Cruise Cabin No-Nos

What are the 11 things you should never, ever do in your cruise cabin?

I want to share with you 11 cabin no-nos, things you absolutely must not do in your cabin.

Watch my Cruise Cabin No-nos Video

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#1 No open flames

First is a really obvious one, and that is nothing with an open flame should be used in your cabin.

Fire is the thing that cruise lines captains fear more than anything else. It’s the hardest thing to control when you’re out at sea.

It’s incredibly dangerous. So, it’s completely banned.

You can’t have candles, incense burners, anything with flames that are lit.

If you really want to bring something to create that ambience, one of the things I recommend you can buy, the little battery-operated tea lights, which is actually what cruise lines use in their restaurants to create that sort of candle effect.

So, you could bring something like that, but nothing with an open flame should ever be used in your cabin.

Oceanview Cabin on Windstar Star Pride

#2 Bathroom habits

The second no-no is around the bathrooms. There’s a couple of real no-nos here.

First of all, which is something the cruise lines keep begging you is don’t put anything other than the supplied toilet tissue, toilet paper, down the toilet. The reason for that is there is a suction system.

So, the toilets work on a suction system and are very easily blocked, so even things like
wipes, anything like that, women’s hygiene projects, don’t put anything down the toilet.

There’s always a little rubbish bin in the bathroom.

Wrap stuff up if you want to in the toilet tissue and chuck in there, but don’t put anything down the toilet.

I’ve been on cruises where we’ve had a nightmare because the toilet system has been blocked and it’s a real big hassle for the cruise lines to fix it.

The other thing linked to the bathroom no-nos is I know a lot of people have been really surprised because they’ve stepped out of the bathroom and discovered either the cabin stewardess cleaning away or they’ve now pulled up alongside another cruise ship or they’re pulled into a port and there’s people able to look in.

Really important, particularly, on a river cruise.

So, don’t step out of the bathroom completely stark bollock naked without checking because there’s a possibility you’re going to have an audience, and one that you didn’t really intend to have!

#3 Electrical items

The next area of no-nos is around the electric plugs and things you plug in in your cabin.

There are probably four critical things that are no-nos within a cruise cabin.

  • Surge protectors. First of all, you can’t plug in anything that has a surge protector. So, this is extension cables with surge protectors. Most cruise lines will screen those out. Some cruise lines will let you bring on board an extension cable without a surge protector. Often, people want to bring on devices like that because not all cruise lines have loads and loads of sockets and we all, of course, have many things that we want to plug in nowadays. So, nothing with a surge protector.
  • Leaving things plugged in. Secondly, when you leave the cabin, anything you’ve got plugged in, you know, left to charge, or any of your devices, you need to unplug those. And the reason for that is a safety one. So, there’s no chance of things being plugged in and fire breaking out there through some sort of electrical fault. Cabin stewards are normally instructed that they should unplug anything that’s left plugged in. I’ve done it before. I’ve gone out not realising I’ve left, perhaps a camera or a phone, being charged and I’ll come back and discover the cabin steward has unplugged it.
  • Heating elements. The third area is you can’t plug in anything that has a heating element. Now normally, the cruise lines will have screened for these. These are things like baby bottle warmers, or you’ve got some a hot plate or device that has a heating element like an iron, travel iron, those kinds of things. They should never be plugged in. In fact, you shouldn’t have brought them on board anyway. The cruise line probably, in most cases, would have screened that and asked you to have removed it from your luggage and have held onto it.
  • Hairdryers and heaters. The fourth area which is sort of linked to that is the area of hair accessories. So, hair dryers, in most cases, are allowed on board on a cruise line, so check if yours is the case. Most cruise lines nowadays will let you bring on board curling tongs, but again, check and find out if you are allowed to use those in the cabin.

So that’s a whole bunch of no-nos around electrical items and the plugs on board.

MSC Divina Balcony Cabin 9113

#4 Taking items from your cabin

The next cabin no-no is to actually take items from your cabin when you leave the ship.

So that’s things like umbrellas, slippers, bathrobes – whatever it is that is within your cabin because all that will happen is, you’ll be charged for them, and actually, the charges
for those are pretty high and they will just basically charge you once you’re off the ship.

So, don’t take any of those items.

You’ll find most cruise lines will give you the option of buying those and it’s a much cheaper option to do it that way if it’s something you really want.

What about things like toiletries?

Nowadays, as cruise lines become more and more environmental, I’m finding that many cruise lines are getting rid of the little miniature plastic bottles.

If you still have the little miniatures and you do want to take them with you because it’s some posh brand, you know, Bulgari or L’Occitane or one of these really nice brands, my tip is perhaps put a couple aside in a cupboard or in your bag during the course of the cruise and see if they get replenished.

And if they get replenished, then you know it’s pretty safe to take those off with you.

Normally, when it comes to toiletries, it’s pretty fine to take it. However, if you’ve got those big bottles that are refilled, it’s probably frowned upon for you to take those.

So again, watch very carefully what you take off the ship.

#5 Taking items from your minibar

My fifth cabin no-no is around the minibar.

Now I tend to never touch anything in the minibar because, like in hotels, the price in minibars very high.

However, that may differ based on the cruise line.

So, if you go to more premium cruise lines, so, I’ve been on some cruise lines like Silversea or Seabourn, where what’s in your minibar is included within the price.

The same, for example, if you’re going Queens Grill in Cunard, you’ll find that what’s in
your minibar is included and there’s no extra charges.

Even if you have a drinks package, on pretty much every single cruise line, the drinks in the minibar is not included in the drinks package, so it’s going to cost you extra on top of the fees you’ve already paid for your drinks package.

So be really cautious about touching the minibar. I tend to avoid the minibar and make that almost a no-no.

Also really check when it comes to bottled water.

Of course, many cruise lines are phasing out bottled water, but those that still have it, check if the water is complimentary or included, bearing in mind that the water that comes out of the tap is perfectly fine to drink.

And what I sometimes do is I take little flavoured sachets if I’m worried about the water, not drinking it just straight out of the tap, but it is perfectly fine to drink out of the tap.

#6 Smoking and Vaping

Another real big no-no in cruise cabins is smoking and vaping. It’s not allowed in pretty much every single cruise line. Also, on the balcony, it’s not allowed.

So smoking, vaping, a definite cabin no-no.

Some cruise lines are really, really strict on that. They’ll charge you extra fees for cleaning.

And theoretically, you could even be disembarked for breaking that rule, partly because it’s a rule and the smell, but also from a safety perspective, they don’t want people smoking on the balconies and in the cabins.

#7 Loud Noise

Another big cabin no-no is around noise, and there are different rules and regulations around noise.

The real things to watch out for are loud music in your cabin which can carry through the walls, particularly if you’ve got an interconnecting door.

Definitely on your balcony, no loud music. In fact, you’re not even supposed to play music out on your balcony.

But even just generally cabin no-nos, bearing in mind that, whilst cabins are relatively sound-proof, noise can travel, so it’s really actually inconsiderate if your television’s blaring loud, you’re playing loud music, and it is something that’s pretty disruptive and drives me crazy, actually noisy people next door.

Another very interesting and slightly quirky thing when it comes to noise, is, I was reading recently about a couple that got disembarked for actually making love in a really raucous and loud way, which was driving people crazy and they got in a huge amount of trouble and were actually disembarked from a cruise for being too noisy in moments of passion.

There’s a bunch of things around noise and cabin. Just really be considerate about other people around you.

#8 Balconies

The next set of cabin no-nos is related to balconies.

If you’re travelling in one of those cabins that have a balcony, there’s a bunch of things you should never do on the balcony, one of which is to sit or let your kid sit on the handrail.

Really, really dangerous and that’s often how people have fallen overboard.

So really watch out for that one. Then the usual things like I’ve said, you know, smoking, loud music, getting up to all sorts of mischief where you could be overlooked and seen on a balcony.

I have a whole video around balcony no-nos, there’s so many of those actually, but watch out really, really carefully what you get up to on your balcony, bearing in mind that often you can be overlooked.

So perhaps sunbathing without any clothes on, all that kind of stuff is a kind of a no-no, because it could be rather embarrassing for everybody concerned.

Two other critical no-nos related to that are, first of all, you shouldn’t leave your balcony door open. The reason for that, although I know people like to do it because they like the fresh air coming in and they like the sound of the sea, is a couple of things.

It actually causes havoc with the air conditioning and causes the air conditioning to really crank up and it uses more energy that is necessary on a ship.

Also, actually it can create a wind tunnel.

So, if someone opens your cabin door. That effect is huge and has a massive wind tunnel affect and everything will be blown around your cabin and so it’s a real no-no to
leave the balcony door open.

Also, you shouldn’t hang out things to dry on your balcony. For a couple of reasons: they can get blown off and head off into the ocean where, of course, they could fall into the ocean and prove actually, not great for marine life or they could actually get blown off and blown into someone else’s balcony. So, cruise lines ask you not to hang laundry on your balcony, even if its swimming trunks.

Normally in your bathroom you’ll find a clothesline that you can pull out and hang your stuff up there.

That’s all of my balcony related no-nos for your cabin.

#9 Using Sellotape

Another cabin no-no is don’t tape things onto your wall with Sellotape or similar tape.

The reason for that is, it very easily pulls off paint and also the cabin walls are magnetic because they’re metal. What a lot of people like to do is bring little magnets so if you do want to pin up things, just get those little like fridge magnets and you can put stuff all over your cabin wall without any risk of damaging the cabin itself.

That’s a really good tip and it’s a great way of reminding yourself, if you want to put up daily programs or leave notes for your travelling companions where you are or whatever it is, use magnets not Sellotape sticking onto the walls.

#10 Not checking the safe

The 10th absolute no-no is related to the safe. First of all, I strongly recommend that you use the safe.

Most cruise lines will have a safe in many of their cabins and that’s the place to put things like passport, money, credit cards, valuable electronics, whatever it is, use the safe and make sure it’s locked away.

But also, importantly, a big cabin no-no is making sure that you don’t leave anything in the safe.

So really make sure when you do disembark that you check in the safe and things haven’t fallen underneath the little mat they sometimes have on the bottom.

So, people often leave things in the safe, often they realise once they get off the ship
because it’s something like a passport, but if you use the safe, so that everything’s safely locked away and you know where it is, also very importantly, but always, a big cabin no-no is make sure that you double check the safe.

#11 Making a mess

One of the things that I think is a big cabin no-no although you may disagree with this one, is don’t make a mess in your cabin.

Cabin stewards have a huge amount of work to do and bear in mind they’re often on six or nine month contracts, they work seven days a week, really long hours, and a way of being kind and caring to them is not leaving your cabin in a total tip and a mess.

It means they can get through all the cabins they’ve got to do quicker and it makes their life so much more pleasurable.

It means they can spend less time doing it and it’s a great thing to do to be good to your cabin staff. They will really appreciate it.

So not making a mess for me, is a big cabin no-no.

Those are 11 cabin no-nos for me.

Hope you find that helpful. If you did, remember, I have loads more cruise tips that you can watch on video. So why don’t you watch another one of those right now?

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Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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