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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 sleep under the stars.

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.

Many people enjoy sleeping on their balconies, and you won’t have any problem if you want to do so too.

There are a few things that you should take into account before sleeping on the balcony such as how 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. If you are tall, it probably won’t suit you at all.

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 were sunbathing on the top deck.

When I sailed on Emerald Princess, the floor was covered in a soft, non-slip matting. I didn’t even need a towel to lie on!

Relaxing on my Aft balcony cabin on Emerald Princess

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.

norwegian prima balcony
Balcony on Norwegian Prima

The metal doors separating the balconies are actually opened up to make one giant balcony that the crew can walk along. The crew 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 when this is.

I’ve been in bed before and when I opened my eyes and saw a man standing on my balcony – he was a crew member and busy cleaning – but nevertheless, it was 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 wonderful!

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 there’s 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 makeshift 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!

There was a couple in 2024 who bought their mattress out to the balcony, they were banned from the cruise line.

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.

virgin voyages scarlet lady hammock on the balcony

Virgin Voyages have incredibly comfortable hammocks on their balconies. I am sure I could easily sleep in one of these!

Air Conditioning

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.

When I sailed onboard Celebrity Edge, I had an “Infinite Veranda” cabin. This meant there was no actual outside balcony to sit on.

When you opened the large window to turn your cabin into a “Veranda” the air conditioning went off and the mirrors in the room steamed up!

Having said that, it would have been very easy to make up your bed on the floor of the Veranda part of the cabin if you wanted to do so – but then you wouldn’t really be “outside.”

Find out more about that unusual cabin here:

Is it Safe to Sleep on a Cruise Ship Balcony?

If you are somebody who suffers from sleepwalking 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.

If the weather was particularly bad you may feel a slight movement of the ship, but worst-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:

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 to.

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

virgin voyages scarlet lady main swimming pool top deck seating

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

When I sailed on the superyacht Emerald Azzurra, I had a very wide balcony, and I am sure I could have easily made up a bed here if I had wanted to!

Emerald Azzurra Balcony
Emerald Azzurra Balcony

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.

One of the cruise lines that does allow smoking on balconies is Costa Cruises. Smoking seemed quite prevalent on this Italian cruise line.

Find out all about my cruise on the mega-ship Costa Smeralda here:

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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