I’m Staying on a Cruise for $0 — See Inside my wraparound balcony room

I spend half my year living on a cruise ship with my husband.
Christine Kesteloo

  • I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months of the year.
  • Our cabin is small but perfect for us, although I wish the bathroom was bigger.
  • Our wrap-around private porch is probably the best part (but laundry doesn’t).

Hi, my name is Christine — I live on a cruise ship for half the year and share my experience on TikTok (@dutchworld_americangirl).

My husband is the Chief of Staff on the cruise so I am his “wife on board” and we live on the ship on a three months on, three months off schedule. When we’re not living on board, we call the Netherlands home.

I also used to be a cruise director and between the two of us we have over 45 years at sea. Many will find our cabin cramped, but it is perfect for us.

Let me take you into our room.

When you first walk in, you can see our bed and built-in storage

I don’t cook, I don’t clean, I don’t make my own bed, and I don’t wash.
Christine Kesteloo

Our crew cabin is on deck seven, right on the bow of the ship. Not all crew cabins are the same and they may depend on rank and position. Some individuals get their own cabins and other parts. Fortunately, we have the place to ourselves.

Our room has a queen size bed with storage underneath and a front mounted TV.

There are two TVs in our room (the other is above our wine fridge) and the ship offers hundreds of movies for us to watch as well as access to many TV networks.

We have two TVs in our room.
Christine Kesteloo

We spend many nights here being lulled to sleep by the waves while watching our favorite shows.

Room service is free for us on the ship and the menu is on the TV. We book in regularly so that we can have quiet time away from guests and crew.

Although I am happy with the size of our cabin, the bathroom is quite small

It is difficult to shave your legs in the small shower.
Christine Kesteloo

Our bathroom has the basics: toilet, mirror, shower and sink.

To shave my legs, I have to put a towel on the toilet, sit and stretch one leg into the shower. But hey, it gets the job done.

The toilet, like most on cruises, flushes with a loud vacuum sound you’ll never forget. It’s quite scary at first.

We also have to be very careful about what we put in our toilets so we don’t clog them. Toilet paper only – no paper towels or sanitary products.

We don’t have cupboards, but we do have a wardrobe, sofa and dining table

Most of the wardrobe contains my clothes.
Christine Kesteloo

When it comes to wardrobe space, we have one wardrobe divided into three sections. You can almost bet that I use most of the cupboard space.

Steamers and irons are not allowed on board, so I try to keep our clothes hanging and wrinkle-free.

We also have a small dining table with two chairs, a desk, wine fridge and a window with a shelf big enough for me to use as a vanity.

We do not have a washing machine and dryer, so the laundry is collected twice a week

I put all of our laundry in a laundry bag and put in a piece of paper detailing our name, room number, date and what items are inside.

Our laundry is usually cleaned and returned within 24 to 48 hours. I give my room manager an extra couple of dollars every time he picks up our laundry and drops it off for the onboard cleaners.

Our clean clothes come back on hangers so all I have to do is put them back in my closet. Our room is also cleaned regularly by the staff.

The best thing about our room is the private veranda overlooking the bow of the ship

Our view is so peaceful.
Christine Kesteloo

The bridge of the ship, similar to the control center, is one deck above us. On many days at sea it is too windy to sit outside. When the wind dies down, I’m the first to grab my towel and bask in the sun.

I love soaking up the sun out here when I can.
Christine Kesteloo

In my opinion, we have the best room on the whole ship. I have not seen a better view.

Overall, there are many things I love about living on a cruise ship

I love not having to cook or do laundry. I also love living debt free and without a car payment.

Living like a minimalist is also pretty nice, especially since we don’t have room not to.

There are only four suitcases, us and the sea.

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