Updated August 14, 2019
Congratulations, you've booked your cruise! Now comes the fun part -- planning your time onboard and in port. Luckily, you don't have to do it alone. Join a Cruise Critic Roll Call, and you'll find oodles of helpful info from people who are going on the exact same cruise as you.
Here are our reasons why joining a Cruise Critic Roll Call is the best thing you can do after you book.
1. Share excitement.
You're over the moon about your upcoming cruise, but where are you going to share that excitement? (Everyone on Facebook will just be jealous.) On your Roll Call, you can indulge your joy with people who are looking forward to the same beaches, bars and relaxing breaks as you are. A group countdown or "single digit dance" is far more fun than doing one on your own.
2. Figure out pre-trip logistics.
Booking the cruise was just the beginning; now you have to find your flights and pre-cruise hotel and transfers to the ship itself. No worries: Your fellow cruisers are in -- nope, on -- the same boat. They can help you sort through the options, give you on-point suggestions and double-check your choices. Consider your Roll Call a safe space to ask all of your logistical questions; your fellow members are there to help. (And who knows -- maybe you'll be the MVP with great suggestions of your own.)
3. Swap onboard tips.
Specialty restaurants, show reservations, spa appointments. There's quite a bit of onboard fun that you can book ahead of your cruise. Your fellow Roll Call members can help remind you of important dates (like when the online booking tool opens) and bring don't-miss attractions -- such as an onboard ice show or Broadway-style production -- to top of mind. And where else are you going to find people obsessing over the same deck plan as you?
4. Share shore excursions.
It's not just what's onboard that makes your cruise one of the best vacations you might have. The excursions and activities ashore are often the heart of a sailing. There can be a bewildering amount of choices in many places. Which do you choose? Do you go private or book a ship excursion? Relax on the beach or be active? Your fellow Roll Call members can offer great advice and maybe even split the cost of a taxi or private guide.
5. Sign up for a Meet & Mingle, or organize a sailaway party.
After "talking" with new friends on the Cruise Critic Roll Call before your cruise, chances are that you'll want to meet up IRL (in real life). That's where the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle comes in. These get-togethers, organized in conjunction with the cruise lines, are ways to say hello in person and often talk to some of the ship's officers. If there's no official Meet & Mingle, no worries. Simply organize your own gathering during sailaway so you can share the excitement together.
6. Go on a cabin or bar crawl (or both).
Let's face it: We all have a bit of FOMO. While you know you picked the right cabin for yourself and your family, it's sometimes fun to see what other rooms look like. Organized cabin crawls on the Roll Call allow you to see what you're missing and maybe prompt you to try the suite life next time. Bar crawls, too, are popular Roll Call activities. Why plop yourself down in one bar when there are so many to explore? Heading out in a group increases the fun.
7. Join a slot pull.
Casino-loving Roll Call members can share the wealth -- literally, in this case. An organized slot pull, where people sign up to feed a single machine and then share in the rewards, can increase your jackpot chances. It might even get you better service in the casino, which sometimes throws in freebies for participants. The more, the merrier!
8. Make friends.
Most importantly, a Roll Call can connect you with like-minded people who are going on the same vacation as you are. If you join your Roll Call as soon as you book, you have months to plan and get to know your fellow members. Who knows: You might become lifelong cruising buddies.