32+ Savvy Cruise Cabin Hacks and Tips You Need to Know

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Looking for effective cruise cabin tips and cruise cabin hacks to enhance your cruise experience? Embarkation day is filled with excitement: First, the awe-inspiring first sight of your cruise ship. Then, the rush of stepping on board signals the start of your vacation. Finally, enter your cabin—your home for the next several days.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in an interior room or spacious suite; even the nicest cabins can benefit from a few clever hacks. These tips, from magnetic hooks to extra power strips, will maximize your space and comfort.

image is a collage highlighting essential cruise cabin hacks and tips. It includes a photo of a bed with a red throw blanket, a balcony view, and a hand holding a multi-port USB charger, emphasizing comfort, optimal cabin selection, and efficient charging solutions. The title "CRUISE CABIN HACKS & TIPS" overlays the images, summarizing the themePin

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In this guide, I’ll share essential cruise cabin tips followed by transformative cruise ship room hacks. Whether it’s your first cruise or you’re an experienced cruiser, these strategies will help make your stateroom feel spacious and welcoming. Join the discussion and share your tips in the comments below!

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1. Book the Right Cabin

a detailed view of multiple balconies on a cruise ship, arranged in a repetitive, grid-like pattern. Each balcony is bordered by metal railings and includes outdoor chairs

Choose the right cabin after deciding on a cruise ship and itinerary. Select a cabin type that aligns with your needs, preferences, and budget. Cabin types vary widely in size, location, and amenities.

An inside cabin might be the most economical choice if you’re on a budget. But if you prefer natural light and fresh air, consider opting for an ocean view or balcony cabin. This decision depends largely on what’s most important to you during your cruise.

For those looking to save on a cruise, you might choose a ‘guaranteed cabin’ rate, which allows the cruise line to select your cabin, often at a lower cost. However, this can have downsides because you can’t pick your cabin location.

2. Choose the Right Location

image shows a desktop computer screen displaying a cruise ship deck plan. The screen provides a detailed layout of the ship's cabins, color-coded to indicate different categories or types. A person is visible at the desk, partially interacting with the computerPin

Choosing the right cabin location on a cruise ship is essential for your comfort and convenience.

  • Stability and Access
    Mid-ship cabins are often more stable, reducing the risk of seasickness. They also tend to be centrally located, making it easier to reach various ship amenities.
  • Noise Considerations
    • Cabins far from elevators or stairs may require long walks.
    • Those close to elevators or stairs can be noisy due to passenger traffic.
  • Proximity to High-Traffic Areas
    Consider how close you are to the buffet, pool deck, or the engines. For instance, being under the pool deck might mean hearing noise from activities above.
  • Surround Yourself With Cabins
    Ideally, you should choose a cabin surrounded by other staterooms rather than public areas to avoid excess noise.
  • View or no view: If the view is important to you, book a cabin without obstructions, such as lifeboats.
  • Ship Layout:
    • Decide if you prefer the starboard (right) or port (left) side based on desired views and sunlight.
    • Consider whether you’d like to be in the aft (back), middle, or forward (front) sections of the ship.
    • Think about how close you want to be to specific ship amenities or activities.

Studying the deck plans can greatly aid in selecting the perfect cabin location according to your preferences. A great cruise agent should be able to help you pick a cabin location.

3. Look for Reviews of the Cabin

hands holding a mobile phone searching for cruise cabin reviews on you tube.Pin

Before finalizing your cabin selection, seeing what others have said about it is a good idea. Here’s how you can gather insights:

  • YouTube: Search for videos by entering the specific cabin number. Reviewers often give detailed tours of the cabins and share their experiences.
  • Cruise Forums and Facebook Groups: These platforms are treasure troves of user-generated content where you can find photos, videos, and discussions about specific cabins.
  • Google Search: A quick search can also reveal images and reviews of the cabin from various travel and cruise sites.

This research can help you avoid surprises and ensure the cabin meets your expectations.

4. Check for Bedbugs

Before you settle into your cabin, take a moment to check for bedbugs, even in the cleanest-looking spaces. Start by inspecting the seams, creases, and folds of the mattress where bedbugs often hide. It’s a simple step that can prevent a lot of discomfort later.

You might have seen online videos of cruise passengers encountering bedbug infestations. While rare, these instances remind us that bedbugs can be found anywhere—even in luxurious environments. By checking your cabin first, you can enjoy your cruise more peacefully and avoid unwanted hitchhikers on your journey home.

Remember, this tip isn’t meant to deter you from cruising—we love to cruise! It’s about being prepared and ensuring your comfort and safety.

5. Ask for a Mattress Topper, Extra Blanket and Towels

a neatly arranged cruise ship cabin bed with a large headboard and stylish bedding. A red throw blanket is neatly folded at the foot of the bed, adding a pop of color to the room's decor. Pin

On embarkation day, as soon as we meet our cabin attendant, we ask them for a mattress topper, an extra blanket, and extra towels. The beds are usually too hard for me on cruises, and the mattress topper makes a difference. The extra blanket helps if it gets too cold at night for one of us, or if we are sailing to Alaska, we like to have it for when we sit on the balcony. The extra towels are necessary for us if they are only servicing the cabin once a day like a lot of cruise lines are now

6. Sanitize Highly Touched Items and Surfaces

One of the first things you should do upon entering your cabin is sanitize frequently touched items and surfaces. Including sanitizing wipes in your cruising packing list is a good practice.

While stateroom attendants are diligent in cleaning, they often have many rooms to attend to and might miss small but critical areas. Commonly overlooked items like the TV remote control are known to harbor germs, both in hotels and at home. A quick wipe-down can help ensure these surfaces are clean, giving you extra peace of mind during your cruise.

7. Unpack as Soon as You can

Your luggage usually arrives at your cabin before the ship sets sail. Another great tip for embarkation day is to unpack immediately. This gets the task out of the way early and helps you settle in and feel more at home in your stateroom.

If you can’t unpack before the ship departs, aim to do it before bedtime. This allows you to stow away your luggage and maximize your cabin space, making your stay more comfortable and organized.

8. Use Packing Cubes When You Pack

stuffed packing cube inside a drawer inside cruise cabinPin

Packing cubes help keep your luggage organized and compact. They also simplify the unpacking process once you’re in your cabin. After hanging up any necessary items, you can directly transfer the cubes into drawers or shelves. This way, everything remains organized at home, making finding what you need throughout your cruise easier.

9. Store Your Luggage Under the Bed

After unpacking, make the most of your cabin space by storing your luggage under the bed. This area typically has ample space to accommodate two to three suitcases easily. Keeping your luggage tucked away helps maximize the available space in your cabin, allowing for a more organized and clutter-free environment.

10. Store Valuables and Passports in Cabin Safe

Although we’ve never experienced theft on a cruise, it’s wise to err on caution. Use the cabin safe to secure your valuables, cash, and passports. This simple step ensures that your important items are protected throughout your journey, giving you peace of mind to enjoy your vacation.

11. Bring a Power Outlet Extender

Cruise cabins often have limited power outlets and USB ports, which might not be sufficient for all your electronic devices. Packing a multi-plug power strip can be a game-changer, allowing you to charge multiple devices simultaneously. While newer ships typically include a few more outlets and USB ports, it’s best not to rely solely on these. Bringing your own ensures you’ll always have enough charging options, no matter the cabin.

12. Utilize Over-the-Door Organizers


This is the old toiletry bag we had for years hanging on the back of the bathroom door on our last cruise. We recently purchased this new toiletry bag and plan to use it the same way on future cruises.

An over-the-door toiletry bag is a top cruise cabin hack for keeping toiletries tidy and accessible. Hang it on the bathroom door or a hook, and grab what you need as you go. This setup keeps most items organized and saves valuable counter space. Many toiletries can remain in the bag even when you return home, making it easier to pack for your next adventure.

For families or groups of three or more, consider this over-the-door organizer. It’s perfect for separating and organizing everyone’s essentials. You can customize the arrangement to best suit your family’s needs, ensuring everything is easy to find and use.

13. Make Use of Magnetic Hooks

cruise cabin magnetic hooks in usePin

Magnetic hooks are an incredibly versatile cruise cabin hack that can transform your space. Since the walls and ceilings in staterooms are made of metal, these hooks can be placed almost anywhere, you need extra hanging space.

Here are a few ways we use them:

  • Hang lanyards, purses, jackets, or sweaters by the cabin door to clear our seating areas.
  • On the walls to hold important papers, preventing them from cluttering the vanity.
  • Hang clothes to dry in the bathroom. You can also use it to help hang the portable clothesline we mention later in this list.

Investing in the right magnetic hooks can help you organize and use your cabin space more efficiently.

Tip: Buy magnetic hooks that say they can hold 100 lbs or more.

14. Use a Curtain to Divide a Cabin For Privacy

Privacy can be scarce in a standard cabin when cruising with family or a group unless you opt for a suite with separate sleeping areas. A clever solution many experienced cruisers use is hanging a curtain to create private sections within the cabin.

Some lines, like Disney Cruise Line, already incorporate privacy curtains between the bed and sofa areas. However, this feature isn’t standard across all ships. To overcome this, passengers often bring shower curtain or thick blackout curtains. Magnetic hooks can easily be hung, offering a simple yet effective way to make privacy during your cruise.

15. Bring a Laundry Bag

closed laundry bag sitting on the bed in a cruise cabinPin

We’ve used a particular laundry bag that is ideal for travel for several years. It folds into a small cube, is lightweight, and fits perfectly into a carry-on suitcase when full. This makes it incredibly practical for managing laundry on a cruise. Whether you choose this type of laundry bag, a scented trash bag, or a compression bag, having a designated spot to store dirty clothes is essential. Keeping them in the corner of your cabin helps maintain organization and prevents your living space from becoming cluttered or odorous.

16. Take Advantage of Cruise Offers to Do Laundry Mid-Way

A laundry bag from a cruise line, specifically labeled for a bundled laundry service. It includes pricing information, noting that one full bag costs $29. The bag is placed on a table next to a cruise ship telephone and other room documents, suggesting it's ready for use by the cabin occupant.Pin

Many cruise ships do not have self-service laundry rooms. So cruise lines often offer a mid-week all-you-can-fit-in-a-bag laundry special for a flat rate. This is a great tip for longer cruises, allowing you to pack less and manage your laundry efficiently.

Though the provided laundry bag might look small, you can fit quite a bit by rolling your clothes tightly. The clothes come back clean and nicely folded—often better than one might manage at home. Using this service simplifies your trip and means you can return home with clean clothes, making post-vacation chores lighter.

17. Wash Clothes in Your Cabin Sink

We always pack a few travel-sized packets of our favorite laundry detergent for easy washing right in the cabin’s bathroom sink. This method is particularly useful for quickly cleaning undergarments, swimsuits, and light shirts. After washing, simply hang them to dry in your cabin. This can be a convenient way to keep your essentials fresh throughout the cruise without relying on full laundry services.

18. Bring a Portable Clothesline

Many cruise cabins come with a clothesline in the shower for drying wet garments like swimsuits. However, this might not always be the case, especially on older ships like the Celebrity Solstice, which we found the hard way lacked this feature. Also, the provided line may not suffice if more than two people are in the cabin.

Bringing a portable clothesline can be a great solution. It’s especially useful when you need extra space for drying clothes. You can easily set it up using magnetic hooks.

 Tip: Do not hang anything to dry on the balcony. It’s not allowed. There is a risk of it being blown away into the ocean.

19. Manage Wrinkled Clothes Without an Iron

Irons and steamers are typically not allowed on cruise ships due to safety concerns. Although you may sometimes borrow an iron or a steamer from the cabin steward, this isn’t always guaranteed.

However, some cruise lines, like Carnival and Disney, provide laundry rooms equipped with irons and ironing boards. Check this availability when planning your cruise.

An effective alternative is to hang wrinkled clothes in the bathroom while taking a hot shower. The steam can help smooth out the fabric. For even better results, spray the clothes with a wrinkle releaser before hanging them up.

20. You Can Request Extra Hangers

We typically find enough hangers in the cruise cabin closet for the items we need to hang. However, if you need more, a simple cruise cabin tip is to request extra hangers from your cabin steward. Buying or bringing your travel hangers is unnecessary, as your steward can usually provide additional ones upon request, saving you space and hassle in your luggage.

21. Bring a Hanging Shoe Rack to Create More Shelving


Cruise ship cabins often lack adequate closet, shelving, and drawer space. The limited storage was obvious during our recent 5-night cruise with Virgin Voyages. Fortunately, it was a short trip, and only two of us were there. Storage can become a significant issue for longer cruises or more passengers in a cabin. A hanging shoe rack can be a lifesaver in such situations. By hanging it in the closet, you instantly create additional shelving for clothes and other items, making the most of the available space.

22. Consider Bringing a Portable Fan

While we don’t typically bring a portable fan, many cruisers find them necessary for creating a comfortable cabin environment. A fan can help circulate air and keep your room cooler, especially in warmer climates. Additionally, the white noise from a fan can aid in more restful sleep.

23. Bring a Nightlight

tea light offering small illumination to a cruise cabinPin

Once all the lights are turned off, cruise cabins can become pitch dark. A nightlight is a valuable addition for those who frequently get up at night, like myself. I typically bring 2-3 LED tea lights and place them in different corners of the cabin to provide enough light to navigate safely.

Other options include a portable mini-light lamp, a plug-in wall nightlight, or a motion sensor nightlight. Each offers a unique convenience, so you can choose one that best suits your needs to ensure your nighttime movements are safe and easy.

24. Ask to Empty Out the Mini Fridge

Cruise cabin mini-fridges are often pre-stocked with extra-cost items. A useful cabin hack is to request that your stateroom attendant empty the fridge. This frees up space for you to store your own beverages.

You might want to use the mini-fridge if:

  • Your cruise line permits bringing your own bottled water or sodas.
  • You have a premium beverage package that includes canned sodas or bottled water. This way, you can stock up at the bar on your way back and keep them chilled in your cabin.

25. Request a Coffee Maker or a Tea Kettle 

Not many cruisers know this, but you can often request a coffee maker or tea kettle for your cabin. It’s best to ask your stateroom attendant on the first day, and a small tip is a thoughtful gesture to show appreciation. Depending on the ship, you might receive a Nespresso-like machine with coffee pods, a kettle with tea bags, and all the necessary supplies for your morning brew.

This service isn’t available on all cruise lines, but passengers have succeeded with certain Norwegian and Celebrity ships. It never hurts to ask and enjoy the convenience of making your coffee or tea right in your cabin.

26. Enjoy Complimentary Coffee and Breakfast Delivery

 Room service tray with stacked clear containers of food, carafe of coffee, cups, and utensils, placed on a small round table in a cozy room with a red-accented sofa.Pin

One of our cherished cruise cabin tips is to arrange for coffee and continental breakfast to be delivered to our cabin on early port mornings. This treat is often included in your cruise fare, but it’s a good idea to double-check with guest services or the room service menu to ensure no additional charges.

Be aware that some cruise lines, such as Norwegian, now charge a flat rate for breakfast delivery, covering both continental and hot options. This service is invaluable on early port days or special occasions despite the surcharge. For instance, we enjoyed room service while cruising Glacier Bay in Alaska, allowing us to savor the breathtaking scenery from our balcony. In our experience, the convenience and added enjoyment are often worth the extra cost.

27. Pack a Coffee Tumbler

Bringing a coffee tumbler on your cruise can be a smart hack if you love coffee and are not planning to use a specialty drink package for premium coffee. This is a favorite tip of my husband, a true caffeine enthusiast. He loves to fill his tumbler with coffee from the buffet and then relax on our balcony or out on the deck, enjoying extended time with his brew without needing refills. The mugs they provide in the buffet are tiny.

28. Bring a Small Alarm Clock

It’s common for cruise staterooms not to include alarm clocks. To ensure you don’t miss early port days or shore excursions, consider bringing a small alarm clock to keep track of ship time. While setting alarms on vacation might not be appealing, it helps you stay on schedule and make the most out of your cruise.

We adjust our mobile phones to the ship’s time as soon as any changes are announced and use them as alarm clocks. We also coordinate this with our morning coffee delivery to ensure we’re ready for the day’s activities.

29. Don’t Forget a Wine Opener

Many cruise lines permit passengers to bring 1-2 bottles of wine per guest onboard or per cabin, though a corkage fee may apply if you plan to drink it outside your cabin. Remember to pack a wine opener, if you intend to enjoy your wine in your stateroom. However, it’s crucial to check your cruise line’s policy first; while some allow wine openers, others may consider them a security risk and prefer you use their services to open bottles. Always verify what’s permitted to ensure a smooth boarding process and enjoyable cruise experience.

30. Refillable Water Bottle

Taking a refillable water bottle on your cruise is smart, especially if your drink package does not include bottled water. It’s an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to stay hydrated. You can fill it with iced water or even iced tea from the buffet, ensuring you have access to drinkable water in your cabin throughout the day and night. This simple tip can help you save money and reduce plastic use while keeping you hydrated as you enjoy your cruise.

Virgin Voyages highly suggests bringing a water bottle when you sail with them as they do not sell or provide bottled water on their Lady Ships.

31. Use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Make-Up Room’

Two buttons on textured wall: "Make Up Room" and "Do Not Disturb." The "Make Up Room" button is marked with an icon of a figure and a broom, signaling housekeeping to tidy the room. The "Do Not Disturb" button shows a bed icon, indicating that the occupants do not wish to be disturbedPin

Modern cruise ships and renovated older ones often feature buttons near the cabin door to signal “do not disturb” or “make-up room” preferences. These allow you to easily indicate whether you want your room serviced or prefer privacy.

If your ship doesn’t have these electronic options, use the traditional “do not disturb” and “make-up room” signs provided. The “do not disturb” sign on your door communicates that you do not want your room serviced. Conversely, the “make-up room” sign lets the cabin attendants know you’d like your room cleaned and serviced.

32. Decorate Your Door

a cruise cabin door decorated with various colorful magnets and stickers. The decorations include travel-themed slogans like "Never stop exploring," "Passport," and other playful graphics such as a camper van, fruits, and autumn leaves. Pin

While we don’t decorate our cabin door, we always enjoy seeing the creative decorations on other doors as we stroll through the ship. Adorning your cabin door can make it distinct and easily recognizable—a useful hack and activity when traveling with children. It adds a touch of fun to your cruise and helps everyone, especially young travelers, quickly identify their cabin.

Note: Some cruise lines have rules and do not allow it. While others ask that you use only magnetic decor so it leaves no marks on the doors.

Cruise Ship Stateroom: FAQs

Is it better to stay higher or lower on a cruise?

When picking a cabin on a cruise ship, think about what matters most to you. If you get seasick easily, choosing a cabin in the middle of the ship on one of the lower decks is best because there’s less rocking there. If you love great views and want to be near activities like the pool, a higher deck might be better for you. Higher decks offer amazing views and are closer to fun spots on the ship, but you might feel more movement.

Can you leave your balcony door open at night on a cruise?

While many cruisers do leave their balcony doors open to sleep, leaving your balcony doors open at night is generally not recommended for safety reasons. Besides, the AC does turn off when you leave your balcony door open.

How do you build privacy in a cruise cabin?

To make your cruise cabin more private, you can hang a curtain to split the room, set bathroom times, and keep everyone’s stuff in separate spots. Wearing headphones when listening to music or watching videos can also help keep things quiet. Try finding a quiet place to relax outside your cabin for more privacy. Before the cruise, chat with those you’ll be sharing a cabin with about privacy and what you can do for each other so everyone is more comfortable.

Why do people bring magnets on a cruise?

Cruise ship cabins are usually small, so people use magnets to help organize and save space. You can use magnets to hang things like wet swimsuits and towels on the walls or to decorate your cabin door. This makes it easier to keep your cabin tidy and personalized.


Kathy Ava

Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

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