Cruise door decorations: Everything you need to know

Cruise door decorations: Everything you need to know

13th June 2020 0 By Cruise Mummy
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Decorating your cruise cabin door can be a fun way to make your room stand out from the rest amongst a long corridor of identical stateroom doors. Whether you want to show that you’re celebrating a special occasion, need help with recognising your cabin number, or just want a bit of fun, cruise door decorations are becoming increasingly popular.

In this article, you’ll find lots of cruise door decoration ideas, including kits to buy online, in stores and cruise decorations you can make yourself at home.

We’ll also discuss cruise line rules about cruise ship door decorations, so you can make sure you don’t do anything that will get you into trouble.

Disney cruise door decoration
Photo credit: Amber Diamante

Do people decorate cruise ship doors?

The prevalence of cabin door decorations varies quite a lot by cruise line. Here’s what to expect on each ship, from the most popular for decorations to the least.

Disney cruises – Disney cruisers love to decorate their cabin doors more than anyone else. Door decorations are really popular on Disney Cruises and if you don’t do it, you might feel a little left out of the fun. Each door has a round port-hole shape with the cabin number on which can easily be transformed into a Mickey Mouse head with the addition of ears.

Carnival cruises – Carnival refers to its ships as ‘fun ships’ and Carnival cruisers of all ages love to decorate their doors with funny signs and pictures.

Royal Caribbean cruises – Most doors aren’t decorated on Royal Caribbean ships, but you will see the occasional one, mostly belonging to frequent cruisers who are celebrating birthdays or anniversaries.

Other cruise lines – Door decorating is not as common on cruise lines such as P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Cunard. You may see the occasional cabin door with decorations on it, probably more so at Christmas than at other times of the year.

NCL cruises – Norwegian Cruise Line has banned all door decorations. You must not decorate your doors on NCL ships or the decorations will be taken down.

Why decorate your stateroom door?

Some of the reasons people choose to put up cruise stateroom door decorations include:

1. It helps you to recognise your room

Stateroom doors all look the same except for the number and corridors can be incredibly long. It can be quite tricky to spot which door is yours and it’s easy to walk straight past your cabin if you’re distracted and chatting.

For people with poor eyesight or learning disabilities, cruise door decorations can be incredibly valuable. Many cabin numbers are five digits long and so having something unique, bright and colourful on your cabin door can make it much easier to recognise.

2. To celebrate a special occasion

Taking a cruise is a great way to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary. Whether you want to let everyone know that you’re celebrating twenty years of marriage, or embarrass your husband on his 40th birthday, cruise door decorations are a great way to celebrate.

This also lets your stateroom stewards know that you’re celebrating too, which is a good idea as they might even leave a little surprise for you in your cabin.

3. You can leave messages on your door

Adding a magnetic whiteboard to your cabin door can be a handy way to leave messages for others. If your group is spread across two or more nearby cabins, you could leave a note to let people know where you’ll be. Using your mobile phone at sea can be incredibly expensive, so having a way to pass messages can be very handy.

You could also encourage strangers to leave notes for you on your whiteboard, which can be fun. Just remember that if you’re on a family ship, not to leave any notes or pictures that you wouln’t want little eyes to see.

4. Meet like-minded people

If you’ve read my post about pineapple on a cruise ship door, you’ll know that this tropical fruit is a secret symbol that swingers use to let others know what they’re into.

If wife-swapping isn’t for you, then you’ll want to make sure that you don’t decorate your door with pineapples to avoid any unwanted attention. On the other hand, if you’re not shy and are looking for some adult fun on your cruise, a pineapple magnet on your cruise cabin door could be the way to attract it!

Cruise door decoration ideas

If you’re thinking of decorating your cabin door on your next cruise, take a look at these photos to come up with some ideas as to what you could do.

Funny cruise door decorations

There are so many funny cruise puns that you could use on your cabin door banners. Like this one, which is straight to the point and perfect for a stag do, hen do, bachelor party or bachelorette party!

Let's get ship faced funny cruise door sign
Photo credit: Karen Reynolds

Birthday cruise door magnets

Celebrating a birthday is always a good time to break out the funny door signs…

funny birthday cruise door decorations
Photo credit: Debbir Cherchio

Halloween decorations

If you love to decorate your home for Halloween, why should your cruise be any different? Halloween door decorations are easy to make.

Halloween cruise door decorations
Photo credit: Darleen Davis Cherry

Christmas cruise door decorations

A full Christmas door wreath like this one looks amazing, although it might take up quite a lot of room in your luggage! Christmas cruise door magnets are always an option if you’re short on space.

Christmas cruise door decorations
Photo credit: Mary Carlson

To celebrate a or a Christmas cruise, how about attaching Christmas stockings to your door? Who knows what Santa might leave inside?

Christmas cruise door decorations
Photo credit: Kristina KoKoruz Parsons

St Patrick’s Day decorations

Whatever the holiday, you can buy or make cruise door decorations to match, like these fun St Patrick’s Day signs.

St Patrick's Day cruise door decorations
Photo credit: Tracey Collins

Easter cruise door decorations

This Easter wreath is so cute. Again, you may wish to opt for card and magnets rather than something so bulky for your cruise.

Easter cruise door decorations
Photo credit: Mary Carlson

Disney cruise door decorations

Disney cruisers are often the kings of cabin door decorations. Turning that round door number into a Mickey is a common theme, and people often like to add more magnets with their own interests.

Disney cruise door decorations
Photo credit: Sarah Pepper

As well as Disney cruise door magnets in Mickey Mouse shapes, Disney cruisers often decorate their cabin door with whatever they fancy to make them unique.

Disney cruise door magnets
Photo credit: Heather Sloan

Message boards

Whiteboards, chalk boards, dry erase boards and magnetic lettters can all be used to create messages on your door which you can change as often as you like.

Dry erase board on cruise cabin door
Photo credit: Tina Yaz Mav

You could even attach pens and paper to create a guest board for fellow passengers to sign.

cruise cabin door message board
Photo credit: Jodi McElroy Mortimer

Cruise line rules about decorating cabin doors

The rules about door decorations are different for each cruise line. Be sure to read these carefully before you make the decision to decorate.

General rules – for all cruise lines.

  • Any decorations must not be offensive, vulgar or otherwise inappropriate
  • Decorations must not leave a mark or damage the door. If they do, you’ll receive a fine
  • Decorations mustn’t extend beyond the door. Cruise ship corridors are narrow and so any decorations shouldn’t block service carts from passing

Carnival rules

  • Decorations may consist only of fire retardant materials. Items sprayed with fire retardant spray are not acceptable
  • Decorations may only be placed on the stateroom door and not the surrounding frame, walls or railings
  • You may use magnets or Command Strips but no adhesives such as tape or glue
  • Over-the-door hanging organizers must hang inside the stateroom, must also be of fire retardant material and cannot damage the door
  • No decorations of any kind are allowed on balconies
  • No decorations or items may be placed over light fittings or fixtures
  • No string lights of any kind are allowed

Disney Cruise Line rules

  • You may not affix items to your stateroom doors using tape or any adhesive, including removable gel adhesives
  • Using over-the-door hanging organizers is prohibited
  • Light bulb strings are not permitted

Norwegian Cruise Line rules

In 2019, Norwegain Cruise Line updated their policy on cruise door decorations to no longer allow any decorating of doors whatsoever.

As per safety requirements, all stateroom door decorations are strictly prohibited on Norwegian Cruise Line. Stateroom stewards have been instructed to remove all decorations and place them inside the room.

Pirate door decorations
Photo credit: Kimberley Monk

Flame retardant cruise door decorations

If you’re cruising with Carnival there’s a requirement that your cruise door decorations are fire retardant. Paper and card decorations are likely to go against this rule and be taken down so you may be better to use decorations made of flame retardant plastic or laminated in glossy plastic.

How to attach cruise door decorations

Glue, tape and gel adhesives are banned on cruise ships. Almost all cruise ship cabin doors (and walls) are made of metal. Therefore, the best way to attach decorations to your door is with magnets.

Sometimes metal cabin doors are painted but sometimes the metal door is covered with another surface. This can mean that sometimes, magnets don’t stick too well. It’s wise to go for the biggest, strongest magnets to be sure that they stick.

Occasionally, cruise ship doors have a wooden veneer, for example, the Concierge staterooms on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. If you’re staying in one of these, you’ll need to use extra-strong neodymium magnets to get anything to stick.

Where to buy cruise door decorations

The easiest way to decorate your stateroom door is with ready-made decorations that you can just buy and stick up. Here are some of the most popular places to buy them:

Etsy – The online marketplace for unique homemade crafts, Etsy, has thousands of cruise door decorations to choose from. Many decorations can be custom made with your names, ship name and sail date if you wish.

Click to see cruise door decorations on Etsy

Craft stores – If you live in the United Stated, have a look in shops like Hobby Lobby and Oriental Trading as they often have ready-made nautical decorations. Unfortunately, British equivalents such as Hobbycraft and The Range don’t seem to have the same stock of cruise decorations.

Dollar stores and pound shops – If you’re on a budget, head to Dollar Tree (in the US) or Poundland (in the UK) and see what they have in store. What you’ll find can be hit and miss and depends very much on the time of year, but this is certainly worth a look.

Amazon – The online store that sells everything also stocks some interesting cruise door decorations, inclusing a good selection of full-length cabin door covers. Take a look at cruise door decorations on Amazon.

Buy them from the cruise line – Princess Cruises offer a stateroom decorating service with hanging garlands, a door sign and mirror sticker. These aren’t cheap at $49, but if you’re cruising with Princess Cruises and want everything done for you, you can find out more about this service on the Princess Cruises website.

How to make your own cruise ship door decorations

1. Print a design on your computer

The easiest way to make your own cruise door magnets is to print a design off onto paper using your computer and home printer. You can then laminate it using a self-stick laminating sheet and attach stick-on magnets or magnetic tape. This is such an easy thing to do and you can personalise your design however you like.

See an example below…

make your own cruise door decorations
Photo credit: Angela Carameli Carpenter

As an alternative to stick-on magnets, you can also buy magnetic paper. This incredible stuff goes into your printer just like normal paper. You can print whatever you link onto it and it will strick straight to your metal cabin door with nothing else required!

2. Draw your own design

Handmade cruise decorations are so cute and this is a project that the whole family can get involved in. Getting your kids to design their own cabin door decorations will not only keep them busy for an hour, it should also get them really excited about your cruise.

3. Think outside the box

Virtually anything can be used to make door decorations and the more unique they are, the better!

Take a look at this cruise door wreath which one clever cruiser made usinf cheap flip flops, strong glue and stickers.

flip flop door wreath
Photo credit: Kim Kincaid Adams

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