26 Ways To Avoid Cruising Cabin Fever

November 16, 2016

Cruise ship cabins aren’t always known for being the most spacious holiday accommodation around. After all, even the biggest mega ships still have a whole lot of cabins to cram on board.

For some, the enclosed space can cause feelings of anxiety and claustrophobia commonly known as cabin fever, which can be further aggravated by the confined nature of cruising. You can’t just hop off a cruise ship as and when you feel like, unless you want to practice your sea swimming!

Never fear cruise fans, cabin fever is quite easy to avoid. Follow our top tips and you’ll feel like you’ve got all the space in the world – or at least enough to swing the proverbial cat on-board…


1 – Buy a Balcony

Well, at least cough up for one while you’re on your cruise. Having your own private balcony space can make all the difference, especially if you’re booked onto a busy cruise where the plum spots around the pool and on the prom deck are harder to bag than an invite to the Captain’s table.

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2 – Buy an Aft Balcony

Even better than a balcony cabin for giving a sense of freedom and space is the aft balcony cabin. These cabins, right at the back of the ship, not only offer uninterrupted 180 degree views of the ocean (and maybe the odd distant ship or port), but they’re also typically a fair bit bigger than a standard balcony cabin. The tiered design favoured by liners also means that an aft balcony cabin has the ability to make you feel completely secluded – it’s just you and the ocean waves, baby!


3 – Splash Out on a Suite

If you’ve got more cash to splash, a suite will mean extra space to call your own with separate seating and sleeping areas, as well as outside space and maybe even a dining area. The little luxurious extras that come with a suite might also help to make you feel more comfortable and at home in your cabin! If not, you could always ask your butler to improve matters by plumping up those pillows and drawing you a warm bath!

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4 – Make a Little Splash with a Mini Suite

Mini suites are, you guessed it, like suites but smaller. They’re similar to a balcony cabin but will have a seating area as well as a sleeping area – although they might not be very well-defined (think of a sofa next to your bed rather than a separate lounge complete with three-piece suite and flatscreen). Still, it beats sitting on your bed to paint your nails/eat room service/drink tea/chat/read/watch TV or do anything else you want to do in your room.


5 – Overlook the Action

If you prefer the hubbub of people and activity, rather than quiet ocean views, you can bring your fellow cruisers into your room (not literally – that would be quite a squeeze!) with a room overlooking the promenade deck or the Boardwalk (on RCI Oasis class ships). Or, if you want a view that’s still tranquil but doesn’t make you feel as cut off from the action as a long stretch of ocean, balcony rooms overlooking Central Park on RCI Oasis class ships are definitely worth spreading the news about. The cost of ‘action view’ cabins also tends to be set nicely between no-view and ocean-view, so could be a happy medium for claustrophobic cruisers on a budget.

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6 – Find a Secret Porthole

Secret porthole cabins are a real find, and can be a way to get at least some sort of window to the outside world while cruising, even if you’re on a strict inside cabin budget. They typically have windows with obstructed views but are sold at the same price as an inside. The trick is to get to know your ship of choice and book early (because you won’t be the only one in the know, cruisers can be a crafty lot!)


7 – Virtual Views

If you’ve given up on the idea of a window altogether, how about a virtual one? Royal Caribbean are debuting virtual balconies on the new Quantum class ships, Quantum and Anthem, with plans to add them to Navigator, Voyager, Adventure and Explorer during their 2014/2015 renovations. These floor to ceiling LED screens project real time images of the ocean view that your cabin would have, if only it were an outside cabin – bringing you a room with a view without any added cost. Clever, no?

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8 – Book a Bath

If you’re the type of person who loves a good wallow then bathrooms can be a bugbear on cruise ships. Unless you’ve paid for a suite with a tub (if you’re in a Queen’s Grill Penthouse Suite on Cunard you’ll get a whirlpool bath, separate shower and not one but two sinks!) then you’re likely to find yourself short on space to shower and, dare to dream it, soak.

Those who like to escape to their bathroom, rather than simply use it to shower, shave and – what was the other one? – should look at Disney which offers a ‘bathroom and a half’. One bathroom has a full bath/shower and sink, and the other has a sink and toilet. This is ideal for those cruising with children who you can guarantee will need the loo the minute you sink into those fragrant bubbles!

If Disney is out because you don’t have kids (or have a violent loathing for Mickey Mouse), look at P&O which boasts some cabins with a bath as well as a shower.


9 – Go Zen

Choosing a spa cabin can be a great way to give your space a relaxing feel, however small it may be. For lovers of luxury, the Samsara spa cabins and suites on Costa cruises are designed to be a serene haven on-board – and if you do need to escape your cabin you have direct access to the excellent Samsara spa areas. Celebrity Cruises also bring the calming Aquaclass cabins to the (massage) table, which boast private balconies and access to a Persian Garden, Relaxation Room and exclusive restaurant – all to be used as your own soothing extensions to your actual cabin space. Regent Seven Seas also have spa suites on their new Explorer, which has an actual spa in built into your cabin! Now that’s luxury…

If you’re still feeling on edge or antsy – whether you’ve booked a spa cabin or not – a calming massage in the ship’s spa should sort you out.

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10 – Bag Private Lounge Access

Some cabins come with access to private lounge spaces for you to spread out into. Now, usually you’d need to pay out the big bucks for a suite to be allowed over the threshold but, at the other end of the spectrum, the solo lounge on NCL Epic, Breakaway, Getaway, Escape and Pride of America is reserved for those in the solo studios and makes the 100sqft room size far more bearable. The free coffee is pretty good in there too.


11 – Go for a Megaship

Some first time cruisers fear that the confined nature of the actual cruise ship will send them loopier than the on-board flumes – especially if they have lots of at-sea days on their itinerary. Groundhog Day at sea is imagined, following the same steps around the ship that they did the day before and the day before that.

The reality couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you choose a megaship. These monsters-at-sea really are huge, with the biggest being RCI’s Harmony of the Seas at over 362 metres long. You could go your whole cruise without doing, or seeing, the same thing twice, and crossing these ships is a workout in itself! If you don’t want to feel like you’re on a boat, choose a megaship – you’ll feel like you’re on a floating shopping mall, sports and leisure centre, entertainment centre and holiday resort, all in one.

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12 – Choose Your Family Room Carefully

If you’re cruising with your family i.e. the kids, the in-laws, your brother’s wife’s cousin who has to be in on everything, then choose your family accommodation carefully. Disney brings the magic again with the simple addition of a curtain to family cabins, which means mum and dad can read, watch TV or chat (quietly!) while the kids sleep. If you’re travelling with older kids or more extended family, and want to be close but not on top of one and other, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas has interconnecting rooms with shared spaces that are set to change the face of family cruising (to a far less grumpy one!).


13 – Get Up Early

Pre-7pm cruise ships can resemble the Marie Celeste, with the majority of people sleeping off last night’s five course dinner, late night cocktails and energetic dancing. If you crave space then why not be the early bird and go for an early morning jog (without having to play dodge the sun lounger or the very slow walkers), hit the gym, have a quite early breakfast at your choice of table or just spend some time exploring before the rest of the ship wakes up.

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14 – Cruise Out of Season

Whatever your destination of choice, there are always going to be certain times of year that are busier than others. If a ship that’s packed with passengers doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, look into quieter times – just be aware that the weather conditions might not be perfect and a little of the atmosphere on-board might be lost. We’re sure you’ll suck it up though, when you’ve got the pool or the gym or the spa to yourself.


15 – Avoid School Holidays

Kids can make places feel crowded and chaotic, even if they’re not. It’s the speed at which they tear around and the excited shrieks and cries that come with kids that can put those used to a quieter, slower pace, on edge. If you don’t have your own little darlings in tow, don’t choose a family-friendly ship in the school holidays. If, however, you are cruising with kids, give it up – you’re not looking at a quiet holiday until they’ve upped and left for Uni!

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16 – Try Something New

Getting out of your cabin is the simplest step towards banishing cabin fever, but doing the same thing daily on your cruise can make you feel just as claustrophobic. Break out of your comfort zone (and peel yourself off of that sun lounger) and try something different, whether that’s rock climbing, ice skating, golf or cocktail mixing, to keep your cruise varied, fresh and cabin-fever free.


17 – Go Back to School

You might have thought that school’s out for summer (or whenever you’re choosing to cruise) but the on-board enrichment programmes have plenty to interest even reluctant learners, and the learning environments can open up whole new areas of the ship to you. For example, why not sign up to The Cookery Club on P&O to learn from top chefs (including Food Hero James Martin) in a specially designed teaching kitchen? Or stargaze with the Royal Astronomical Society in the only Planetarium at sea on Cunard’s QM2?

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18 – Seek Out a Secret Deck

If you’re booked on a Carnival cruise make sure you seek out the secret decks on-board. The ‘public observation balconies’ can be great places to snatch a peaceful five minutes while gazing out to sea, far away from the kids dive-bombing in the pools. Just don’t shout about them or they won’t stay secret for very long!


19 – Find a Favourite Hiding Place

There are lots of places to retreat to besides your cabin on a cruise ship – it’s just a case of finding the one that best suits you. Do you love to people watch over a latte in a coffee shop, or would you prefer to find a quiet corner of the library and curl up in silence with a good book? Explore the ship to find your favourite hiding place and avoid shutting yourself away in your cabin too often.

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20 – Go Rogue Onshore

Sometimes you need to escape from the same faces and voices, as well as the four walls of your cabin. In these cases, skip the organised tour excursions and do your own thing onshore instead. You’ll either return to the ship refreshed and ready to throw yourself back into life on the ocean waves with vigour – or you’ll end up lost and never to be seen again. Either way, that ‘same face fatigue’ is sorted.


21 – Run Off Some Steam

Getting active can be a great way to stave off the dreaded cabin fever and that doesn’t have to mean going in circles on the running track. Depending on your ship you could try the mini golf, the high ropes, the climbing wall, Zumba, yoga alfresco or working out with an ocean view – and lots more. It’ll get you out of your cabin and mean that those all you can eat puddings can be guilt free, well, sort of!

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22 – Be Friendly

Small cabins can be hard to get used to, but small cabins with a partner and two kids that you’re not used to spending 24/7 with can quickly shorten tempers. Getting friendly with your fellow cruisers can widen your cruising experience, giving you new people to chat to and spend time with. Encourage the kids to do the same and they’ll soon be running off to the kids’ club with their new friends every morning, leaving your family cabin free all day for to do whatever you fancy in!


23 – Ditch the Room Service

Room service can be an exciting novelty on a cruise ship. Unless you’ve got a lovely large balcony to eat on however, it’s better to go out and experience all the brilliant dining options offered on your cruise ship. It’s far nicer to dress up and enjoy the atmosphere and occasion of the dining rooms, rather than wolfing down room service while in your dressing gown watching TV – even if you do just want burger and chips.

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24 – Stay Up Late

Make the most of the great entertainment on-board your cruise ship of choice – the bigger ships have everything from comedy clubs to cabarets to Broadway shows and more on-board. Resist the temptation to crawl back to your cabin after going heavy on the buffet and stay out late instead. You’ll feel far less restless, we promise!


25 – Be a Tele Addict

Most cruise ship cabins have TV’s, so if you do need to be in your cabin and you can always lose yourself in a movie or show. And there’s usually something in the TV guide for everyone. On Disney cruises, for example, it’s not just re-runs of Phineas and Ferb or Dora The Explorer on the Disney channel. There’s also BBC, CNN, ESPN, Discovery, Sitcoms, Music Videos and more to keep mum and dad from suffering Disney character overload.

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26 – Phone Home

Nothing can make you feel reconnected with the world outside your cruise ship than a phone call, or an email, or a skype back home. Until now, most on ship communication has been confined to the internet cafes, but Royal Caribbean are set to change that. The new Quantum class ships boast super-fast Wi-Fi – fast enough to skype or message over – thanks to exclusive satellite orbs. This means that you can phone home whenever your cruise ship is feeling like an alien environment!


It’s easy to keep cabin fever at bay on a cruise, so don’t worry about cruise ship claustrophobia. Use our tips to maximise your space on-  and you’ll be breathing easy even in the smallest cabin type.

Have you ever had cabin fever before? How did you get rid of it? Do you have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!