After finally making it to your cruise cabin you just want to make yourself at home.
You made it through the embarkation process at the port, you signed up for a few raffles, made reservations for dinner, and you even completed the muster drill with no problems.
And now that you’re in the comfort of your private stateroom you might feel like you can do whatever you want. Well, you can for the most part. But there are some rules of decor and etiquette to follow.
Breaking some of these rules could see you disembarked, fined, having your possessions confiscated, and even banned for life from the cruise line. And some are just good rules to follow to not be annoying to your fellow-passengers.
Here are 10 rules for things you should avoid doing in your cruise cabin.
1. Don’t use power cords with surge protectors
We all have electronic devices that need to be charged when on a cruise ship. Whether it be your phone, tablet, camera, computer, or USB-powered diffuser, you might find there aren’t enough spots to plug everything in.
But the use of power strips with surge protectors is prohibited on most ships, and you probably won’t even get them passed security. Don’t even try.
The issue comes down to the electrical wiring on a cruise ship being different than what you may be used to on land and surge protectors could be a fire risk.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t bring an approved power strip. There are some multi-plug boxes that are approved by cruise lines as long as they do NOT have a surge protector.
Some cruise lines also will not allow extension cords of any kind, so make sure you look into that before you sail.
According to Carnival’s website, “Power strips, multi plug box outlets/adaptors and extension cords (without surge protectors) are allowed on board when used with proper caution. However, if such devices are determined to pose a hazard, they will be removed and returned the last day of the cruise prior to debark.”
Keep in mind that these policies with charging cords and strips seem to be in flux and are changing all the time. So do a quick check before each cruise to see what is permitted.
Royal Caribbean’s website currently states, “Guests cannot bring electrical extension cords, including power boards or surge protected power boards.”
You can find some power strips here on Amazon that claim to be cruise ship approved, but be ready to check with your particular cruise line to make sure.
Also, be ready to unplug your charging devices when you leave your cabin. Some room stewards may do this for you, as you will find when you get back to your stateroom.
2. Don’t have any kind of open flame
You might love the romance of a few candles lighting up your stateroom, but it’s out of the question on a cruise ship.
Even if you do somehow manage to get candles on board you should never use them in your stateroom. Open flames of any kind are not permitted, and this includes burning incense as well.
If you want the romantic effect of candles in your stateroom I recommend some of the battery powered LED tealights that cruise ships also use in dining rooms. You can find some here. They are safe and even flicker to resemble an actual candle.
Smoking and vaping are also not allowed in your cabin. There are very few cruise lines that do allow smoking on balconies but never in your stateroom. These currently include AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises, but again, these policies are constantly changing.
Some cruise ships do have designated smoking areas in or around the lido deck or somewhere in the casino, and there is often a cigar lounge for some cruisers to use.
Norwegian Cruise Line lets guests staying in Garden Villa suites to smoke on their private deck balconies, but again, there is no smoking allowed in staterooms.
Most cruise lines will levy a fine of $250 or more if they detect a guest was smoking in a cabin.
Most cruise lines will not allow vaping even on your own balcony, but a few will allow it. Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, AIDA, and Costa currently allow vaping on balconies.
Any kind of fire hazard is one of the biggest dangers on a cruise ship, and each cruise line has a no-nonsense policy to keep everyone safe.
3. Don’t flush extra stuff down the toilet
After using the bathroom in your stateroom, you should only flush the provided toilet paper down the toilet.
Do not flush wipes, feminine hygiene products, cotton swabs or any other items down the commode.
The thunderous sound of a cruise ship toilet flushing might sound like it can handle just about anything, but the plumbing systems on a cruise ship are very delicate and are only made to handle certain kinds of materiel.
Cruise ship toilets are not like the ones you use on land. To conserve water cruise ships use a suction system to remove waste.
Every modern cruise ship has a sewage treatment facility that handles all the black water. It goes through many stages of treatment. In the final treatment process everything is sterilized and is clean enough to drink. But don’t worry, the water is sent to a storage tank from which it can be discharged as clean, fresh water into the sea.
Putting extra materials in the toilet will only clog up the treatment process and cause more issues for the crew to take care of. So please follow this simple rule when sailing.
4. Don’t walk around naked with curtains open
You might only see an open ocean when you look out your balcony sliding door on most days of your cruise. You can easily be lulled into thinking there’s nothing but privacy from inside your cabin.
And then you look out your window one morning and see another cruise ship just feet away from you, with hundreds of other passengers looking seemingly looking right at you. Yes, those port days can lead to all kinds of embarrassing situations.
Save yourself and others some embarrassment when you leave the curtain open, and make sure you have something on. This is important to remember when walking out of the shower as well as you may not realize the curtain is wide open.
5. Don’t leave your balcony door open
This is a very common mistake for many first-time cruisers. They love the sound of the ocean waves crashing against the hull and the smell of the salty breeze, so they leave the balcony door wide open.
But this creates a few different problems. First of all it wreaks havoc with the AC in your cabin, as it has to run a lot harder. It also puts a lot more humidity in your cabin than should be there.
Leaving the balcony door open also creates a powerful wind tunnel when your stateroom door is opened. If you order room service and have your balcony door open, don’t be surprised to feel a powerful gust of wind sweep through your cabin and hallway.
It can also cause the cabin door to slam abruptly, disturbing other passengers near you. Please be courteous and only open the balcony door when you’re going in or out. If you want to enjoy the ocean breeze, go ahead and use one of the chairs or loungers on your balcony and keep that door closed.
6. Don’t sit on the railing
Sunset on Viking Sea taken with a GoPro Hero5 Black.
Another balcony “don’t” is one of the biggest rules in cruising. You should NEVER, ever sit on the railing or climb over the railing.
This rule will get you banned from the cruise line if you break it.
Almost every case of someone falling off a cruise ship is because they broke this rule. Just avoid the temptation. It’s really not worth it.
You might really want to get that selfie as you lean way too far over the railing, but not only is this a bad idea, you will have the proof that you violated one of the cruise line’s rules in your photo.
7. Don’t take cabin items off the ship
This one can happen on accident on occasion. If you take home some items belonging to the cruise line, you will end up paying way too much for them.
Those plush robes, thick beach towels, stylish umbrellas, and nifty binoculars could cost you a pretty penny if you decide to take them home without just buying them from the cruise line.
The slippers are often yours to keep, but best to check with the cruise line first.
Most cruise lines will allow you to buy items found in your stateroom, so if you really like them you should buy them first instead of stashing them away. They will find out when those items are missing from your cabin.
Some toiletry items like shampoo and conditioner can be taken home (depending on the line), but most cruise lines are doing away with these one-time-use bottles anyway.
Related: Why I still bring cash on a cruise
8. Don’t be the noisy cabin in the hall
The walls between staterooms on a cruise ship do a decent job of keeping noise to a minimum but they are definitely not sound-proof.
Whether it’s cranking up the volume on the TV or playing music loudly from the balcony a noisy neighbor can make for a rough cruise.
Be mindful of your close proximity to other passengers and keep excess noise to a minimum, especially when others might be sleeping.
Playing loud music from a balcony is definitely a no-go as it can impact many others on that side of the ship. And with bluetooth speakers becoming more prominent and having greater capabilities of volume this has been an issue with several cruises I’ve been on.
Remember, this is not just your vacation. You’re sharing it with a few thousand other people in many cases.
Related: Cabins on cruises you should avoid
9. Don’t drink from the minibar (unless you want to)
This one comes with a caveat, but I have to mention it because I’ve cruised with some who didn’t realize they would get charged extra for using the minibar.
You might have a drink package with your cruise, but this usually doesn’t include the items from the mini fridge in your stateroom. And the cost of those minibar drinks add up very quickly.
Some of the more all-inclusive cruise lines allow you to drink as much as you’d like from the minibar at no extra cost, so we are primarily talking about some of the mainstream lines here.
As a side note, if you want the beverages in your minibar switched out for something else your room steward would be glad to take care of this. I don’t drink alcohol so I will often ask my room steward to remove everything, and I will use the fridge for my own sodas and water bottles.
10. Don’t use tape on the walls
You might want to tape a picture or note to the wall in your cabin, but tape, glues and other adhesives are forbidden in stateroom cabins.
You can damage the paint or material of the wall, and tape is not necessary as the walls and door are usually made of metal. So a few magnets can do the job just fine.
Some cruisers like to use the magnets with clips so they can attach a note or piece of paper to it. These are often used on stateroom doors, for those who want to go all out in decorating their cabin door.
A few bonus “Don’ts”
Veranda cabin on Celebrity Edge. Photo Credit: Cruise Fever
Don’t hang wet clothes out on the balcony: The cruise line will remind you of this one as well. Cruisers are constantly losing their clothing as a strong gust will come by and blow them off the balcony and into the sea.
There is usually a line in the shower where you can hang up wet clothes to dry. You can even use the in-cabin hair dryer to help speed up the process if you would like. But don’t hang them up on the balcony where they can get swept away or fall into someone else’s balcony.
Don’t leave your cabin a total mess: Your room steward works hard every day. Yes, it’s their job to clean your cabin, but you can make their job a little easier by not leaving it a complete disaster. I’m not saying you need to vacuum and dust, but at least pick up your clothes from the floor, keep your luggage and large items out of the way, and try to make it easier for them to do their job.
Don’t take your life jacket out of your room or play with it: Yes, it seems pretty obvious, but common sense is not always so common. If cruising with kids they might think it’s fun to use their life jackets as flotation devices in the pool or wear them around the cabin and see how punch-proof they are.
Don’t block the ventilation in the cabin: You will want good airflow in the cabin as it’s a relatively small space. Not blocking the vents is not only good for proper room temperature but also making sure the smell remains fresh and clean.
Simply follow these simple rules above in regards to your cruise ships cabin and have a wonderful cruise. No one likes a long list of rules, but these simple guidelines will let you focus on enjoying your vacation instead of getting in trouble with the cruise line or your fellow passengers.
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