Cruising: How To Know What’s Going On

It’s just about time to get onboard your cruise to anywhere.  You have decided what you are doing in each of the ports of call, but what about what’s happening onboard?  What time is dinner?  What show will be on in the theater?  Where can I get my first drink for sailaway?

Once you get in your cabin, you will find some of the information you are looking for.  There will be a “TV Guide” either as a channel directory or even a list of what will be shown on TV (like movies or other programming offered by the cruise line).  You may find other notes with your dining times, shore excursion tickets, onboard credit notices, and other things you may have preregistered for.  But this is just the first day.  What about everything else happening onboard that you didn’t register for already?

Each cruise line has something that we call a daily planner.  These can be called a Navigator, Compass, Capers, Dailys, Patter, Currents or Daily Program (Programme if you are on Cunard).  Regardless of the name, these newsletters of sort are a list of what is available onboard for you.

They could be black and white, blue and white, just a few primary colors or full color.  They may have one, two or three columns.  Some have a tear off page or strip to carry with you.  Some are a list in time order, some are a grid, but all will provide you with a wide variety of information.

Tips, stories, officer highlights and entertainment highlights usually are found somewhere in the daily planner.  In addition, you may find information on the weather, emergency phone numbers or information, dining information and other instructions.  There can be ads for specials in the shops or bars for the day.

This is also where we would get information on the ports of call.  Each night before arrival to a port, we would get a port shopping guide, usually with a map and listing of preferred shops in the area.  Also usually listed on this guide is the ship’s port agent.  Should anything go wrong and you miss the ship, these are the people you want to get in contact with.

Each night you will receive a new planner for the next day.  I find these to be great bedtime reading!  Check out everything that is happening the next day, make some tentative plans.  I have been known to bring a highlighter with and highlight the activities I wish to participate in.  I have also brought post-it notes to make a list for myself so I don’t have to carry the planner around with me.  This was one thing we liked on our Celebrity Cruise.  There was a half-page tear off sheet that had the schedule part on it.  It was much smaller to fold up and put in your pocket than the full planner.

Some activities and specials, you will miss if you don’t check out the planner.  We have found that two for one drink specials usually aren’t advertised around the ship, but you can find out when they will happen on your planner.  We have found out about special activities this way as well.  On our holiday Disney Cruises, this is how we found out about the Gingerbread House Making.

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