Everything to Know About Cruise Cabin Bathrooms

What’s one place where you might spend a time on a cruise ship, yet no one talks about it? That’s right. The bathroom.

Every cabin has a bathroom built into the room, just like you would see in a hotel room. However, as you would expect, everything that you need comes at a much smaller scale.

Your cruise ship bathroom will have a commode (obviously), sink, counter space, storage, and a stand-up shower. Most showers also include a small clothesline for drying swimsuits.

To give you an idea of what you can expect, we’ve included a number of pictures of different cabin bathrooms below.

How large is the average bathroom on a cruise ship?

Cruise ship bathroom
Bathrooms on a cruise ship are “cozy’ to say the least. It has everything you need, but not much space to spare.

Including all the space — including the area taken up by cabinets, counters, and the shower — a typical bathroom is around 25-30 square feet. Considering everything in the room, however, the usable space is considerably smaller.

You’ll often have a small sink with about 2-3 feet of counter space surrounding it. The shower is stand-up only (no bathtubs in most rooms!), with enough room to turn around, but often not enough to bend over. So if you need to scrub your feet or shave your legs, you could have some difficulty.

There’s no argument that the typical cruise bathroom is small. It’s not large enough, for example, for two people to get ready for the day at the same time. If you rent a nice room such as a suite, then you can expect more bathroom space. 

Are there electrical plugs in the bathroom?

You might have heard rumors that there aren’t many electrical outlets in a cruise cabin. It’s true, and one reason we suggest people bring along an outlet adapter to give you more plugs.

The same limited outlet space applies to bathrooms, too. In fact, we have been in cabins where there isn’t an outlet available. If you need to do things like use a curler or a flat-iron, you have to do so near the outlet in the main part of the cabin.

Other bathrooms do have outlets, but you need to search for them. They typically aren’t near the counter where you would expect. Often they are overheard, built into the light.

Is there a vent for odors?

Many of us are used to having a switch-operated vent in our bathroom to remove smells and also provide some white noise. Unfortunately, cruise ships don’t have this sort of vent. Instead, there is a small vent that moves air constantly but there’s no control for it. 

That’s why it’s a good thing to travel with a companion that you are comfortable with. These vents don’t do much so whoever else is in the cabin will hear — and smell — anything that goes on on the bathroom.

If you are self-conscious, you can always run some water or turn up the TV to drown out some of the noise. As for smells, those with a balcony can open the door to let in some fresh air or bring along some air freshener. We’ve heard good things about Poo-pourri, a spray that you put into the toilet before you go. The spray forms a layer over the water, helping to keep smells from escaping.

How big is the shower on a cruise?

Showers are relatively small, with just enough space to turn around and maybe bend slightly. Note the round passive vent on the wall outside the shower curtain.

First things first, if you’re expecting a bathtub, then don’t be surprised. The vast majority of cruise bathrooms come with only a stand-up shower. Some high-end suites do have bathtubs, but you’ll have to pay up for that sort of luxury.

Instead, you’ll have a shower (often round) that’s just a couple of feet wide. If you raise your arms to the side of your body, your elbows will likely hit the sides of the shower. That can make things a challenge to clean yourself. This is especially if you are a little bit bigger or if you have to bend over a lot to shave your legs, etc.

The good news? There is still plenty of room to turn around and you can expect your shower will be a mounted spray wand with a hose attached. That way, you can just take down the wand and use it to spray wherever you need, instead of trying to contort yourself in a tiny shower.

Do cruise bathrooms have a clothesline?

One feature you’ll notice inside of the shower is a round cylinder attached to the wall. This is the clothesline. Simply pull the catch in the middle out and attach it to the holder on the other side of the shower. 

Here you can hang a couple of swimsuits. One thing to know is that given the lack of air movement, it takes a long time for things to dry here. Instead, it is more of a spot just to store wet clothes instead of actually drying them out. 

Can I drink the water from the bathroom faucet?

When you cruise, getting a drink of water is surprisingly difficult. There aren’t water fountains on ships. If you want a drink, you’ll need to head to the buffet or a bar. Another smart move is order bottles of water to be delivered to your room so there’s always something to drink.

But what about drinking from the bathroom faucet? Yes, you can do it. In fact, there are normally glasses in the bathroom. To be honest, we prefer having water from elsewhere but in a pinch, have drank from the tap.

Is there a hair dryer?

One nice feature is that your cabin will have a built-in hair dryer, but it won’t be in the bathroom.

Your cabin will come with a hair dryer, so that’s one less thing you have to pack. But you should know it won’t be in the bathroom. Cruise cabins typically have hair dryers that are in the drawer of the vanity in the main part of the cabin. The dryers are “built-in” so they don’t take up any plug space. You just have to dry your hair in this spot instead of the bathroom.

Other things to know about cruise bathrooms

The toilet paper is thin. As you might expect, most mass market cruise lines save money by using extremely thin toilet tissue. If you have a sensitive tush, you can always bring your own paper (just don’t flush it as it may not work well with the ship’s waste system).

The commode flushes differently. Used to a regular toilet where the water spins? Toilets on cruise ships are more like the “airplane” style that use less water and have a strong “whoosh” when you press the button to flush. If you use the bathroom in the middle of the night, you will likely wake up your cabin mate when you flush.

Remember that you can fog up an entire cabin with steamy showers. Like long hot showers? With little venting in the bathroom, there is nowhere for all that steam and humidity to go. You run the risk of making the entire cabin feel damp for hours afterward. Keep the showers short or not as hot and steamy.

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