Cruise Ship School Tips for First Time Cruisers- Pt. III

Miss Cindy’s cruise ship school blog continues with even more great tips on how to cruise like a professional!

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1. Your dining assignment should be listed on your “Cruise Card” that you were given at check-in. Remember, when you booked the cruise, dining assignments were requested, not guaranteed.

a. Most cruise lines will offer either “assigned” dining or “anytime” dining. Assigned dining means you eat dinner every night at the same time (either 6:00 PM or 8:00 PM) and are assigned a particular table in the dining room. You will also have the same server each evening which is nice because they get to know your likes and dislikes and you never have to ask twice.

b. “Anytime dining” means you can eat at any time at the main dining rooms between 5:30 PM and 10:00 PM. You show up when you want, and a hostess will seat you- just like at a restaurant on land.

c. Talk to the maître d’ as soon as possible if you would like to switch dining assignments. They can usually be found outside the dining rooms at embarkation.

*If you are traveling with Norwegian Cruise Lines, they offer only “Freestyle Cruising,” which means you can eat anytime you want. There are no assigned dining options with this cruise line.  

2. No irons are provided in cabins. These are one of the main causes of fires on ships. If you need one, call your cabin steward or go to the laundry room where they are available for your use.

3. Bottled water and cans of soda pop in your cabin are NOT included in your cruise price. Your cabin steward will check these daily and charge you for them.

4. Most ships provide a safe in the closet for your use. Keep your passport, jewelry or any other valuables locked up.

5. Cabin stewards will clean your cabin twice per day. Fresh towels will be left, ice-bucket filled, turn down service at night with a mint left on your pillow. Beach towels will be provided but if not returned, you will be charged for them. Blankets on deck are available on Alaskan cruises.

6. Cruise news letters will be left in your cabin on your bed each evening. These contain all the information about what will be happening on the ship the following day including meal times, dress code for the evening (if there is one), port times, show times, and what time to be back on board if it is a port day. There is important information in this newsletter, and it is suggested you read through it daily especially since you are a first time cruiser!


A swan sculpture made from a white towel

Cabin stewards on certain cruise lines go to a class for a week to learn how to make the towel animals you
may find on your bed in your cabin?

HINT: Try to spend a few minutes per day packing used clothing to avoid wasting your last day or evening packing.


Other Procedures…

Lifeboat Drill- This is mandatory for all guests and will occur prior to sailing. Please take this seriously.

Seasickness- Some of you may wonder if you will get seasick. It’s hard to say, everyone is different. If you are concerned then here are some things you can do:

1. Get a cabin on a lower deck mid-ship. There is less rolling motion here.
2. Sea-Bands are available over the counter at drugstores. These are worn on your wrist and are very helpful.
3. Dramamine (a motion sickness pill) will be available at the purser’s desk.
4. Spend time up on deck in the open fresh air.


1. Liquor is generally not included on Mass Market types of cruises.
2. Some Deluxe or Luxury lines do include liquor in the price of your cruise.
3. There may also be liquor packages that you can purchase once aboard.
4. If you do not purchase a liquor package, each time you order a drink or soda, you will be asked for your “Cruise Card” so it can be charged to your account.
5. A 15% tip will automatically be added to your bar bills.
6. Every day there will be a different “Drink of the Day” offered. It comes in a souvenir glass. Bring the same glass back tomorrow for the drink of the day and the cost will be less, or get a new one and start a glass collection.

A liquor glass made to look like the tail of an airplane

HINT- If you purchase liquor in the Caribbean, ship personnel will confiscate it from you when getting back on-board. It will be stored until the end of the cruise. At that time it will either be brought to your cabin, or you will be told when and where to pick it up. Liquor is one of the top three money producers on-board.

Bon Voyage- for now!
~ Cindy