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The Real Reason Why Many Ships Miss Deck 13

If you’ve taken a cruise you may have noticed that many cruise ships will miss out deck 13. I’ve been on a number of cruises and on some ships have found deck 13 but on many, you will not.

Why do Cruise Ships Not Have a Deck 13?

Many ships do not have a deck 13 due to superstition surrounding the number. These ships will simply skip from deck 12 straight to 14. However, there are some cruise ships that do have deck 13 and some that skip deck 17 for similar reasons. 

You’ll find the same thing in many hotels and other buildings on land which will often skip floor 13 and planes will also often skip row 13.

Where is Deck 13 on a Cruise Ship?

Technically speaking deck 14 on many cruise ships is deck 13 but it has just been named 14.

This can be quite confusing but I always enjoy it when I am walking up the stairs on a cruise. Say for instance I am walking from my cabin on deck 10 to the buffet on deck 5, in my mind that is 5 decks but in reality, it’s usually only 4!

Some cruise ships do have a real deck 13 which they use for things other than cabins.

The idea being that guests would not like to book a cabin on deck 13 but would be happy doing other things there like playing sports.

On Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships Voyagers or The Seas and Freedom of The Seas, the sports court is on deck 13. This is a good option for smaller cruise ships that don’t want to rename deck 13 completely but for bigger ships deck 13 is often within the cabin space so there isn’t an option to put anything else there.

MSC Sports Court Do They Have Gyms?
MSC Sports Court

Which Cruise Lines Miss Deck 13?

It isn’t the case that if one ship for a cruise line misses deck 13 that the rest of them will. Royal Caribbean for example has deck 13 on some of their cruise ships but not on others. It often depends on what is going to be on that deck, if the deck is going to be for cabins the cruise line will often miss it but if it is for other things they will leave the deck.

Most of the Oasis-class Royal Caribbean cruise ships don’t have the deck but Quantum-class cruise ships do.

There are also cruise ships for many other cruise lines which include a deck 13 such as Cunard and MSC cruise ships.

Do Cruise Ships Have a Lifeboat 13?

Many people upon hearing that deck 13 is unlucky wonder why there is usually still a lifeboat 13 on most cruise ships.

Nobody really knows this but cruise lines do have to draw the line somewhere, you can’t realistically remove all 13 numbered things from a cruise ship.

Do Cruise Ships Have a Cabin 13?

On a lot of cruise ships you won’t find a cabin 13 on any deck, it’ll simply skip.

For example, if you were on deck 10 you may have cabin numbers 10012 and 10014 but no 10013.

This can be a little confusing but as long as nobody is looking for the cabin, it isn’t a problem. It’s often a joke that if you were to win a cruise it would be cabin 13 on deck 13.

Why do Some Cruise Ships Not Have a Deck 17? (MSC)

Some ships do not have a deck 17 because the number 17 is considered to be unlucky in some places such as Italy. As a result, many Italian cruise lines will not include deck 17 on their ships. 

The ships that miss deck 17 will go straight from 16 to 18. 

Evidence of this can be seen on MSC cruise ships. Many of the newer MSC cruise ships, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Grandiosa, MSC Bellissima are all 19 decks high but miss the 17th deck.

Interestingly deck 17 is rarely a deck that holds cabins as it is too high on the ship. Unlike many cruise lines that omit 13 when cabins are on the deck, the decision to remove deck 17 seems to happen regardless of what is on that deck.

Costa Cruises are also an Italian cruise line but they haven’t renamed deck 17 on their ships.

msc seaside aft pool
MSC Seaside

Why is number 17 considered to be bad luck?

17 when written in roman numerals is XVII which is an anagram of VIXI, in Latin this translates as ‘I have lived’ which implies death. In other countries, 4 and 9 are also considered to be unlucky numbers but no cruise ships omit these decks.

To conclude: Many cruise ships miss deck 13 because of superstitions around the number. In Italian culture, the number 17 is considered unlucky so many Italian ships will not have this deck instead. If the deck doesn’t house cabins many cruise lines will keep deck 13 but usually deck 13 is just renamed to become deck 13.

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