On a cruise, your vacation starts as soon as you set foot on your cruise ship. In fact, Day One has the makings to be as memorable as every other day of your getaway. Each ship is packed with adventures, restaurants, entertainment and more, and you can get in on the action right away.
Now, where do you start? There’s a guide for that, and this one is packed with expert tips and hacks to navigate your first day on board because every minute of your time off is a minute to enjoy. High-speed waterslides, surfing and skydiving simulators, entertainment across four “stages“—air, ice, water and theater—as well as restaurants ranging from Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen to American steakhouse Chops Grille are all at your fingertips.
Read on to see how you can make the most of your time on board from the get-go:
Getting On Board
Set yourself to vacation mode early and check in for your cruise with the Royal Caribbean mobile app. You’ll get all the information you need before you arrive, and you can scan your passport and upload a “selfie” as a security photo to generate a mobile boarding pass and choose your arrival time. The pass is your ticket to quickly get on board. Several terminals even have facial recognition for an experience that’s as hands-off as it gets. Whether you check in with the app or online, as long as you have the right identification documents handy, getting to your ship will be a breeze.
Next, you’ll want to pick up your SeaPass card, which functions as your room key, ID and credit card. It’ll be in a sealed envelope that’s waiting for you right outside your stateroom.
See You Later, Luggage
When you get to the cruise terminal, leave your baggage behind—literally. You can give porters your luggage once you’ve tagged it with the necessary details, like your stateroom number, and they’ll work with the ship’s crew members to deliver it to your stateroom later that day.
Pro tip: Bring a small bag or tote with a few essentials—like a swimsuit, sunscreen and shades—so that you’re ready to jump in on the action on board, whether that’s at places like the pool and on the waterslides, the rock climbing wall or the bumper cars at SeaPlex.
Explore the Ship
Go on and familiarize yourself with your home away from home and all it has to offer. You can simply wander or plan out your path with the deck plans (aka maps) on the app or digital wayfinders throughout the ship.
Pro tip: Use the mobile app (for iOS or Android) to personalize your cruise, especially when traveling with a group. Book ahead of time and easily map out your adventures, from shore excursions to activities, dining and more.
There’s something for kids and adults of all ages and interests on a Royal Caribbean ship. If you like to be active, there are ice skating rinks, bumper cars, laser tag, escape rooms, simulated surfing and skydiving, zip lines and Sky Pad, a virtual reality and bungee trampoline adventure, to name a few experiences. Want to relax? Enjoy a shady casita by the pool, book a spa treatment, head to the adults-only Solarium area or take a stroll in Central Park, the neighborhood that’s filled with more than 20,000 real plants. You can quickly find out what’s open by checking out the Cruise Compass on the app or as a printed copy that you can pick up at Guest Services or in your stateroom.
Pro tip: Visit the Vitality Spa & Fitness Center to check out the lineup of treatments and classes. For the kids (6 months to 12 years old), take advantage of Adventure Ocean’s open house on Day One to register for the award-winning kids’ program.
Grab a Bite
If you’re hungry, you can have your choice of dishes from several restaurants that are open as soon as you board. There are spots like Windjammer Cafe, which serves up a variety of foods that reflect the many places the crew members are from—from the Caribbean to Europe and India—and El Loco Fresh, which serves up casual Mexican fare like DIY tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more.
You can also take a peek at the menus at the main dining room and specialty restaurants, which will open for dinner that night. And if one spot—like The Mason Jar Southern Restaurant & Bar—catches your eye, you can make reservations right then and there or on the app.
Line Up Your Entertainment
Next, scope out the playbill and make reservations to watch the jaw-dropping entertainment on board. Every Royal Caribbean ship has a lineup of full-scale performances that every member of the family will love—some even put on shows across four “stages:” air, ice, water and theater. Enjoy deck-defying acrobatics, slacklining, high diving and more at AquaTheater; Olympic-level ice skaters at Studio B; and original and Broadway productions like “Mamma Mia!” and “Hairspray.” Or simply kick back to live music at one of the many bars and lounges.
Sit back and relax by the pool where you can enjoy a front-row seat to ocean views. Really settle into your vacation vibes with the signature Lime & Coconut cocktail, a delicious blend of coconut rum, coconut milk, guava syrup and lime juice, while at The Lime & Coconut poolside bar, where DJs and live bands play. And if zero-proof cocktails are your thing, those are on the menu, too, like the Blueberry Nojito and the Watermelon Mint Lemonade.
Whether you splurged on a luxe two-story suite, have multiple connected staterooms with your family or just want to check out the views from your balcony, your stateroom will be ready by the early afternoon. This is a great time to unwind and unpack—which you only have to do once on a cruise.
Complete the Safety Briefing (in Minutes)
Before setting sail, everyone on board needs to complete a safety briefing. Luckily, with the mobile app, you can do it whenever—and wherever—you like in just a few minutes. You can also find it on your stateroom TV and do it from the comfort of your bed. The final step is to visit your designated location (aka muster station), so you can check in with the crew.
Head to the top deck for incredible views and a sail away party with live music. Post your ‘gram-worthy shots and toast to your trip by making use of your beverage package and grabbing a tropical cocktail inspired by several of the destinations Royal Caribbean visits, like the Bahamian Goombay Smash and the Jamaican Planter’s Punch.
Wrap up Day One with a movie under the stars with your family or have a night out on the town with your friends. You can start with dinner then grab front-row seats to a show and end the night on a high note with a cocktail at one of the bars and lounges where you can karaoke, see a comedian perform or listen to live musicians.
Ready to get away? Check out the cruises and 240-plus destinations you can choose from here.