Sharing a stateroom with friends or family members during a cruise can help you save money, but may also test your relationships with your cabin mates. If you are used to living in separate bedrooms, sharing this living area can be tough. Staterooms are much smaller than standard hotel rooms to fit as many passengers as possible on the ship. Rooms that sleep three passengers may contain an upper berth located above one of the beds or a convertible couch. Making the most of the limited space in your room can help ensure that you and your cruise room mates share your best cruise, free from the squabbles caused by living in close quarters.

Step One

Evaluate the type of three-person cabins on your ship before you book a cruise. Cruise ship cabins always vary by cruise line, like Royal Caribbean cruise line, MSC, Norwegian Cruise line, Holland America, Carnival Cruise line, and Disney Cruise line. Compare square feet and square footage of each cruise cabin. Balcony rooms are typically larger than inside or ocean view staterooms. Look at stateroom descriptions and photographs for several ships and determine if you would be more comfortable on a ship in which the three-person staterooms contain an upper berth (sometimes called bunk bed or pullman), or one in which the extra person will sleep on a convertible sofa bed.

Step Two

Decide who will sleep in the third bed. Take turns if no one volunteers to sleep in the upper berth or convertible couch for the entire cruise. Write everyone's name on a small piece of paper and draw the name of the person who will sleep in the third bed on the first night. Draw names again to determine the sleeping order configuration for the remaining nights on the cruise.

Step Three

Divide the available drawers between each stateroom occupant. Keep the rest of your belongings in your luggage. Store suitcases under the beds after you remove needed items.

Step Four

Buy an over-the-door hanger intended for shoe storage from a dollar or discount store. Install the hanger over the closet or bathroom door. recommends filling the hanger with shoes, belts and other small items, or even toiletries if you run out of counter space in the bathroom.

Step Five

Prepare a schedule for bathroom usage to avoid arguments. Give each person a 15-minute time slot in the evening and morning, with the option to extend bathroom time after each person has used their initial time allotment.

Step Six

Decide when you will turn out the television and lights each night, taking into account everyone’s sleep preferences. Invest in a sleep mask, just in case others want to keep the lights on when you are ready to go to sleep.


If everyone is able-bodied and can climb a ladder, choosing a ship that offers rooms with upper berths for the third person may be a better option than choosing a ship that offers convertible couches for extra sleeping space. When a convertible couch is opened, it takes up most of the available floor space in the stateroom, making it difficult for others in the room to reach the bathroom or door. But, it does operate as a good sitting area in lieu of a living room or more living spaces, so it still offer good perks. If you have a private balcony cabin, you may not need it, but if you have an ocean view cabin or inside cabin, you may feel you need the couch.

Bring a clean pillowcase with you to use as a hamper for dirty clothing. Place the pillowcase under a bed when not in use.

Store the upper berth ladder next to the wall when not in use to maximize the space in your stateroom. recommends booking a three-person cabin well in advance of your travel date, as ships only offer a limited number of cabins that can sleep three people.


Be vigilant about picking up clutter in the room. A pair of shoes left on the floor can create a tripping hazard during a midnight bathroom trip.

For larger families, consider getting a deluxe room, family suite, or family cabin for more room. Often, speaking to a travel agent can help you determine whether this is a better deal than simply booking two or more rooms.