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The secrets on board

The secrets on board
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Travelling again after the long, homebound months of the pandemic is going to be strange for the first few days. Whether you’re a cruise newbie or a veteran sailor, after a week or so on a ship you might think you know it pretty well. The thing is, most cruise ships are so massive and complicated that it’s likely guests will never be able to know all the secrets cruise lines won’t tell you. To get the scoop, we asked cruise industry experts about the hidden features on cruise ships. From crew quarters to secret storage solutions, these are the hidden features most guests never knew existed on cruise ships.

The walls are magnetic

The walls are magnetic
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Many people don’t know that the walls of your cruise ship cabin are magnetic. Bring some magnets the next time you hit the open seas to hang up your schedule or any other papers the cruise line might give you. If you have a lot of people in your room, you can even hang up a shower curtain to create some privacy. Hanging clutter also keeps your room cleaner, which allows your steward to tidy up more easily!

Wi-Fi is strongest closest to the source

Wi-Fi is strongest closest to the source
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Seasoned cruisers often complain about the slow Wi-Fi on cruise ships, which makes sense when you think about it – you’re miles offshore! However, Jeremy Camosse, owner of cruise accessories company Cruise On and author of Cruise Hacks has a trick to get around the dial-up-esque speeds. “The ship’s computer area will have the fastest Internet,” he explains. That means the Internet Café, an amenity that exists on most ships. As a bonus, Camosse adds that the café is likely to have free snacks! “Often the cafes offer the best treats on the ship,” he says.

Hidden pools

Hidden pools
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Flavio Serreti, former cruise ship reservations manager, says that many cruise ships have hidden pools and bars for crew members because they aren’t allowed to socialise with guests when they’re not working. In fact, there can be decks and decks just for accommodating and entertaining crew members that paying guests will never see.

For that Titanic moment

For that Titanic moment
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The romantic one, not the iceberg one. Travel agent Lois Barbour points out that although on some ships the bow area is restricted, on some ships there is a hidden door that allows access to the front of the ship! She notes that Princess Cruises is one of those ships with bow access available to passengers. Sneak out there with your honey for that “I’m flying!” moment, and “get a spectacular view when sailing way from port and when sailing into port,” Barbour says. If your ship doesn’t allow bow access, most cruise ship TV programming includes a bow cam, so you can watch the waves break over the prow from the comfort of your bed.

A secret guard rail

A secret guard rail
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If your room has bunk beds, look for the hidden guard rail to keep you from falling while you sleep at night. “If your top bunk bed appears to have no rail, lift up the mattress and you’ll find the rail hidden underneath,” says Jenni Fielding, a blogger who has worked in the cruise industry since 2015. “Sometimes, the rail has a large gap in the middle, meaning that children can still fall out. If this is the case, just ask your room steward for an extra rail and they will bring an extra piece that goes in the space.” Other cruisers recommend using pool noodles or rolling up towels and placing them under the sheet to give kids a bumpy reminder.

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Choose the right cabin

Choose the right cabin
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Our experts outlined two hidden benefits to choosing your cabin: more cabin space, and access to a bigger bathroom. “One insider tip for booking a room with extra space is looking for ‘hump rooms’ where the curve of the ship means the balconies are larger, but they sell in the same category (and for the same price) as other balcony rooms,” says Barbour. “These are the most desirable cabins for experienced cruisers.”

Camosse has a tip for those who like to take their time getting ready. “Your cruise cabin bathroom is tiny,” he says. But if you book a cabin near the gym, you can “use the luxurious gym bathroom for more room and comfort.”

There’s probably hidden storage in your cabin

There’s probably hidden storage in your cabin
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One of the most difficult parts about going on a cruise is finding a place to store all of your clothes and toiletries in your tiny room. Cabin designers know this is an issue and often add extra storage behind a mirror, under the bed, or in an ottoman. You can even find USB charging ports behind your cruise cabin television. Ask your cabin steward for a tour of your room if you can’t find any extra storage. While you’re at it, ask them for a robe, too, says Camosse.

A morgue

A morgue
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This certainly isn’t a hidden benefit, but cruise ships are legally required to have a morgue on board. “Most large ships have a designated morgue in case of any deaths. The bodies are held here until the ship next reaches a suitable port,” says Serreti. “Death is more common than you would think, due to the demographics of cruises consisting mainly of elderly people.” It’s best to be prepared, especially during these times.

The chance to save on your next cruise

The chance to save on your next cruise
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If you’re loving your current cruise, it might be time to start thinking about your next one. David Smith, marketing director for a cruise line, recommends looking into booking your next cruise even before you’ve finished your current one. “Generally, most cruise ships will have a sales agent office somewhere on the ship, it’s normally located close to the front desk,” he says. “[Using] the sale agent is a great way to confirm your next sailing for a lower price – there are some fantastic discounts to be had, many of which won’t be available when you return home.”

This article first appeared on Reader’s Digest.

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