Cruise Tips5 Things to Know When Cruising with a Third Person in a...

5 Things to Know When Cruising with a Third Person in a Cabin

If you’re going on a cruise with a third or even fourth person in the cabin, there are a few things you need to know.  Don’t worry.  We’re going to cover all of it in this article.

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3rd person in a cabin, Carnival Celebration
Carnival Celebration balcony cabin set up for 3 people. Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

*This article has been updated since its original publishing date.

More often than not, you will see many couples or families traveling together. The trend of traveling solo has gained in popularity throughout the years as well.

Traditionally, standard cabins are sized for two people. Family cabins and suites are another matter altogether.

So, what happens if you decide to cruise with a total of three or four in a cabin? How will this affect your stay and experience?

First of all, not all cabins can accommodate third and fourth persons. Be sure to choose the proper cabin when booking. Once we get past this standard rule, there are a few other things to remember.

1. Space Will Be Tight

Be prepared to maximize space when cruising with a third person!  If you can get some in the group to limit their luggage it would be a good idea too.

You may need to keep some of your clothing neatly folded in your suitcase, if you find that there is not enough room in the drawers and closet for everyone’s cruise attire.

Utilizing space saving bags or packing cubes can be a good idea.

Cruise ship bathrooms are naturally small. This is one space in your cabin that you will need to be extra diligent with your space saving hacks.

Try using hanging toiletry bags for each person. They can be hung in your closet and taken into the bathroom when needed. This keeps everyone’s toiletries tidy, separated and organized.

On most ships cruise ship cabins tend to run on the small side. An interior cabin is usually the smallest option on the vessel.

If a third person is in your room, be aware that space will be scarce, unless you booked a larger suite or more swanky cabin category.

I recommend an ocean view cabin at the very least. The space may not differ much, but having a window or porthole can give the room a more open feel.

You can often cram four people into an interior cabin to maximize savings, but maximizing the cruise experience is no guarantee.

A balcony cabin is an even better option. When space is feeling a bit cramped, there is an outside area to relax in that usually has a table and chairs. Even if the room isn’t larger itself, the balcony area creates a feeling of a larger space, with more options for everyone.

Icon of the Seas Balcony cabin
Icon of the Seas balcony cabin. Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Read more: 25 Cabin Hacks to Make Your Stateroom More Livable

2. Drink Package Rules

Many cruisers opt to purchase the all-inclusive drink packages after boarding the ship. These packages are usually priced per day and include a large selection of beverages that you can enjoy, without the fear of a surprise bill.

The golden standard across cruise lines requires all persons in the room to purchase the package. If one purchases it, everyone in the cabin must as well.

Keep this in mind when traveling with a third. Many times, their cruise rates will be cheaper, but they must participate in the drink package if the other two decide to opt-in.

It is up to you and your cabin mates to decide if the drink packages are beneficial to you. Some people find that they come out cheaper in the long-run when buying the packages and others prefer to pay a la carte.

Of course, this rule doesn’t apply to minors.

3. Bedding Options

We already know that space will be very limited when cruising with a third person. What options are available for sleeping and bedding?

Most cruise ships will have two twin size beds that can be converted to a king. Before your trip, you can usually customize the bed configuration for the first two passengers.

Third and fourth passengers’ beds are handled differently. Some rooms will have upper berths that are “hidden” in the wall or ceiling, until the room steward prepares the cabin in the evenings.

These beds are opened and appear almost identical to a bunk bed. The person sleeping here will have a ladder to access the bed. This option is very popular with families and kids tend to love it.

Some cabins have a sofa or couch located along one wall. Sometimes, these sofas can be converted to a bed in the evenings.

If your third person is an infant, cribs can usually be provided by each cruise line. Just be sure to speak with your cabin steward for more information and availability.

Cruise cabin stateroom with balcony
Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

4. Savings Possibilities

Luckily, most cruise lines offer some amazing deals for third and fourth passengers in a cabin. Cruise vacations tend to be a wonderful way to maximize your vacation budget and that holds true even further for additional passengers in your cabin.

It’s not unheard of for the cost of a cruise to be half-price for a third or fourth person.

Some cruise lines even offer FREE fare for third and fourth passengers. You can’t beat cruising for free!

This is a wonderful option to cut down on costs for your trip. The total cost can be divided by three rather than two, for incredible savings.

Remember: Even though the third or fourth person may cruise for free, they will still have to pay taxes and port costs. 

Read more: How to avoid spending an extra penny on your cruise

5. Gratuities Still Apply

If taking advantage of a lower cost or free fare for the third person, remember that some standard rules still apply.

The third person will still have to pay gratuities. Keep in mind that the extra person will still be eating and using the amenities of the dining room. Gratuities still need to be paid for the service that they receive. Your cabin stewards will be cleaning up after three, rather than two.

Just remember to keep this extra amount for gratuities budgeted into the total cost of your cruise vacation.

Cruising with a third person can be an adventure that you will remember for years to come. Being fully prepared before your trip can cut down on any surprises that you may have once boarding.

Make a budget beforehand, pack as light as possible and have lots of fun making memories together.

We hope our insight will prepare you for your next cruise with an additional person in your cabin. What would you suggest for others cruising with a third person? Let us know in the comments!

Read more: Cruise cabin check: 11 things to do before you empty your suitcase

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Kristi Sellers
Kristi Sellers
Kristi took her first cruise when she was 12 years old and is currently planning her 20th. When she isn’t cruising, she loves to visit the Smoky Mountains. Kristi lives in Alabama with her husband and fur baby, Chico.
Cruise Tips5 Things to Know When Cruising with a Third Person in a...


  1. I traveled with two other women in a balcony cabin, and Holland America, reasonable size cabin, originally with myself and one other. It was a chartered music cruise. The third woman had reserved a cabin, and couldn’t find a roommate and asked if she could join us which we agreed to, we all saved a little money. I thought the bathroom would be an issue and it turned out not to be.

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