What’s the secret to getting the best cruise ship sleep? Veteran cruisers often say they sleep better on a cruise ship than at home. New cruisers worry they won’t be able to sleep on a cruise ship.

Find out what cruisers love about sleeping on the ship and new cruisers need to know.

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Best Cruise Ship Sleep: Location, Location, Location

Veteran cruisers get the best cruise ship sleep because the ship gently rocks them into dream land. It’s a comforting feeling they don’t get at home.

But, they also know that your cabin’s location can make a big difference whether you sleep well or not.

Low and Slow

If you are prone to sea sickness, choose a room on a low deck and close to the center of the ship. Ships move up and down from bow to aft, and side to side port to starboard. The closer to the center you are, the less motion you feel. Think of a see-saw — the middle doesn’t move but the ends bounce up and down.

Ship deckplan showing circle around center rooms

Get Away from Noise

Next, avoid rooms near noisy areas, like the atrium, centrum, promenade and elevators. The centrum and indoor promenade areas can have music late into the night that might keep you up. Elevator areas can also become noisy with people shouting.

Often overlooked, crew stairwells and work areas can also be noisy due to people or machines bustling about at all hours.

Avoid Rooms Directly Under the Pool Deck

Some cruisers complain they hear people dragging loungers across the pool area. Often, maintainance staff come out at night to stack up all of the chairs, clean the deck and move the chairs back. In the day time, other cruisers move the chairs to different locations.

It’s not much fun to listen to squeaking all night long.

Two twin beds with crisp white linens on a cruise ship

Best Cruise Ship Sleep: Bring Supplies

Veteran cruisers usually bring a few things that encourage great sleep on a cruise ship. You never know what will happen at bed time to derail your rest.

Eye Mask

First, I never travel anywhere without an eye mask and ear plugs. I prefer a silk over cotton eye mask since it is softer and less likely to irritate your skin. It also helps block light from coming under the mask. Some masks have padded pillows for the cheek bones.

Ear Plugs

Second, you will find ear plugs are also necessary if you have a roommate who snores or stays up late, or have the misfortune of a room located near a source of noise.

I recommend bringing several pairs, since mine always fall out half way through the night. They are easily lost, so a single pair may not be enough.

Nose Strips

If you have allergies, bring some nose strips. They can also help you sleep if you have any trouble breathing.

Lip Balm

Lip balm is one of my favorite self-care items. It keeps your lips comfortable and moisturized in the dry air of the cruise ship’s HVAC. Equally important, some have SPF to keep your lips from burning in the sun.

Night Light

Also on every cruise, I bring night lights.

Some newer ships like Symphony of the Seas have built-in bathroom night lights, but it’s best to bring your own, just in case. Place one in the bathroom and it will keep you from tripping over everything on the way to pee at 3 am.

Nightlight turned on casting a yellow-white light

I bought these Maxxima nightlights for a cruise and use them year round. You can switch it to red mode to save your eyes at night.

Keep Water Nearby

Important to note, cruise ship forced air systems can dry you out. Keep some water nearby in case you wake up thirsty.

It’s safe to drink the bathroom tap water, but it’s not filtered, so the taste might be unpleasant.

I love Nalgene bottles. They’re virtually indestructable and not expensive. I have 4 of them and dragged them on many cruises. It’s a great way to bring filtered ice water back to the room from the buffet.

Tip: Put your name on the bottle with a Sharpie or label maker.

Person holding a blue-green Nalgene 1 liter bottle with open lid

Bring Sea Sick Remedies

Next, if you’re prone to sea sickness, come prepared to treat it. Everyone has a different method they prefer. I am partial to the patch.

  • Scopolamine transdermal patch (doctor prescription) – each patch lasts for 3 days – looks like a small round sticker placed on the neck
  • Dramamine/Bonine (over the counter drug)
  • Ginger pills (herbal)
  • Sea bands

Fortunately, I’m not prone to sea sickness, but I’d rather not take my chances, so I start the patch as soon as I board the ship. The only downside is that the adhesive may irritate the skin.

White Noise

Finally, a way to deal with unusual or unwanted noises on the ship is to have a source of white noise.

You can use a white noise app or white noise machine. Some cruisers always bring a battery operated fan to help cool themselves and provide constant noise.

Battery operated devices are best since cruise ship cabins have a limited number of plugs (2 or 3).

Best Cruise Ship Sleep: Settling into Your Cabin

Get to Know Your Cabin Attendant

He or she can help make your stay much more pleasant. If your bed is uncomfortable you can ask for additional blankets or padding under the sheets.

“Junior” on a Royal Caribbean ship

Temperature

Some people like the room a bit cooler at night. Adjust the temperature lower for sleep hours to help you relax.

Cruise Ship Habits

Get to Bed Early

Now that you’re on vacation, let yourself rest. Even if you’re a night owl, you may find a cruise ship experience more rewarding when you are up early enough to see the sunrise. 

If you’re a late sleeper, your neighbors may wake you up earlier than you’d like. People start bustling around 8 am, so you will start hearing doors slam, children running and people talking.

Of course, you could treat yourself to a refreshing wake up call by ordering room service.

Limit Your Alcohol Intake

While it’s exciting to try new drinks and relax, alcohol can interfere with sleep.

What Helps You Get the Best Cruise Ship Sleep?

As you can see, there are several things that will improve your cruise ship sleep.

Do you have any other ideas not mentioned? Let us know in the comments or on social media.