabin right when you walk in the door, while it is still pristine.
  • Introduce yourself to your cabin steward.
  • Make sure everything in your cabin is working properly (including the toilet!) so you can report maintenance needs right away.
  • Unpack your suitcases and stick them under your bed. Cruise cabins come with lots of drawers and shelves and suitcases take up lots of extra space in an already small cabin.
  • Post pics, send texts and make phone calls as much as you can now while you are still in reach of land based cell towers.

Other tips for the rest of your trip:eggs and bacon

  • The buffet is super crowded at breakfast time, especially on port days. Try going to the main dining room. You can get your eggs made to order or your bacon extra crispy, all from the comfort of your table (which may have a great view since the dining rooms are less crowded in the morning).
  • Take the stairs whenever possible. Then you won’t feel so guilty for splurging on dessert every evening!
  • Get to shows early. Seats fill up fast and sometimes there is pre-show entertainment that is just as fun.
  • Unless you like to be razed by the comedian, don’t sit up front during comedy shows.
  • On warm sunny days at sea, hit the sun deck early if you want to show off your vacation tan when you get home. It is usually less crowed on the upper decks away from the pool but seats still fill up fast.
  • Take lots of pictures and be sure to share a few with your travel agent when you return. The best compliment he or she can receive is knowing you had a great time!
  • Get your photo taken by the professionals as often as possible. There are plenty of places and times throughout your cruise to pose whether you are dressed up or not and there is no obligation to buy.
  • Plan to be back to the boat in plenty of time on port days. If you book a shore excursion, you won’t get left behind. But if you decide to go off on your own, don’t miss the boat because it will leave on time!miss_boat