Everything Your Cabin Steward Can Do For You If You Just Ask!

Everything Your Cabin Steward Can Do For You If You Just Ask!

Everything Your Cabin Steward Can Do For You If You Just Ask!

One of the more frequently asked questions I see on cruise message boards is: “what can I ask my cabin steward to bring or do for me?”. As I keep seeing the same limited suggestions, I decided to put this blog together. Based on my experiences, I can see cruisers are missing out on many more things cabin stewards can do and bring.

Before I get to the physical “stuff” they can bring that I know you will want to know about, I want to talk about some even more valuable, and underused ways cabin stewards can add to your cruise.

What Can I Get?

One that I rely on is getting them to tell me what inclusions, perks, and extras I am entitled to. I always ask my cabin steward when I meet them for the first time “what does this cabin grade I am in get me?”. I ask for two reasons.

First, every cruise line has different perks, inclusions and included extras even for the same grades. So, for example, my balcony cabin on Majestic Princess that I was in a few weeks after my Norwegian Encore one had a very different set. Including a complimentary beach bag and bottles of water that would be replaced.

Second, cruise lines frequently change the inclusions and perks. So, even when returning to a familiar line I check. For example, on returning to Oceania I found going in the same grade I had as last time, now included three free sets of laundry and a canapé menu to choose from each day.

But I found a second equally revealing question to ask!

I often ask my cabin steward “What are the things you get most requested to do or bring these days?”. This sometimes throws up things that they can do but forgot to mention in the first question.

Although I will get into a full list of things you can get later, I found the 6 most asked for things by passengers are regular ice bucket refills, glasses and a corkscrew if not in the cabin as standard. Extra hangers, extra towels, and a paper copy of the daily program.

Another thing which a cabin steward can do that most passengers don’t tap into, is provide tips and tricks about the ship, the itinerary, and the port.

Everything Your Cabin Steward Can Do For You If You Just Ask!

Tips And Tricks

Let me give you a couple of examples. First, for tips about the ship I’m going to come back to a laundry example.

When I was on Norwegian Viva recently, I asked my cabin steward about doing laundry. I had been on a pre-cruise stay and had dirty washing. He told me to wait until day three of the cruise, as every 3 days there would be a promotion. I could fill a bag for a fixed price which was dramatically cheaper than sending it away before then.

Cruise lines tend to run the same promotions and offers like this on a regular schedule during each cruise. And the cabin steward can tip you off on what is likely to be coming.

Next the cabin steward can usually give me fantastic port tips.

Port Tips

For example, on my Silversea South African trip three months ago, I had concerns around safety of exploring ports alone. My cabin steward was able to tell me what ports I should not go exploring by myself, and which were okay, based in his and other crew experiences.

For example, he said in Durban I should do an excursion or use the same taxi service the crew do to go to a specific mall. The taxi would wait and charge a set fee and recommended the best restaurant to go to for the traditional South African bobotie and bunny chow.

He also suggested the best eSIM to buy based on his experience, which was a company called Airalo. My mobile service plan didn’t have roaming there, and I needed good 4G. The Wi-Fi on the ship was not great to do video uploading and I wanted the security of being connected when out in the ports.

He also was able to tell me the best place to in each port to go for Wi-Fi, a pharmacy, and so on.

Everything Your Cabin Steward Can Do For You If You Just Ask!

Solving Problems

I also found the cabin steward is often the best person to solve little problems. For example, on a recent MSC Virtuosa cruise, a friend had broken the handle of their suitcase. They spoke to their cabin steward and he was able to sort it out by connecting them to a handyman on the ship, who was happy to do it for a small tip.

Now,  let me talk about the more specific things a cabin steward can bring and do for you. Beyond those 6 most asked for I mentioned earlier.

Cabin Do’s and Brings

There are eight key ones that I think you should know about. First, is around beds and sleeping.

Beds and Sleeping

The cabin steward can change the setup of the beds. Most cabins have two beds that can be set up as twins or get pushed together to make a slightly larger than a standard double bed.

They can also move the side table configuration around. For example, my sister likes her bed against the wall on one side, so she asks for the bed to be against the wall instead of side table each side.

They can usually change your pillows. I like a feather pillow but not all lines have them as standard. I’ve found almost every time, no matter the grade of line, the cabin steward can usually find me at least one feather pillow.

They can also make the bed harder or softer, by bringing in a mattress topper to make the bed softer and get rid of that uncomfortable line where the two beds pushed together meet. Often they can bring a board to put under the mattress to make the bed firmer.

Of course, they can do other things like bring extra blankets.

I often ask my cabin steward to change the bed linen less frequently. On some lines, like on Oceania Vista recently, they asked if I wanted the bed changed less frequently. It’s a small environmental move but it gives them less work to do. Which links me to the next point around frequency of service.

Everything Your Cabin Steward Can Do For You If You Just Ask!

Daily Service

Some lines have gone to once a day cabin service, like Norwegian Cruise Line and P&O Cruises. Some with twice a day are offering the option to opt in once a day like on a Holland America trip I recently did. And, of course, you can ask for even less if you prefer from your cabin steward.

However, what I like to do is get the cabin steward to tailor when my room is serviced to meet my schedule which they usually are willing to do.

For me, I tend to go to breakfast in the Main Dining Room every day and as it opens. So, I ask my cabin steward at the start of the cruise to do my room at that time each day.  The same for dinner. I also eat early when it opens so I can do some post-dinner work on my channel and then see shows later on. The cabin steward then does my room early to match with my dinner plans.


Many cruise ships have moved to the big refillable toiletry bottles. If you really don’t like using those, ask if they have the small individual bottles the line used before. Although increasingly rare, some still have stocks of the small individual bottles as they phase them out.

On luxury lines that still use them as standard, check with the steward if they have choice of brands as many do, and have just set up with the most popular brand, or what the last guests used. On some I have found I could replace the Bulgari toiletries with L’Occitane that I love.

They can bring other things that you might need like a sharp’s container or a magnifying mirror for shaving or make up if there is not one as standard in the cabin.

Everything Your Cabin Steward Can Do For You If You Just Ask!


They are normally able to empty your minibar if want it clear to store your own drinks and snacks. Or if you want to resist the temptation or risk of buying the costly mini bar items. Especially as they are not usually included in the drink’s packages.

Perks You’re Not Due

The other thing that I have found is possible sometimes is if a cruise line offers perks in some grades, but aren’t in your grade, it may be possible the cabin steward can swing it.

The one they can often get is bathrobes, and the other that I have not tried, but friends of mine have, and that is ask for a coffee machine or tea and coffee making facilities and they got it.

Towel Animals

You can ask cabin stewards not to make towel animals if you’re on a line that usually does them. Ask them to make specific ones if there is a favourite, and if they don’t do towel animals as standard and you’re travelling with kids and really want one talk to the cabin steward and see if they will make them one during the trip.

Everything Your Cabin Steward Can Do For You If You Just Ask!

Extension Cords and Adaptors

If you need extension cords the cabin steward will try and help, especially if for CPAP machines. But if you do need to plug one in it is essential the cruise line knows in advance, so they ensure they have one that will enable you to have the machine next to the bed.

Depending on the line, I’ve found the cabin steward can sometimes help with adapters or even chargers. On one Regent cruise I had forgotten to pack my bag with adapters and chargers and on asking the cabin steward if he knew if the on-board shop sold adapters and where in the next port I could buy an iPhone charger, he brought me both. I think they were in the lost and found left by past passengers.

Is there anything that you found a cabin steward has done for you, that I haven’t mentioned? If so, leave it in the comments.


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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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1 Response

  1. Scott V says:

    Thanks for the great info Gary!

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