I’ve just disembarked a cruise where I stayed in a cabin that had a feature I never knew existed onboard cruise ships.
It certainly was a weird one and I spent most of the week trying to work out why the cruise line made this decision!
Normally when you look at cruise ship cabins they are pretty similar across all the cruise lines.
Cabins are usually made in the same factories, so there is not much variety between the basic cabin structure. That space is usually only around 9 feet wide, and there are certain things that they need to incorporate.
The furnishings will be different of course, but they still have to fit in a bathroom, a bed and some storage in the space available.
This cruise was on the Costa Smeralda, which is a relatively new cruise ship built in 2019.
I decided to treat myself and booked a balcony cabin – and I’m glad I did because that is where I found the bizarre feature!
The description for the cabin said ‘Private Bathroom’ but that wasn’t exactly the case…
I booked what is called a “Guaranteed balcony cabin” which meant that I didn’t pick the specific location of the cabin on the ship.
Usually, this means that you get the leftover cabins that others didn’t pick, but it is cheaper and I’ve never regretted this choice before.
I’ve had cabins right at the back of the ship, right at the front, underneath nightclubs – you name it, I have had it! On this cruise though, I was surprised by my cabin location.
When I logged onto the Costa Cruises website to print the tags for my luggage I saw that we had been assigned cabin 15180 on deck 15.
Looking at the deck plans I quickly found out that this was right in the middle of the ship which is an unusually good location for me!
As It turned out, there was one big problem with being in this location. Sometimes I was kept awake – but I didn’t find that out until a few days into the cruise!
I thought to myself Wow! Deck 15! that’s high – but at least it will be near the buffet!
Actually nope! Every cruise ship I’ve ever been on before this has the buffet up high but, on Smeralda, the buffet is on deck 8!
I took this cruise with my parents and they had booked the cheapest guaranteed inside cabin.
As we boarded the ship lower down and their cabin was on deck 5 we decided to go and have a look at that one first.
At this point I noticed nothing out of the ordinary, it seemed like a nice normal cabin and my parents only paid £279 ($344) each for the WEEK – so they were very happy with their room.
I was very impressed with how the TV pulled right out from the wall in the inside cabins, you can swing it around and adjust it easily if you want to watch the TV from the bed.
We didn’t actually watch much TV on this cruise. Because the majority of people on board spoke Spanish, Italian or French many of the channels were in those languages.
It turns out, the inside cabins don’t have the weird bathroom feature that the balcony cabins have.
Heading up 10 flights of stairs to my cabin, I realised just how strong my legs would be after this cruise!
I do try to avoid using the lifts/elevators when I can, but I did give in on this cruise ship and used the lifts a couple of times.
The Costa Smeralda has 19 decks in total and holds over six and a half thousand guests, plus crew, so she’s a seriously big ship!
When I first entered my cabin I immediately liked the design and the cabin felt very spacious and bright.
At this point, I didn’t notice a curtain hanging in the corner but it would reveal its secrets to me later on…
We had a big sofa, which does convert to a sofa bed if you have a third person staying in the cabin.
It’s pretty common for cruise ship cabins like this to hold 3 or 4 people, and if that’s the case the sofa bed will be made up each night.
There is also another type of bed you may find. It is called a “Pullman bed” and it can be used for a third or fourth passenger in some cabins. This bed folds down from the ceiling and takes its name from similar beds found in sleeper cars on trains
I have stayed in beds like this before, and am going to again soon. I personally really like them – but understand that not everybody does! You need to be quite agile to get up and down the ladder all the time!
Our suitcases arrived in our cabins shortly after we did. When I came to unpack, I quickly realised that there were no drawers in the cabin at all!
Well, there were two in the table in the main cabin, but you definitely couldn’t fit clothes in there.
We used these drawers to keep things we needed every day, like a hairbrush and our chargers. But a few bigger drawers would have been nice…
Apart from those, there were some shelves by the door and a section for hanging clothes in the wardrobe/closet.
There wasn’t any area with full-length hanging, which meant that my dresses couldn’t hang properly. It wasn’t a big problem but adding some more storage into the cabin definitely would be beneficial.
There were the usual things in the cupboards, like a good-sized safe and hairdryer. At this point, the cabin seemed very normal to me.
Next, I went to check out the bathroom. I was instantly impressed with the design as this is one of the most modern cruise ship bathrooms I’ve had. It was really quite spacious too!
I recently took a cruise with the luxury cruise line Azamara, and as you can see from the video below, the bathroom was quite a bit smaller than this one onboard Costa Smeralda.
The bathroom on Costa Smeralda actually had lots of storage, a place for towels and one of those magnifying mirrors that makes everybody look awful!
The shower itself was a really good size for a cruise ship.
Then I noticed the curtain that was hanging beside the shower. It wasn’t on the shower side so I instantly ran back out into the cabin and pulled the curtain open – and I could see into the bathroom!
I was very surprised to see that between the bathroom and the main cabin, there was just a glass wall and a curtain!
The middle section was frosted so you couldn’t see through that part, but I was still really confused why anybody would want this!
I closed the curtain again, I thought it was a gimmick of sorts, something a little quirky but not a problem.
I did wonder how it would affect our cruise going forward though, and I wondered if I could ever find any benefit that made it worth having.
When it came to having a shower, I just left the curtain drawn and the glass really wasn’t a problem.
The curtain is on the cabin side though, so it’s very important you only share a cabin with people that you trust!
I did find the curtain a little annoying as the cruise went on – but not when I was having a shower.
There isn’t any kind of night light in these cabins which means that if you do use the bathroom at night and turn the light on, the light will come into the cabin around all the sides of the curtain, which may disturb anyone else in the cabin who is sleeping.
I usually just use the light on my phone anyway but it’s definitely a downside of this type of design.
I suppose the ‘benefit’ of a cabin like this is that natural light can get into the bathroom.
The bathroom lights are pretty good. Maybe people want to watch the view outside when they’re in the shower? I don’t know…
To see everything about this cabin for yourself, watch this video:
The Cabin Location on the Ship
Being up on deck 15 did feel a bit odd as most things onboard happened on decks 6, 7 and 8.
This was quite a walk, but thankfully the ship doesn’t have a deck 13 – so my walk was always shorter than I thought it would be!
It’s quite common for cruise ships to miss out Deck 13 for superstitious reasons!
The only things up above deck 15 were things like the gym, the spa and the outside spaces with the pools.
On deck 16 there was a huge dome covering an indoor swimming pool area. We found out a couple of days into our cruise, this area was also used for parties...
The parties on Costa Cruises start much later than we are used to on British or American cruise lines. Parties continue until 2am or 3am in the morning.
I sleep pretty well, but even I was kept awake when the white party was held here, as my cabin was below it.
It wasn’t a major problem for me, I had no need to get up early the next day – but I definitely hadn’t considered that the inside pool area would be blasting out music at 2am!
I usually cruise in inside cabins and upgraded my cabin this time to a balcony using a refund from my last cruise that only lasted 8 hours!
We were 4 hours into the trip and we were sitting at dinner when the whole cruise was cancelled. To find out what happened, and how long we had to leave the ship, check out this video next: