Regardless of which cruise line you're sailing where you're going or where you're leaving from every cruise has one thing in common embarkation day it may just be one day but there's a lot to consider I'm Billy Hirsch And I'm Rick Ross we're talking about your 1st day on the ship on this up a soda of the cruise habit podcast.
You're about to set sail on the cruise have a poet cost annuity a voyage through the will of ship's pullets and beyond Welcome aboard. So as we discuss the things to think about and plan for on embarkation day there we're going to try and go in chronological order but it stands to reason that there's one thing on this list of of subtopics we're going to discuss that you started thinking about even before your alarm went off on a cruise morning as I call it or if you're like me it's maybe the one day. Out of your entire life that you wake up before your alarm goes off because you're really excited and that is packing
hopefully hopefully you've started packing
long before this morning but if not that's OK maybe really fast at it and we know that there are a lot of packing
tips out there in fact over on Cruise have a dot com if you get a cruise have a dime Cruise have a dot com slash packing
we've got some number of tips including a packing
list that thank you to many of you who are listening right now you've contributed some great ideas that we now use ourselves and packing
so we're not going to this isn't a packing
episode but just know that those lists are out there and there are some things really high level to think about like as I call it pre and post trip or pre and post cruise separation right if if you're going to be staying someplace before or after a cruise maybe either Pakistan section of your bag or I use packing
cubes for this can be really helpful so that if I'm let's say in hotel the night before I'm sailing I have everything that I need except for maybe toiletries in one pocket or one packing
cubes something like that a prevents me from packing
multiple times and is not one of the reasons that we all like to cruise so so that separation is handy and the other thing is of course and we're going to talk about this at a few stages because it's important your carry on. There are there are factors to consider as far as when you're going to get your bags. In your room if you're checking any banks and you want to make sure that all of your essentials are with you there are multiple times you should check on that and when I say essentials I mean. Things like your your documents your passport your your cruise docs less essential passports
much more important your wallet some cash to to porters and and as I think Rick you'll agree portly your medication essential medications Yes OK since you can't you can't do without make sure those are in your carry on also consider the weather when when you're going because you might be leaving for although we definitely advocate traveling to your port the day before if that is not possible maybe you're leaving somewhere where the weather is cold like you're coming from the Midwest down to Florida you might want to keep in mind that difference in weather when you're packing
for your carry on yeah and I'll give you a different kind of example OK that disk this very proximal last week I got off of celebrity edge on Sunday the 20th I think. You know most of the 20th here in Florida like it was a different date somewhere else.
And and you know the weather here in Florida Sure it can it can vary in temperature but we never really get too crazy as far as cold we had an unseasonably cold day was 42 degrees overnight so somebody showing up that morning might have wanted you know at least not to wear like their Magnum P.I. shorts and a and a tank top for patient even though by noon it was plenty warm right so you can have that you can have of course you can have rain stuff like that so it's a good point do you consider that whether it's part of your pre post cruise or just embarkation morning so I think I think that probably gets us through through packing
is that fair Yeah I think that's great I think we're ready to leave for the port just doesn't like a right time for us to do next we're getting in the car slash uber slash bus van helicopter here I don't know can Jarvis or something.
But in the 1st question I have to ask as well what time do I need to arrive at the cruise terminal absolutely what's your advice there belly you know it really is so the 1st thing understand is that a lot of this depends on the cruise line because you can look at your documents and they're going to tell you exactly when you arrive though usually give you like a one hour window maybe even a half hour window
however the only really critical time is when the the latest that you can arrive which will usually be 2 hours before the ship sails because you don't want to miss it. Some lines Royal Caribbean Celebrity they'll give you that that hour window but it kind of doesn't matter to be honest with you they don't want everyone showing up at once that would be hectic for everyone but if it says 131st sailing that's leaving it for 5 o'clock. To be honest you can probably get there at like 11 o'clock and you're probably going to be all right but know that there are some cruise lines that enforce it actually Ricky just toward Carnival Paradise
Yeah and. You seem to think it was kind of neat is something different than you'd seen before if you were to book 8 carnival sailing tonight and sail out this weekend and they told you hey be here at 130 same is true by the way for Disney and well since that's that's the one I think of when I think of the times I actually do mean something yes I know up at 11 and you could totally show up at 11 and you could tell they sit there in a way in the terminal for Ebele hours and they will be pleased to see you at your assigned time Yes Yes The only difference is I think Disney is pretty good about the 10 to run and head of time but they will not let you before your boarding group write some lines it's there waiting for your time so that does depend roll Caribbean Celebrity most lines frankly pretty flexible Disney and carnival not as flexible and of course a lot of these rules change are somewhat altered in the event that your sailing doesn't sail you know leave until 11 o'clock at night or something which is unusual but it does happen and especially in certain parts of the world you have that M.S.C. seaside sailing that had some unusually late departure time yes so so seaside out of Miami usually leaves at around I believe usually scheduled for 7 pm Don't hold me to that and that's because a lot of guests are have international flights so they want to give extra time to make sure that everyone has time to make it to the ship but we see this on a on a lot of sailing in the Mediterranean and other parts of the world as well so that's why they do that but that's also the kind of place where. Maybe we think of Port cruises from the Caribbean out of the United States. Leave from Miami and come back to Miami where as Mediterranean ships especially from the European lines you may have people embarking and doesn't barking at one location at the next port you have another set of people embarking it doesn't barking at that location so you don't have like the whole ship doesn't turn over you've got a partial turnover that's correct and the people that are changing out the people that are disembarking they could have longer customs lines because you know you have a much wider variety of nationalities so that can just affect when embarkation even begins so remember when you're waiting to get on the ship it's easy to say why can't they just let me on well they're turning around the entire ship they're resetting everything every venue every public space every state room well in most cases every state or you know notwithstanding your example of certain certain non US based sailing so now all of that in mind there's one other time to keep mine not only don't you want to show up too late and miss the ship you don't want to show up too too early because even in those examples where most lines will let you on as long as things are running on time to let you on early there's a threshold right so since they have to turn over that whole ship if you show up let's say at 10 in the morning you're not going on the ship right 9 you might not even get in the terminal and 9 I would suspect not yeah and I've seen people do it I have seen people do it. You know and I get it you're excited you want to be there it's one of the only days I'm OK with getting up kind of early. But ask yourself if you'd rather wait in bed for an extra hour or at the terminal and I'll say a rick terminal $25.00 was pretty nice right and I wouldn't want to spend an extra hour there right not a knife in my back you know you know back no not this nice not as nice as about.
You know there's something I want to say about showing up early and that is I mean they've got they've got stuff to do on the ship they've got to get people off they've got to get the baggage off really they've got to clear the ship out every prior passenger before they can start letting new passengers on so that's why the 10 am. Or 10 am time in the morning is so inflexible you really can't show up early yet for absolutely but once it is time to show up how you get in there as I mentioned before we have different styles right now my style to go with what's cheap because I don't know if you know me I'm kind of frugal.
And I didn't know that about you ha.
So we actually over a cruise have a dot com I believe it's Cruise have a dot com slash transportation and if not I just said that and I have to create that we've got a couple different articles on getting to and from and Rick Well this obviously varies depending on the port and things like that I think you and I have similar philosophies here because you can if you're in your hometown or you drove to the cation city of embarkation you could be taking your car right you could take and or lift or cab. There are a lot of transfers though motor coaches you could hire through the cruise line. Or through 3rd parties maybe in Tampa actually you could even walk.
If you think about it that Marriott right by the port if you don't have too many bags with hits like what a 3rd of the oil absolutely from some of the downtown hotels in Tampa you can walk to the cruise terminal pretty cool one day I'm going to do that but I had too many bags last time I you know I invite you back to Tampa to do that also I believe I was hung over because it's because one of my dearest friends who happens to live in Tampa is a very bad influence the night before I have no idea what you're talking about the Anchor Bar thank you for your patronage Yeah.
Well one of the situations that I have heard about with the transfers is that they're usually not a good deal arranging your your own transportation is the better deal with the exception of being the solo cruiser that seems to be the exception that proves the rule are you do you agree with if you heard similar I agree 100 percent and the basic reason is simple you're paying per person for transfer whether it's a private transfer or a transfer through the cruise line.
You're paying per person whereas that that Uber or that cab or bothering your friend see if they want to wake up at 10 o'clock on a weekend. You're not paying per person they're.
10 to also not love that with transfers whether even if it's a free transfer like from a hotel which got an article about that because free doesn't always mean free in those lot of time they say oh it's a free transfer or you can park at the hotel for free during your cruise and they charge you a way higher per night rate on the hotel not always not always but something to look out for I've got a if you check out our You Tube channel there's a link to over on the site I've got a video that explains that gives an example over in Port Canaveral for just that is absurd so so that's something to keep in mind as well about transfers as you're on their schedule and not yours. Whereas a cab or a nuber you go when you want went when when it works out for you and that to me takes a lot of the pressure off maybe others that's not not as big of a problem Rick when you've cruised without me have usually parked at the port or have you taken a car service so you were just mentioning the time that it's worth it to take over and left because of the time rather than using a transfer service and for me this is why I'm willing to park at the port and on some occasions I think with I'm going to Port Everglades it's pretty easy to take a nuber. Back and forth but for.
From Miami I guess it's not so much the VS taken over and left but on site vs off site parking.
I like to park in the parking garage on site because it is worth it to me to walk across the.
Across the drive walk into the parking garage put my things in the car drive away rather than let's say wait for a shuttle that's going to take me back to an offsite parking area maybe that shuttles fall maybe I'm waiting for a 2nd shot all relate that's that's not a game I want to play and for this the difference in price is that's that's where the ME and sometimes there is the difference in price favors the other direction right so even though I live only about 35 minutes maybe from from Port Everglades 40 minutes. I I take Hoover a lift each time why because when you look at the per night parking.
Charge it's. It's around the same or maybe even cheaper for me to take uber especially with a $78.00 sailing shorter sailing maybe I pay a few more bucks to $2.00 were left rather than drive but you know I drove I think it was our New Amsterdam sailing Nov of 2017 and I said you know what I'm going to drive all just parked there make it easy meant I didn't want to deal with move my bags back and forth especially getting to getting from you can hire a porter that will take your bags to the car I didn't want to I didn't feel like driving I was so tired you know disembarkation can be early and we're always up late so that that yeah I was like OK it's good I hadn't done that in a while don't need to do it again so so whatever the case may be just make sure that you're out the cost and the timing however you decide to go with it and before you get out of the the car the the shuttle. Personal helicopter whatever make sure you have all your stuff phone passport each of your bags get account I don't do this but it's probably not a bad idea I know some people they will write on their luggage tags bags you know however many of however many. Gabourey are yeah I can imagine like especially if you you know if you are going on a really long feelings you have a lot of baggage or if you have a family of 5 a family a family for a family of 5 that could get out of hand pretty quick Yeah so that's that's something to think about to make that easier so so now now we've got to determine we've arrived I've stepped out of my.
Maybach cab because and I'm sailing out of.
Out of I was going to out of nice out of Monaco. OK I just you know fantasies are free.
And and it is it's time to like now this is when it gets real right because at this point you can see the ship. So while it's hard to get real some of that real is maybe a little hectic I mean what your experience for it is far is how is this one of the call him or exciting or more chaotic moments it's a lot of whistles it's a lot of.
People pointing to this line that line this line that lane you need to pull all the way forward you need to stop here and wait for this so that's that is a good argument for and left is that you don't have to make any of those decisions yourself like here you can just walk me through the aisle that exactly you will be brought to the correct point you could just you can just sit back and let that happen.
Once you're in I was going to say you know you see cabbies and and cops yelling at each other like it's an eighty's movie in Manhattan it's really impressive and.
So once all that's done you get to the sidewalk and you can get out of how you got there the 1st thing you're going to want to do is transfer your bags from your possession to the possession of one of the porters.
And when they do that they're going to make sure that bag gets onto the ship for you and that they deserve some compensation for that they've earned it. Yeah and you know some people may feel that this is and we're talking by the way about checked bags if you're carrying bags you're carrying on and you should again carry on bags with such medications documents things like that porters usually remind you but we're going to remind you again but for those checked bags. You know I've heard people say oh it's like extortion you have to listen we're not here to debate the merits of how they're compensated or anything the bottom line is whether you like it or not if you want your bags on the ship supporters taking them and they are they are doing work and this is part of the system so make sure you you take care of them and they will they will take care of you.
I hear a lot of people say a dollar a bag I personally tend to go for for a cup. The box more.
It's just a minute maybe I'm just insecure and I'm like finally give them a dollar what if my bags are delayed or crushed not that that's ever helped happened. But it seems like a pretty easy way you know if if I've got 2 bags that I'm checking the through like 5 or 10 bucks seems a pretty easy way to at least make me feel better and you know what that person who works harder than I do they they get a couple bucks out of it
yeah I think 2 bucks for the 1st bag one but a buck for every additional or 5 bucks I think that's a good rate there do not tip in Chili's gift cards I'm not saying I did this I just I know a guy his bags he saw floating later in the Florida Straits just just there on that out there and and you wonder why we haven't sailed out of Port Canaveral in a long time yeah well eventually they'll forget.
And I'm going to say there's one last time before we get on to the part the exciting part yes I'm going to take a guess at what you're about to say Go It sure that in your checked no in your carry on bag you have your cruise documents your passport your birth certificate your driver's license and your essential medications anything that you need Yep before that leverage and frankly anything super fragile or just stuff that you cannot lose because well I've never lost a bag on a cruise you're not going to see me put you know a 400 dollar laptop in a checked bag because things happened rain happens you know.
So C.S. check that and then you've handed over your bags to the porter they've they're really good about making sure your bag tags are on there we probably should mention that before make sure your bag tags are on there. Some cruise lines still send you back tags most of them many of them have you print them yourself and then tape and staple and wrap. I was not a big believer in the bag tag covers for a long time and lately since I did a bunch of years back to back Wow I understand their merits and I actually this is this is true this is not a sales pitch I actually found one that I really really liked and I highly recommend is where you buy them we sell them over a cruise have a dot com They're there was are proof things with metal grommets and metal metal cables that secure your bag tag so you know if to steepen Tejpal and all that they protect them ink won't run if it rains if you get in from from us cool thank you but where are you going to make sure they're good quality because there are some garbage on the out there but I actually I've kind of become hooked on this so so yeah. Now the the porters have major your tags are on there Dave said hey you have your documents and everything right because they're good about money you are walking into the building now it is getting real because now there are no more no more police whistles no more cabs like screeching tires nearly running into each other but you still you don't just walk on and there are steps you have to go through.
You know as far as the check in and the Challenge Account is getting WAY better than it has been in the past a lot of cruise lines realize that checkin was a pain point and every business wants to reduce pain points. Well let's let's cover what checking has been like before the new technology
of so let's say the last year and something is still like on many crews on this right and a great show every This is this is going to be the check in experience for the vast majority of cruisers unless you're on the very newest let's say we're all Caribbean Celebrity ships you know we're process they're they're big our presence that's true. So you you have these documents that either the cruise line sent you or you printed Hopefully you have them if you don't it's not critical but it may delay if you don't have it handy and you're going to go into a line you're going to walk in there get it they're going to point you towards a line depending on your loyalty level and whether you're in a suite and all this and you're going to wait in the line hand somebody at a counter looks a lot like an airline check in counter except they tease you and that sometimes you can actually see the ship and you makes you just really want to get through all the quicker. And you're going to hand over these documents they're going to make sure everything's in order they're going to scan your passports
they're going to want to take a picture of you which they usually do with the webcam which is why.
I forgot we're not recording video with this podcast I was about to like mimic it but I was going say they're always holding the webcam so you end up being sideways half the time that's fine. But that's of that ship security can every time you scan on and off the ship in port they can make sure it's actually you your the right one card and they will often depending on the ship give your room key and sometimes even a program right like a daily schedule of events tell you when your state room is going to be ready stuff like that today I miss anything yet that they will take a credit card for you're on board and you know yes they will and less oddly there's one exception that's M.S.E. M.S.E. you actually handle your time your credit card to your account.
Once you're on the ship but these little kiosks which is kind of unusual but perfectly effective and you may be thinking but Billy wreck I've already provided my credit card information you did. Oftentimes don't ask me why Cruise Lines ask for ahead of time only to ask for it again.
I don't know it's a great question but that's that's the way it is. Sometimes they'll just provide you with like a slip you're signing for the credit card that already has the the last 4 but yes payment you know make sure that there's a way that they can tie that to your onboard account except for M.S.C. who does that later. See how that that's the way check in used to be in for most people still is what is Rick check and check in like on some newer ships and frankly what we can expect on many many ships going forward yes this is this is where we're checking as had one of the things that I did for my Mariner and for my edge sailing in the world Caribbean and celebrity apps they have their own branded versions of about the same out I took a picture of myself took a selfie so the at the time at the counter where they would be taking your picture for security Yeah Billy is modeling this as we speak.
I upload a picture of myself so that's already in the system I also upload my credit card so that's in the system and then the subtle password the boarding pass that you might get that's that does not need to be printed that is now on my phone I you might have experience with an airline boarding pass being something you could have on the screen or something in your wallet.
And then when you walk into the terminal. There is some facial recognition technology
going on so they're going to scan this digital boarding pass that you have and they're going to take a picture of you as you kind of walk towards a kiosk and that was this right 1000000 and I think that was pretty much the boarding process Yep Actually there's one more part that we that we failed to mention that So guys to both but in a place you want me to both walk in the security of 2 parts yeah so there is security which is essentially care of airport security the main difference being they don't care about where the liquids are right. Not withstanding any rules that line has about bringing averages on board and you're not regardless of whether you've pre-check or global injury or not taken off your belt your shoes.
Your pantaloons I don't I don't really know how this works I have pre-check I just I just drove right through it's it's so it's so easy that's not true but it's security to pretty easy process all scan your bags and then it with the traditional check in process there will also be a form they're going to have you sign that just says yes I have definitely not had any certain types of physical ailments around communicable diseases you know Nazia vomiting diarrhea stuff like that in the last couple days and and they just want to make sure that that you're OK they're not going to give anything to anyone else and and listen it's important for everyone for you to be honest and just because if you're honest and you say oh actually you know some was bothered me the other day then I say Oh we're not getting on the ship today we're going to have you talk to one the physicians from the ship and they'll make a determination is the best course of action I will tell you that.
More often than not it's totally fine but. They want to have that conversation and it's important to have that honest conversation so there's that and then in the more modernized boarding process that that Rick was covering it's the same thing but. Essentially it's somebody with a tablet asking you those questions kind of like did you pack your bags yourself. And oh yeah and just noting that on a tablet before sending you on your way.
Yes So that's a that's check in and it's the new way is awesome it's not.
It's not terrible the old way because hey you're having a good morning you're about to get on a cruise but the new way is definitely fast really got to do that in my last 3 cruises symphony edge an edge in WOW is really cool save time gets me on the ship faster I'm all for that very little for me to do I've already done it so I'm basically just walkin up to a kiosk and then say why men walking on to the ship so so boarding you've gone through checkin in and assuming it's already your time and they're ready they're going to show you where to a to walk on and there's not too much to say here because you're just walking on the ship right but I will tell you something that I try I started not long ago to try and do and that's I try and notice where I board on the ship and what I mean where you board on the ship you're going on the ship for whatever you know few days or few weeks if you're if you're really lucky.
There's there's like a door or something yeah However this is partially just the excitement partially the madness of OK we're rocking on the ship now and I'm carrying my carry on bags and maybe I'm taking a picture as I step on but also because they have they may have some canopies set up and the way that the gangway is up against the building and and the fact that you walk into some Sometimes you walk into public areas of the ship that that particular space is not is often covered watch where you're getting on the ship and try and remember that maybe after you've taken several steps on to the ship turn around and take a look and there's not an important thing I just think it's cool because the number of times in the past that I've been on day 4 of a cruise and then looked on the shipping on where did I walk in what deck was that is really bizarre to me.
So yeah that's just something that I like to do now and not not going to hurt you if you don't but I'm sure I'm sure I hope at least one other listeners going yeah I know exactly what he's talking about if not you're all just going to tell me to go talk to somebody about my disorientation problems I think typically you're going to be that for Deck 5 and a gram atrium kind of situation but then finding that place like along the wall yeah that is yes because sometimes the little white label Sub or home or sometimes they put curtains across the doors and sometimes you're walking directly to the inside of the ship sometimes they're like a prominent.
So now that you were on the ship what should you immediately like what are the.
As soon as you've walked on and maybe Rick maybe should we talk about the thing that maybe you if you can you shouldn't do immediately that a lot of people do well let me say what I what's on my mind when I'm there on to a ship. Now is when starts the food and drink that I have paid for
so I want to take advantage of every moment that I have paid for food and drink and you might think
well all the food's up at the buffet Everyone's heading up to the. I guess we should go up to the buffet but that might not really be the best thing on a lot of cruise lines there are alternative venues open sometimes it's a sit down restaurant sometimes it's like quick service grab and go so let's let's run a last examples here Billy so on an oasis crush up on Royal Caribbean you would have the park Efik Yep that's the that's the big one I think yeah I think that's a that's a great place to go on Norwegians ships you're going to have she hands.
Good example how about on the on D.C.L. on D.C.L. you're going to have a sit down restaurant usually the one that's right there in the atrium so I guess that's Tritons on. You know what not my business but maybe in the case maybe maybe they change it up like I remember in the past for example at the office because they had like a separate buffet set up in Cariocas even though it's not a buffet venue normally and trysting Well karaoke has no more so yeah. But maybe maybe it did change it up but one of the rotational dining
restaurants on D.C.L. will be open Yes And the important thing here is this can really vary by sailing so some cruise lines maybe it's usually just the buffet but if they know it's going to be a particularly busy embarkation day because of a timing thing something like that like maybe there was maybe embarkation was delayed for everybody because there was a Coast Guard inspection or because weather caused them to get in early no everything's rushed they may open up another venue that isn't ordinarily open and that might not even be on the schedule so what I like to do if I'm not sure or I don't think something is open I will ask any crew member hey where can I get some food right now that isn't the the buffet venue. And you know if you're on a smaller ship if you're on oceanic or something like that the buffet it's going to be busy but it's not going to be a madhouse but I'll be honest with you on a lot of ships especially contemporary market ships. If you go to the buffet on embarkation day that is the busiest you're going to see any venue on that ship the entire Everts ever ever ever it is like they're giving away smallpox vaccines and there's an outbreak in.
It is bizarre.
So let's see what what else to have a meal after boarding we we figured out some other place to eat and oh you know what you're doing and this is always super fun you're carrying around those carry ons Oh yeah that's my all right I want to have this stuff with me but I don't really like carrying it with me so a lot of this comes down to the cruise line and also what time you happen to get on the ship right if if if you have a 5 o'clock sale and you just got to the ship at 130 there's a very good chance your staterooms already ready and they'll tell you when you check in in fact what time state rooms will be ready. So in that case they go drop it off your stateroom and do all the things we're about to talk about in just a minute for when your rooms ready however if not there are there are some options like Royal Caribbean as in testing something very recently where you can drop off like check some of your.
Almost like a hotel concierge check some of your carry ons that something they're testing we'll see how that ends up working out if other cruise lines do that or you and I experienced something on edge recently that was different. It's fantastic What was that deal yet so when we were getting on to edge we were told that our rooms were available for us to drop our bags off and for me this just made so much sense because if if I take a buy bag up to the buffet it's in everybody's way if it's in a chair it's taking up a seat if I put it on the floor and see how someone asked navigate around it but if I take it up to my room and drop it off OK so maybe the floor has to be vacuumed OK vacuum over here move the bags back in with the bags were move the bags back that's pretty simple. And don't think that that means you know Rick mentions a vacuum that there has been clean yet right it seems like there are certain things that they will have done no matter what before you get there you know there's going to be fresh linens It's not like you know somebodies garbage is still there from Jack and they just they just did what can they do to make it so that it's comfortable comfortable and clean for you to go in the room but where they can still get some of their work done a little bit later that could be vacuuming but that could be other stuff too Lake. There's going to be documentation just for you like if you on some ships if you have an Internet package and you have a code that code won't be there yet maybe ordered canopies to be in your room or or birthday or anniversary decorations that might not be there yet. You know I think actually I don't know if they had these on the December sailing Rick they might have and I didn't notice on January they did the same thing on edge right with the room being ready for you to drop off your bags and there was a blackbird on the door and it said something about the making the room perfect just for you in other words. It's not that the room is dirty and shows that we haven't made it we haven't done the things that are specifically for you yet and now that I thought was a good way of thinking about it so yeah that if you see that and I hope that they start doing this and all the ships maybe maybe they're doing this on other Celebrity ships they didn't do it on infinity a couple months ago when you were on but I'd love to see it become a thing because it's awesome other lines they I don't know how they do it like Holland America rooms or anybody Kalev an AMC rooms almost always are ready as soon as you board no matter what how will you board that's crazy I don't know how they do that but good job by them.
Being able to drop off your bags you know that that that makes whole thing easier So whether you've dropped off your bags or not at this point you have the. You have your kind of priorities for the day things that may not seem like even they need to be done right now but that you maybe should do right now yeah for me this means taking care of my dining
reservations same way when I let's say I get. A dining
package on Iraq Caribbean sailing they're going to automatically book one of my dinners for me but the rest I need to book for myself once I'm on board. If I book them ahead of time I can't use the package so that's kind of one of the choices with the with the dining
package there but once I'm one board I can change the one that they've automatically assigned to me I can change that to whatever I want and I can make the rest of my reservations
on D.C.L. when you've got the rotational dining
if there's some kind of different rotation that you want because maybe you know you want to eat. At pollo on the 3rd night and you want to say you want to skip a particular restaurant to go eat Apollo so you want to get a dining
rotation that lines up where this restaurant is where is your 3rd night restaurant so that you're missing that to go to follow.
If you go to Eric saying right now trust me if you're looking into D.C.L. cruise it will immediately become apparent I was.
Kind of unique circumstance for them it is it is it is unique to Disney but whatever you want to do with dining
Let's say you have a 6 o'clock dining
time and you want to move to anytime dining
. It may be you want 6 pm but you have made some friends who are going to go on the salient you want to make sure that your party and the other party have a table together any kind of dining
whatever you want to look in the kind of what's going on that day to see where that can be accommodated or go to Guest Services or just ask show up to the main dining
room at front door the maid Iran ask Hey where do I go to make adjustments to my dining
they'll tell you but tell you where that's taken care Yep that also means confirming things that maybe you think you already took care of and maybe they are ready to have already been taken care of but it's good to confirm that includes Hey I requested a 2 top I requested he will just for 2 we don't want to sit with other people or we do want to sit with other people. Or you know you mentioned 6 o'clock and 18 o'clock maybe you changed your mind or maybe when you went to book the cruise they no longer had available anytime dining
or they no longer had your particular table or time available see what they do now if you have specialty if you have them cheese any. Dietary restrictions vegan vegetarian kosher gluten free of shellfish allergy whatever the case may be make sure that they know that now even if they know before it's just a good time to check in on every bit of the dining
stuff. And I think I think dining
is probably that the primary. The primary task there because that's going to happen within a short number of hours of embarkation whereas other things you have you know at least until the next morning.
To work out but you can look if there are other things look in that that schedule that you either got when you checked in or maybe it's maybe you already had it on your phone maybe you're browsing that while you're waiting at the terminal or in a nuber on the way to the port if it's an app or maybe was in your state room but wherever you got that schedule check in there and see if anything else makes you oh yeah I should follow up on that as well because you know the sooner you can get to those things that the earlier you know that doesn't work out it's also a good time when you're looking at that schedule to say what's going on the rest of the day it be a shame if you found out that there's some activity or some show that you are all about super exciting to you and it's at 4 o'clock and you didn't look at the schedule until you know your your spouse was changing for dinner and you were sitting on the bed thumbing through it and you messed up. And I've definitely done that so take take a look at that you know figure out what your priorities are. Now if your room wasn't ready before
it is now and even if it was ready you know for to drop off your bags by now you're probably going to go that room is yours for the next 3457. 30 whatever the case may be night and Personally I recommend unpacking
immediately Rick do you do you do this or do you unpack it night oh yeah I unpack and then I try to get the wrinkles out of any clothes that might be kind of wrinkly like I really want to get settled them Yep and you might only be able to parcel unpack right you might only be able to unpack the things in your carry on maybe one of your check bags has arrived but the other hasn't or however many. It depends but whatever whatever I have I started packing
to get you like you said to get the wrinkles out and just because I want to joy every moment I crucify take that off little bites at a time I don't have to go great I'm going to lose this next hour and hacking it also means that there's time to get more things you need hangers if you're going to need more hangers I always tell people don't don't bring hangers I have a You Tube video about that actually.
You know there's a good time to ask your state of attendant Hey can you give me some hangers because when the rest those bags do come you're going to want those hangers Look I think it's a great time to meet your state room attendant are probably going to be wandering around the hall they are probably going to want to meet you at this time let you know who they are or offer to do whatever you need sometimes what have we asked for we've asked for champagne flutes we've asked for I sweep asked for I've asked for extra towels because I like to have a double sided towels.
And these could be one off one off request or they could be you know all the time like hey could you make sure that I always have a picture of ice water and a couple glasses sure nice and easy. You know it could go the other way or it could it could be some people everyone has different preferences hey nothing personal but don't bother turning of my room except at night or you know whatever.
You know any preferences you have that's the time that's the bed. Time to express them and there are no I don't know how they keep track man but I've asked over the over the years I've asked for some things that may be specific to that cruise that were just kind of weird circumstances or whatever and man they're good so yeah so ask and it'll it'll be a good way to to start that relationship straight away and while you're in your stateroom picture yourself Now close your eyes not if you're driving felicitous in the car don't don't close or otherwise.
Or if you're pilot for the love of God Why are you listening right now. So you so close your eyes you're in your state room and you're facing the direction of the door now open your eyes what you see on the back your door
Rick oh I didn't know that was a I thought that was a rhetorical question that's why we call it bring board.
Thank you. What I see is a floor plan of the ship with some emergency exit routes mapped out and there's probably also going to be an identifier of what my muster station is yes I think I'm going to look for probably like a letter number come combination or maybe just a letter yesterday but on the ship usually a letter number but yeah and that's your muster station. For those who don't know the 5 2nd version that's where you go in the event of an emergency.
Ever could meet you'll get instructions and they'll take carry from there you're going to have a muster drill in a little bit and you're going to want to know where that is no there's great signage to tell you where the money where your muster station is you'll see on your on your key card it will tell you your muster station but look at this map and know where your muster station is one because you want to know right away Hey safety 1st right but also because everyone else getting on the ship literally every passenger is going to go to muster.
You should probably have an idea beforehand because maybe if you're thinking I don't care where I'm going to just need to sit and have a drink or edge and you know get in a couple minutes reading or whatever the case may be maybe maybe if you can preposition yourself near muster station make it really easy on yourself.
That's what I do but either way take a look and in fact I'll go one step farther and I will say take a picture of the back of your.
Of your door where that that that map that tech plan with your muster station is no noted and maybe even take a picture of your your door placard case you feel your you remember as I do that every hotel and cruise ship I go on because
nothing like but next car in the wrong door 4 or 5 times 3 in the morning angrily not understanding why it's failing to open.
Sorry about that to that one yes.
It does or as we're as we're winding towards let's say what $330.00 about muster time one of the things you should know is that they're going to close down the bar they're going to close down more than just the bar all ship services are going to close during muster because I think we've discussed this on a recent episode those people have jobs to do for muster drill.
But that means if you want to drink before muster make sure you get it before muster because they're not going to make like a last call announcement it's just about the bars close now Absolutely and and know that some some cruise lines let you take a drink to muster some don't D.C.L. used to let you now from what I understand they don't depend so just keep that in mind really for all your muster crush muster drill questions there's a safety section over on cruise having There's an article explaining what must realise that history
what the point is and things like that so.
You should also know don't try and skip this.
If you're going to show up and there's there's no excuse for one and I don't mean that in like a mean way but let's say you're going well it looks like my muster girl station might be outside and it's hot or I have trouble standing for a long period of time no problem you need to show up here muster station right at the time and they're going to let you know it's going to be in a program they're going to tell you there's going to be announcements you can't miss it.
But you need to show up and check in you mention the bars closing I have a shirt available on Shop doctors have a dot com I have a shirt says mustard will closing bars and taking names because that's what happens right they're going to take your name they're going to scan your C. pass card whatever the case may be when you get there to make sure you showed up and if you do need assistance you you have a medical issue whatever the case may be you can't be where your muster station is for very long let them know and they will be glad to accommodate you you know to to to sit somewhere else during the drill when they're going explain all the safety procedures stuff like that what whatever you need they will take care of you but you still do need to show up and if you don't show up there's no hiding There's nothing like that 1st they literally check every single state room just like they do in an actual emergency and mark your stateroom door once it's been cleared that no one is there they're going to check every public area and because they're there scan your card they know is there and who's not they have as I say they have a special set of skills they will find you there's no avoiding it if you lock yourself in a bathroom muster may be delayed until everyone is there and it's some point they may just do it and then guess what you're going to have your own personal embarrassingly personal muster drill sometime in the next you know hour or 2 anyway that's the thing I've seen it yeah you know you're not missing it yet and not as. So all right so we have heard 7 short tones followed by a want a long time alone and now the muster drill has been has can conclude the captain has dismissed us all what now Billy me I get the hell out of the way.
Yeah on a larger ship you know I mentioned that that the phase not on embarkation day I maybe maybe a couple minutes ago I misspoke and maybe it's equally as crazy once muster is over because everyone's rushing back to get somewhere that isn't there muster station so you can either you can either fight and try and do what they're doing or you can just chill step out of the way for a minute have a seat relax watch watch all the people that you and try and try and guess who as they walk by did not take my advice to arrive a day early because they look jet lag in like they've been on a flight with a child kicking the back of their seat for the last 3 hours prior to arriving just relax wait for the crowds to die down that's what I do and I think I think Rick does the same because neither one of us try and win any awards here.
But then you know once that's done and then things do calm down a bit where a Rick where do you tend to head.
Will the bar is the obvious answer but I don't remember what the question is alcohol is the solution it is a solution so.
Well I don't want to I want to jump to the next point because that's what I'm thinking about but I like I just want to walk around the ship I want to explore.
I probably have done some exploring before and maybe I know where I want to go back to maybe I want to check out. Some of the some of the open back. Arts another something that you want to talk about that you don't you don't actually do but you think is a good idea well yeah and I want to get to that but you know in your exploring I think there's a good method of exploring that wasn't maybe available or least and maybe I just didn't notice that it was an option on a lot of ships for a long time because you could expand on your own totally Ken nothing wrong with that.
There are ways and I don't know the how much of this is by design now but there are ways to force explore what I mean is Tour self guided tours of sorts that can make it so that you will get in your steps and see a whole bunch of the ship so one example is our tours many ships was an art or some of them when asked where if you ask a guest services they'll just have like a map of all the ships are with descriptions and you can walk around or sometimes like a little pamphlet and see all the art and that will you know end up taking you to many spots where the art is displayed throughout the ship at celebrity edge has an augmented reality exploration app there are a couple you can download the app right now and see a few of the spots at home but a lot of it you have to actually be on the ship and it will take you area to area and you'll see Richard Fein C.E.O. of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Lisa live off Pirlo C.E.O. of celebrity describing edge and that's pretty cool that's another way on Disney and maybe on other lines but on Disney they have midship detection detective agency on their dream class ships that's a game that also involves volved interactive artwork and that will take you around so I think that's a really cool way of exploring while also having a good time it's it's sort of like what I used to enjoy rock climbing because I would get in and I would get in a workout and I was distracted I didn't even realize that's what I was doing so that's I think that's fantastic you know you can always ask and see if there's anything like that on the ship if not make up your own but explore and then so the thing that Rick was a springboard into the thing that I don't do yet you have some of you have one other Rick I'm sorry yeah I think with the with the art tours I haven't seen this as I haven't been on these 2 ships but away so subtle or have the small wonders I think that's kind of like a great art tool or kind of fun thing to go look for. Yeah that's another great example and actually the. Symphony and maybe harmony but Symphony for sure has a an augmented reality thing in the app. That I told Lee forgot to check out while I was on board so you can use that explore ship and tell me all about that stuff that I missed that I won't get to see for a while.
So there's that now cares about that.
For what they call it hidden something hidden wonders I don't actually X. ray vision X. rays something oh yeah. Very vision you know I felt like oh yeah playing charades with myself for a moment I had forgot about that yeah yeah I don't doubt about it for 7 very specific days. I don't have a big book on symphony so I've been thinking about that for myself but yeah I do recall reading about that sort of vision so musters over we've moved around the ship maybe we're scoping out a great location because the thing that's next hang on before next oh sorry no no it's OK were poorly organized we just we don't make no yeah we do we just don't follow me do.
Is there something that I do not follow this advice partially because the just doesn't interest me but I think it is a really good idea if it is interesting to you if you are all interested in going to the spa and thanks to to listener and reader and contributor in fact he's helped out with a number of pieces we've done Nick for Tani for the suggestion is go to head to the spa because at some point and it will be pamphlets they'll be it's like as I say it's like getting a ride to Paradise Island in Nassau
it's pretty hard to avoid on ships when they do this there's a lot of people talking about that there will be a spot raffle or drawing where you have the key is you have to be there to win and the basic idea is you walk by the spa you know you know put in your number name or whatever and then it a very specific time usually shortly after muster usually. They will be picking out of a hat one of the people that entered and you have to be there to win and it will be a gift certificate to the spa I've seen $25.00 I've seen one $150.00 and ever in between so not nothing right if you're looking to go to a spa Here's a great way to save some cash. And the reason this is important to do is because as Nick pointed out pointed out with with a significant data set nobody seems to show up so you think wow what are my odds Well if if only 12 people show up to the auction.
I guess about one in 12 and I think Nick went on a streak there was like 4 or 5 sailings in a row that he he won the the spot raffle and somebody else to it won several in a row I don't remember who it was now so yeah if the spa's interesting to you do that man that's that's pretty cool I I don't despise don't do anything for me but the idea of getting something for free is so appealing to me that I might start showing up just for that maybe I can give it away after that or no you can give it to me I do get massages on on the ships it sounds like a plan OK so. Now and now it is after muster you've explored you went to the spot raffle and hopefully before you scope something out when you're walking around the ship you're looking for a good place to do what.
Grab a drink and watch sail away and hard ever get there is there a way it's the beginning it's the true beginning of the vacation you know we keep saying that oh this is when your Tripoli starts but. If you're no longer attached to the dock and you're actually moving yeah man that's that's pretty great feeling I I've never intentionally missed sail away and I don't always go to the parties but like I always I'm always watching whether it's off my balcony through a window or out on deck in a public space I always watch and I always take note that it happens in Les I'm really occupied something weird happens right.
Out of so many sailings it's always it's always awesome to have a job a favorite spot in general or do you just find whatever looks appealing to would when you're exploring. Yeah it really is whatever the mood strikes me at that time I think some of my favorites that I recall are the the constellation lounge at the front of celebrities millennium class ships and that was a beautiful sail away from the infinity just a very wide view and it was also air conditioned so that yeah it was my that's a good point top forward lounges on ships that have them are always great unfortunately more and more ships these areas are becoming sweet only unfortunately for for those of not a sweet great for those who are but. Yeah many if not most call in America ships have the crow's nest all the way up and forward.
Celebrities both solstice and Millennium class ships have top 4 lounges and were else. Oh man they are on our class Oceana ships horizons that's one of my favorite places so yeah that if you don't have to be outdoors to enjoy sail away because maybe it's hot maybe it's cold maybe it's rainy. Whatever. Yeah that's a that's a good call for that for the lounge. But hopefully whatever that spot is you scoped it out while you were exploring and hopefully there's Azar I mean it's a cruise ship there's probably a bar there there might even be food might even be entertainment who knows. Some some good some it's a good time to if you if you don't want to stay in one place during sail away if you want to hit a few of those good spots it's a great way to scout out some of the on board entertainment because most of the live music acts that will be playing throughout your cruise not all of them but most of them will be playing somewhere during sale away.
Yeah it's a THING I'VE ALREADY time yeah it's a big party time so that's when people aren't in their rooms or out on the back they're in a lounge. So 1st evening the whole rest of the night I think this is your 1st this may be might be the 1st time you show up at the main dining
room so you're going to if you're if you have an assigned dining
time maybe you're going to report just directly to the table that's listed on your card and you'll meet your made dining
room server your service team assistant waiter at time again to communicate any of those dietary preferences allergies or just things that you like like if you're someone who wants a glass of iced tea on the table when you show up a lot of know that's a good time to let him know Yep for me it's also a good time to realize that I never woke up lorissa and she has missed the cruise so maybe calling apologize and send a S. and a gift card no it's is she is she at home or in the state room oh at home we never we never went to that step on in the morning like wake up your family and travel travel made everyone today and I feel like it's critical I mean you all day here before sailings and I know I can depend on you to wake me up. That's are already be up yeah the worst part is literacy doesn't even know what ship are going on so it's a she could kind of record or I meet up with us later I had to make fun of her but you know she'll have to listen to pod cast even know that we're doing that. So new 1st evening Yeah this is when you know any of those other preferences that you haven't already expressed or that you want to drill in it's also a good time to if there were any parts of the ship you weren't able to explore before plus everything is a totally different look at night and I will tell you my least favorite thing about the 1st evening he feels like come so fast like for me from. Getting to the terminal and it being dinner time on that 1st day wow that goes fast so it's like I just changed clothes as I got it and goes on for dinner and it's scary Yeah yeah and you mentioned just change clothes I usually in Florida I usually change.
Like right before muster because all in my carry I'll throw in a change of clothes because I don't want to be like shopping bags and it's hot and.
Invariably I'm in a cab the C. doesn't work Anderson so and you it's your 1st evening and now from here it's smooth sailing and we have a whole bunch of other episodes and articles that tell you how to how to make the rest of your cruise awesome but you have you've done it you made it through your 1st day and the 1st day is I don't know a lot of ways even though it can you know there's more there's some baggage to me it's the best day because it's the time in your cruise that you have the most crews still ahead of you so make sense.
That's deep I was just saying it's so exciting and dynamic and you're getting things arranged for the rest of the day is like it with your restaurant reservations and things like that meeting new people and finding new venues that's exciting and dynamic see that's such an optimistic way me I'm just like. There are cruises or at the end of our cruise is only going to get closer that's. I think.
Both of our personalities this experience will taper to nothingness.
We aren't even clear of the death of the Naomi right now exactly boy if that is not the billy or personal loss of faith I don't know what is so so again you know we hope you've enjoyed this guide through your 1st day I've had some great 1st days on ships running around kind of doing this some of this I've learned from my many cruises some of them went belly some of them without.
Some of them with Billy some of them with axing.
But you know a lot of the stuff I think I think this is probably true of both of us a lot of the stuff that we've learned has been from doing it multiply was but a lot of it is also from tips that others have given us over the years so you know you know of if you have tips.
That you know things that listen the spot raffle thing I didn't know about that until like a year or 2 ago so maybe you have some great tips for you to share things that we didn't mention please write us and tell us about it podcast at cruise habit dot com because one we want the tips that we can selfishly use them and to we want to be able to tell others because in fact if you e-mail us podcasters have a dot com We may just read your question on the air. Yet if if this episode sparks any question that you might have about embarkation 1st day maybe even preclude crews planning jot that down to a podcast occurs have a dot com We will take all of your suggestions we will at this point I guess are we going to wrap up should we go to the thank you I think so OK I will I will say thank you to J.L. more and more I am jailed Yep Or am I don't know what I always say more and never ask around.
You know this person.
Jhelum are in constant contributor always there on Facebook on the forums super awesome Oh excellent great great great well we're glad that jail like Star pod cast thank you for the for the nice comments there How ever that you are listening to our podcast be that.
You know what we have stitch your Spotify any of the podcast apps go to search Google to i Tunes or the Apple podcast app and search crews have it and leave us a review there may be some stars a text of you that would be great as Billie said before you have questions for us e-mail us to podcast at cruise habit dot com and we'll see if we can get to those on a future episode would love to answer your questions go ahead Billy and by the way.
Thank you Joe I was pretty sure Joe and then I was like man if I say the wrong name right now I'm a feel like a huge cheer because yeah he's always always contributing and I and I appreciate that especially over there on the road crew blog forums and I think you know it as well so yeah so thank you guys all for listening we sincerely appreciate it I'll leave you with this the one thing that I usually say at the end of the end of the broadcast if you like the podcast and we hope you do if you like the site articles on the site any of our content stuff on You Tube share with someone else that that also will that would mean the world to us because we like doing this we like sharing with you and we love talking ship hopefully we'll get to talk shop with you guys real soon take care.
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