Guest Author - Shasta Wilson
Unless you've lucked out and are cruising in a giant stateroom, you'll probably have to deal with living in a few hundred square feet for the duration of your vacation. Here's how to make the best of it.
Understand that the bed becomes the sofa.
It's like living in a studio apartment. A very small one. Furniture does double duty. In standard cabins, the bed may be your only piece of comfy seating space. Be prepared to have traveling buddies sitting on it if they visit your room since the wall-mounted TV faces the bed.
Make good use of closet and storage space.
There's limited floor space, but there's a decent amount of vertical space in cruise cabins, so it's usually best to pull everything out of your suitcase and hang it in the closet. Electronics, books, games, candy, etc. can be shoved in the desk or nightstand drawers. Bathrooms also offer shelves for toiletries. If possible, stick your suitcase under the bed. You can use it as extra out-of-the-way storage for souvenirs.
Set up a charging station.
I recently read a cruiser's brillant tip about bringing a power strip on every cruise. I don't know why I didn't think of this before! There are limited outlets, and usually one is permanently occupied by the hairdryer since bathrooms don't have outlets. A power strip lets you charge all your gadgets together and keep them in one place.
Lots of stuff in one small space can quickly lead to utter chaos. Set up specific locations for different kinds of luggage. Clothes in closet, shoes under desk, swimsuits in bathroom, books in drawer, etc. Or organize by person: Matt's stuff in left closet, Cody's in right closet. A storage system can be key to finding what you need quickly.
Have the continental breakfast delivered whenever possible.
Most cruise lines will leave door hangers in your room to put out for (free) morning breakfast delivery. This is a great way to get a wake up call (don't worry, waiters know to expect surprised guests) and to stock up on munchies. Extra yogurt cups or bagels might not be useful now, but they're perfect for when you're hungry in between meals and don't want to traipse up the buffet for a quick bite.
Brace yourself for the toilet flush experience.
Everytime I cruise I think I'm prepared, and then my husband yells 'fire in the hole!' and the toilet flush makes me jump. Cruise ship toilets are vacuum based, and the flush is ridiculously loud and abrasive. Plugging your ears helps.
The balcony is not extra storage space.
Don't give in to the temptation. The balcony is outside, and you're on a moving vessel. It's not unusual for items on balconies to blow away, get rained on, or fall to balconies on lower decks.