Are you going on a Royal Caribbean cruise soon?
Congratulations! You’ve chosen one of the best cruise lines in the world. Whether you’re cruising to Alaska on the Radiance of the Seas or to Thailand onboard the Voyager of the Seas, you can rest assured you’ll create lifelong memories with Royal Caribbean.
The planning doesn’t stop once you’ve paid your deposit, however. There are still plenty of things to consider before you set sail. Keep reading for all the details you need to know!
Going on a Royal Caribbean Cruise 101
Cruising is a very popular vacation option with over 23 million people choosing to sail each year. With no shortage of things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you can see why this is such a popular choice for vacation.
Many first-time cruisers may not be aware of just how much there is to do while aboard the ship. In fact, “What do you do on a cruise?” is one of the most common questions we hear. From wakeboarding to go-karting and indoor diving shows to blackjack, they’ll be something to do from the moment you set foot on your ship.
Before you board, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the logistics of cruising. It’s different than any other vacation style out there. Let’s now take a look the nine things you should take into consideration before your ship leaves its dock.
1. Check-In Early
Nothing is worse than waiting in a long line that seems like it never gets shorter. This is especially true when you are itching to begin your vacation and get on the boat to explore your new temporary home.
That’s why Royal Caribbean made it easy for guests to check-in online. You can do so up to 72 hours before your departure. When it’s time to board the ship, you’ll only need to bring your signed SetSail pass, any identification documents, and your credit card to board.
2. Book Extras in Advance
We recommend logging into your Cruise Planner on the Royal Caribbean website before sailing. From there you’ll be able to book any shore excursions you plan on participating in during your docked days. For select sailings, you’ll be able to book dining reservations, visits to the spa, and entertainment from this online portal as well.
3. Pack a Day Bag
You won’t have access to your checked bags until they’ve arrived in your stateroom. For this reason, you should bring a backpack or small carry-on to use for your first few hours aboard the ship.
You’ll want to pack any essentials you’ll need access to after boarding. Medications, documentation, swimsuits, and a spare change of clothes are all great ideas to pack in your day bag.
4. Do Your Research
You will need to do some research on your own prior to boarding. You should have a basic knowledge of the ports you’ll be visiting during your trip so you know what to expect when you get there. Knowing what places you want to visit at each port will help you squeeze the most out of your trip.
5. Don’t Forget the Shows
The Royal Caribbean cruise line has a reputation for their premier entertainment options onboard their ships. Every evening has its own shows and performances, so you should familiarize yourself with what’s offered onboard your cruise.
Some of the newer ships even have theatrical, diving, and ice skating shows. Many first time cruisers are tempted to skip these types of shows given their unique location. If you have the time in your schedule, we highly recommend giving them a shot, however. They offer a beautiful and unique display that isn’t easy to match, even on the mainland.
6. Choose Dining and Beverage Packages Beforehand
Do not wait until the last minute to choose the dining and beverage packages that are right for you and your family. There are pre-cruise discounts to be taken advantage of that will allow you to save some money. Not to mention, choosing your food and beverage packages early will allow you extra time to decide which is perfect for your needs.
7. Arrive at Your Departure Port a Day Early
Mother Nature can be a fickle beast no matter what season it is. You should allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at your departure port so you don’t get held up by unforeseeable delays. A storm can strike at any time, and if you’re not in line ready to board the day of departure because of the weather, you’ll miss out on your much-awaited cruise.
As a bonus, arriving at the departure city a day or two early means you get to extend your vacation a little longer. Many of the Royal Caribbean departure ports are found in tourist-centric cities where there is no shortage of things to do.
8. Consult a Previous Cruise Compass
We have some bad news for the Type A planner folks out there. There is no way to know exactly what your upcoming cruise will offer. Royal Caribbean doesn’t publish this information in advance of boarding day.
Instead of feeling like you’re going in absolutely blind, you can consult one of the companies past Cruise Compasses. Doing so will allow you to see what was available activity-wise on similar sailings. You won’t know what’s offered until you’re on board, but if you want to know things to do on a cruise, the Cruise Compass can help.
Generally, the activity and entertainment offerings on particular ships do not change much from sailing to sailing. Having a general idea of what’s going to be offered will allow you time to make a checklist of things you want to check out when it’s time to set sail.
9. Download the App
It wouldn’t be 2019 if Royal Caribbean didn’t have a smartphone application to streamline the cruising experience. The app is designed to assist you during your vacation. It provides details about your planned activities as well as the maps you’ll need.
You’ll also be able to book onshore excursions and reserve activities onboard the ship right from your phone. If you’re looking for things to do in the Caribbean when your ship docks in the Bahamas, the app has you covered.
There are benefits to downloading the app before you’ve even booked your cruise vacation, too. Whether you’re looking for details about upcoming cruises or the Vision of the Seas deck plan, you can find everything right on your device.
Now that know the essentials about going on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you’re ready to set sail. Be sure to check out our blog for more travel tips and tricks.