1. Go the main dining room for lunch
The first few hours on the ship can be chaotic. Most people will get on the ship and head to the buffet for a late lunch (check-in is normally from around 11am onwards). On many ships the main dining room is open on embarkation day. My advice? Make your way straight to the main dining room and sit down for a nice relaxing lunch to start your cruise!
2. Do a recce of the ship
Although ships vary greatly in size, getting around can be confusing, even on the smaller ships. Once you've had a feed and a drink, start at the lowest level above the full cabin levels and walk each floor to the top of the ship. This will help you get your bearings.
3. Take your photos
Leading on from my number 2 tip, take photos on your walk through of all of the ships areas and yourselves of course! Often the theater and other areas will be relatively empty making for some great shots!
4. Pack a small carry-on bag with essentials
Make sure you put a pair of swimmers, underwear, passport and any medication in your carry-on bag. Although most of the time bags are delivered to your room sometime in the afternoon, it does happen where you may not get them until dinner time. If you feel like a swim straight after you get on the boat, you can and often the pools and spas are empty!
5. Book any specialty restaurants and activities
If you are planning on booking any specialty restaurants during your trip, it is best to get in with a booking on the first day, especially with the short cruises. You should also book any other activities you are interested in, for example most ships have a behind the scenes tour which sells out very quickly!