There is a first time for everything. That includes a cruise vacation and on that vacation, you’ll have a “first day.” It can be a bit overwhelming but there are some do’s and don’ts you should be aware of to make that first day productive, fun and relaxing. Here’s what to keep in mind:

The Do’s

Toast Your Trip

You’ll probably find waiters roaming the decks with these welcome aboard beverages. Enjoy. You’re on vacation. Just remember, they probably won’t be free and will be cheaper if you get them in a glass that is not a souvenir keeper.

Tour the Ship

After dumping the bags in your cabin, take the time to tour the ship. You don’t need to dive into the fun yet but you’ll want to check out where all the places you’ll want to visit are situated in relation to your cabin. Don’t worry if you get lost. You will. But there will be no shortage of crew members who can point you in the right direction.

Take Lots of Photos

You are probably going to be doing this anyway but get all those reactions of the “first time” for your cruise. Those will be keepers.

Make Your Spa Appointments

The spa appointments for facials and massages fill up fast so book ASAP. You might consider skipping an excursion to shore in favor of a spa day. They will be less crowded and might come at a discount.

Reserve Sun Deck Chairs

For an extra charge, you can reserve sun deck chairs or cabanas. This is worth it especially if a good portion of your day is just going to be chilling by the pool. It will be like having a second home base, aside from your cabin, for the family to meet up at.

The Don’ts

Rush to the Buffet

Most folks will come onboard hungry and they’re first stop will be the open buffet. You’ll have plenty of time for that later on but even before the ship has pulled out of dock, the buffets will be crowded. Instead, check out the dining options. If you’re really hungry, there will be plenty of places to grab a bite without waiting.

Take the Elevators

Elevators on cruise ships are notoriously slow and crowded. If you can avoid them, then by all means, take the stairs. Besides, that will be an extra little cardio to work off those late-night snacks you’re sure to enjoy!

Settle for Bad Dining Seatings

The main dining room is run like a military operation. There will be assigned seats and specific times for dining. You should sign up for your preference but don’t settle for something that you’re not happy with. You might discover that early dining is too early or you’re not happy with table configuration. You’ll be assigned a maître d’ who will be able to make any adjustments. Put them to work!