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22 cruise ship cabin hacks that will transform your voyage

Dec. 03, 2021
7 min read
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas Grand Loft Suite with Balcony
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While some lavish and expensive suites on cruise ships are apartment-sized, most cruisers stay in accommodations that are not particularly spacious or fashion-forward. Their décor is designed to appeal to everyone, no matter their personal tastes, with mellow or nautical colors and nothing too distracting. Storage space may be at a premium and a cabin’s bathroom may be far smaller than yours at home.

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

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Add personalization

  • You will be in your cruise ship cabin for several days, a week or more. So go ahead and bring your favorite pillow, a picture of your kids/dog/cat, a teddy bear, a throw blanket or any other comfort objects you cherish at home – keeping in mind luggage space if you are flying to reach the ship.
  • When traveling with kids, let them bring a few of their favorite toys, along with a pillow and blanket.
  • A fun touch is to bring an erasable, magnetic-backed whiteboard (which will easily attach to the cabin’s metal door) and washable markers so you can draw pictures and leave messages – whether you’re with kids or being flirty with your soulmate.
  • While real candles are banned on cruise ships, battery-operated flameless candles can add a touch of romance.

Don’t be afraid to move the furniture around

  • Standard cabins have twin beds that can be combined into a queen bed and two side tables. There’s maybe a sofa or upholstered chair, a 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 may 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 Lido buffet (which will also save you any room service charges).

RELATED: 7 reasons to splurge on a cruise ship suite

Beef up the bathroom supplies

  • 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 liquid soap 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 motels.
Cruise lines typically provide shampoo and other toiletries in cruise ship cabins, but you may want to bring your own. (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)
  • A hanging makeup or toiletry kit that you can attach to the bathroom door 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 a drawer or shelves.
  • The switch for bathroom lights often is 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 nightlight for navigating around the bathroom without waking your cabinmates.

Consider electronic matters

  • You and your family likely will 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 may be a very limited number of outlets. Bringing an outlet extender is recommended (though make sure it is not one with a surge protector, as these are banned by cruise lines).
  • If you’re a light sleeper, you might want to put a sound machine app on your phone. Cruise ships have lots of creaks, rattling and other noises.
  • 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 very sunny Caribbean.

Pack space extenders

Cruise ship cabins have a closet with hangers and shelves. There may or may not be drawers for clothes. Additional drawers for knickknacks may be located in the side tables near the bed or in the desk. When you are packing for a week – and especially if you are packing for a family for a week – there will not be enough closet and drawer space for everyone’s clothes and gear. There are ways to improve the situation.

  • Don’t be shy about asking your cabin steward for more hangers.
Don't like the furniture configuration in your cruise cabin? Feel free to move things around. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)
  • Double up clothes on the hangers – a blouse or jacket on top of a sundress, for instance.
  • Your cabin may have a couple of hooks for bathrobes. On many ships, the walls are made with metal, and magnets will stick to them. Bring some of your own magnetic hooks so you also have room for hats, snorkels and other hangable paraphernalia.
  • A hanging or over-the-door organizer can help you easily tuck away socks and undies.
  • A laundry bag on the floor of the closet lets you corral dirty clothes and keep them from getting in the way.

Don’t forget under the bed

  • Your suitcases can be tucked under the bed; if you keep one open, you can use it as an additional drawer.
  • If you’re not using the bathrobes, slippers, hairdryer or other stuff provided – including decorative pillows if they are in your way – these can go under the bed as well.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

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Featured image by Simon Brooke-Webb / sbw-photo
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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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more