Cruising: what’s the etiquette for sharing a cruise ship cabin?

Our eight great tips for sharing a cruise cabin will ensure that you have a happier holiday.

Couple enjoying drinks on cruise ship deck

Do you dream of cruising but have no one with whom to travel? Or maybe you’d like to cruise with a friend, but are unsure as to how sharing a cabin may work. Either way, these cabin-sharing etiquette tips will be invaluable.

Manage the space
Cruise ship cabins are tight on space. Even in the bigger cabins, you’ll need to manage your space wisely. Before you unpack your bags, it’s best to check with your cabin companion to agree on shared storage space. It’s also important that you put away your things when you’re not using them, so stow your shoes or hang your jacket in the wardrobe instead of draping it on the only chair in the room. Keep your cabin tidy and you’ll minimise the risk of upsetting your travel buddy.

Bathroom etiquette
Try to keep your cosmetics or toiletries in your toiletry bag, or divide the shelves and storage space evenly between you and don’t spread out any further. Check with your travel buddy if they’re okay with you washing your clothes in the bathroom. It’s also wise to set agreed-upon shower times.

Some travel companions will agree to use a public toilet when it comes to doing ‘number twos’, but if that seems a tad over-the-top to you, try using a low-fragrance deodoriser or take your toilet breaks when your travel partner is otherwise occupied.

Tell your travel buddy if you snore
If you’re snorer, it’s best to tell your travel buddy before you book your cabin. That way they can decide whether it’s something with which they can deal, or you can inform them as to how you can reduce the noise you make in the night time, by using nasal strips or providing them with earplugs.

Sleep schedule
When you’re at home, you may like to read before bed and fall asleep with the light on. This may not be such an issue when you’re alone, but it can cause consternation with travelling with a companion. You may have different sleeping habits to your companion, so try to be courteous when it comes to sleep time. If you like to sleep earlier than your travel buddy, it may be best to pack a sleep mask.

You may like to party late, but if your fellow traveller doesn’t, try to be as quiet as possible when you enter your room at night. And if you’re the one who turns in early, it may pay to leave on a night light, so your tipsy travel buddy doesn’t crash around in the dark and wake you whilst trying to find their bed.

Lastly, if you’re an early riser, try to keep it quiet so your companion can lay in. Most cruise ships will have early morning programs available, so why not get out of the cabin and partake in them? Or, if you have a balcony and you’re not one for early-morning activity, there may be no better time to get out there with a good book or simply stare out at sea and meditate until they wake.

How to tackle nudity
One thing that is often an issue when it comes to sharing cruise ship cabins is nudity. Some people like to sleep naked, some may have no problem walking out of the shower dripping wet and nude and some people see nothing wrong with undressing in front of others. So, it’s wise to discuss how comfortable you both are with nudity and, if it’s an issue, work out ways that you can still be comfortable but not embarrassed or causing embarrassment to your travel partner.

Silence is sometimes golden
It’s nice to be able to chat with your travel companion, but it’s also important to respect the quiet times. Be open and honest about your talking habits and encourage each other to speak up when enough chatter is enough. Some people like quiet in the morning, others like less noise at night. Either way, it may be wise to have some sort of sign or ‘safe word’ such as “I need some me time”, or try lowering the volume of your voice when you want it a little more hushed, as quiet voices often lead to less talk.

What if you meet someone special?
What if you’re single you meet someone special with whom you’d like to ‘continue’ your night out? Hey, it happens. It may occur by chance or you may be planning for it but, either way, it’s something that’s best spoken about beforehand, so no one’s nose is put out on the off chance you find romance.

Set some basic ground rules for romance, such as what is an acceptable amount of time for you to be ‘locked out’ of your cabin or how to inform the other of your intended actions that night, such as the old ‘do not disturb’ door sign.

The key to travelling with a companion is to be honest with each other. It also pays to remember that sharing a cruise cabin may save you some money, but it can come at the cost of being a little less comfortable. By having open discussions about your habits, likes and dislikes, and by following these simple tips, you’ll be more likely to have a happier cruise.

Do you have any cruise ship cabin sharing tips? Why not share them with our members?




    To make a comment, please register or login
    22nd Jun 2016
    If I was going on a cruise there is NO way I would want to share a cabin
    22nd Jun 2016
    I had to smile at Leon's article. The idea of sharing with a 30s young lady is pretty appealing methinks. Nudity not a problem either. But I think that I'd be less popular with my dear wife than with Tony Abbott.
    This is definitely a place where one needs a few smilies leon
    22nd Jun 2016
    I think I'm fighting a losing battle but I'll keep on trying.
    You are advised "Lastly, if you’re an early riser, try to keep it quiet so your companion can lay in". Pleeeease, chooks lay, humans lie!!!

    22nd Jun 2016
    Not worth the effort, I'd rather pay extra and go solo or not at all
    22nd Jun 2016
    Come on trood. Be adventurous. I'll go with you.
    22nd Jun 2016
    More dribble from Della Bosca

    23rd Jun 2016
    Geeeeheeez, can't stand the thought of a cruise i.e. being confined on a boat floating around with people you can't escape for days on end...And the thought of sharing a cabin on such a vessel would just ramp out the 'cabin fever' significantly.....

    Nope think I'll pass on the cruise thing altogether thanks....prefer walking holidays to really get a sense of place...
    23rd Jun 2016
    Shetso -- I am with you all the way on your thoughts on cruises --plus they are floating Petri dishes -- I also could think of nothing worse than being trapped on a boat with all those people doing WHAT ??
    Be like being locked in a club -- which I HATE.

    On top of that sharing a cabin : o)

    Better to be in Natural places or cruising alone on your own boat
    27th Aug 2016
    That read was 5 mins of my life I'll never get back.

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