Everything to Know About Cruise Cabin Bathrooms

What’s one place where you might spend a bit of 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.

That said, you still have all the amenities you could need, packed into an efficient use of space. 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 bathroom below.

How large is the average bathroom on a cruise ship?

panorama of cruise cabin bathroom

Including all the space — including space 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 3-5 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.

Are there electrical plugs in the bathroom?

bathroom sink
No outlets near the sink in this cabin 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?

Unfortunately, no. The logistics of putting in a vent aren’t feasible on a cruise ship. That’s why it’s a good thing to travel with a companion that you are comfortable with. They 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 does showering work?

bathroom shower
A typical cruise cabin bathroom.

It could be a challenge to shower, 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.

Is there a hair dryer?

hair dryer on a cruise

Yes, but 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

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 “woosh” when you press the button to flush.

Remember that you can fog up an entire cabin. Like long hot showers? With no vent 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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