Cruise Lines Drain The Swimming Pools at Night – Here’s Why


If you have ever been on a cruise you may have noticed that cruise lines often drain out the water from the hot tubs and swimming pools at night, this is a common occurrence.

There are some exceptions to this rule but generally speaking, the majority of cruise lines drain their swimming pools each night. They do this for multiple reasons.

Why do Cruise Lines Drain The Swimming Pools at Night?

Cruise lines drain their swimming pools at night to discourage guests from trying to enter the pool when it is closed. Draining the swimming pools each night also allows the cruise lines to replace the water with clean water and a drained swimming pool is safer if the weather is rough.

All cruise ships would have to drain their swimming pools and hot tubs to change the water at some point, so doing this at night time when the pool is also closed makes the most sense.

If cruise lines decided to drain and change the water in the day this would disrupt the guests who wanted to swim.

cruise line drain swimming pool netting over pool

Draining Cruise Ship Swimming Pools Prevents Accidents

Draining cruise ship swimming pools at night is designed to deter guests from entering the pool when the pool is closed.

Not all cruise lines have lifeguards on duty but many now do. For these cruise lines they don’t want anybody swimming when a lifeguard isn’t on duty.

There is an argument though that draining the swimming pool can cause worse injuries to passengers than unattended swimming. The idea of draining the pool is to discourage guests from entering but in some situations guests still do.

There are multiple reports of guests jumping into the pools and trying to use the nets that cover the pools to support their weight. Many guests have found out the hard way that these nets aren’t designed to support their weight.

princess cruise net over swimming pool

Draining Cruise Ship Swimming Pools Allows The Water to be Refilled

The majority of cruise lines change the water within the swimming pools when they drain the pools at night.

Some cruise ships have saltwater swimming pools and some have freshwater. This varies not only by cruise ship but by individual pool. It isn’t uncommon to find both freshwater and saltwater swimming pools on the same ship.

To learn more about why freshwater and saltwater pools are used on cruise ships, check out this post:

Draining the swimming pools at night also means that the pools can be kept clean. Things like passengers’ sunscreen will often wash off into the water throughout the day and small items may be dropped into the pool.

Having a regular cleaning schedule means that the swimming pools are always as hygienic as possible.

Cruise ship swimming pools do usually contain chlorine and have filters that clean the water but changing the water at night guarantees that the water is as clean as possible.

Draining Cruise Ship Swimming Pools is Safer in Bad Weather

Cruise ship swimming pools are designed with rocky weather in mind. A very small movement that would not be felt by passengers is multiplied when affecting the swimming pool and this can lead to the water sloshing from one end to the other.

Draining the water at night does limit any movement of the water and this means that the cruise line staff don’t have to worry about the pool.

The pools are designed to accommodate water splashing around, they usually have different levels down by the pool, and for the water to reach the main deck, although not unheard of, it is quite rare.

If the weather does start to get rough, the water in the swimming pool begins to splash from side to side, the cruise line will usually close the swimming pool and put a net over it.

What Happens When a Cruise Line Drains a Swimming Pool?

A cruise line will usually close their swimming pools, then a little later on, will drain out the water. A net will usually be placed over the top of the swimming pool at this point.

Cruise ship swimming pools are usually open late into the evening and they open early in the morning, so the majority of guests wouldn’t even know that the water had been drained.

The only time I’ve ever noticed it is when coming back from the buffet having grabbed myself a late night snack!

Do Cruise Lines Drain Their Hot Tubs?

Cruise lines do drain their hot tubs. Some cruise lines do this on a daily basis similar to the swimming pools but not all do. A net is again placed over the hot tubs.

The hot tubs usually close at the same time as the main swimming pools. It isn’t unusual for hot tubs and swimming pools in one part of the ship to be open later than another, for example the hot tubs and swimming pool on the main outside deck may be closed before the inside pool.

Do Cruise Lines Drain Swimming Pools in The Daytime?

Cruise lines do occasionally drain their swimming pools in the day although this is not standard.

When this happens, it is usually for a reason such as maintenance or because of a hygiene issue, for example somebody vomiting (or worse) into the swimming pool.

Cruise lines do their best to close the swimming pools when guests are not likely to be swimming, that said some cruise lines do close their pools and hot tubs early in the evening.

Golden Princess Aft Swimming Pool View Sun Loungers Asia

When do The Swimming Pools Close?

On most cruise lines, the swimming pools are open from early morning until the evening. On some cruise lines, you’ll find the pools and hot tubs open late into the evening which I particularly enjoy. There’s not a lot better than an evening swim beneath the stars!

I asked our Facebook Group if the members had ever wanted to go for a swim in the swimming pools but found that the pools were closed. Over 76% of people said that they had:

On twitter the results were similar:

do cruise ship swimming pools close to early

If you are taking a cruise and would like to take an evening swim, it’s best to have a look in advance at the opening times of the swimming pools before you plan your evening.

Many cruisers find it frustrating that the pools close so early into the evening but this is for safety reasons. The last thing a cruise line wants is drunk guests swimming in the pool.

Some guests have died this way, to learn more about the most common ways to die on a cruise, including how many drown, check out this post:

Cruise Ship Deaths – Annual Statistics, Causes and Real Examples

To conclude:

Cruise lines drain their swimming pools at night for safety reasons, to change the water and in cases where the weather is bad or maintenance needs to work on the pool or hot tubs.

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Emma Le Teace

Hey, I'm Emma, an award-winning cruise blogger, and YouTuber. I share cruise tips, tours, and videos on this website to help you master cruising on a budget. You can learn more here: About Me.

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