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16 things to ask your cruise ship cabin attendant

19 Apr 2024

While on your cruise, you won’t have to worry about daily tasks such as making your bed or taking out the trash. Instead, you’ll have a cabin attendant responsible for ensuring that your stateroom is clean and tidy.

Meet cabin attendant

In addition to making the bed and removing the trash, they'll perform tasks like cleaning the bathroom, refreshing used towels, leaving important disembarkation documents, and more. 

Unlike standard hotel housekeepers, however, they’re able to accommodate special requests made related to the cabin, saving you from waiting in line at Guest Services.

Here’s a list of 16 things you should ask your cabin steward for on embarkation day to make sure that you have a comfortable stay.

Their name


Typically, your cabin steward will stop by your stateroom on the first day to introduce themselves. If they don’t, or you miss their visit because you’re elsewhere on the ship, don’t hesitate to facilitate an introduction later on.

Since your attendant will be entering your stateroom at least once per day, it’s important to take the time to know their name.

They'll leave you with a small card that has their extension on it, which is how you can reach them if any cabin-related issues arise during your sailing. 

Extra towels


Even though your steward will refresh your towels daily, you may require more, especially if you’re cruising with more than one person in your room. 

By letting your attendant know that you’ll need extra towels, they'll refresh any used towels and make sure that you have an ample supply whenever they service your cabin. 

As of February 2023, guests staying in standard cabins (i.e., interior, ocean view, and balconies) will only have their room attended to once per day. On embarkation day, your steward will ask whether you want them to visit in the morning or evening. 

Before making a decision, consider things like when you expect to wake up, what activities you want to attend, and when you plan on heading to breakfast. 

Read more: Why you should get your cruise cabin serviced in the evening instead of the morning

Mattress topper

Mattress topper

If you like a plush mattress and find that your bed is a little too firm for your liking, ask your cabin steward for a mattress topper. 

They'll provide an extra layer of comfort during your sailing to ensure that you're getting a good night's rest. 

The toppers are also useful when keeping the two beds together, rather than separating them, as they'll help minimize how much of the crack in between the beds you're able to feel. 

Printed copy of the daily schedule

Cruise Compass in hand

Though Royal Caribbean no longer leaves physical Cruise Compass’ in cabins each evening, you can request copies from your stateroom attendant.

While it’s convenient to be able to access all of the information via your mobile phone, you may prefer the tangible experience of flipping through the pages and highlighting which activities appeal to you the most.

Having a physical copy also eliminates the need to carry your mobile device around with you all day. Cruises are a perfect time to disconnect, and having to keep up with your phone may seem like an unnecessary task.

Daily replenishment of your ice bucket


Those who aren’t purchasing a drink package may choose to take advantage of Royal Caribbean’s policy that allows passengers to bring 12 standard cans, bottles, or cartons of non-alcoholic beverages onboard on embarkation day.

Though your mini-fridge will help keep these drinks cool, you may want an ice-cold soda in a clean glass after a long day in the heat. 

When you meet your cabin steward, simply ask them if you’re able to get fresh ice each day. Whenever you return to your cabin, you’ll be greeted with a full bucket of ice. 



Unlike sister brand Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean staterooms don’t come equipped with bathrobes.

Once you accumulate 30 cruise points, you’ll reach the Platinum tier of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society. While this level doesn’t get you as many perks as Diamond cruisers, you’ll be able to request complimentary bathrobes during your cruise.

Imagine waking up and sitting on your private balcony while being swaddled in a plush robe and sipping a fresh cup of coffee. That sounds like a great way to begin any day on a cruise, whether you’re at sea or pulling into port. 

Additional hangers

Depending on how much you packed, you may need some extra hangers for your blouses, dresses, jackets, dress shirts, etc., especially if you're sailing on a longer cruise. 

Rather than try and cram some into your suitcase or purchase foldable hangers from the internet, your cabin steward will bring you more if there aren’t enough in your closet.

Speaking of clothing, this is your reminder to leave steamers and irons at home, as they’re not allowed onboard any Royal Caribbean ship. If you’re anticipating wrinkles in your clothing from being folded in your suitcase, purchase wrinkle-release spray before your cruise.

Read more: 115 item Ultimate Cruise Packing List (Printable PDF)

Certain bed configuration

If you’re traveling with a friend, you may prefer to have the beds separated. Likewise, those cruising with their spouse will most likely want the beds placed together. 

Rather than try and move the furniture yourself, tell your steward that you’d like it to be changed. 

Telling them on embarkation day is the best way to guarantee that the beds are arranged to your liking before bedtime rolls around. 

Sharps container


Those with medical conditions that require medications to be administered via needle will want to ask for a sharps container.

This will ensure that the needles, syringes, lancets, and other objects are properly disposed of during your trip.

Similarly, if you’re traveling with a CPAP machine, you may request an extension cord from your attendant. However, it’s best to fill out this form in advance, so you do not run into any issues while onboard.



Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring a limited amount of wine onboard on embarkation day. For those who don’t have a drink package, it’s a great way to save a little money on your trip.

Though having the bottle opened in public areas, such as the Main Dining Room, typically incurs a small corkage fee, you can have your cabin steward bring a corkscrew to your room to open the bottle for free.

While the corkscrew won't be anything fancy, it'll get the job done, and you will be sipping on your wine in no time. 

Read more: How much is a Royal Caribbean drink package?

Wine glasses


Rather than drink the wine out of the cups provided in the bathroom, you may request fresh wine glasses daily. 

I did this while sailing onboard Liberty of the Seas and received clean glasses each day during my short 3-night cruise. 

I appreciated never having to leave my cabin for a fresh glass. Instead, I was able to pour some wine while getting ready for dinner, as the cabin was always serviced by the time I returned from my afternoon activities. 

Extra pillows


Most beds onboard Royal Caribbean ships will come with two pillows. Guests who sleep with more than that can ask their attendant to provide them with extras.

Additionally, if you think the provided ones aren’t comfortable, you can ask your steward if they have any different ones that they can bring you. 

While not guaranteed, it doesn’t hurt to see what else is available.



Your cabin onboard will come with a thermostat that will allow you to adjust the stateroom’s temperature to your liking. 

Let’s say, however, you’re traveling with someone who prefers to sleep in what seems like the freezing cold, whereas you prefer a comfortable setting of around 72°.

If you find that you’re shivering during the night, see if your attendant can bring you an extra blanket to ensure that you’re getting as much rest as you need. 

Removal of furniture


Cruise ship cabins aren’t the most spacious rooms you’ll ever stay in. With floor space being so limited, you may want to get rid of any pieces of furniture you don’t plan on utilizing, such as the coffee table.

Rather than leaving it out in the hall, ask your attendant if it can be removed. If it’s possible, they’ll take care of getting it out of your way.

Read more: I tried the best inside cruise ship cabin hacks to see how well they worked

Storing pullman and/or sofa beds during the day

Pullman bed

Another way to maximize the limited amount of space that you have is to request that the pullman and sofa beds are stored when not in use. 

Unlike standard hotels, cruise cabins cannot accommodate two double beds. Instead, guests traveling with three or four passengers in their room will either have two pullman beds or one pullman and a sofa bed. 

Pullman beds are those that pull down from the ceiling or wall of a stateroom, allowing more guests to sleep in a single cabin without taking up more floor space. When down, however, they can make the room feel more confined, so you should inquire about seeing if you're attendant will ensure that they're properly stored during periods of non-use. 

Opening the balcony dividers

Connecting balconies

On Royal Caribbean ships, each balcony comes with dividers to help grant passengers some privacy. If you’re sailing with a group and have cabins that are located next to each other, it may be possible to remove the dividers to create a larger outdoor space. 

It's a good hack for families who were unable to book connecting cabins and don't want to have to walk outside of one stateroom to enter the other.

To figure out if this request can be accommodated or not, ask your stateroom attendant. Sometimes, it cannot be done right away, and you’ll be told that you have to wait until after the ship has set sail. 

Note that it’s not possible on every ship, as some dividers are attached to the hull and cannot be moved.

Read more: Guide to balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean

Why you should get your cruise cabin serviced in the evening instead of the morning

26 Feb 2024

Should you ask to have your stateroom attendant make up your room in the morning or evening?

Wonder of the Seas balcony room

Royal Caribbean switched to once-a-day cabin service in February 2023 for standard cabins, and that means you can choose morning or evening service instead of twice a day.  If you're in a suite, you still get twice-a-day service.

Every cabin gets assigned a stateroom attendant who is part of the ship’s housekeeping team. 

They work throughout your cruise to clean and tidy your cabin, take out the trash, replace linens, and keep the area fresh.

Towel animal in bed

Your stateroom attendant also helps with any room requests you might have, such as ice or laundry.

In addition to getting your room cleaned at no extra charge, you will also have the opportunity to choose what time your stateroom attendant comes to clean the room.

On embarkation day, the attendant will introduce themselves and ask what time you prefer your room cleaned: morning or evening?

Read more: 15 Things To Do As Soon as You Get to Your Cruise Cabin

Icon of the Seas cabin 10225

The choice is yours! And it all depends on the vacation schedule you prefer. 

What time you wake up, where you eat, and what activities you go to are all factors you’ll want to consider when selecting a time.

Personally, I always select the evening for the smoothest cruise vacation possible. There are several reasons this is a more efficient choice for many cruisers.

You won’t be rushed out of bed

On my first cruise, I requested to get my room cleaned in the mornings, and I regretted it.

Even on weekends, I’m used to waking up naturally by 8:00 or 9:00 A.M. 

I assumed that I wouldn’t be sleeping in for long on the cruise, and we would already be up and out of the room by the time the steward arrived.

But little did I know, staying in a windowless inside cabin would give me the soundest sleep of my life.

Without windows and natural light to wake me up, I would sleep soundly until 10:00 or even 11:00 A.M! 

Because we slept for so long, we were woken up almost every morning by our steward knocking on the door, ready to freshen up the room.

Of course, I can’t blame her—she wanted to finish cleaning at the time we had requested.

But if I had known how soundly I would sleep in that stateroom, I would have cleared my entire morning schedule.

Sleeping through the morning without a care in the world was a delightful part of that cruise.

By requesting to have your room cleaned at night, you’ll give yourself the freedom to wake up slowly and get dressed in a leisurely manner.

You’ll also be able to enjoy splitting your morning between breakfast, your room, and the pool area without disturbing your steward as they clean.

With an evening cleaning time, you won’t have to worry about your cabin attendant waiting on you to get out!

Read more: I tried the best inside cruise ship cabin hacks to see how well they worked

You’ll never have to make your bed post-afternoon nap


Some cruisers prefer the morning time because they can wake up, hop out of bed, and know that their attendant will come to make the bed soon.

When you’re traveling with a buddy, it’s reassuring to have all parts of cleaning taken care of: no one has to argue over who picks up what or how to make the bed.

Having your bed made after the last sleep of the day is a great idea.

The Hideaway on Icon of the Seas daybeds include towels, water, and champagne

But let’s be realistic; this is vacation! Taking the opportunity to rest as much as possible is the name of the game. 

Whether you prefer mid-morning or afternoon naps, you’ll likely hop back into bed at some point after that morning alarm.

If you choose to have your stateroom cleaned in the evening, naptime will be over and the attendant will come make the bed directly after.

You can gear up for the evening’s activities without worrying about making your bed.

You’re already consistently out of the room for dinner

Table for two

In my experience, a cruise’s dinner schedule is a much more consistent routine than the breakfast.

Most people order room service for breakfast, make their way up to the Windjammer, or dine in the Main Dining Room in the morning. 

But dinners usually require a specific reservation and consistently take 1.5 to 2 hours.


In the Main Dining Room, you may be assigned a specific time to eat.

If you book a specialty restaurant, you’ll have a certain dinner reservation time to make.

This ensures that you’ll be out of the room at a specific time enjoying your meal and not worrying about if you’ll have to head back to the room at any time.

Goat Cheese Salad

I prefer to ask my stateroom attendant to come during my traditional assigned time at the Main Dining Room. That way, I plan on heading out of my room anyway, and we all have a consistent time to look forward to each evening.

Sand from the day’s adventures gets cleaned up before bed

Beach swing

What’s a cruise without a day sunning yourself at the beach?

Whether it’s the private shores of Perfect Day at CocoCay, the pink sands in Bermuda, or the famous cool waters of Palma de Mallorca, you’ll likely have at least one beach day on your vacation.

Of course, a day at the beach is something we all dream of. 

Aruba beach

But the reality is that the post-clean-up is not so glamorous.

When you come back to your cabin, you’ll likely track in sand and sea salt before you clean up for dinner.

Read more: 30 Cruise cabin hacks that cruisers love

With an evening visit from your stateroom attendant, you can quickly shower off the grime, head to dinner, and then return to a fresh cabin without any lingering sand. 

Inside cabin bed

Even if you don’t, many popular shore excursions involve hiking, biking, or long walks that leave you sweaty and tracking in dirt.

If you choose the morning time, you’ll have to languish in sand and dirty towels until the next day. 

By the time your steward comes in the morning, you might already be at your next messy adventure! 

Photos show Royal Caribbean's oldest and newest cabins - see how they compare

05 Jan 2024

Royal Caribbean has come a long way with not only the design of its massive cruise ships, but also the accommodations onboard.

With so much hype around the brand-new Icon of the Seas, it’s easy to forget about Royal Caribbean’s forgotten new cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas. I sailed onboard Odyssey of the Seas last year for a 12-night itinerary around the Mediterranean and it was a fantastic cruise. During this sailing, I upgraded to an entry-level suite for just $300 from an inside cabin - an absolute steal!

Not long after, I also sailed on Grandeur of the Seas for a fun weekend getaway to Mexico. As the smallest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, “Lady G” is also the oldest ship for Royal Caribbean at 27 years old. In an effort to save money, we booked the cheapest cabin onboard - an inside cabin.

It was quite the change of scenery to go from sailing on Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship to boarding the oldest ship in the cruise line’s fleet. There’s something to love about each of these ships, although the two are vastly different.

After sailing in Royal Caribbean’s oldest and newest cabins, it was eye-opening to see the progression of cruise cabin design from the cruise line. I was fascinated to see how the cruise line has improved cabin design over the span of 26 years. I had positive experiences sailing in both of these cabins from Royal Caribbean, even despite the age of Grandeur of the Seas.

Here is how the cabins compared onboard the oldest and newest ships from Royal Caribbean.

Looking at Royal Caribbean’s fleet of cruise ships, we can see vessels that were built across the span of nearly three decades.

Each ship class represents a new chapter of innovation for Royal Caribbean. It’s easy to see just how far the cruise line has come in terms of ship design, technology, and modernization when you compare her oldest ships to the newest vessels.

Some might argue that comparing a suite on a brand-new cruise ship to an inside cabin on a tired, old ship doesn’t make much sense. Although different stateroom types, there were many interesting features, amenities, and upgrades to note between the two cabins.

Odyssey of the Seas debuted as the newest ship from Royal Caribbean in July 2021 after a delayed launch during the pandemic. She did not hold the title for long, as Wonder of the Seas set sail as the newest ship for Royal Caribbean in early 2022.

Pool Deck

Some might call Odyssey of the Seas the forgotten new cruise ship from Royal Caribbean - but there are many reasons to love the Quantum-Ultra class ship. Odyssey of the Seas measures 167,000 gross tons and has a maximum capacity of 5,510 guests. The new ship offers many different types of cabins to book, including high-end suites in the Royal Suite Class to affordable inside cabins.

On the other end of the spectrum is Grandeur of the Seas, which is part of the Vision Class. At a fraction of the size, she measures 73,000 gross tons and holds around 2,446 guests at capacity. Before the pandemic, Royal Caribbean announced plans to retire Grandeur of the Seas; however, these plans were scraped and Grandeur of the Seas is here to stay!

Back in the 1990s, many cruise ships were built with few balconies and suites - and Grandeur of the Seas is no exception.

Of the 997 cabins onboard, Grandeur of the Seas has 122 balconies and 95 suites. The vast majority of cabins available to book are inside and oceanview staterooms, with 400 interior and 380 outside cabins on Grandeur of the Seas.

In comparison, Odyssey of the Seas has 1,000 more staterooms, amounting to 1,922 cabins in total. Of these, 125 are suites and an astonishing 1,482 are balconies. Surprisingly, the new cruise ship has fewer oceanview and interior staterooms than Grandeur of the Seas. Odyssey of the Seas only has 132 oceanview staterooms and 366 inside cabins for accommodations.

As such, many guests are likely to find more reasonable prices for a balcony on a newer Royal Caribbean ship. With more balconies available to book, demand is likely not as high as Grandeur’s coveted 122 balconies. Since we booked our weekend getaway cruise somewhat last minute, I was not surprised to find only interior and overview cabins available on Grandeur.

When sailing on Grandeur of the Seas, the interior cabin was surprisingly spacious, albeit rather outdated.

My expectations for our cheap cabin on Grandeur of the Seas were quite low considering the ship’s old age. However, I found the room to be quite spacious upon arrival - even though it was only 142 square feet. Comparatively, interior cabins on Odyssey of the Seas are larger and measure around 180 square feet.

The cabin featured a comfortable king bed, which we ended up separating into two twin beds, along with a vanity, closet, TV, and bathroom with shower. It was a "no frills" type of cabin with just enough for us to have a comfortable cruise vacation.

However, I appreciated that the communal space had a loveseat for additional seating. Most of the newer interior cabins that I’ve sailed on recently, including Norwegian Viva and Carnival Celebration, do not have anywhere to sit other than the cabin’s beds. I appreciated having this space to sit (or throw my belongings at the end of each day).

Our cabin certainly showed its age with dated decor, including darker accents and oak cabinets. Some of the cabinets looked worn down, which I anticipated given the ship’s age. But, we did not spend much time in our cabin since we were busy enjoying the ship anyway!

Grandeur of the Seas has not received a refurbishment in over ten years, so there could be some upgrades in the cabin.

The last time Grandeur of the Seas was refurbished was in 2012, so the cabins onboard have not received attention in quite some time. I anticipated the cabin would be in worse condition than it was; however, it was looking a little tired. A few modern upgrades would really enhance the stateroom experience on Grandeur of the Seas.

To start, there were only two US outlets in the cabin to share between the two of us, along with two European plugs. I appreciate newer ships that have many outlets and USB ports for charging devices. Of course, this was not a priority back in the 1990s when people traveled with very few electronics.

The worst part of our cabin was the bathroom, as it was a tiny, cramped space. Although the overall design elements of the bathroom had aged better than I expected, the shower was shaped like a trapezoid. 

The clingy shower curtain wrapped around me while using the shower, leaving very little space for maneuvering around. It was unpleasant, to say the least.

On the contrary, our bathroom was beautifully designed in our cabin on Odyssey of the Seas!

When I cruise on older ships, it feels like the cabin’s bathroom design was an afterthought. This was probably in an effort to cram as much as possible into a tiny space, leaving little room for the bathroom. Now, it’s pretty clear that cruise lines are designing bathrooms to be more spacious with larger showers.

For example, I just sailed on Norwegian Viva - the newest ship from Norwegian - and the interior cabin’s bathroom was truly stunning! I couldn’t believe the cruise line spent the time and energy to create such a beautiful bathroom for even the ship’s cheapest cabins.

(Bathroom for inside cabin on the brand-new Norwegian Viva)

Similarly, our bathroom on Odyssey of the Seas was also very stylish and modern, featuring a marble-pattern floor with a large walk-in shower and massive tub. The walk-in shower felt luxurious compared to most cruise ship showers!

The bathroom was particularly well designed with the toilet having its own separate space and entrance across the hallway. The toilet room also featured its own vanity and sink. Since the shower space also had its own sink, this meant my sister and I could get ready at the same time without fighting over the mirror. I loved the split-bathroom design and hope this trend continues with bathroom design.

While I agree that it’s tough to compare a new suite to an old interior cabin, I do think this upgrade emphasizes how Royal Caribbean is paying more attention to its bathroom design for cabins.

Over the years, Royal Caribbean has also placed an apparent emphasis on offering a more exclusive suite experience.

Odyssey of the Seas

It was clear onboard Odyssey of the Seas that Royal Caribbean’s newer cabins have come a long way in 27 years with improved design, amenities, and functionality. I felt spoiled staying in a suite on Odyssey of the Seas, as I normally cruise in the cheapest interior cabins available.

While I had originally booked an interior cabin on this cruise, I was super excited when my $300 bid to upgrade to a junior suite was accepted! This was my first experience staying in a Royal Suite Class stateroom.

(Coastal Kitchen restaurant - exclusive to suites only - on Odyssey of the Seas)

Odyssey of the Seas features Royal Suite Class, which includes Royal Caribbean’s most luxurious accommodations with three tiers of suites. These include lucrative benefits, such as access to an exclusive restaurant and some even include drink packages and concierge service.

In fact, most of the cruise industry has shifted towards offering a more enticing suite experience for guests with secluded areas onboard. The newest cruise ships have a resort-within-a-resort space for guests looking to splurge on a suite experience.

Our entry-level suite on Odyssey of the Seas was equally stylish as it was functional.

Since we would be sailing for 12 nights on Odyssey of the Seas, this junior suite became our home away from home - especially on a port-intensive itinerary. The cabin was very spacious with an extended balcony and large bathroom.

We also had a small living room area with a blue sectional next to the bed. Again, I love having a place to sit in my cabin that does not involve me sitting on my bed, particularly with dirty or sweaty clothes.

I appreciated the modern design elements of our stateroom on Odyssey of the Seas. The woodwork was light with marble countertops. This made the space feel light and airy compared to dark and cramped.

Royal Caribbean has certainly prioritized keeping cabins feeling fresh and modern with its decor choices. I believe the cabins onboard Odyssey of the Seas will age nicely compared to the dated design of older ships.

Our newer cabin on Royal Caribbean had so much storage that we didn’t even use all of the drawers.

In my experience, Royal Caribbean’s newest cabins also have better storage options with more drawers, shelving, and closet space. Our suite obviously had inherently more space at 300 square feet, which is about double the size of our cabin on Grandeur of the Seas. I prefer to unpack my suitcase on every cruise when I first board so my luggage can be put away until it’s time to disembark.

Regardless, we had a lot of luggage for this cruise and still had empty storage spaces after unpacking. Royal Caribbean utilized much of the space to incorporate more areas for unpacking, such as the closet spaces next to the beds in addition to the large closet opposite of the bed as well.

This is another area of improvement that I’ve experienced with newer cruise ships. Since cruise cabins are small to begin with, Royal Caribbean has created storage with nooks and crannies that were once wasted space.

Although a minor improvement, we appreciated having plenty of outlets and USB chargers.

It’s not uncommon to find only one or two outlets in an older cruise ship cabin. In fact, our cabin on Grandeur of the Seas had more outlets than most ships that are comparable in age. When I sailed on the 31-year-old Carnival Ecstasy last year, the entire cabin only had one singular outlet!

Running out of outlets is not necessarily something you will need to worry about on a newer Royal Caribbean ship. With everyone bringing multiple devices that need daily charging, cruise lines have added more space for outlets and USB ports.

I still utilized my European adapter with more plugs because I had so many devices that needed charging; however, having so many outlets to use between the two of us was a necessary improvement.

Our Odyssey of the Seas suite was awesome, but I would also sail again in Grandeur of the Sea’s inside cabin.

The price was right for us to upgrade on Odyssey of the Seas, but that is not usually the case. This is especially true today as cruises are sailing at full capacity and prices are rising. In the future, I would absolutely spend $300 to upgrade to a junior suite again. Sailing in a suite on a brand-new cruise ship was a special treat for this inside-cabin fanatic.

When sailing on Grandeur of the Seas, there were a few apparent areas of improvement. For instance, the bathroom’s attention to detail and progressive design was a huge improvement on Odyssey of the Seas compared to Grandeur of the Seas. I do not doubt that the cruise line will continue allocating more space and investing more time into the bathroom design.

Even still, I would not hesitate to book another interior cabin on Grandeur of the Seas - or any other older Royal Caribbean ship for that matter. Interior cabins are always the most affordable and still provide everything you need for a comfortable stay.

However, I would be more likely to book a port-intensive sailing for an older Royal Caribbean ship in the future. In this case, the cabin is not as important since most of your vacation time is spent ashore.

What is a cabin steward on a cruise?

15 Dec 2023

A cabin steward on a cruise is the individual responsible for ensuring that your stateroom is maintained throughout your sailing. 


Often referred to as cabin or stateroom attendants, they'll perform tasks such as making the bed, removing trash and used dishes, cleaning the bathroom and replenishing towels, and leaving cute towel animals. They are also the person responsible for leaving important disembarkation documents. 

You don't have to be present for them to service your stateroom, as they have their own key. In fact, cabin stewards on Royal Caribbean ships will ask if you have a preference between whether your room is cleaned in the morning or afternoon. 

If you're staying in a suite, however, they'll service your room two times per day, rather than just once. 

Loft Suite

Compared to housekeepers at hotels, you can expect your experience with a cabin steward to be far more personalized. When you pass them in the hall, they'll often address you by your first name, and they'll take the time to introduce themselves on the first day of the cruise. 

On embarkation day, you can let them know of any preferences that you may have


Typically, you'll meet your cabin steward on embarkation day, and they will ask whether or not you have any special requests. This could be anything from separating beds to additional hangers, fresh ice, wine glasses, etc.

They'll also give you a business card with their name and extension, so you can call them throughout the cruise if any needs arise. 

When you meet them, they will also ask if you have a preference for when they freshen your stateroom. While they cannot guarantee a specific time (i.e., 10am if you select the morning), you'll be given a time frame.

Luggage lined up in hallway

It is best that you consider how you plan on vacationing. Do you expect to be up early each morning to make the most of your time onboard the ship, or will you be using your PTO to catch up on sleep? 

RelatedSpotted: Royal Caribbean cuts cabin housekeeping from twice to once per day service

Cabin stewards are not responsible for anything except the cleanliness of your stateroom

Towel animal in bed

Throughout the cruise, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to speak to someone about getting a new cruise card, or perhaps you have a question about your onboard account. Those issues can best be handled by Guest Services, rather than your cabin steward. 

Additionally, they cannot help you book shore excursions or dinner reservations. Thankfully, it's easy to do so through the Royal Caribbean app either before embarkation or once you get on the ship. 

If you get a craving for a late-night snack or want breakfast delivered, make sure that you contact room service, rather than your steward. 

For any child-related needs, you'll want to visit Adventure Ocean. Rather than waiting to register your children on the first sea day, you should take advantage of the open house on embarkation day. 

While children won't be able to stay and partake in any complimentary programming quite yet, you'll be able to tour the facilities and get acclimated to the program before sailing away. 

Finally, even though your cabin steward will deliver your luggage outside of your cabin, they won't help you unpack. Similarly, they won't be of any use when you are packing on the last night of the cruise, so you will want to ensure that you allot enough time to get this done. 

Leaving an extra tip isn't required; however, it is a nice gesture 

Oceanview cabin

When you book your cruise, you'll notice that you have an option to pre-pay for your gratuities. If you choose not to, they will automatically be added to your onboard account to be settled at the end of your vacation. 

As of November 2023, the automatic gratuity rate is $18.00 per person, per day for standard cabins (Junior Suites and below) and $20.50 per person, per day for suites.

Gratuities are divided amongst the crew members who work to make your time onboard so memorable, including your cabin steward. However, it's not unusual to hear about passengers leaving an extra tip. 

Counting cash

The amount that guests leave varies. According to Ampurp85 on a Royal Caribbean Blog forum, "...I normally give my room attendant between $35-50 depending on length of cruise. I like to give them $10-15 halfway through and the rest at the end."

"For a typical 7-night, we did an additional $20/p for head waiter, $15/p for asst waiter, $20/p for stateroom attendant, $1/drink for bar staff," wrote KJones. 

What's the difference between a cabin steward and Royal Genie?

While there are technically three different tiers to Royal Caribbean's Royal Suite Class, only those who booked a Star Class suite will have access to a Royal Genie, who is pretty much like a private butler. 

Suites within the Star Class include the Royal Loft Suite, Owner’s Loft Royal Suite, Grand Loft Sky Loft Suite, 2-Bedroom Aqua Theater Suite, and 4-Bedroom Family Suite. 

Having a Royal Genie is all about making your life onboard easier, so you can expect them to assist you with making dining reservations, booking shore excursions, and more. 

Additionally, since their job is to provide next-level service, you can ask for just about anything, whether it's fresh coffee in the morning, arranging in-suite parties, or scoring reservations to a fully booked show. 

That being said, Royal Genies do not take the place of cabin stewards. As such, they aren't responsible for the cleanliness of your stateroom. Just like standard staterooms, you will have a dedicated cabin steward throughout your sailing.

RelatedMy advice for someone using a Royal Genie on a Royal Caribbean cruise

If you don't want your cabin serviced, utilize the "do not disturb" magnet

Stateroom doors are magnetic. In addition to fun decor, they can also serve a functional purpose. If, for instance, you wake up feeling unwell and want to remain in bed, you can place the "do not disturb" magnet outside, which will let your cabin steward know that you're inside. 

Perhaps you told them that you'd prefer your cabin to be cleaned during the afternoon, but you want a nap before dinner. 

Whatever the reason, the magnet will let your steward know that it's okay for them to skip your room. 

Which deck is best on a cruise ship?

21 Nov 2023

The best deck on a cruise ship depends on a few considerations that will vary in importance to every cruiser.

Ocean view balcony

Let's dispel with the notion that there is a universal deck choice that's perfect for everyone, because there isn't such a thing. Instead, there are reasons to pick one deck over another depending on your personal preferences.

If you are traveling with kids, have mobility issues, like to party at the pool, or are sailing to Alaska, the choice of the best deck could vary considerably.

If you're trying to find the best deck to pick a cabin, here's what to look for depending on your situation.

The best deck if you get seasick

ocean view from cruise ship

If you're prone to getting seasick on a cruise ship, picking the right deck can make a big difference in mitigating the chances of it happening.

Ideally, you want to be on the lowest possible deck at the center of the ship.  This is where the sensation of movement is least, and will help reduce the likelihood of you getting seasick in the first place.

If you're staying in a balcony cabin, pick a deck closer to the Royal Promenade instead of the pool deck.  So pick deck 6 instead of deck 10.

Speaking of avoiding getting seasick, it's a good idea to book a balcony cabin that has a view of the ocean. Being able to see the horizon is one easy way to settle your stomach and re-adjust your mind.

Read more5 Royal Caribbean cruise ship balcony cabins to book (and 2 to avoid)

Grandeur of the Seas hallway

If you're okay with an inside cabin, a cabin on deck 2 midship is actually a great choice.

Read moreIs a cruise ship cabin on deck 2 bad?

The best deck if you have kids

Adventure Ocean with kids

If you're taking your kids on a cruise, I would recommend picking a deck close to the kids club and pools.

Royal Caribbean puts its kids club and sports deck activities at the top of its ships. 

If you can book a cabin on deck 10, 11, or 12, you can get a really convenient place to easily get back and forth to the places your children will want to go.

On most Royal Caribbean ships, the Windjammer buffet, kids club, and pool are all within a deck of each other.  So picking a higher deck is a good idea for families.

Read more: Best Royal Caribbean cruise ships for kids

Surfside neighborhood with Water's Edge pool

On Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has flipped the script a bit and put all of its kids programming centralized on a lower deck.

You'll find the Surfside neighborhood, Adventure Ocean, and teens club all interconnected around deck 6.  So for this ship, pick a cabin near Surfside.

The best deck if you don't want a lot of noise

Whether you are a light sleeper or just don't like to deal with noise bleed, avoid picking a cabin on a deck that is below a public area, such as pool, dining room, or promenade.

When you pick any cabin, I recommend picking it on a deck that has another cabin deck above and below it to minimize the chances of noise bleed.

When you have a public deck above yours, you run the risk of hearing crew members working at odd hours dragging chairs, loud music bleeding through, or sounds of people stomping.

Radiance of the Seas bow

You'll also want to avoid picking a cabin at the very front of the ship because bow thrusters and the ship's anchor can be very loud.

The best deck if you are sailing to a scenic destination


If your cruise is going to the fjords of Norway, Alaska glaciers, or South Pacific sea, you should pick a cabin on a high deck.

The higher you are on the ship, the better vantage point you'll have. This is especially helpful for getting the best perspective when there are natural wonders around your ship.

cruise ship aft balcony ocean view

In fact, a lot of veteran cruisers will pick a room at the very back of the ship for an aft view. It's beautiful to see the ship's wake as you see the scenery go by.

It's important if scenic views are important to you to avoid any cabin that has an obstructed view.

Aft balcony room

Obstructed view cabins are rooms that have something blocking part of the view, such as lifeboats or the structure of the ship.

Moreover, avoid booking a guarantee cabin so you don't get an obstructed view cabin.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean cabins to avoid

The best deck if you are staying in a suite

Suite Sun Deck on Wonder of the Seas

The best reason to book a Royal Caribbean suite is for the perks you get, and making sure they're convenient is a good way to maximize the suite's value.

If you're staying in a suite, book a cabin on the same deck or close to the suite lounge and sun deck.


On Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Icon Class ships, you'll want a suite on deck 17 so that you are just steps away from these reserved areas.

Read moreGuide to Icon of the Seas cabins and suites

On Royal Caribbean's smaller cruise ships, picking a deck near the suite lounge is less important since there are less suites-only areas, but I still think it's a good idea to have a cabin nearby the suite concierge.

The best deck if you have mobility concerns

If you have a mobility issue, pick a cabin on a lower deck and near an elevator so that you have less distance to traverse.

Avoid booking a cabin at the very end of a hallway on any deck, or any cabin at the top of the ship.

Being on a lower deck makes it easier to get to the public areas you'll likely need to access a lot, such as the dining rooms, bars, and lounges.


In addition, being on a lower deck means it will be easier on the first and last day of the cruise when boarding and disembarking the ship.

Bottom line

AquaTheater Suite w/Balcony

The best location on a cruise ship depends on the person, so don't assume there is a perfect deck for everyone. Cruising is a very personal type of vacation, where everyone has their own experience. So what's important to one person will be less important to someone else.

Read moreThe 5 best cabin locations on a cruise ship

You'll want to weigh the pros and cons of any deck based on your preferences. Someone that does not get seasick will have more choices than someone who does get seasick. Likewise, a suite guest will want to choose a deck differently than someone staying in an inside cabin.

The truth is the deck choice you make is less important than you might imagine.  Picking the perfect deck might make your trip better overall, but it's unlikely you could make a terrible choice in which deck your cabin is located.

6 reasons to refuse to upgrade your cruise ship cabin

28 Aug 2023

You might want to think twice before trying to win a cruise cabin upgrade.

I think it's fair to say a lot of people dream about being able to move up to a bigger and more lavish cabin. Whether it's from an inside to a balcony cabin, or all the way up to a spacious suite, who wouldn't want to pay less and get a nicer room?

The saying "if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is" sometimes holds up when it comes to bidding for a cabin upgrade.

Royal Caribbean allows guests to place a bid for a nicer room, potentially at a cheaper price than booking that cabin outright. While the bidding program is definitely a legitimate option you can consider, there are downsides to Royal Up you should know about before placing a bid.

4 bedroom suite

Since you'll pay more to win a cabin upgrade bid and have to change from the room you booked to something else, here are six reasons to turn down the opportunity to upgrade your cruise ship cabin.

You can't pick your room location


For a lot of people, picking the best rooms on a cruise ship means having control of exactly where the room is located, but you'll give that up with Royal Up.

When you place a bid for a room upgrade, you let Royal Caribbean pick the specific cabin to be assigned if you win the bid. There's no option to choose between cabins, and it's akin to a guaranteed cabin room assignment in that regard.

You could end up with a room that is at the far end of a hallway, and not only does that mean a longer walk to the elevators, but also potentially an issue if you are prone to motion sickness. A midship cabin is preferable for someone that is concerned about getting seasick.

Read moreHow to beat seasickness on a cruise ship

Central Park balcony

Likewise, your winning bid might end up with a room near a public venue and you could get noise bleed that keeps you up at night or awake in the morning. Ideally, you want a room that is above and below other cabins and away from bars, pools, or other noisy venues.

There are some people who are not picky about their room location, especially if they are getting a better cabin at a cheaper price.  Just be clear about the fact you'll let the cruise line pick your specific cabin should your bid be accepted.

Bidding is a complete guess

Anthem door

Don't get your hopes up, because there seems to be no pattern to how to actually win a room upgrade bid.

The program is similar to a silent auction, where the cruise line sets a minimum bid, and you make a bid without knowing what anyone else bid. Heck, you don't even know if there are actually any open cabins to be upgraded into.

While the Royal Up website provides a very easy to understand bid evaluator that ties a higher price to an increased chance at winning, the reality is max bids don't always win, and plenty of people have won upgrades with a minimum bid.

Read moreHow can you win that Royal Up stateroom upgrade bid? It's pure luck

Odyssey of the Seas

Jenn Greene, a Travel Planner with MEI Travel, called the bidding program "random" when describing it to her clients, "Royal Up is completely random. I let clients know that it’s more like a lottery than a guarantee. And that if you really want it bid high. With ships sailing full, I am seeing less opportunities for clients to bid."

As they say, you can't win if you don't play, but the whole process could just give you false hope of moving up and leave you disappointed.

It's expensive

Icon of the Seas sunset suite

While you might be able to save money on a cabin upgrade by bidding instead of changing your original reservation, it's not free.

Royal Caribbean gives you a range of prices you can bid, and that price you offer is going to be charged for two people, even if you're cruising solo.

That means you're adding onto the overall cost of your vacation, and more money spent on your cabin means a bigger vacation budget.


A lot of cruisers will tell you that money is better spent on experiences on the ship, such as shore excursions or specialty dining. Or better yet, money towards another cruise booking!

If you're on a tight budget, spending money to upgrade your cabin is going to balloon what you have available and may not actually be a deal in the grand scheme of things.

If you have more than one cabin booked

Connecting rooms

My favorite strategy for cruising with a family is to book two connecting cabins instead of one room, but this idea is incompatible with Royal Up.

You can certainly place bids for both rooms, but there's no promise if you win both rooms get upgraded. Or that the winning bid room will be anywhere near your other room, even if you booked connecting rooms.

Moreover, let's say you win a bid for one room to move up to a spacious suite.  You cannot move the people from the other room into the upgraded cabin and/or cancel the other room.

In short, if you have more than one cruise ship cabin booked and care about being anywhere near each other, Royal Up would be a mistake.

If you booked a specific sub-category of cabin

Aft Wonder of the Seas

If you do your research, you may spot certain special rooms that are quite rare and in high-demand.  So placing a bid to upgrade your room means forgoing those rooms.

As an example, Royal Caribbean's family cabins offer significantly more space and a separate sleeping area for the kids along with an extra bathroom.  Technically, these are inside or oceanview rooms, and a bid may get you in a higher category regular cabin.

There's also aft cabins, hump cabins, and a slew of other hidden gems that are advantageous because they have extra large balconies, preferable views, or are in a great spot.

Hump room

If those kind of considerations are important to you, do not accept an upgrade offer.

You might not get extra points


If you booked a balcony and then move up to a suite with a winning Royal Up bid, you won't get the bonus Crown and Anchor points.

Royal Caribbean gives suite guests an extra point per night in its loyalty program for booking a suite.  But that only applies if you actually book a suite from the beginning.

Those that book a standard cabin but end up in a suite from Royal Up will still only get one point per night.

Diamond Lounge sign on Adventure of the Seas

If you don't care about moving up the loyalty program ranks as much as you care about which cabin you stay in, then you can safely ignore this advice.  But there are a lot of beneficial Crown & Anchor perks at the higher levels that would be nice to get to faster.

Planning a cruise? Start here:

Is a cruise ship cabin on deck 2 bad?

31 May 2023

Cruise ship cabins are found on almost every deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, but is it a bad idea to reserve on the lowest deck?

Deck 2 cabins

Royal Caribbean cruise ships of all sizes have cabins on the lowest deck passengers can access, which is usually deck 2.  On Royal Caribbean's biggest ships (Oasis and Quantum Class), it would be deck 3.

Crew members have cabins in even lower decks, but the passenger decks begin at deck 2.

Here's what you should know about booking a cabin on deck 2 of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

About cabins on deck 2

Grandeur of the Seas hallway

When you book a cabin, Royal Caribbean allows you to select the exact cabin you want. This includes rooms on deck 2 on most ships.

While there is a deck 1, there's no cabins down there.  So the lowest deck you can stay on is deck 2, except for Oasis Class and Quantum Class ships on deck 3.

There are two types of staterooms on the lowest passenger deck: inside and oceanview cabins.

Inside cabin on Mariner of the Seas

Inside cabins have no windows or views outside of your room.

Read moreWhy you should book a cruise ship inside room

Oceanview cabin

Oceanview cabins have either a porthole or large window that looks out to the ocean. The window doesn't open or move, but it does provide natural light and a peek outside.

Even at deck 2, oceanview cabins are above the water line.

Read moreInside cabin vs. oceanview cabin: Are the differences worth an upgrade?

Oceanview cabin

One variation you may find of cabins on these decks are larger oceanview rooms, which Royal Caribbean calls "spacious oceanview rooms".

Another type of cabin are cabins designed for solo cruisers, such as the Studio Ocean View on Deck 3 on Harmony of the Seas.

Read moreThe 5 best cabin locations on a cruise ship

You won't find any balcony cabins or suites on the lowest passenger deck.

Is deck 2 on a cruise ship bad?

Hallway on Brilliance of the Seas

Should you avoid a cabin on deck 2 or 3 of a cruise ship? Or are these hidden gems?

By far the best reason to book a stateroom on the lowest deck is it will probably save you money.

Inside and oceanview rooms are typically the cheapest cabins, and since most guests would pick a cabin on a higher deck, prices tend to be less on the lowest deck.

Large interior room

Another advantage of staying on a low deck is the lack of movement you may perceive.  The common piece of advice regarding avoiding seasickness is booking a cabin on a low deck, mid ship. 

Since deck 2 (or 3) is the lowest decks you can book, those sensitive to motion sickness may find these low decks beneficial. 

You may also feel like a genius by having a cabin on deck 2 when you return to the ship after a shore excursion.

Royal Caribbean ships docked with gangway

There's always a wait for the elevator to get back upstairs, but those staying on the lowest decks can take a short walk back to their room.  After a long day on land, it's nice to get back to your room (and in the shower) sooner than later!

If all of this sounds great, here are some reasons to avoid cabins on deck 2.

Balcony smooth seas

As mentioned, there's only inside and oceanview cabins on the lowest deck.  If those types of rooms aren't your favorite, then this won't work for you.

By being on a low deck, you're also relying on an elevator more than people on a higher deck.  Royal Caribbean ships that have 14, 16, or even 18 decks mean you're either taking long walks up and down the stairs, or waiting more for an elevator.  Someone on a higher deck, could more easily "commute" between their room and popular public decks.

Cove pool

Sometimes noise can be an issue, since your cabin might be near crew areas where work is done throughout the day and night. Light sleepers may find this especially problematic.

One thing to look at is what is one deck above and below your cabin to ensure there aren't public venues nearby.

Should you book a cabin on the lowest deck of a cruise ship?

Side of Quantum of the Seas

Ultimately, booking a room on the lowest deck of your ship isn't necessarily a problem, but you should be okay with the disadvantages.

The primary reason someone would want to book a cabin on deck 2 or 3 is because of the price. Since these tend to be the most inexpensive cabins you can book, it's hard to overlook the price.

Even with the additional reliance on elevators, the price savings you can get outweighs the potential commute times required to get around the ship. But if you're the type of person that spends a lot of time in their room, then a low deck location may not matter.

Side of Royal Caribbean cruise ship

I really like the convenience cabins on a low deck have to the main dining room and casino.  

While most guests may end up booking a cabin on a higher deck, the cost savings alone may make it a smart choice.

The 5 best cabin locations on a cruise ship

19 Apr 2023

When someone wants to book a cruise, it seems the top question they have is where is the best location for a cabin on a cruise ship?

Aft balcony

It seems like an easy question, but the answer is far more subjective because how personal in nature the options are.

Depending on your preferences, the perfect cruise ship cabin might be completely different from someone else. This is because we value different aspects of a cabin, as well as how we approach the cruise experience. The debate of if a balcony cabin is worth it is a microcosm of the issue.

You'll find a huge range of cabins all around the ship and at all sorts of prices, from the affordable to the outrageous.  From the petite to the sprawling. And quite often, the room you'll end up booking is somewhere inbetween.

Balcony smooth seas

Believe it or not, it's actually easier to answer the question of which cabins are a mistake to book rather than which cabins are truly the best.

But since this question comes up so often, here are the best cabins to book for most people and why they might be the right choice for you.


Studio Balcony

As a general rule of thumb, a cabin in the middle of the ship is a winner for most people.

Midship cabins are a great choice because they offer a centralized convenience to the rest of the ship, especially the elevators.  On Royal Caribbean's bigger ships, distance to the nearest elevator can be a major consideration,

Equally important is the fact a midship cabin will feel less movement than a cabin closer to the end of the ship (especially the front).

Promenade view cabin

Avoiding seasickness on a cruise is a top concern of a lot of first-time cruisers, and one tried-and-true strategy is to book a room midship to minimize the sensation of movement.  A midship cabin wont be immune to all sensations of movement, but it helps.

Speaking of seasick, you not only want to be midship, but also on a lower deck too.

Aft balcony

Aft balcony

The more I cruised, the more I started hearing from veteran cruisers about the virtues of booking a balcony on the back of the ship.

An aft balcony is a balcony that overlooks the back of the ship, but why are these rooms so desirable?

In short, aft balcony rooms offer a different perspective than a balcony on the side of the ship and a lot of people find this view more relaxing.  Plus, the balcony itself is usually wider, offering a better angle.

Aft view sunset

On many Royal Caribbean ships, the size of an aft balcony can be gargantuan compared to a balcony on the side of the ship. 

If there's a downside to an aft balcony it's the distance back to elevators.

Hump balcony

Radiance of the Seas

You might do a double-take when you first hear about these kinds of balcony rooms, but it's a real thing.

The so-called "hump" balcony cabins are the rooms on the outwards part of the curvy outline of the ship.  If you look at a deck plan, you'll notice around mid-ship, the hull design jets outward. 

Essentially, you pay the same price as a regular balcony but get extra space.

Hump room

Plus, hump balcony rooms are usually midship, which double up on the benefits mentioned earlier about a midship room.

You'll find hump balcony rooms with massive balconies on Radiance Class, Voyager, Freedom, Oasis or Quantum, but look closely at the deck plan to see which balconies are larger.

Cheap cabins

For a lot of people, the best cabin is located wherever the price is right.

Cruises aren't free, so every dollar you can save on your vacation is a dollar you can spend on another cruise. For many cruisers, finding the cheapest cabin available for a good deal is the right choice for them.

Finding a bargain room is almost certainly going to get you an inside cabin somewhere, but the cost savings usually resonate enough.  After all, a lot of cruisers spend very little time in their cabin because of all the fun to be had around the ship and in the ports of call. So why invest money in a space you're not going to spend a lot of time in necessarily.

It's important to understand booking the cheapest room could have consequences if luck is not on your side, such as a room on an extreme end of the ship, noise bleed issues from surrounding cabins, or very small living space.

Connecting cabins

Connecting door

If you're cruising with kids, I cannot understate enough the benefits of connecting cabins instead of one large cabin.

Connecting cabins are rooms that have a common inside door between them, which allows you to have two full cabins, along with separation between the two of them. Plus, each room has its own bathroom.

Booking two connecting cabins is a great way to get privacy, space for everyone, and an extra bathroom. 

Connecting rooms

You'd be surprised how affordable two connecting rooms can be versus booking a single larger room to fit 4 or 5 people.

The downside to connecting cabins is they are a terrible choice if you aren't booking both rooms.  The common door between the rooms is not as sound proof as the walls, so it is very easy to hear what's happening in the other room.

If you're not booking both connecting rooms, avoid booking a connecting cabin.

What about suites?

Royal Loft suite on Icon

You might be wondering why there aren't any suites in my list, and there's two reasons why it's not here, but could still be a great choice.

First and foremost, the locations we talked about could include suites too. There are suites located midship, on the aft, and even suites that can connect with another room. So the rationale explained earlier in this post holds true whether if you are an inside room or a suite.

And then of course there's the price tag a suite commands. 

Royal Suite

It's easy to assume booking a suite is like pushing the easy button for a cruise vacation. While I'm not denying there are a lot of great benefits you get for booking a suite, the significantly higher price tag makes it a challenge for many to afford.

In short, you don't need to book a suite to have a great room on a cruise.

Picking the best room on a cruise

There is no single option for everyone that is "the best." Rather, the best cabin for anyone is relative to their preferences, budget and tastes.

Royal Caribbean provides a great deal of staterooms to choose between on any cruise, that run the gamut of price, location and amenities.

When it comes to picking the best stateroom, you will have to weigh these considerations:

First and foremost, how much you can spend on a room will dictate largely your choices.  If you are cruising on a slim budget, suites and perhaps even balcony rooms are going to be out of the question.  If you have more to spend, then you will have more choices.

Perhaps the toughest decision is what type of stateroom to pick. There are good arguments to be made for every type of room, from inside rooms to balconies to suites.

An inside room will save you a lot of money, and makes a lot of sense since the ship has so much to see and do that you likely will not be spending much time in the room.  You could spend a little bit more and get an oceanview room and gain some natural light.  Or perhaps you go for a balcony room, which provides a private area to step outside and enjoy the ocean breeze as you see fit.  And of course, a suite means having the ultimate in luxury onboard and being in a room that nice, you will find good reason to enjoy time in there.

Oceanview cabin on Liberty of the Seas

Choosing the right room for you is about how you like to cruise, and what you are looking to do onboard.  Shorter cruises means you will likely be running around trying to see and do everything, so investing a ton in an expensive room may not make financial sense.  On longer sailings, having a larger room means more space to spread out and enjoy to nap, read or watch the world go by.

Deciding if a balcony room is worth the price is something many cruisers have to consider with each booking. Ultimately, it depends on your budget and how much more it would cost to move up to a balcony room (or suite) from a lower category.

How important is location

Where your room is located plays a factor in determining what the best location is on a cruise ship.

The primary concern for most people when choosing a room is noise bleed.  The good news is that most rooms on Royal Caribbean do a good job at blocking out most noise, but no stateroom is soundproof.

A good rule of thumb when choosing a room is picking one that has no public spaces directly one deck above or one deck below it.

When choosing a room, you will need to look at if it's on a higher deck versus lower deck, as well as midship versus forward or aft.

In general, the most popular spot to be on a cruise ship is midship on a higher deck because these rooms are centrally located. Moreover, cabins towards the middle of the ship have the reputation of providing a smoother ride when the ocean is rough. The sensation of movement due to the ocean is perceived differently by everyone, but it is worth noting.

Staying on a lower deck has the advantage of being closer to popular common areas, such as the Royal Promenade, theaters and dining rooms. This means less dependency on elevators.

A room on a higher deck provides more desirable views, as well as being closer in proximity to the pool deck. On warm weather sailings, this may be a very convenient choice.

Which is the best side of a cruise ship to be on?

Side of Quantum of the Seas

Many readers are curious which side of the ship they should pick for the room, and I believe it does not matter at all.

First and foremost, there is no set side that is always going to face one particular direction in port or at sea.  It varies depending on a variety of factors, and none of them are going to be known until you are onboard. Moreover, there is plenty to see in all directions when it comes to most sailings.

When docked, the crew can tie up a ship on either side. This means that one side does not consistently have better views when in port.

Ultimately, where your room is located on the ship (midship versus forward or aft) is an arguably more important consideration than the side of the ship.

Room upgrades & guarantees

Junior Suite on Rhapsody of the Seas

If all of this has made sense up until now, here are two other stateroom options that may change up your decision, while potentially saving you money.

Bidding for a room upgrade

Panoramic cabin on Liberty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean offers guests on most sailings the opportunity to bid for a stateroom upgrade through RoyalUp.

RoyalUp asks guest to provide a blind bid for a stateroom upgrade on the chance the room is available.  Once a bid is made, Royal Caribbean will consider it until such time that there is an upgrade opportunity. 

The advantage of upgrading your room via RoyalUp is that you could move up to a higher, more desirable room, for less than booking it outright.  However, there is no way to know if there is even an upgrade opportunity (the program is used quite often by the cruise line as a backup incase someone cancels at the last minute) and there is no way to know if your bid is "good enough" to win.

If your RoyalUp bid is accepted, Royal Caribbean will assign your room automatically, leaving little to no choice in its location.

Guarantee Cabins

If you want to save money on the a cabin, and are not particular about the exact location, then a guarantee room assignment might be the choice for you.

Booking a stateroom guarantee means Royal Caribbean will pick the exact room assignment for you, while guaranteeing you will get that room category or higher.  

So if you booked a balcony guarantee, you would be assured of getting at least a stateroom with private balcony somewhere on the ship, with the exact room assignment coming later.  Guarantee rooms could potentially provide a higher room category, although this is a rare occurrence.

For guests who do not care that much where exactly on the ship their room is located, a guarantee room booking can save a lot of money on the cruise fare.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean cuts cabin housekeeping from twice to once per day service

28 Feb 2023

It looks like Royal Caribbean has implemented a change in how many times per day your cruise ship cabin will be attended by the housekeeping staff.

Panoramic cabin on Liberty of the Seas

For decades, Royal Caribbean has had stateroom attendants visit passenger cabins twice per day: once in the morning, and turndown service again at night.

That could all be changing in the near future.

Royal Caribbean is slowly changing over ships one at a time to once per day for non-suite cabins. Junior Suites and above will maintain 2 services per day.

Housekeeping change

Passengers have the choice if they prefer to have their stateroom attendants service their cabin in the morning or evening.

Royal Caribbean issued this statement regarding the policy change, "Royal Caribbean International is implementing a once-a-day cleaning service for staterooms across the fleet."

"Vacationers will still regularly see the familiar faces of their stateroom attendants, who will continue to do thorough cleaning, provide new towels, refresh amenities, and be available to guests for questions and stateroom requests throughout the cruise. Suite category rooms will continue to receive services twice a day."

Harmony of the Seas interior cabin

Based on posts on social media, the change to once a day housekeeping has already occurred on:

  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Wonder of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas

There are rumors Symphony of the Seas will change over with the April 16th sailing.

Ovation of the Seas arrives in Sydney

It seems Royal Caribbean first made the change with cruises in the Asia and Australia cruise market, but the new policy has begun to affect North American cruises too.

Why the change?

Since Royal Caribbean has not commented or announced anything yet, guests are left to guess as to why Royal Caribbean is making the change now.

One cruiser reported that the change is necessary because stateroom attendants will be responsible for more cabins, thus reducing the total housekeeping crew members needed.

The cruise industry is no stranger to what the rest of the hospitality industry as experienced over the last 3 years: a shortage of workers.

Inside cabin on Liberty of the Seas

It's possible this is part of the impetus for the change.

Environmental concern is another rationale for the change.  In the Cruise Compass daily newsletter, Royal Caribbean says the change is done "in an effort to be more sustainable and to align with global hospitality trends."

Matching other cruise lines

Royal Caribbean is not the first cruise line to make this kind of reduction in the frequency of housekeeping.

Carnival Cruise Line changed to once daily cleaning in early 2022.

In December 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced its guests would get once-a-day service in order to consolidate crew roles while saving energy and water.

NCL said its change was a result of a shift in the hospitality industry, which includes airlines and hotels.

Speaking of hotels, cruise lines still offer significantly more service than their land counterparts. A a growing number of hotels and resorts cut back sharply on housekeeping services (some are no longer offering daily room cleaning at all; others only offer it every few days).

Cost-cutting or reducing waste?

Cruise fans have reacted wildly since the policy started going into effect. Some see it as a cutback, while others questioned why twice a day housekeeping was necessary in the first place.

On the one hand, twice a day cabin cleaning has been in place for decades, and survived many economic downturns of the past. On the other hand, is it really necessary to have every cabin cleaned every 12 hours?

It seems cruise fans have the same conundrum.

On the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards, there are plenty of thoughts on the change.

whitsmom wrote, "Once a day is fine for me as long as I have clean towels before I want to shower and the trash emptied.  I make my bed as soon as we get up anyway; however, I do want ice in the morning plus some for my wine bucket."

Maggie M will miss having the room attended to twice per day, "I, too, would miss the evening turn-down service with the compass (if they even print them anymore), and towel animals - especially if we took a nap during the day if it was a sea day or we decided to stay on the ship."

BrianB wrote about NCL's decision, "Pretty cynical to try and couch this as an environmentally-friendly action when it's just about profits. In my opinion, they're just gaslighting by claiming they're taking these actions because they want to help save our planet. They're doing this because they want to save expenses and increase their own profits."

Twangster thinks the change was almost inevitable, "When you lose $43B USD there are bound to be service adjustments.  It's well known they've had a hard time recruiting crew so yes, gratuity has increased as they've had to entice recruits with higher compensation. "

Spotted: Royal Caribbean texts passengers with pre-cruise cabin requests

24 Jan 2023

It appears Royal Caribbean is offering a new way for guests to make cruise ship cabin requests before they board.

Inside cabin on Liberty of the Seas

Historically, Royal Caribbean has relegated cabin requests to either onboard the ship or via a special needs form.

Guests sailing on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas this weekend were sent a text message with an option to provide stateroom preferences prior to sailing.

It's not clear if all ships have this option.

The message was sent three days prior to the start of the sailing.

The text message includes a link that takes you to an online form.

Upon clicking the link, you will see a brief description that provides options for customizing your cabin before boarding.

Most notably, you must complete the form the same day you receive the text. If you do not submit the form on time, you will need to speak with your stateroom attendant once onboard if you have any accommodations.

It is unclear what would happen if the guest does not have a cellphone to receive this text. There is a possibility that they would receive an email instead to fill out the form.

What questions are on the Guest Request Form?

The form includes five questions that allow you to have your cabin ready in the configuration you want prior to your arrival.

The first three are about your particular sailing. You need to specify the ship you are sailing on, the sail date, and your booking ID. If any of this information is wrong, the form will not be processed.

Questions four and five are related to the particular needs of the guest.

Anthem door

For stateroom requests, you can indicate if you want:

  • The bed to be separated
  • A baby crib
  • An extra blanket
  • A joining stateroom door to be opened

For medical requests, you can indicate if you need:

  • Distilled water (for CPAP machine use)
  • An extension cord (for medical devices only)
  • A medical fridge
  • A sharps container (to dispose injectable medications)

How this is different

Prior to this option, guests that wanted a change to their beds or have adjacent stateroom doors unlocked would need to wait until they boarded to inform their stateroom attendant.

With this new form, passengers can submit their preferences ahead of time.

The form doesn't encompass every possible request, as there is no comment section to make additional special requests, such as extra pillows or soap for example.

If you have special needs, you would have to fill out the Guest Special Needs Form.

The special needs form needs to happen no later than 30 days prior to your sailing, “except for sign language interpreting requests which must be submitted 60 days prior to sailing” according to the Royal Caribbean website.

How other cruise lines do it

When sailing on cruise lines such as Carnival and Norwegian, guests are able to specify if they want the beds separated before stepping foot on the ship.

For both cruise lines, during the online check-in process, there is a prompt to indicate your cabin preferences.

online check-in for carnival cruise line

After adding your passport and credit card information, as well as selecting your arrival time, you complete the online check-in for your Royal Caribbean cruise. They do not ask for cabin preferences.

Typical cruise cabin setup

Sky Loft Suite

All cruise cabins have at least two twin beds that can be joined together to make one large bed.

Most one-bedroom cabins have four beds: two on the floor and two beds that can be pulled down from the ceiling.

Depending on the cabin, some rooms may even have a pull-out couch that can be used as another bed. This is typically found in larger suite cabins.

Connecting staterooms on a cruise ship

Connecting rooms

If a family or large group cruising together does not want to share one stateroom, two staterooms (or more) next to one another is a great option.

To ensure your family or group stays in a connected stateroom, you can look at the ship map to see which rooms are connected. To make your life easier, you can have your travel agent do that for you.

Booking as early as possible ensures you will get staterooms next to each other, or at least, nearby.

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