There are some really clever things you can do in a cruise stateroom to either make it feel more personal to you, or to enhance your storage space. Some of these rely on magnets.
But you might be wondering if every cruise stateroom door and wall is magnetic, or if these handy tricks only work in certain rooms on certain ships.
So let’s find out whether all cruise ships have magnetic doors and walls, and why that might be useful.
What does magnetic actually mean?
Before I get into the bulk of this article, I need to give a quick definition.
That’s because most people ask whether cruise ship walls and doors are magnetic, but they actually mean are they ferromagnetic?
The term “magnetic” means something which exhibits a permanent magnetic field. So a magnet is magnetic.
Anything which is “ferromagnetic” is something which doesn’t exhibit a permanent magnetic field, but that is attracted by other magnets when one is introduced.
Here’s a simple explanation. Say you have stainless steel cutlery. Steel contains iron, which is ferromagnetic.
If you held a magnet close to a spoon, the spoon would be attracted to it.
But see how all of your spoons don’t clump together in the cutlery drawer? That’s because they are ferromagnetic. They don’t work as actual magnets, but they will be attracted to one.
It’s an important thing to define.
Are cruise ship cabin doors magnetic?
Most cruise ship doors are made of metal, and so are ferromagnetic – this means that magnets will stick to them, but random metal objects won’t. They are not actually magnetic, but the steel inside the door is attracted to magnets, which will cause a magnet to be held in place on a door.
Many cruisers like to decorate their stateroom doors. To prevent any damage, they often use magnets to affix the decorations.
It’s a good thing that the doors themselves aren’t magnetic. Since the door frames are also made of metal, you wouldn’t be able to open the door if they were, or you’d need a lot of strength!
Funnily enough, cruise ships don’t tend to publicise whether or not their doors are made of metal or other materials. It’s hardly seen as a key selling point of the room.
But most definitely are, with only a handful of exceptions. The most prominent exception I’ve found is the Prima-class ships for Norwegian Cruise Line. But NCL has banned door decorations anyway, so that doesn’t really matter!
Typically though, your stateroom door (even if it has a wooden/plastic finish) will contain the same steel that your cabin is made from, and so magnets will usually stick to it. Not always – sometimes there is a thick wood veneer that requires a stronger magnet to still be held in place by the steel core.
Are cruise cabin walls magnetic?
Cruise ship cabin walls are all ferromagnetic – magnets will stick to them. They are not in themselves magnetic, so if you want to stick something to them, it will need to be a magnet. All cruise ships are made using steel cabin frames for the cabins.
While the stateroom doors may vary, there are no exceptions when it comes to the cabin walls. Every cruise ship is made in the same way, with the cabins made separately using metal walls and then slotted into place during the construction process.
The reason for this is that it makes it easy to build the ‘exoskeleton’ of the cabins separately from the main ship build. Having them all cut from metal to the same size and shape speeds up the process and means assembling the ship is significantly faster.
This has its good sides and bad sides. It means phone reception can be a little sketchy in your room, and it’ll cause interference with radio waves – not good for anyone who hoped to use walkie-talkies from within their cabin.
But it does mean that you can stick magnets to your cabin walls.
I always take magnetic hooks on a cruise. This gives us lots of extra space to hang coats, bags and other bits and pieces.
These are the magnetic hooks that I have. They’re okay, but not strong enough for a handbag or a heavy coat.
I would suggest that instead, you buy some super strong magnetic hooks.
These magnetic hooks hold up to 100 lbs when hung from the ceiling or 33 lbs when hung from the wall.
Just make sure that you don’t accidentally stick them to each other or you’ll never get them apart! I suggest putting each in its own little bag when packing!
Are cruise ship ceilings magnetic?
Because cruise ship cabins are built as a metal frame, the ceilings are made from metal too and so they are ferromagnetic, with magnets able to stick to them. This can be a useful way of maximising your storage space, provided you buy strong magnets able to support the weight.
If you find that your magnets aren’t strong enough to hold your coat or bag and that they slide down the wall, then you should instead try hanging them from the ceiling. That way, your magnet will hold 3 times the weight!
The only part of a cruise ship cabin that won’t work with magnets – once you’ve passed the stateroom door – is the bathroom.
While the frame of the bathroom is metal, it’s then usually tiled over, and the ceramic or other tile materials are thick enough to insulate the metal frame behind, so magnets won’t stick.
Why does it matter?
If you’ve stumbled onto this article with no idea of why anyone would care about the detail of whether doors and cabin walls are magnetic, I can understand your confusion.
The thing is, having surfaces where magnets can stick has two major benefits – decoration, and storage.
1. Magnetic cruise door decorations
While this isn’t for everyone, there is a massive cruising community who love to decorate their stateroom doors. It is generally popular on the cruise lines aimed primarily at families – Disney and Carnival especially – although not always. MSC Cruises passengers don’t tend to decorate their doors, while it’s infrequent on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
The rules on door decorations vary by cruise line too, with some allowing guests to go wild, and others being quite strict on what you’re allowed to use. NCL doesn’t allow door decorations at all, the spoilsports.
Magnets are therefore a really handy tool for decorating your door, but bear in mind that the actual magnet may need to be quite strong. The metal core of the door is often buried under a wooden-effect exterior. Thin magnets may struggle to stick.
But if you want to decorate your stateroom door, magnets could be a handy option that won’t leave any nasty residue to worry about.
The best door decorations are made from magnets. The magnet covers the whole surface of the decoration, so you can be sure that they’ll stick!
2. Magnetic hooks
Even if you book yourself a spacious cabin, storage options in the room are usually limited. And if you’ve booked one of the smallest cabins on the ship, you might find space to be at a premium.
Even with a large and spacious cabin, if you cruise at Christmas, you’re going to want somewhere to hang your stockings, right?
This is why having walls where you can stick a magnet is handy – if you buy some strong magnetic hooks, you can suddenly store items on the wall that would otherwise be taking up floor or desk space.
I like to use Gorilla Hooks as they’re small but super strong. Just don’t get your fingers trapped between them like I once did!
Read more: Best Cruise Packing Tips & Hacks
3. Magnets to stick paperwork to wall
As well as using the walls for storing your own items, it’s a really handy place to keep your paperwork pinned.
Whether you’ve got tickets for an excursion, or you just need to remind everyone of key times on your daily programme, having them stuck to the wall means you won’t lose them when you need them.
There’s nothing worse than rushing about trying to find a ticket you need, or wondering where your partner is if you’ve split for the day to try different activities, and forgetting where to meet. Magnets put your important paperwork in a prominent location and can keep you organised, and free to focus on the fun.
All Disney Cruise ship doors are ferromagnetic and can be decorated with magnets. Indeed the cruise ships themselves will sell magnets in their onboard stores that are perfect for adding to your door. Many people decorate their cruise door using magnets or using fish extenders.
Read more: Disney Cruise fish extenders
Carnival cruise stateroom doors all contain a steel core which is ferromagnetic, but on some ships magnets may not be effective due to the thickness of the external finish to the door. Buy strong magnets or use command strips to stick things to your door – these are permitted by Carnival.
Magnetic hooks are useful on a cruise because they allow guests to hang various items like hats, towels, or even decorations on the metal surfaces of stateroom doors and walls. Since most cruise ship stateroom doors and walls are made of metal, magnetic hooks provide a convenient and efficient way to utilise the limited space in cabins.
Broadly speaking, cruise ship doors and walls are ferromagnetic and you can take advantage of this if you want to add some fun decorations or a little extra storage space.
Very small or very thin magnets might not work very effectively, so try to buy strong ones if you can, and don’t overburden them with weight. That’ll give you the best chance of your magnets sticking in place.
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