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22 cruise ship cabin hacks that will transform your voyage


Jan. 21, 2024

7 min read

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While some lavish and expensive suites on cruise ships are apartment-sized, most cruisers stay in cabins that are not particularly spacious or fashion-forward.

The decor is designed to appeal to everyone, no matter their personal tastes, with mellow or nautical colors and nothing too distracting. Storage space is often at a premium, and a cruise ship cabin’s bathroom is likely far smaller than yours at home.

There are ways to jazz up your space, however. Here are some easy cruise cabin hacks to help make your onboard accommodations more livable, more personalized and less cluttered.

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Add personalization to your cruise cabin

Don’t be afraid to move the furniture around

  • Standard cabins have twin beds that can be combined into a queen bed, next to two side tables. You might also have a sofa or upholstered chair, vanity or desk, and a coffee table. If you have a balcony, it will be equipped with a pair of chairs or loungers and a drinks table. Don’t be afraid to move the furniture around — you can ask the crew to help — into a configuration that works for you.
  • Ask that any objects in your way be removed. For instance, if you keep bumping into the coffee table, get it out of the room. Clearing away the ice bucket and wine glasses and anything else you’re not using will add additional counter space.
  • Furniture can also be added. For instance, a stool can be replaced with a chair that may be more comfortable for your back. Ask your cabin steward for assistance.
  • If the mini-fridge is filled with soda and booze that you have no intention of buying, have it cleared away. You can use the space for any soda or water you brought from home and for snacks gathered at the buffet (which will also save you any room service charges).

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Beef up the bathroom supplies in your cabin

  • Most mainstream ships now have shampoo, conditioner and liquid bath soap you pump from containers in the shower — an ecological and cost-saving measure that eliminates little plastic bottles. That’s all fine and dandy, but what you get will likely be generic brands and not quite what you are used to at home. The same goes for any provided hand or body lotion. If you’re fussy about products, bring your own.
  • If you are not a shower gel fan, bring your own bar of soap. If your cabin includes a soap bar, it likely will be a tiny chunk of soap like you get at hotels. On the flip side, if you prefer liquid soap to wash your hands, bring a bottle so you don’t have to reach into the shower every time you want to wash up.
Cruise ship-provided toiletries. PRINCESS CRUISES
  • Another clever cruise cabin hack is to attach a hanging makeup or toiletry kit to the bathroom door. This will allow you to free up space around the sink and more easily keep track of your own supplies. The sink may or may not have drawers or shelves.
  • The switch for bathroom lights is often outside the door, meaning you will beam light into the whole cabin as you enter the bathroom in the middle of the night. Bring a plug-in or battery-operated nightlight for navigating around the bathroom without waking your cabinmates.

Improve your cruise cabin with helpful gadgets

  • You and your family will likely bring along a selection of electronics — tablets, phones, cameras, an electric shaver and maybe even a curling iron or other gizmos. That’s a lot of stuff to plug into what’s likely to be a limited number of outlets. Bring an outlet extender to accommodate all those cords. (Just make sure it’s not one with a surge protector, as those are banned by cruise lines and will be confiscated.)
  • If you’re a light sleeper, you might want to bring a travel-sized sound machine, or get a white noise app on your phone. Cruise ships have lots of creaks, rattling and other noises that could keep you awake.
  • If you plan to sleep in, pack some binder clips or even paper clips to keep the curtains drawn tight, which is especially useful in the sunny Caribbean. They’re also useful in Alaska when it’s light out at midnight when you’re trying to go to bed.

Find clever hacks to create more storage space

Cruise ship cabins have a closet with hangers and shelves. There are also often drawers for clothes. Additional drawers for knickknacks might be located in the side tables near the bed or in the desk. When you’re packing for a week — especially if you’re packing for a family — there won’t be enough closet and drawer space for everyone’s clothes and gear, but there are ways to improve the situation.

Grand Suite on Wonder of the Seas. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY
  • Ask your cabin steward for more hangers if your closet doesn’t have enough to hang all your clothes.
  • Alternatively, double up clothes on the hangers — a blouse or jacket on top of a sundress, for instance.
  • On many ships, the walls are made of metal, and magnets will stick to them. Bring some of your own magnetic hooks in case the cabin is short on the built-in variety so you have room for bathrobes, hats, snorkels and other hangable paraphernalia.
  • An over-the-door organizer can help you easily tuck away socks and undies or slot sunscreen and other small items into their own spaces.
  • A laundry bag on the floor of the closet lets you corral dirty clothes and keep them from getting in the way or mixing with your clean, unworn clothing.

Make use of the space under the bed

  • Your suitcases can be tucked under the bed so they don’t take up space in your cabin or closet. If you keep one open, you can use it as an additional drawer.
  • If you’re not using the bathrobes, slippers, hair dryer or other items provided — including decorative pillows if they are in your way — they can go under the bed as well.

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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


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