17 Embarkation Tips You Need To Know When Cruising With Kids


The cruise is booked and you are all packed and travel day is looming, if you haven’t cruised before you will be wondering about those first initial steps and what to expect on cruise embarkation day. 

Read on for our top Cruise Embarkation Day Tips For couples and families. If you are prepared when Cruising With Kids, embarkation day is exciting for families. It’s all about getting it right, especially with all the new cruise and testing policies.

1. Pre Purchase Drinks Packages and Specialty Dining Plans

Royal Caribbean Drinks packages 2, Photo Credit Cruising For All
Photo Credit: Donna Vallance, Cruising For All.
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It is generally better value to book drink packages in advance. Keep your eye out for deals and special offers; most cruise lines run a drinks package sale for adults and kids throughout the year, which you can add to your booking.

2. Download The Cruise App

Odyssey of the Seas, Photo Credit Royal Caribbean
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean.

If your cruise ship has an app download it, many now have online check in, ordering systems for dining plans and drink packages, rooms service, and booking in for shows which makes life so much easier.

3. Check In Online Before Your Cruise

Photo Credit: Sarah Christie.

All cruise lines have apps or online check-in options where you can upload your passport, add your bank details and photos, covid statements and proof of vaccinations. Once completed, you will get a QR code to scan at the port; this will allow quicker embarkation.

4. Fly The Day Before Cruise Embarkation Day

Tips for Flying with kids, Photo Credit Deposit Photos.-2
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

If there is a delay and you have booked your flights separately, the ship will not wait. This has happened to us before, and it’s stressful, however traveling the day before takes that stress away. And if you get an early flight, it gives you a day and night to explore the port area before boarding your ship.

5. If You Are Driving To The Port Pre Book Parking

Tips for Flying with kids, Photo Credit Deposit Photos.-4
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Look at maps of the port to get the nearest parking possible, it’s so much easier when trying to negotiate cases and children. And you will be glad of it when you disembark.

6. Tell Your Bank You Are Cruising

London Terms Money Photo Credit Deposit Photos.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Make sure your bank knows you’ll be using your credit/debit card in a different region or country every day. You will have pre registered your card during online check in.

Be Prepared And Get Cash Out Ready For Port Days

Miami Cruise Port Photo Credit Sarah Christie Cruising For All -8
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie Cruising For All.

It costs more to change money onboard so have so cash ready for port days. Research local currency’s of all the ports of your trip and be prepared.

7. Take A Stroller to the Cruise Terminal

Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean.

There can be a lot of walking and waiting; cruise terminals will have either a travelator or lift for buggies, wheelchairs and strollers. Make sure your stroller is narrow enough for cabin doors.

8. Drop Luggage Off With The Porters Before You Enter The Terminal Building

Guide To Bossing Cruise Embarcation With Kids. Photo Credit Sarah Christie, Adobe Firefly.-2
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie

Before you enter the terminal building, book your cases with the porters. Have your documentation ready and luggage labels filled out and attached to your suitcases. You will see your cases for only a short time. They usually appear outside your cabin around 6pm, for this reason, cruise lines rarely hold a formal night on the first night of your cruise.

9. Pack A Cruise Embarkation Day Bag

Photo Credit Sarah Christie, Cruising for All

Be prepared and pack an embarkation bag, you may not see your luggage for hours. Items to pack include swimwear, armbands, sunglasses, sun cream any small toys to keep little ones busy.

10. Can I Take Alcohol on a Cruise?

Guide To Bossing Cruise Embarcation With Kids. Photo Credit Donna Vallance, Cruising For All
Photo Credit Donna Vallance: Cruising For All.

You are permitted to take a bottle of champagne or wine per person onto your cruise on embarkation day. The amount can vary, so check with your line, however, it’s usually one bottle (750 mL) per adult in a cabin, but limited to 2. Keep this in your carry-on luggage to prevent breakages. However, should you have a drinks package this may not be necessary.

11. Find A Spot For Lunch

Guide To Bossing Cruise Embarcation With Kids. Photo Credit Sarah Christie
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie.

Embarkation day is manic and it’s so easy to get swept along and forget to eat. Once onboard its natural to want to explore, but this is a great time to find a spot for lunch. The buffet restaurant will be manic, our advice is find a quieter spot, ships have many dining options and take time to enjoy a glass of wine, enjoy a meal and chill.

12. Complete The Muster Drill?

Guide To Bossing Cruise Embarcation With Kids. Photo Credit Sarah Christie, Cruising For All
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising For All.

Yes, there is a muster drill, but to avoid big crowds cruise some cruise lines have changed the way the muster drill works and it’s so much better. You now watch a safety video in your stateroom which takes you through where the lifeboats are, your muster station and what to do in an emergency. You must then head to your muster station to register.

This is logged with the bridge so everyone on board must watch it and register with the muster station before sailaway, and as it’s maritime law the ship can not set sail until it’s done.

13. Check Out The Cruise News

Guide To Bossing Cruise Embarcation With Kids. Photo Credit Sarah Christie, Adobe Firefly.-4
Photo Credit Sarah Christie.

Don’t underestimate the cruise news it’s an essential part of cruise life. One will be delivered to your stateroom every night detailing everything that will be happening on-board the next day.

If you are cruising with children they will also receive their own copy. On your first day look out for kids club sign up, any shows you may want to register for and meet and greet times.

14. Visit The Kids Club to Register

Guide To Bossing Cruise Embarcation With Kids. Photo Credit Cruising for All
Photo Credit: Cruising for All.

The kids club registration on embarkation day is so important. The kids crew are on hand to meet and greet kids and answer any questions. There is also paperwork to fill out to sign your kiddies up so make sure you take your passport and cruise card along with you. Although many cruise lines have now added this as a feature on the app.

15. If You’ve Booked Speciality Dining, Consider if you will Need Babysitting Too.

Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising For All.

We love trying out the speciality dining, and as our kids have got older they love it too. However younger kids may not have the patience for long drawn out meals. It’s better to snap up those babysitting slots if you do want a romantic meal. ( This is not the case for drinks packages they are better booked beforehand)

16. Set an Emergency Meeting Point

Utopia of the Seas Will Be Here Next Year, and There’s a Lot To Be Excited About MSN. Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean.
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean.

Cruise ships are HUGE it’s so easy to lose each other. It only takes for an older child to wander off and you nip to the bathroom and you are lost. This has only ever happened to us once, and can happen anywhere you travel. Agreeing an inside meeting point is a great idea so that in the event of this happening you all know exactly where to go.

17. Set Balcony Rules With Older Children

MSN Guide To Bossing Cruise Embarcation With Kids. Photo Credit Cruising for All-2
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising for All.

There may be times when older children are in your cabin alone. It may only be for minutes if they run ahead to let themselves in. Ensure you have a safety discussion as soon as you enter your cabin for the first time.

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Photo Credit: Donna Vallance Cruising for All

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  • Sarah Christie

    Sarah also writes for Mini Travellers Family Travel Blog and Extraordinary Chaos Craft and Lifestyle Blog. Both are award-winning blogs with a travel and family focus. She is married and has two boys, aged 18 and 22, who all love cruising as a family. Nothing is better than waking up every day in a new port with new and exciting things to explore. She aims to share how cruising as a family with young adults is the perfect choice for family travel. Her boys are sporty and love the activities, sports and dining options cruising offers. Sarah has worked with brands such as Walt Disney World, Mark Warner, Ikos Resort, Center Parcs, Laura Ashley, Belling and Next.

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