Skip to main content

9 mistakes to avoid while planning a cruise and sharing a cabin with a friend


With 3- and 4-night sailings during the off-season costing less than $100 per person, per night, they make for a great vacation choice due to their convenience and affordability. 

Traveling with friends, however, can be awkward, especially if you aren't super close to each other. Even if you are, sharing a 200-square-foot cabin (or smaller) can test the strongest bonds. 

Perhaps, for instance, you're an early riser who wants to soak up as much time as possible on the lido deck, whereas your traveling companion prefers to catch up on their sleep while on vacation. 


Conflict can arise between relatives, friends, and romantic partners. To ensure smooth sailing, take time to address a few key factors before embarking on your cruise. Otherwise, you may be scarred by a negative travel experience. 

Here are 9 mistakes to avoid while planning a cruise and sharing a stateroom with a friend or loved one. 

Purchasing a drink package

Alchemy Bar

Mainstream cruise lines require all guests staying in the same cabin to purchase an alcoholic drink package, meaning that it's not possible to split one package to save money. If you're sailing with someone who isn't a heavy drinker and can't consume 5-6 cocktails per day, it likely will be a waste of money. 

With drink packages costing, at minimum, $60 per person, per day, they aren't a cheap investment. Rather than assume you're traveling with someone who wants a package, discuss priorities regarding cruise add-ons. Perhaps your travel buddy is thinking about splurging on a few shore excursions instead of alcohol. 

If you go ahead and purchase packages for yourself and your travel companion, it could lead to a disagreement later on. 


Thankfully, when my dad and I cruised together on Quantum of the Seas, we were on the same page regarding Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage Package

With my daily Diamond drink vouchers, we didn't feel it was necessary to spend over $1,000 on a drink package. Instead, we put the money towards delicious specialty restaurants and once-in-a-lifetime shore excursions. 

Read more: 16 hidden cruise ship extra charges you should know about



Cruise ship cabins are much smaller than standard hotels. In fact, most don't have space for two queen beds, unless you're staying in a lavish suite. With less square footage comes less storage space, so bringing too much luggage can make your living quarters feel cramped and cluttered.

Be mindful of the space that you'll be sharing, especially if you're sailing with two or three other people in a single cabin. Rather than bring an outfit for each night, re-wear one or two to help save space. 

Plus, if you pack light, you may be able to avoid checked luggage fees. With most U.S.-based carriers charging around $30 per bag, per way, packing everything you need for your cruise in a carry-on is an easy way to save around $60!  

Read more: Cruise packing list: Essentials to bring on a cruise

Forgetting to request a specific bed configuration 


If you're traveling with a partner, you'll likely want to keep the two twin-sized beds together to create a queen-sized one. On the other hand, those sailing with a friend might want their own space, which will require the beds to be separated. 

Sometimes, you'll arrive to find the beds configured the opposite way. No need to worry, though— simply ask your cabin steward to adjust the bed configuration to suit your preferences. When I cruised onboard Celebrity Reflection, my finacée and I arrived to find the beds separated. We alerted our stateroom attendant who had them pushed together before dinner! 

I've found that separating the beds also makes the cabin feel more spacious, which is useful when staying in tiny interior rooms

Hogging the cabin's outlets

Cruise Cords

Older ships do not come equipped with many outlets. Typically, they're condensed to the vanity area. On ships like Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, you shouldn't expect to find any by the bed, either. 

Many veteran cruisers will bring a surge-free adapter to increase the number of available ports. Some even recommend a portable charger to keep near your bedside. If you forget, though, don't hog the available outlets. 

Even if you have multiple devices to charge, from cellular phones to smartwatches, tablets, and laptops, take turns, so everyone gets a chance to ensure that their devices are powered up when needed. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to limited resources like outlets on a ship!

Read more: Why smart cruisers bring a European power adapter on a cruise ship

Not disclosing your vacation budget


While you might be a person who enjoys spending more disposable income on vacations, your travel companion may not have that luxury. Instead, be upfront about your budget. Are you willing to splurge more on this trip, or are you trying to pinch pennies? 

It's best to discuss this before booking the trip, as it can determine which stateroom you reserve. Cruisers hoping to stretch their vacation budget as far as possible are okay with staying in an inside room. Some, however, prefer the convenience of a private verandah. 

While it's okay to have different budgets, setting clear expectations and communicating openly about them ensures you'll avoid later hiccups, as you can make informed decisions that accommodate everyone's financial comfort levels. 

Read more: How to save money on a cruise: 23 money-saving tips

Being inflexible 


Cruisers remain a popular vacation choice due to their convenience. Perhaps you're looking forward to relaxing by the pool while your partner is eager to explore each port of call. Similarly, maybe you're travel buddy wants to try the onboard sushi restaurant, though you're not a big fan. 

It's crucial to find a balance that satisfies everyone's desires to ensure everyone has a memorable experience. 

Moreover, not everyone's work schedules align, so you'll want to remain flexible when choosing a date. It's difficult enough to plan a weekend trip to visit friends with conflicting calendars, imagine a weeklong trip! 

Read more: 8 ways to do things differently on your next cruise

Disregarding personal space


Throughout the cruise, it's okay to spend time apart. In addition to hanging out with your travel companion, you'll also be conversing with other crew members, guests, and tour guides. To avoid social exhaustion, don't be afraid to spend time alone reading in a secluded area, taking a leisurely stroll around the ship, or napping on the pool deck. 

Whenever my dad and I sail together, he leaves the cabin when I'm showering and getting ready for dinner. I'm thankful he recognizes that I need personal space when styling my hair and doing my makeup. By the time he returns, I'm almost ready, and he can quickly change before heading out to enjoy a delicious meal.

We get along much better knowing our limitations and respecting boundaries! 

Read more: I stayed in the cheapest cabin on Carnival Conquest

Setting unrealistic expectations


Passengers sailing on the larger, newer ships won't visit smaller ports. Similarly, older vessels have fewer onboard amenities, ranging from limited dining options to basic entertainment. 

Whatever you're hoping to get out of your cruise vacation, make sure you book the ship that aligns most with your preferences. It might involve a little bit of compromise if you and your travel companion are seeking different experiences! 

Speaking of your cruising partner, they may have different sleep schedules. My finacée, for instance, typically needs an afternoon nap if they plan on staying up late, whereas I prefer to power through, as naps usually make me sleepier! 

It would be unfair if I expected her to ignore her needs. Instead, whenever we travel, I make a mental note that she'll have to return to the cabin at some point to rest up. 

Ignoring conflicts 


Resolving conflicts swiftly is paramount for maintaining positive relationships, as well as having a memorable cruise vacation. 

The moment you begin to feel any tension, take a moment to discuss the issue with your travel partner before it escalates. What may start as a minor disagreement can quickly spiral into a larger issue if not prompty addressed. 

You don't want a friendship to turn sour because of a fight on vacation. Instead, you want to return home with amazing memories, looking forward to the next adventure. 

Read more: I paid $3,600 for a suite on Carnival Vista

Loading Comments