A cruise is a wonderful way to travel; many who go on their first one, never vacation the traditional way again. If you booked your cruise from Expedia, Travelocity or another online travel agent, you may not know what to expect. You want to be able to enjoy your time on the cruise, so take a look below and be ready for your cruising experience.

Checking In

When you check in for your cruise, you will need to go through a basic security checkpoint, just as you would at the airport. Your bags will be loaded into bins that are carried onboard the ship and then dispersed to the appropriate cabins. You will have your carry-on bags checked and you will be asked to walk through a metal detector. The security screening is a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of all the passengers.

After the security screening, have your photo I.D. and credit card ready. You will receive your cabin key and an on-ship charge card that you will use for your onboard purchases. You will make your way to the pier and wait to board the ship. If you arrive prior to normal boarding time, you will be assigned a number and when it is called, you will be able to board.

You will most likely be approached by a photographer that works for the ship; he will take your photograph as you board the ship for a memorable keepsake.


Once you board the ship, your bags are already in your cabin. The ship staff will greet you and present you with a crew member that shows you directions to your cabin as well as other points of interest onboard. Some ships offer a full service experience where you will be guided to your cabin and will receive assistance with your carry-on luggage.


You will have an assigned dining room for your meals while onboard. You should locate the assigned dining room and check out any alternative dining options that are available to you as well. You can usually make a reservation in one of the private dining rooms while onboard for an additional fee.

In addition to the dining room you are assigned, you are also welcome to all the ships buffets and other dining options that were included in your price. You can expect late night buffets as well as daytime buffets.

Ship's Newsletter

The ship's newsletter will allow you to find out more about the land excursions offered at the designated ports, as well as give you highlights of onboard activities and events. If you want to participate in any of the land excursions, you may need to register. You can create an itinerary with the onboard activities list, but you don't have to stick to it; the trip is yours to create and enjoy how you wish.

Life Boat Drill

Before your ship leaves its port, expect to have a life boat drill. This information is very handy in case of an emergency and every passenger is required to participate. The drill is quick and once completed, you can begin your cruise. Enjoy!