Take Your Cruise From Tacky To Tasteful

A cruise can be lots of fun. Between piña coladas on the Lido Deck, dancing to “Hot, Hot, Hot” and the occasional stops at various islands, you can have a blast. Bus as a honeymoon destination, a modern cruise can leave a lot to be desired in terms of luxe living. Fixing up your stateroom to be the high-society bedroom suite you may have been hoping for is as easy as packing a few extra items in your steamer trunk.

Room Spray

Unlike spacious, well-ventilated windows in hotels, cruise ship guest cabins can develop a uniquely unappetizing odor. Either the room is beneath the waterline, with no light or natural ventilation, or its above water, but doesn’t have open access to fresh air. Add your smelly post-pina colada and Limbo-dancing body, and you’ve got a recipe for some prime stank.

Luckily, room sprays are readily available. Plenty of top-tier brands are developing room sprays that feel natural, soothing, and refreshing (unlike the disinfectant aerosol cans typically found in bathrooms or kitchens). Make sure it’s nothing too strong though. The goal is not to make your room smell like a specialty soap display: no Pledge Lemon Scent or Yankee Candle’s Christmas Cookies. This Aesop spray creates a scent reminiscent of floral arrangements and tobacco. The perfect blend of subtle-but-sophisticated ease that makes returning to the room less of a chore and more of a welcomed respite.


Most cruise lines don’t exactly go above-and-beyond with their bedding. There are upgradable packages, sure, but even the finest sheets may not work for everyone. While we don’t suggest packing an entire bedding set, bringing pillow cases from home is a good way to make your guest room feel like a place where you can actually get rest. Colored pillowcases that stray from the standard white will also add a little color to your room (and help you remember to pack them when it’s time to disembark).

Face Masks

Cruise guest rooms are typically pressurized cabins. The lack of ventilation from the outside world can be tough, especially for those rooms located under the waterline or towards the interior of the ship. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a balcony room, the salty air coming off the ocean can also do number on you. While the ship may offer various shower creams or other amenities to help you clean up, bringing something from home to keep yourself from feeling like stinky shut-in. Sealed facemasks like this one from Erno Laszlo, applied before you go to bed, can help take some of the edge off the waking-up process. When you look in the mirror and see someone ready for the day and not a landscape of cracks and wrinkles yearning for the sunlight, you’ll know you made the right call.


While water is readily available on cruises, you can’t really be sure where it’s been. You’re going to want to have purified water that’s ready at a moment’s notice. We don’t suggest packing a whole Brita Filter, but a small log of charcoal makes a good natural filter when left in a glass of water. It’s also pretty easy to pack.  

A Good Throw Blanket

Because the temperatures are typically regulated by heating and air conditioning, guestrooms can sometimes go from warm to cold double quick. Having a good throw blanket in those instances is helpful, as is will keep you warm but won’t take up precious packing space. Take it up on deck to stay warm as you gaze at the stars (or fight off your seasickness, as the case may be). Or, leave it behind so your room looks lived-in when you return to it.



Bottom Line

Cruise guest rooms typically suck, but they don’t have to if you’re willing to man up and bring some homey touches along with you.

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