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Interior Stateroom Tips Every Cruiser Should Know

Cruise ship interior cabin

While there are many different types of cabins on a cruise ship, some consider an interior stateroom undesirable. In fact, I have met some passengers who won’t cruise unless they can afford a balcony or suite.

Due to their self-imposed rule, they may only be traveling once every three years. However, I am of a different mindset. I like to cruise often, so I prefer to book two inside staterooms if it’s a similar price to one balcony. Two for the price of one or two cruises instead of one is my way of thinking.

Now, I have sailed in many other cruise accommodations, and like everyone else, my preference is to have outdoor space. However, when booking a cruise, my selection of stateroom depends on the itinerary and price.

Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned sailor, whatever cabin you choose is a matter of mindset. If you’re dead set on having that suite, then nothing is going to convince you to downgrade. 

If you’re on a budget or love to score great cruise deals, choosing a cruise cabin on the inside could save you a bundle. So, here are some inside stateroom cruise tips for your next cruise vacation.

Interior Stateroom For Saving Money

Of course, the money-saving option is the number one reason to book an inside berth. In some cruise regions, the difference between an interior room, an outside cabin, and a balcony may be minimal.

I once booked a Caribbean cruise that offered a balcony stateroom for only USD 200 more than an inside stateroom. However, I’m sailing another cruise line the following week, and the price between the two cabins is a sizable USD 700 spread.

An interior virtual balcony stateroom
Virtual balcony inside room

My logic tells me that’s another week at sea, so I opted for a balcony on one and an inside on the other. The money I saved is like free money to put towards another vacation at sea or shore excursions.

So, when looking at the cost of a 7-day cruise, compare all stateroom pricing. But, no matter which cruise ship stateroom I choose, the ports, the food, the entertainment, the room service, and the itinerary are still the same. Also, I don’t know about you, but I spend so little time in my room.

For me, it’s a floating hotel room for a place to sleep at night. So, I can book that mega-ship in an inside stateroom, and I’ll still have access to the racing track, the flight simulator, the zip line, and the water slides.

Inside rooms are great options for solo travelers. Let’s face it, single cruisers get dinged by having to pay for two passengers in a cabin. So, a windowless stateroom makes the price of sailing a little more bearable when paying a lower fare.

Inside Stateroom For Darkness

I have to confess; I’m a bit of an insomniac. I need a quiet space and darkness to sleep. Inside cabins are ideal for providing darkness, and there’s no need for blackout drapery or sleeping masks.

Also, as the name suggests, inside staterooms are located in the inner corridors of ships, and many are positioned close to midship. Being in the center of the vessel provides less movement, which is ideal for those who are sensitive to motion sickness.

During the night, the darkness provides the ideal sleeping environment but creates a hazard when navigating to use the bathroom. When booked in an inside cabin, I always pack a night light which I plug into the bathroom. I leave the door open so it provides just a flicker of light only in case I need to get up.

Celebrity Solstice Inside cabin
Celebrity Cruises inside cabin

Without a window or door, I can’t tell if the sun has risen in the morning or have an idea of the time. One way I combat this is to leave my TV on and set it to the ship’s cam.

During the night, the TV screen is dark, but once the sun has come up, I can see daylight from the comforts of my bed. Also, I can see what the weather is doing outside.

I have sailed to Alaska four times and planning my fifth trip this year. In the summer months, Alaska experiences the midnight sun.

During this phenomenon, the sun only goes down for a couple of hours before rising again. If you need darkness to sleep, an inside cabin is your best bet on an Alaska cruise.

Inside Cabins That Have Access To The Outside

If cruising an interior stateroom isn’t your thing, but you want to save money, there are other options. Carnival Cruises offer an interior cabin on selected ships with French doors.

Inside cabin desk area

I booked a French door inside cabin on the Carnival Spirit for a repositioning cruise to Hawaii. While the doors didn’t allow me to step outside, I could still enjoy an obstructed ocean view and smell the ocean air.

The French door staterooms have doors that I could open, but a plexiglass railing prevented me from stepping outside my cabin. 

While I didn’t consider this type of cabin as a pure inside stateroom, it’s still classed as one. These French-door inside cabins are found on the Carnival Miracle, Spirit, Legend, and Pride cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean’s innovative virtual balcony cabins are inside cabins with a virtual outside view. These unique inside staterooms feature floor-to-ceiling HD screens that display real-time views of the wake at the back of the cruise ship.

So, while you don’t have a window or balcony with fresh air, cruisers can have the simulation of staying in a balcony cabin.

Not only does the projector feature the moving waters, but speakers add the sounds of the ocean for a realistic effect. The sound is controllable, and the curtains can be drawn to close off the virtual balcony.

Some Royal Caribbean inner cabins on the Oasis-class ships have bay windows overlooking Central Park. While cruisers can’t enjoy a view of the ocean, the rooms are still rated as inside staterooms even though they feature a window.

Sailing An Inside Stateroom for Rewards

Every time I cruise, I meet people from all over the world. However, they all have one thing in common; they love to cruise. Now, most people are loyal to one cruise line because they want the higher-level rewards offered by their chosen cruise line.

One strategy to get to a higher-level status is to cruise shorter (3 or 4-day) cruises or sail more economical cruises in inside cabins. By sailing more often, cruisers can attain Diamond or Platinum (or whatever the level is for your cruise line) faster.

Size of An Interior Stateroom

It’s no surprise that cruise ship stateroom sizes vary a lot. Since inside cabins usually come at budget prices, the downside can be their overall size.

While a standard balcony may range from 180 to 200 sq. feet, an inside cabin could be as tiny as 140 sq. feet. When you consider the bathroom is part of that overall square footage, that’s a minuscule space.

Princess Cruises interior cabin with no windows
Princess Cruises inside stateroom

Now, cruise ship cabin sizes can vary greatly from ship to ship. While some are tiny, others have the usual couch and desk area that are standard in balcony staterooms. No matter the size, here are some interior stateroom tips to help utilize that tiny space.

Luggage Storage

Oversized luggage is cumbersome and awkward to store in an interior stateroom. It’s best to travel with medium-sized suitcases, which take up a smaller footprint in the stateroom. I always unpack my bags before sailing away and store large luggage under the bed.

I preferably travel with stacking luggage or pieces that can fit inside each other because it’s easier to store one piece than several pieces, especially if the bags can’t fit under the bed.

Laundry Bag

Whether the ship has self-serve laundry or a paid-for-use service, we all create dirty clothes. Packing a pop-up laundry bag provides space at the bottom of the closet for clothes that need cleaning.

Cruise ships that don’t have self-serve laundry facilities charge hefty fees for washing. I don’t particularly appreciate paying USD 100 for laundry when I could be spending that on an excursion instead. 

So, I pack Tide sink pods and often wash necessities like underwear, which are quick drying in places like the Caribbean. Most cruise lines provide a laundry line in the shower to hang wet bathing suits and small items of clothing.

Magnetic Hooks

It’s no secret that cruise ship cabin walls are magnetic. So, while an interior stateroom is lacking in storage, create your own by packing and using heavy-duty magnetic hooks

I use the hooks to hang jackets, towels, bags, hats, and bathing suits on the walls. Make sure you purchase the extra strong ones so they will hold a bathrobe too.

To add additional storage, purchase a shoe organizer, hang it on four heavy-duty magnetic hooks, and secure it to the wall. The organizer provides much-needed space for suntan lotion, flip-flops, sunglasses, after-sun lotion, and much more.

Magnetic Clips

Being on a cruise ship for seven days means receiving a newsletter and other information each day. Organize those papers on the wall using magnetic clips. The clips are great for keeping my itinerary at arm’s reach and eliminates the searching for the right piece of paper.

Poo-Pourri or Air Freshener

Unlike a traditional bathroom on land, cruise ship bathrooms lack a powerful dehumidifier fan. Keep those unwanted odors at bay by packing a bottle of Poo-Pourri.

Happy travels ~ Karen

J.C. of Fairbanks, Alaska

Friday 2nd of February 2024

Thanks for the tips and the amazon links to cruise essentials. I'm going on my very first cruise with friends via Royal Caribbean Cruises. We are going on a 7-day Western Mediterranean Cruise (Barcelona to Rome) in October 2024. We booked interior cabins to save money and use the savings to book excursions at almost every port.♥️

Karen Hosier

Monday 5th of February 2024

Jessica, I did that the first time I cruised. You'll always remember the experiences but not necessarily the cabin you stayed in.