If you’re going to book an interior cabin on your cruise, you will want to make the most of your windowless stateroom.
These cabins are beloved by regular cruisers as they offer the cheapest way to cruise, allowing them to sail as often as time will allow.
In this article I’m going to cover some inside cabin hacks that will make your stay as smooth as possible. After all, just because you’re saving a ton of money on a low-cost cabin doesn’t mean you have to suffer.
In fact, I love inside cabins and often book them for shorter sailings especially. Let’s check out some benefits of these cabins before diving into my recommendations.
Benefits of an interior cabin:
- Lower cost means more cruises. If you refuse to book an inside cabin because you want a great view, I can certainly understand that. But if the budget is tight this also means you are limited to how many cruises you can afford to take. Taking inside cabins means you will get to sail more often, and that’s a big plus for me.
- It’s the cheapest way to rack up loyalty points. Loyalty perks and benefits through cruise lines are typically based on the number of nights you sailed with them, not on how much money you spend. And these perks can mean everything from discounts at the spa to free dinners at the specialty restaurant and more. Rack up points faster by sailing often with inside cabins.
- Darker cabins are great for better sleep. It might sound like a consolation prize for choosing the lowest cost stateroom on board, but I know people who swear by these cabins simply because of how dark they are when they’re sleeping. Even though balcony and ocean view cabins have blackout curtains to block out most of the morning sunlight, some people just sleep better when it’s pitch black.
- They are in more central areas of the ship. This isn’t a huge point but one to point out nonetheless. By their very nature, inside cabins are –well, inside. This more central location typically means less movement during rough seas, especially if your cabin is more mid-ship. This depends on the layout of the ship, of course, as some interior cabins are just right across from balcony cabins, in which case there isn’t a huge difference.
Also, the great part about inside cabins is that you get to enjoy the other parts of the ship that balcony and suite guests enjoy as well, with the exception of some areas that are only for suite guests of course.
Your inside cabin doesn’t make you a second or third-class passenger. You’re just a frugal one. That lobster in the main dining room, inviting pool on the lido deck, and mid-row seats at the theater are just as accessible to you.
OK, so how can you make the most of your inside cabin? Here are 14 tips to help you on your way.
1. Use a nightlight
Since interior cabins lack natural light, it can be quite dark. Bring a small nightlight or use the bathroom light with the door slightly ajar to create a soft glow that makes navigating the room easier during the night.
I know I mentioned some people love these cabins because of the lack of light, but having a little personal light can come in handy. I have a portable solar light I will bring along on some cruises and I can keep it by the nightstand.
Of course, you can use your phone’s light as well, but some ships don’t have outlets next to the bed so they won’t be in reach as you’re charging them while you sleep.
2. Optimize storage space
Interior cabins tend to have limited storage space, so it’s essential to organize your belongings efficiently. Utilize the closets, drawers, and under-bed storage. Consider using packing cubes or compression bags to save space and keep your belongings organized.
Ship by ship every interior stateroom is different. I’ve actually been in some interior cabins that were larger than balcony cabins on the same ship. But for the most part you will be more cramped for space, and cruise ships aren’t known for spacious sleeping spaces anyway.
So, organization will be key, especially if more than 2 people are staying in the cabin.
3. Ask for extra hangers
This goes with the last point. Room stewards will be more than happy to supply you with as many hangers as you need. I recommend utilizing every inch of your closet space for clothes that can be hung up as it will free up more room in your drawers.
The closet is usually supplied with 10 or 12 hangers so having a few extra is key to keep your space optimized.
4. Decorate the space
Although you can’t change the physical aspects of the room, you can bring along some decorative items to personalize the space and add a pop of color to the area.
An interior stateroom is depressing to some travelers, so anything you can do to brighten the space and make it a little more “homey” is key.
While you can’t bring real candles on board a cruise ship I recommend some battery powered LED tealights, especially if you’re going for a more romantic feel.
5. Pack some magnetic hooks and clips
These little magnets are a life-saver for any cruise cabin. But they are especially useful in interior cabins with limited space. Cruise cabin walls are typically metal and magnetic, and these clips and hooks can help organize your space.
Use them to clip the daily planner to the wall, hang your hat up, or put up little reminder notes.
6. Pack some air freshener
One of my favorite aspects of a balcony cabin on a cruise is the fresh air that floods the room when I open the balcony door. Well, that little luxury goes out the window with an interior cabin. Without being too crude or specific, certain smells can put a damper on your living space.
Pack some air freshener and thank me later.
7. Utilize the television
Any time I book an interior cabin I like to turn on the cabin TV to the ship channel which shows the bow of the ship. Sometimes you can find other channels which show various camera angles from the ship as well. Either way, I find it helps to have a visual of the ocean, even if it’s virtual.
Take advantage of the TV by tuning in to the ship’s channel as well, which often shows information about the ship’s activities, dining options, and entertainment. It can help you stay informed and plan your day.
Some cruise lines like Royal Caribbean also offer interior state rooms with virtual balconies, which are large TV screens that show what you would see if you had a window. I booked one of these once but because of its brightness I left the curtain closed most of the time.
8. Set a routine
Establishing a routine can help you make the most of your time in the cabin. Allocate specific times for different activities, such as reading, relaxing, or getting ready for dinner. This can create a sense of structure and make the space feel more organized.
9. Get out and explore the ship
Just because you have an inside cabin doesn’t mean you need to spend any time in there except to sleep if you want to. If you’re an active person and love adventure get out there and enjoy all the ship has to offer.
While the interior cabin may be small, remember that the entire cruise ship is your playground. Take advantage of the ship’s amenities, including the deck areas, lounges, theaters, and dining venues. Spending time outside your cabin can enhance your overall cruise experience.
10. Use the spa and fitness facilities
Even if you book an inside cabin you can find a place to relax and unwind and still have a view of the ocean.
Even though I might save a few dollars by booking an interior cabin, I am more than willing to spend some extra cash on access to a great thermal suite on a ship. There’s just something about a heated, tile lounger that faces the ocean while you listen to calm music in 100% humidity.
Most cruise ships have a spa and fitness facility available to all passengers. Take advantage of these amenities to relax, exercise, or enjoy a massage. It’s a great way to break up your time spent in the cabin.
11. Be mindful of noise
Interior cabins may be more prone to noise from adjacent cabins or public areas. Consider bringing earplugs or a white noise machine to help mask any unwanted sounds and ensure a good night’s sleep.
12. Pack a travel fan and noise machine
A travel fan can be duel purposed. You can use it to circulate the air and keep cool if the AC is not keeping up with what you’re used to. Or you can use it for some white noise as well. I’m in the habit of sleeping with white noise and since an interior cabin is isolated from the sounds of the ocean, a noise machine can be a great lullaby to solid sleep.
13. Spend time on deck during scenic sailings and sailaways
While you may not have a balcony, you can still enjoy scenic sailings by heading to the ship’s outdoor decks. Find a comfortable spot to relax and take in the beautiful views during the journey.
Sailaway is one of my favorite parts of a cruise. And if I don’t have a balcony cabin I find a great spot to enjoy the process of seeing land disappear as the ship heads to open waters.
By checking out the ship’s deck plans or some video tours of the ship you can pre-plan where you will enjoy sailaway since a sailway from an inside cabin isn’t too appealing.
14. Bring a travel clock
Waking up from a good night’s sleep in an interior cabin always brings the same question to mind: “What time is it? Is it still nighttime?”. It’s the blessing and curse of this dark stateroom. You never really know what time of day it is. A travel clock kept on your nightstand can help keep your brain a little more grounded. But if you want to sleep-in anyway, just leave that clock at home and set your brain to “cruise time”.
Remember, the interior stateroom is primarily for resting, sleeping, and changing clothes. By making use of the ship’s facilities and exploring various areas, you can enhance your cruise experience and make the most of your time onboard.
If you’ve never tried an interior cabin because you feel like you would be too claustrophobic then maybe a balcony cabin is more your style. But if you’re willing to take the plunge, save a boat load of money, and go on as many cruises as possible, take some of these pointers and start booking that vacation.
What tips would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.