We’ve talked to our guests and they’ve helped us compile an invaluable list of helpful tips for first-time cruisers. Who knows? After your cruise you may have something to add.

Online Check-In
Speed up the boarding process by completing the Online Check-In process and formalities, immediately after you have reserved your cruise. This saves you a lot of time and effort at the port, prior to departure.

Tilak Sharma

Tilak Sharma Sailed on: March 23, 2013 Voyager of the Seas

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We are back from the cruise. The experience was wonderful and you deserve a big thanks for the efforts made by you for us.

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Pack Right
For the first day of your cruise, pack a small carry-on bag with your travel documents, a change of clothes, bathing suit, maybe workout clothes, and any medications you may need. This will allow you to begin enjoying your vacation immediately, because you won’t have to wait for your bags to arrive at your stateroom.

Book your Spa Treatment
If the spa is your thing, try to make your appointments on the first day, as the most popular treatments and times fill up fast.

Shore Excursions
Full of adventure and very popular, the shore excursions book up fast. You have 3 options: reserve them online (up to 10 days before departure), reserve them on board the first day at the Explorations Desk or on your TV in your stateroom using your remote control. Reserve early so you won’t miss out on any of the fun.

Eat all you can at Windjammer Cafe

If you want to grab a bite to eat when you first get on board, head up to the Windjammer Café; they’ll be serving, and it’s all complimentary.

Dinner Seating
Every ship has two seatings for dinner in the main dining room at 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. When you book your cruise you can select what time works best for you and we’ll assign you a table. Also, some of the ships have specialty restaurants (i.e., Italian, steak, etc.) we highly recommend you try. (A nominal fee applies).

Beverage Packages
To make your cruise even more enjoyable there are on offer fountain soda packages and a variety of beverage packages that entitle you to unlimited fountain sodas at the bars and lounges. It’s a great idea for families!

Getting on and off the ship

Depending on the port, there are two ways to get on and off the ship. In some ports, the ship docks right in the port so you can get on and off whenever you want via the gangplank. And in other ports, there are tenders (small ferry-like boats) that will take you to the port; tenders run frequently between the ship and the port. But remember to ALWAYS bring your SeaPass with you, as you will need it to get off and get back on the ship.

What’s the SeaPass?
For your convenience, the Royal Caribbean ships use the SeaPass signing system. This system allows you to charge all on board purchases by presenting the Cruise Card that is issued to you upon boarding. On the last morning of your cruise vacation, an itemized statement will be delivered to your stateroom for verification. Your SeaPass charges will be billed automatically to the credit card you selected upon check-in.

Tipping
So that you can thank those who have made your cruise vacation better than you could have imagined, these are gratuity guidelines:
– Suite attendant: $5.75 USD a day per guest
– Stateroom attendant: $3.50 USD a day per guest
– Dining Room Waiter: $3.50 USD a day per guest
– Assistant Waiter: $2.00 USD a day per guest
– Headwaiter: $.75 USD a day per guest
– Gratuities for other service personnel are at your discretion.
– A 15% gratuity will automatically be added to your bar bill or wine check when you are served.

Gratuities may be paid in the following ways:
– Pre-paid, by having gratuities added to your reservation by your reservation agent.
– Added to your on board SeaPass account.
– Paid in cash at the end of the cruise