What not to do on a cruise ship balcony - The Points Guy (2024)

You're super excited to be cruising in a cabin with a private balcony. You're daydreaming of kicking back with a book and a co*cktail, watching the waves roll by and the sun sink over the horizon. The last thing you want to do is be concerned about a bunch of rules.

The truth is there are several things you're not allowed to do on your cruise balcony — and a few more that are not technically banned but that you shouldn't do anyway. Some are safety issues, while others are about being a good neighbor.

Trust me — you will enjoy having a balcony cabin for its access to sunlight, sea breezes and vacation-time relaxation without the crowds. But you'll have a better time if you do not do the following things on your private veranda.

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What not to do on a cruise ship balcony - The Points Guy (1)

Smoke a cigarette or cigar

Costa Cruises is the only cruise line I know of that lets you smoke on your personal balcony. That's because cigarettes on a balcony are a fire hazard.

Just search online for photos of the 2006 fire on Princess Cruises' Star Princess, and you'll see how much damage a discarded lit cigarette can do to a cruise ship. Cruise lines wised up after that and banned smoking on cruise ship balconies. Don't take this rule lightly. In addition to the safety risk you're creating, you will get fined hundreds of dollars and risk disembarkation if caught.

Get naked

If you're going to get an all-over tan or sunbathe topless, your balcony is a better bet for privacy than the bustling pool deck. Just be aware that your balcony is still visible from several viewpoints.

Folks above you might be able to look down onto your balcony if it juts out beyond the higher decks. Security cameras might capture your naturist moment for posterity, and people on the ship docked across from you or on the pier below might have a direct line of sight into your veranda.

If this doesn't bother you, carry on. However, know that it might make others uncomfortable. (Consider booking a nude cruise if you want to enjoy a clothing-optional cruise vacation.)

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Have sex

While we're on the clothing-optional theme, the same commonsense rule applies to getting frisky with your travel companion on your balcony. Your shipmates and others might be able to both see and hear you if you choose to have an amorous encounter on your balcony.

While you might figure out a way to get some privacy on your expansive suite balcony, I have to think that having sex on a tiny standard-size balcony with sea-sprayed, highly trafficked flooring and metal upright chairs sounds as comfortable as getting romantic in your car. Be careful about up-against-the-railing interactions for the reasons we'll outline below.

Related: 6 reasons you'll want to book a balcony cabin on your next cruise

Climb on balcony furniture and railings

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Hey, hey, all you monkeys. Stick to your cruise ship's rock wall if you need to get a climbing fix. Please do not climb onto balcony furniture, sit on the railings with your feet dangling or — and yes, this has been attempted — climb from one balcony to the next. If you have little ones sharing your cabin, read them the riot act that their feet are not to leave the floor (unless their butt is in a chair) while on the balcony.

Losing your balance when climbing on your balcony is a prime way to fall overboard, and no one wants to make that kind of splash on their vacation.

Throw stuff overboard

In addition to your person, the other thing you don't want to go overboard is, well, everything. Do not throw items overboard, whether it be messages in plastic bottles, food or trash. It all goes into the ocean, where it does not belong and could harm sea life.

Not every well-meant message gets found, meaning your bottle could be clogging the seas with plastic for years to come. Your cruise cabin has a trash can by the desk; use it to dispose of garbage.

Related: The best cruise ship balcony cabins for your vacation at sea

Leave little kids unattended

Because your children might have trouble remembering the preceding two rules on their own, make it a family rule that little kids are not to go out on your balcony without an adult. You can stop them when the temptation to climb or throw things becomes too great. The balcony is great for an alfresco breakfast, but it's not a good hiding spot for a cabinwide game of hide and seek.

Tell secrets

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I've had many heart-to-heart talks with friends out on a cruise ship balcony, and your personal onboard space is a better place to share secrets than the ship's coffee shop. If you plan to divulge any juicy details, know that sound does carry, and your neighbor planning to enjoy a nap on the adjacent veranda might have given up their snooze to eavesdrop on all your hot gossip.

Turn up the volume

On the "sound carries" theme, your neighbor might be less than pleased when you're having loud, late-night conversations on your balcony or blasting music. Your balcony might be private, but you're part of a cruise ship community. The passengers next to, above and below you might not share your taste in tunes or have a different sleep schedule. Be considerate and keep the volume low, especially during morning and evening hours.

Dry your swimsuits

I'll be honest — everyone does this. You return from the beach and drape your wet swimsuit over the back of the chair on your balcony. This is fine … until the ship sets sail. Then your favorite bikini or trunks get doused with salty sea spray or blown about by the wind, either onto that not-the-cleanest balcony floor or, worse, out to sea. Your cabin shower should have a pull-out cord to use as a clothesline; dry your clothes there, especially when the ship is moving.

Related: Cruise ship cabin hacks that will transform your voyage

Leave the lights on and the doors open

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You might not be paying the utility bills for your cruise ship, but that's no reason not to be considerate. Turn your balcony light off when you're not sitting out there after dark. Not only does it save electricity, but the light won't bother your neighbors who are trying to sleep.

Leave the balcony door open, and it will create a wind tunnel when someone opens the cabin door. If you must sleep with the door propped open for fresh air, at least turn your room's air conditioning system off so you're not overworking it. Note that on some ships, the air conditioning goes off automatically when you open your balcony door.

Bring cabin bedding outside

I didn't know this was a trend until recently, but it's one that needs to stop. Some cruisers looking for the ultimate cruise ship snooze have been bringing the balcony furniture into their cabin each evening and lugging their mattress and bedding outside for an alfresco night's sleep.

You might love the glamping, but the cruise ship bedding is not designed to be exposed to moist, salty sea air. Your bedding will not only get dirty but might mildew, which is just plain gross. Future passengers might unknowingly be sleeping on less-than-pristine mattresses, and the cruise line will have to replace its bedding more frequently (passing that extra cost along to you in higher cruise fares). Do us all a favor and sleep indoors where you're supposed to. Reserve your outdoor naptime for days on the pool deck or beach.

Bottom line

What should you do when you're cruising in a balcony room? Order room service at least once, and enjoy it with views of the port or the open ocean. Spend a peaceful moment reading a book in the sun without the noise and splashing of the pool deck. Lean against the railing and watch the ship sail into or out of port, or catch the sun rising or setting.

But for the reasons spelled out above, do not do anything on your cruise balcony that is dangerous, embarrassing or inconsiderate of your neighbors or the environment. Your cruise will be better, not worse, for playing by those rules.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • Top ways cruisers waste money
  • The ultimate guide to choosing a cruise ship cabin

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

What not to do on a cruise ship balcony - The Points Guy (2024)
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