Cruise TipsCruise Cabin Hacks: 25 Tips to Make Your Stateroom More Livable

Cruise Cabin Hacks: 25 Tips to Make Your Stateroom More Livable

How can you make your cruise cabin more comfortable, feel more spacious, and a little more like home?  These stateroom tips will help get you started.

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First time cruisers are always taken back by the size of their living space on a cruise ship.  After all, unless you booked a spacious suite you will only have a couple hundred square feet to call home.

This list of helpful advice will allow you to make the most of your cruise cabin and make it much more livable and enjoyable throughout your cruise.

Cruise cabin hacks to make your stateroom more livable
These cruise cabin tips will help maximize your stateroom’s space. Photo credit: Cruise Fever

You might feel like your cruise cabin is secondary to your cruise vacation since you will only use it for sleeping. But making that limited space in your stateroom work for you can make a huge difference after spending 7+ nights at sea.

These cruise cabin hacks will help make the best use of the cramped space and keep the most common issues from becoming a big deal.


Space-Saving Tricks

Making the most of the space in your cruise cabin is key.  You can’t add more square footage to your stateroom but you can make the space feel less cramped.

1. Use packing cubes and pack light

The packing process is key.  In a previous article on tips for packing light on a cruise we mention how popular packing cubes have become and how they can help save space during the packing process.

They are great for keeping your clothing and essentials organized and condensed.  But it’s also important to know what not to bring on a cruise.  Needless additional items only take up more precious space both in your luggage and your stateroom.

2. Utilize those drawers

Living out of a suitcase is not a great way to enjoy a vacation.  You will have a lot of drawer space around the cabin desk.  Make use of these drawers, which will help both organize your belongings and save space.  Just make sure to check every single drawer when it’s time to pack up at the end of the cruise.

3. Use a hanging toiletry bag

Cruise ship bathrooms are notorious for being tiny.  A toiletry bag can easily be hung from a towel wrack, clearing up any limited counter space.  These bags make packing easier as well so it’s a win-win.

4. Cruise ship laundry

Whether your ship has self-service laundry rooms or not, you can still consider having some laundry done while on board.  Especially for cruises of 10-nights or longer you will want to wash and reuse some clothes so you can cut down on the amount of clothing you have to bring along.

The previous link shows what cruise lines and cruise ships have launderettes, but every cruise line has some sort of laundry service for a fee as well.  And with loyalty perks some of these services can be free.

5. Use one of your suitcases as a hamper

Dirty clothes pile up quickly on a cruise.  Use one of your extra suitcases as a hamper that is kept under your bed.  There is usually plenty of space under your bed so you might as well utilize this space so things aren’t so cramped.

This works best if you have multiple suitcases and can use one of them for dirty clothes throughout the trip.  And when you get home you can just transfer everything right into the washing machine.

6. Look for extra spaces for storage

You might be surprised to find all kinds of extra places for storage in your stateroom after you start looking for it.  Whether it’s behind a mirror, inside a footstool, or on the side of a couch, cruise cabins are designed to maximize space, but it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t know it exists.

Cruise ships in port in Nassau
Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Suggested read: 35 genius cruise items on Amazon for under $15

Organization Hacks

Keeping your cruise cabin organized helps the whole vacation feel less cluttered.  It also makes it easier to find what you’re looking for when everything is in its proper place.   With the limited space available here are some organization tips to help keep your sanity.

Some of these items can be found on our post on genius cruise hacks you can buy on Amazon right now as well.

7. Pack an over the door shoe organizer

These hardly take up any room in your suitcase but can make your life a lot easier once in use in your cabin.  Many cruisers will use these over the door organizers for socks, underwear, and t-shirts, but you can also keep things like sunscreen, bugs pray, and deodorant in individual pockets.   Everything stays out of the way and is easy to access.

8. Bring magnetic hooks and clips

Cruise cabin walls and ceilings are metal.  You can’t use tape in your stateroom but magnets are the perfect solution for keeping things organized.  I love to use magnetic hooks for hanging things like hats, hoodies, and lanyards.  And Magnetic clips can keep your daily planners, excursions tickets, or any other papers organized and keep them from cluttering up your stateroom desk.

9. Ask for extra hangers

All you need to do is ask your stateroom steward for some extra hangers and you will have plenty to use for the duration of the cruise.  Hangers are better for keeping wrinkles out of clothes and I will usually try to hang up all my clothes as soon as my stateroom is accessible.  I like to pack some wrinkle release so I can spray it on my shirts and let them hang in the closet.

10. Ask to have some things removed from the cabin

Is there a coffee table or stool that’s in your way in your cabin?  Many people don’t realize that they can have their cabin rearranged a little, and the cabin steward can remove any items that don’t work for their situation.  Instead of tripping over that moveable furniture item you can have it taken out which will also give you more space.

 Celebrity Edge balcony stateroom on cruise ship

How much space does each cruise line actually offer in their balcony stateroom category? (Image from Celebrity Edge. Photo Credit: Cruise Fever.

Comfort Hacks

It might not be the same as your bedroom and living space back home, but with a few tweaks you can make that cruise cabin much more comfortable.

11. Keeping the AC on

Bring an old cruise card or any kind of card really.  You will need it to keep the AC on when you’re stepping out of your cabin for a short period of time.  Most modern cruise ships shut off the electrical, including the AC when you remove the card from the card slot in the cabin.

And while I’m all for saving on energy, you will have to run the AC for a lot longer when you get back if it kicks off for a decent period of time.  You can set the AC at a moderate temperature and use a card in the slot to keep the room at a modest temperature.

12. Magnet hooks for privacy

If you’re cruising as a family and need a little extra privacy, those aforementioned magnetic hooks can come in handy.  Use them to hang a sheet from the ceiling and add some separation in the stateroom.  So, those magnetic hooks can serve multiple purposes.

13. Bring that pillow from home

Sometimes the right pillow can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a morning of exhaustion.  Even though it takes up more room, it might be worth it to pack your favorite pillow, especially if you are a light sleeper.

14. Pack some tealights

Real candles are on the banned list of items you can’t bring on a cruise.  But if you want a romantic setting or just a relaxed vibe in your cabin, pack some LED tealights.  They flicker just like real candles and will last the length of the cruise.

15. Bring your own shampoo and body lotion

Don’t get me wrong.  Your cruise cabin will come with soap and shampoo in the bathroom.  But if you’re even a little picky about the products you use on your skin and in your hair you might want to being your own.  Some cruise lines even tout that their shower products are versatile enough to be a soap, shampoo, and conditioner all in one, but many cruisers prefer their own products over the all-purpose ‘stuff’ found in the shower.

16. Bring some clothes pins or clips for the curtains

Who doesn’t love to sleep-in on a cruise, right?  Well those cabin curtains can let in a little too much light if your cabin is facing East in the morning.  Pack some clothes pins or towel clips which can also serve to keep the curtains drawn tight.

These clips are useful when cruising to Alaska or Norway when the sun is still out at 11pm as well.

Ocean view cabin on Majesty of the Seas
Photo Credit: Cruise Fever


Food and Drink Hacks

17. Empty out your mini fridge

Ask your room steward to empty the mini fridge of beverages you don’t want, and use it to keep your own drinks nice and cool.  These drinks usually carry a heavy cost anyway and most drink packages don’t include the drinks in the stateroom fridge.  Since you’re usually allowed to bring a certain amount of canned drinks on board you might as well use this in-cabin perk.

You can also use the mini fridge for stashing some snacks you grabbed from the buffet up on the Lido deck.

18. Bring a collapsible water bottle

I love having a collapsible water bottle on a cruise.  It doesn’t take up much space in a suitcase and it can be used throughout the cruise.  I fill it up from the stateroom sink, and it comes in handy during shore excursions and tours.  You’ll save a few bucks having your own water and keep from getting sick if you’re worried about the water in a foreign port of call.

19. Take advantage of free room service

Most mainstream cruise lines now charge for room service.  But often they still provide a free continental breakfast at no extra cost.  You just need to take care of the gratuity.   You can still have a full breakfast later on, so why not take advantage of some room service to start your day!

unplug electronics from outlet in cabin before leaving(1)

Technology Tips

20. Bring an outlet adapter

With all the devices and electronics we rely on in our daily lives, a cruise ship cabin never seems to have enough outlets.  Even though many modern cruise ships have more USB and power outlets than older ships, you still might want to being an outlet extender.  Just make sure it does NOT have a surge-protector as these cause problems with a cruise ship’s electrical system.

I like to travel with a European travel adapter as well in some cases so I can make use of the 220 outlets.

21. Sound machine

You can use an app on your cell phone for this or bring along a dedicated sound machine if that works best for you.  Cruise ship walls can seem very thin when you have a noisy neighbor, so a nice white noise could make the difference for a solid night’s sleep.  My personal preference is either brown noise or green noise.

22. Pack a motion-sensing nightlight

With the light switch on the outside wall of a cruise cabin bathroom, having a nightlight that comes on when it senses motion can come in handy.  Otherwise, the light from the bathroom can interrupt the sleep of others in the cabin.  You can use this light in the bathroom itself or low enough on the floor so it doesn’t come on when you’re rolling over in bed.

23. Bring a fan

Whether it’s battery powered or plugged in, a fan can double as a sound machine as well.  Ventilation in a cruise cabin is often not too great, so you will want a little fan if this is a concern.   This is especially true if you have an interior cabin.

24. Having a portable charger

This will come in handy when off the ship, but you will want to keep it charged up in your stateroom.  On long days of shore excursions, the last thing you want is your phone on 2% when you are about to take some pictures or videos.  A portable power bank will help make sure you have plenty of juice for all your electronics when out for the day.

25. Bring a portable speaker

I don’t advise using a Bluetooth speaker on the balcony of your cabin, as it could prove annoying to your neighbors.  But a portable speaker can help enhance your cruise cabin with the music you love.  You can also use it if you plan to use a phone or tablet to watch movies in your cabin and want a little more volume.


Final Thoughts

With a few tweaks you can make your cruise cabin  the perfect home away from home.  But don’t feel like you have to bring all of the items listed above.  Do what works for you, and follow some tips on packing light for your cruise so you can focus more on the actual vacation part.

What kind of things do you do to make your cruise cabin more livable?  Let us know in the comments below.

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise TipsCruise Cabin Hacks: 25 Tips to Make Your Stateroom More Livable

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