What key things do you think should be on EVERY cruise ship and in EVERY cabin? Here’s my list – but have I left anything out?

Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes and offer vastly different experiences. But what’s the minimum standard you’d like to see on every one?

Here’s my light-hearted list. I’d love to hear your feedback!


  • Clear signage – how frustrating is it not to know in which direction to walk? A proper diagram to each level should be outside every lift (elevator), with a simple list inside the lifts as well, just in case you leap in the closing doors before checking which deck you need.
  • Corridors should also indicate which way you’re heading – the fish on NCL carpets swimming towards the front are a great idea!
  • Water stations should be widely available for refillable bottles.
  • Every family-friendly ship above 2,000 passengers should have a dedicated night club – not just a lounge playing jazz, salsa or band music but a proper atmospheric darkened room with a DJ playing late-night floor-fillers.
  • Larger ships should also have food available most hours of the day – who knows when you’re going to get peckish? But some buffets close mid-afternoon or early at night.
  • Reliable and affordable wifi (preferably complimentary, at least at a basic level).
  • Apps that work – but also please supply paper maps of the ship!
  • A wrap-round, obstacle-free promenade deck.
  • Generous seating in bars.
  • A good observation lounge and plenty of live music.


  • We need decent storage – drawers, shelves and cupboards, as well as unobstructed space under the bed for cases.
  • Hooks on walls are essential for long dresses, coats or dressing gowns.
  • Drinking water should be supplied or refreshed daily, preferably in reusable glass bottles or carafes.
  • ‘Do not disturb’ signs that can be switched on and off from inside the cabin.
  • Eye-level safes.
  • Plenty of plug and USB sockets, particularly near the bed.
  • Shower doors, not curtains, and no having to step over baths.
  • Powerful showers and shampoo/soap dispensers, not tiny bottles.
  • Large bath towels, not oversized flannels!
  • Sliding balcony doors that can be left slightly open for fresh air.
  • Tea and coffee-making facilities.
  • Logical light switches so you don’t illuminate the whole room in the middle of the night when you just need a bedside lamp.

Of course, we’d all like cheap prices, generous casinos and lots of serious stuff like environmentally-friendly engines! But most of the above require little investment or forethought. Many would seem to be obvious – but why then do some cruise lines not have them?

Please leave your feedback and suggestions as a comment below.

Some of these ideas are illustrated in a previous blog: Things every cruise ship should have

6 thoughts on “What key things do you think should be on EVERY cruise ship and in EVERY cabin? Here’s my list – but have I left anything out?

    • I’ve just come back from a Royal Caribbean ship (Harmony of the Seas) and that was missing some of the things I’ve listed.

  1. Good list, Dave. Especially agree that I love the fish swimming towards the front of the ship on NCL, and also Port has a pink carpet, and Starboard has a blue carpet. I have put this suggestion on every comment card of every cruise line for years, and no one is paying attention to this need. Here is my list:
    1. Higher lounge chairs around the pool for us older people, and people of weight. It’s difficult to get out of those low loungers!
    2. Some bali beds around the pool or deck area.
    3. A small area for late-risers to get a simple breakfast.
    4. A designated night light switch in the cabin to get to the bathroom in the dark. I bring my own nightlight, but it takes up valuable and much-needed plug space.
    5. This is silly, but on most ships some announcements are not announced over the speakers in the cabin. I run to the door and open it so I can hear the announcement. I bring a door stop so I can leave the door open if the announcement is long. There’s probably a way to adjust that from inside the cabin, but I never spend the time to figure it out, and would forget to turn the speaker on when I wake up anyway.

    • Hi Suzanne, good suggestions! I often do the same as you when there are announcements. You can probably get them on your cabin TV but you wouldn’t want that on all the time!

      • I just re-read my own post and for those critical critics that I know exist, I want to point out that I am aware that if you know that the fish on the carpet are swimming toward the front of the ship, you will automatically know which is port and starboard, of course. I was merely pointing out that port and starboard have different colored carpets. (I was criticized off-line that I didn’t need to point out the difference between port/starboard in the carpet color once I pointed out the location of the front! Guess I’m too sensitive!).

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