When you look at any cruise ship, big or small, you will be overwhelmed by the number of activities you can enjoy on board, as well as the huge number of facilities you can utilise during your voyage. But how do you know what’s happening when, and where you’re supposed to go?
Here are 4 ways you can stay in the loop:
Cruise lines all have their own on board publications that are usually delivered to your stateroom with the turndown service each evening while you are out at dinner or enjoying a show. Many passengers like to take these out with them the following day to keep track of all the activities happening that day, but don’t worry if you’ve left yours in your room as you can usually pick up an extra copy from the Purser’s Desk. Publications include P&O’s Horizon, Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Compass, Azamara Club Cruises’ Pursuits, and the Princess Patter from Princess Cruises.
Here is what you can expect from your cruise line’s daily publication;
Activities Throughout the Day
The on board publications are a great way to help you plan your day, whether you’re at sea or on shore. Often broken down into morning, afternoon, and evening categories, these publications not only tell passengers what’s going on at what time, but also where to meet, what to bring, and, in some cases, which crew members you can expect to meet.
The schedule will include everything from the opening times of the laundry through to contests and games, and from fitness class times to headliner acts. You can even use them to find out where your favourite musician will be playing. There’s always a lot going on at sea, so it really helps to have one of these publications tucked away in your pocket.
The opening times of restaurants often vary based upon the day’s schedule. For example, if the ship is arriving into port early, the main dining room may open earlier for breakfast than it does on sea days, for example. The cruise publication will always have up-to-date opening times, so you know exactly when and where you can grab a bite to eat.
You will also find a whole host of useful information in the daily publication some of which is written by the Captain himself! This information will include things such as sunrise and sunset times, local weather forecast, and whether or not it’s necessary to put your clocks forward or backwards (and, if so, when to do it)
Also, If the ship is due to dock, you will be given local information relating to currency as well as disembarkation times – this information is really important so it is worth the newspaper on shore with you.
Promotions & Offers
Is there a sale on in the shops today? Are there any special offers relating to the on board photographer?? What’s the cocktail of the day? You can answers to these questions (and more) through your publication. It helps you to plan your day by making sure you’re in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the great discounts on board.
Depending on where you’re travelling, there will usually be one or two on board events that are mandatory for all guests – the muster drill on the first day of your cruise, and immigration checks. Your cruise publication will clearly inform you of where you need to be, and when. It’s very important to read this information, especially in terms of immigration, as it helps the cruise line to minimise queues and keep you, the passengers, happy! Cases where you may need to attend on board immigration checks include transatlantic crossings (which means you can disembark quickly and easily at the end of your voyage), and when sailing in or out of the Schengen area (eg. from Estonia to Sweden on a Baltic voyage).
One other piece of information you’ll often find within your on board cruise publication is any necessary safety information. If, for example, the ship is expected to sail through an area of high winds, the Captain may suggest you make use of the rails on the stairways to prevent injury. Hand washing techniques may also be recommended to keep germs at bay, and a reminder to always carry your cruise identification with you at all times.
Interactive TV Screens
Some of the newer ships, and ones that have undergone recent refurbishment, such as Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, may offer guests the use of interactive touch screens located around the ship. These screens hold the same information as the cruise publications, but make it easier to see what’s going on whilst you’re out and about. Not only can these screens display the daily schedule, but they can also let you know what activities are taking place ‘right now’ while also advising you about what is happening in nearby venues if you don’t fancy venturing too far from where you are.
Public Address Announcements
Your cruise director will always make sure you don’t miss out on anything, and will often make public address announcements for important events happening around the ship. If you stop for a rest, always sit in a public area rather than in your room, as it’s much easier to hear the announcements. In most cases, only emergency announcements are made via your stateroom.
Your Stateroom TV
While not all cruise lines make use of this method of conveying information, others do, so it’s worth checking. A dedicated cruise channel is often set up, with your cruise director or activities manager giving the low down on the schedule for the day, including insider tips (be there early for fruit carving demonstrations!), details of the crew you are likely to meet, and even interviews with them. These channels tend to provide more information on each event than the cruise publication does so they are definitely worth tuning in to!