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What is a cabin attendant on a cruise ship?

27 May 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Cabin attendants on Royal Caribbean work diligently throughout your cruise to service your cabin, but what should you expect with the services they provide?

Oceanview cabin on Liberty of the Seas

You cabin attendant, also called a stateroom attendant, is a crew member who services your cabin during a Royal Caribbean cruise. They are responsible for cleaning your room throughout the sailing, from restocking towels to making your bed.

Your cabin becomes your home away from home while onboard, and cabin attendants visit your room every day in order to make your cabin as comfortable as possible.

It’s helpful to have an understanding of what services your cabin attendant provides before embarking a Royal Caribbean cruise. From knowing your cabin attendant’s responsibilities to tipping guidelines, here’s everything you should know about cabin attendants on a cruise ship.

What are the responsibilities of my cabin attendant?

Junior Suite on Symphony of the Seas

Cabin attendants are responsible for serving you cabin, which entails the following responsibilities:

  • Restocking toiletries and towels in the bathroom
  • Tidying up belongings
  • Getting pullman and sofa beds ready for bed
  • Cleaning the room (cleaning bathroom, vacuuming floor, etc.)
  • Making your cabin’s bed
  • Emptying the trash
  • Delivering documents and informational sheets about your cruise

Exact service can vary from cabin attendant to cabin attendant. Some cabin attendants may fold clothes laying on your couch or bed and organize belongings on top of your desk. Others, on the other hand, take a more hands-off approach to tidying up personal belongings albeit still cleaning your cabin.

Of course, cabin attendants are known for delivering cute “animals” made out of towels to your cabin. From elephants to monkeys and snakes, finding a towel animal in your room each evening adds extra fun to the cruise experience.

Cabin attendants are not responsible for answering questions about your onboard account, providing mechanical maintenance to your cabin, childcare services, laundry, delivering room service, and helping you unpack.

How do I meet my cabin attendant?

Harmony of the Seas interior cabin

The best time to meet your cabin attendant is on embarkation day. On the first day of your cruise, your cabin attendant will knock on your door to introduce themselves. During the introduction, we recommend letting your cabin attendant know any preferences and requests for your cabin service.

Related: A Royal Caribbean to-do list after you board a cruise ship

Requests may include separating your cabin’s beds, asking for extra towels, and letting them know the time of day you’d prefer your cabin to be serviced. Letting your cabin attendant know any requests in advance helps ensure service goes smoothly throughout the sailing.

If you’re not in the room when your cabin attendant knocks on your door, you’ll likely meet your attendant on the evening of embarkation day. Whenever you see housekeeping carts in the hallway, it means cabin attendants are servicing rooms, and they will make it a point to introduce themselves whenever you pass through the hallway.

How many times (and when) does my cabin attendant clean my room?

Oceanview balcony cabin on Anthem of the Seas

In non-suite cabins, your cabin attendant will clean your room once per day. They will service your room in either the morning or evening, and guests can give preference as to which time of the day they would prefer service.

If you’re cruising with more than two guests in the cabin, your cabin attendant will visit your room twice per day in order to prepare your sofa/pullman beds for the day and night.

Pullman bed

Guests in Junior Suites and above will receive standard service twice per day—once in the morning and once for turndown service in the evening.

During turndown service, stateroom attendants prepare your room for bed by turning on your cabin’s nightlights and placing informational sheets, such as a Cruise Compass and disembarkation documents, on your bed.

Each stateroom comes with a double sided magnet that lets your cabin attendant know if they can clean the room. If you plan to sleep in, put the do not disturb side of the magnet on your cabin door. If your cabin is ready to be serviced, on the other hand, switch the magnet to the side indicating that your cabin attendant can enter the room.

How do I contact my cabin attendant if there is a problem with my cabin?

Edge Balcony

We always recommend checking your cabin on embarkation day to ensure there are no problems with the room. If you notice anything wrong, such as a broken closet door or missing TV remote, you should contact housekeeping via your stateroom’s telephone.

Related: 15 things to do as soon as you get to your cruise cabin

Every Royal Caribbean cruise cabin has a phone you can use to contact various departments on the ship at no extra charge. To call housekeeping, simply press the button for housekeeping on the phone. Your cabin attendant or another crew member will answer the phone and respond to your request; service is usually provided quickly and efficiently.

If your cabin has a mechanical issue—a leaky toilet or stuck balcony door—you can call maintenance as opposed to housekeeping. Maintenance will send a crew member to resolve any problems in your cabin as soon as possible.

Should I tip my cabin attendant?

Grand Suite on Freedom

All passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise are charged a daily gratuity fee—this covers the cost of tipping your cabin attendant.

Guests in standard cabins (interior, oceanview, balcony, and Junior Suites) are charged a daily fee of $16 USD per person, per day. Those staying in Grand Suites and above incur an $18.50 USD per person, per day fee.

Related: Tipping on a cruise ship: what you should and shouldn’t do

Despite the daily gratuity, some passengers choose to tip their cabin attendants extra for their service at the beginning or end of the cruise. Tipping extra is completely optional, but it’s an extra way to reward hard working cabin attendants. There is no recommended amount to tip a cabin attendant, but many passengers will tip around $25 to $50 USD extra.

What is a Royal Genie, and how is it different from a cabin attendant?

If you’re staying in a suite on a Quantum, Oasis, or Icon Class cruise ship, you may have access to the services of a Royal Genie in addition to your cabin attendant.

Guests in Star Class, the top tier of Royal Caribbean’s Royal Suite Class, have access to their own "magic maker" throughout the sailing. This special service is reserved only for top-tier suites such as AquaTheater suites, Owner’s Loft Suites, and Royal Loft Suites.

Related: What is Star Class?

As part of Star Class, each guest can use the service of a Royal Genie. A Royal Genie is a crew member that can enhance your cruise experience through added services and requests. While Royal Genies do not clean your cabin, they can provide services such as:

  • Organizing in-cabin parties
  • Delivering specialty restaurant meals to your room
  • Accompanying you to onboard activities where you can skip the line
  • Reserving seats at shows before you arrive
  • Bringing Starbucks drinks to your room each day

Depending on your preference and travel style, your Royal Genie’s services can vary greatly. Within reason, most requests can be accommodated, whether you want sushi delivered to the cabin or snacks waiting for you in the room upon return from a shore excursion.

Related: My advice for someone using a Royal Genie on a Royal Caribbean cruise

If you’re staying in a Star Class room, it’s important to know the difference between your Royal Genie’s services and those provided by your cabin attendant. While you can certainly let your Royal Genie know of any cleaning preferences, your cabin attendant will be the one cleaning your cabin throughout the sailing.

Jenna DeLaurentis enjoys exploring new ports of call around the world on a cruise ship, learning about new cultures, discovering beautiful landscapes, and trying diverse cuisine. She loves to get active while at port, whether cycling through mountains in the Caribbean or scuba diving under the sea.

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