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You Can Sleep on a Cruise Ship Balcony (Here’s How and When)

If you are going on a cruise you might be wondering if you can sleep on the balcony. I haven’t personally done this, apart from the odd daytime nap but I do have friends who like to do this on occasion. Many people enjoy the fresh air and being able to look out to sea.

Can You Sleep on a Cruise Ship Balcony?

There are no rules that say that passengers on cruise ships can’t sleep on their balconies. That said, cruise lines do generally advise against it. Despite this many people enjoy sleeping on their balconies and you won’t have any problem doing so if you want to. 

There are a few things that you should take into account before sleeping on the balcony such as how do you make it comfortable and how to ensure that you won’t be woken unexpectedly. Some balconies and ships are definitely better for sleeping on than others. The photo below shows the balcony of the Royal Princess which is really quite small by cruise ship standards.

royal princess small balcony cabin chairs table

Royal Princess Balcony

Daytime Naps

Having a daytime nap on the balcony is one of my favourite things about cruising, in warm weather of course!

On most balconies you’ll only find chairs and a table, if you’re lucky you may find a sun lounger. My favourite thing to do is to take a towel out and lay on the floor as if I was sunbathing on the top deck. It’s very easy to fall asleep like this but do be careful as the floor can be grubby. I’ve laid like this for hours before editing YouTube videos or writing content for this website.

If you are taking a daytime nap you need to be aware that you may be woken by other guests on their balconies or by people on land if you are docked. Announcements and events may also wake you up but that’s something that is to be expected from sleeping during the day.

Balcony Cleaning

If you are unlucky they may schedule balcony cleaning for a time when you’d like to take a sleep. When the balconies are cleaned guests are normally notified ahead of time and asked to come off the balcony/bring in anything that shouldn’t get wet. The balconies are actually opened up and people will come along and clean each balcony. It wouldn’t be much fun if this happened when you were mid nap!

When you get notice that your balcony will be cleaned it’s always worth trying to remember this. I’ve been in bed before when I’ve opened my eyes and seen a man standing on my balcony, he was a crew and cleaning but nevertheless it’s quite a surprise!


If you are cruising to a cold destination like Norway or Alaska I definitely recommend bringing your duvet onto the balcony and wrapping yourself up. I’ve done this on many occasions where I wanted to watch a sail in/sail away but it was cold outside. I’ll usually be wearing my day clothes, coat and then a duvet on top!

If you’re cruising with a British cruise line like P&O you can also make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy that on the balcony. It’s brilliant.

norwegian fjords cruise tips balcony quilt duvet girl cup of tea

Me onboard P&O’s Britannia with a duvet and a cup of tea!

Night Time Sleeping

Many people do enjoy sleeping on the balcony at night so that they can fall asleep listening to the sounds of the ocean and looking at the stars. This is incredibly relaxing and theres nothing quite like looking out to sea at night.

If you are lucky enough to have a sun lounger on your balcony you could make this into a make shift bed which would be fairly comfortable. Some people do move items from inside the cabin onto the balcony (even mattresses) but I wouldn’t recommend this. I don’t think that the cabin stewards would appreciate this as the balconies can be dirty and it’s definitely not easy to move something like a mattress onto the balcony!

It’s worth remembering that nothing will be as comfortable as the bed inside the cabin, if you’re cruising with Princess or Viking make sure that you make the most out of those incredibly comfortable beds.


In order to keep the air conditioning working inside the cabin you do have to keep the balcony door closed on the majority of cruise lines. This is one of the reasons that many people do sleep on the balcony because in theory you can’t lay in bed and keep the door balcony open. Many people do this but the cruise lines recommend against it.

Is it Safe to Sleep on a Cruise Ship Balcony?

If you are somebody who suffers from sleep walking it may not be a good idea to sleep on the balcony. 

All cruise ship balconies have railings which are at least at chest height. Unless you were sleeping while floating about a metre into the air you’d be quite safe! If the weather was particularly bad you may feel a slight movement of the ship, but worse case scenario you’d just feel the motion. You wouldn’t be rolling from side to side!

For more information about what movement you’ll experience on a cruise, including how to avoid it, check out this post:

You May Feel Movement on a Cruise Ship – Here’s When and Why

Sleeping Elsewhere

If you don’t have a balcony you may be wondering if you can find somewhere else to sleep under the stars. In theory if you did sleep on the top decks you wouldn’t have a problem, although the crew may keep checking on you to make sure that you’re okay. Sleeping in a public place is always a bit of a strange thing but there are lots of quiet places on cruise ships where you could grab a sleep if you wanted too.

In the day time it’s very common to see people asleep on the top decks, you’ll find people asleep just about everywhere!

Luxury Cruise Lines

On the SeaDream (a luxury yacht) guests are invited to have a bed made for them on the top deck so that they can sleep in style under the stars. I have to say, this is quite far from any experience I’ve had on a cruise but if you can afford luxury, why not!

Below is a photo that Dave (ShipMonk) took of his top deck bed, it looks AMAZING.

seadream top deck bed


Other Things You Can/Can’t Do on a Balcony

Can You Smoke on a Cruise Ship Balcony?

There are only 4 cruise lines which still allow smoking on their balconies. Generally speaking this is not allowed and guests are only able to smoke in designated smoking areas onboard. To learn more about smoking on balconies, check out this post: The 4 Cruise Lines That Allow Smoking on Cabin Balconies.

Can You Fish on a Cruise Ship Balcony?

You cannot fish off a cruise ship balcony. This is not allowed by the cruise lines and it would be near impossible even if it was. Cruise ships typically travel at around 20-30knots and your balcony may be, for example, on deck 10. This would make fishing almost impossible and it should not be tried. 


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