Life Abroad a Cruise Ship

Life Abroad a Cruise Ship


It can be confusing boarding a large cruise ship, finding your cabin, learning what to do and where to go—and why are they sounding off that alarm and telling you to put on your life preservers and gather in the hallway??

Life aboard ship is pretty much the same on all cruise ships, following a predictable ebb and flow that will become very familiar once you have been on several cruises.

Life Abroad a Cruise Ship

Your cruise begins the moment you board the ship. Normally, you will find yourself in a large central lobby. This is when you want to locate your cabin. Don’t be surprised if your luggage is not there when you open the door. It usually arrives just outside your door within a couple of hours of your boarding. Take a look through your cabin then drop your hand bags, lock the door, and head back out to explore the ship.

Usually by noon there will be at least one restaurant, usually a buffet, open for lunch and this is a great opportunity to sit down and enjoy a meal while many of the other passengers may still be boarding.

Life Abroad a Cruise Ship

While the ship is still at dock is a great block of time to do all the little errands you need to do to make your cruise go smoothly. You’ll want to find the Maitre D of the main restaurant and reserve your dining table and seating time (if you haven’t done so ahead of time). Usually for dinner there is an early seating and a later seating that coordinate with the shows in the theater. You’ll want to stop by the Front Desk and give them your credit card in return for a “cruise card” which you will use to charge your purchases onboard. You will want to perhaps find the library and check out books before other passengers take the good ones! Or check out an iPod, which many of the ships have now. And you may even want to stop by the Shore Excursions desk to see if there are any organized trips on land that you may be interested in booking.

Chores done, why not head out to the pool area and relax? Normally there is either entertainment or little snacks and drinks being passed around there while the ship is still at the dock to make a nice interlude for passengers to enjoy. Settle down into a lounge chair and take a deep breath. You can relax now! Everything is done, and you won’t have to do a thing more if you don’t want to. All your meals are taken care of, you don’t have to drag suitcases from hotel to hotel, and you will be entertained royally. A nap by the pool or walk about up on the deck with the most room to stroll is a great way to spend the afternoon left. Being outside, you will be able to watch when the ship begins to leave the dock and sail out the harbor, which is always an exciting experience!

Sailing out of the harbor is something cruisers never tire of being a part of. You will find many people crowding to the bow of the ship and along the side rails to watch the beginning moments of their cruise. Bring your camera if you want some great shots!

Once under way, you will hear instructions for the “muster”. This is a safety drill that by law all passengers must take part in. You will be asked to go to your cabin, get your life preservers, wait for the loud signal, then leave your cabin and walk with the other passengers to your designated “muster” station. A necessary precaution, it is wise to listen to the instructions and take them seriously. Most people find it hilarious wearing the big bulky life preservers and being put through a “drill”. So it is also a good time to mingle with the other passengers as well!

That evening will be your first meal in the main dining room, or in the buffet area. The main dining area has assigned tables where you will sit throughout the cruise and many passengers make friends with their fellow table-mates. You will have the same waiters at every meal and very soon will be calling them by their first name. They work extremely hard to keep you happy and are some of the most loved crew on the ship.

You may find after this first meal that you prefer to have your meals at random times and at different spots around the ship, which is fine. Either way you now know by having tried the more formal seating. Normally after dinner there is a big show in the main theater. The casino opens. The clubs start their musical entertainment. And so the evenings will go every night of your trip.

Mornings can be spent in many ways. Some people love to slip out of their cabin at the break of dawn with a camera and have their coffee and pastry out on the deck to watch the sun rise. Some will take an early morning run. Some will sleep in and have their full breakfast served to them in the main dining room. Others will order room service and have it on their balcony.

The rest of the day is yours to enjoy. Take a look at the daily schedule posted that will list all the classes, events, and special happenings that day. Take a look at the menu posted for the main dining room to see which meals you may want to take there. Then have fun!

Sports lovers will want to take a tour of the fitness center, spa, and make a reservation for a treatment later in the cruise. Some cruises have card games you can sign up for. Other cruises are so peaceful that you will really only want to slip into the peacefulness and completely rest. While others will offer a full schedule of enrichment lectures, art classes, dance classes, and offer lectures to tell you about the next port of call and what to expect and do there.

You may want to introduce yourself to the Cruise Entertainment Director. He is the life of the ship. If there is something you would love to do, or want to see, he will be the one to fulfill your wish or at least guide you in the right direction. He or she usually runs the daily Bingo or Trivia Questions Games and is a very entertaining personality.

The day you arrive at your first port of call, you can decide whether to get off and tour the location or whether to stay onboard ship and enjoy the ship with less people on it. Every port of call visit offers passengers more than enough time to get off and walk around, have meals, shop and tour that destination. You will also be able to book shore excursions if you wish so that you can go snorkeling, sailing, touring, golfing, and a myriad of other activities.

Shoppers will be happy to find that most ships have a wide variety of shops. And of course, you will have wonderful shopping at each and every port of call.

As your cruise winds down to the last day, there are only a few things needed to be done before you disembark. Most cruises ask that you have your bags packed and outside your cabin door the night before. So make sure you keep out little things and medicines you will need in the morning and clothes for the next day.

The dinner on the last night of the cruise is the appropriate time to slip your waiter(s) a gratuity if that is the ship’s policy. The dinner and entertainment on the last night will have a very casual dress code since your clothes are hopefully already packed.

The morning of disembarkation can be handled in two ways. If you are in a hurry to get off and make a connection, then make sure to be ready to get in line well in advance of the time posted. However, there is time to dawdle and enjoy the ship while others form long lines to get off. Have your last leisurely breakfast served to you in the main dining room. Take your last sip of coffee on the deck. Stroll about to take in the air. And when you are ready and most of the crowds have been shuffled off, make your way down to the main lobby and disembark. You will find your luggage outside waiting for you. 

Date posted: 17th March, 2014

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