“Never go to the top deck on a cruise ship” might seem like odd advice, especially when many cruise lines are actively marketing their state-of-the-art facilities on the upper decks. After all, most cruise ships are synonymous with fun, ocean-spanning adventures where the top deck is often hailed as the crown jewel.

However, savvy cruisers know that the real gems may be hidden in plain sight, far from the highest decks. So, let’s dive into the less-discussed cruise ship secrets that even some seasoned sailors might overlook!

Should You Go on the Top Deck of a Cruise Ship?

The “best deck” is a personal subject and may vary from person to person, upper decks may attract people because of their panoramic ocean views or relaxing pools. However, those with mobility concerns might give the top deck a wide berth, favoring accessibility over altitude.

Crowded top deck of a cruise ship

For many, a lower deck is the no-frills comfort, offering stability that’s especially appreciated when the ocean gets frisky. Less movement can mean more enjoyment, especially for sensitive stomachs. Meanwhile, mid-level decks win the popularity contest for their prime location. They provide the golden ticket to accessibility, nestled comfortably amidst the ship’s myriad attractions.

This central spot often means you can avoid the elevators and enjoy quicker jaunts to the main dining rooms, entertainment areas, or outdoor facilities. Ultimately, whether you ascend to the top or stay grounded on a lower level, the right deck is the one where you feel most at sea—in the best way possible! 🌊🛳️

Why It’s Not Advisable to Visit the Top Deck of a Cruise Ship?

View of the ocean from the ship deck

Embarking on a cruise is a bucket-list experience, with ships designed to cater to every fancy. Yet, the top deck, often seen as the pinnacle of fun, isn’t everyone’s sailboat ride for various reasons.

Safety Concerns

The top deck’s allure can sometimes overshadow essential safety considerations. Slippery when wet (and not just a Bon Jovi album), surfaces near pools or after a spell of rough seas can become hazardous. Railings are there for a reason, folks! And while they’re designed for protection, they also merit caution, especially for little adventurers or during inclement weather.

Noise Levels

Love the sound of your thoughts? The top deck might not. Between the hum of machinery, the splash of pool divers, and the cheers from basketball courts, the upper deck is not the library. Those sensitive to noise or seeking a meditative retreat might prefer the sanctuary of their cruise cabins.

Crowded Spaces

If rubbing elbows at a rock concert isn’t your scene, walking through a crowded sun deck during a ‘Day at Sea’ might feel like a chore. Activities and social events can lead to human traffic jams, potentially overwhelming for those with social anxiety or just in need of some R&R.

Limited Privacy

Finding a secluded spot on the top deck can be like seeking the proverbial needle in the haystack. The open-plan nature of the deck, combined with its popularity, often means you’re sharing your ‘private’ moment with a few dozen other passengers.

Windy Conditions

A breezy ocean jaunt can turn into a wind tunnel scenario on the top deck. The higher you go, the more you’re at the mercy of the elements. This can be particularly unpleasant when the wind decides to play food thief and run away with your poolside snacks.

Lack of Shade

Sun worshippers, rejoice! Shade seekers, beware. The upper deck can sometimes skimp on shaded areas, increasing the risk of sunburn or overheating. Remember, while chasing that tan, sunscreen is your friend! And don’t forget the sudden rain showers that can leave you drenched in seconds.

Motion Sickness

The bane of many a traveler, motion sickness, often gets more pronounced on higher decks. The ship’s rocking can feel more intense, so if you’re prone to feeling queasy, the lower decks are your safe haven.

Subpar Views

It’s a common misconception that the higher you are, the better the scenery. However, the view from the top deck can be surprisingly monotonous, often presenting nothing more than the infinite expanse of the ocean or the ship’s structures.

In contrast, cabins located on the lower and central decks provide a richer tapestry of views, from the bustling port activities to the close-up undulations of the waves. These unexpected visuals can enhance your cruising experience, proving that sometimes, you don’t need to be on top of the world to witness the world’s beauty.

Proximity Issues: The top deck can be a trek, especially if your cabin is nestled in the ship’s lower half. Frequent trips to and from the main attractions can become tiring, particularly for those with mobility concerns.

While these reasons may resonate with many passengers wondering why you should never go to the top deck on a cruise ship, they’re not hard-and-fast rules. Every cruiser’s experience is subjective, and what may be a deal-breaker for one might be the highlight for another. The key is to find your sea legs and cruise your journey! 🚢✨

Possible Advantages of Visiting the Top Deck

Telescope on a ship deck

There are indeed compelling reasons to ascend to a cruise ship’s top deck, despite some reservations some might have. Here’s why the climb is worth it for many:

  1. Unparalleled Views and Photography: Nothing competes with the sweeping vistas available from the top deck. It’s not just about the endless ocean or approaching ports; it’s also about capturing the ship’s glory. From here, you can take fabulous photos of the lower decks, showcasing the ship’s grandeur and vibrant life aboard. Plus, it’s the perfect spot for those iconic sunsets and sunrises that scream “vacation goals!”
  2. Epic Entertainment: The heartbeat of the ship’s entertainment can often be found on the top deck. This is where thrilling activities, from deck parties to outdoor shows, keep spirits high. If you’re looking for excitement and fun, follow the music and laughter skyward!
  3. Fresh Air & Exercise: For the health-conscious or those seeking tranquility, the top deck offers an abundance of fresh sea air, space for morning jogs, yoga sessions, or simply a serene corner to meditate, all with a view.
  4. Social Opportunities: The top deck is a haven for social butterflies. It’s the melting pot of the ship, where you can meet people from all walks of life, share cruise experiences, or perhaps bump into your next travel buddy while enjoying a tropical cocktail.
  5. Sunbathing and Relaxation: For sun-seekers, the top deck is your paradise. With ample loungers and an open sky, it’s ideal for those looking to work on their tan, book in hand, and a cold drink within reach. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

The top deck, with its diverse options, can amplify your cruise experience, whether you’re there for the views, the buzz, the exercise, the company, or simply for some sun-soaked relaxation. 🌞🛳️🍹

Regulations and Precautions for Top Deck Visits

When it comes to having the time of your life on the cruise ship’s top deck, safety is paramount. Cruise lines have clear regulations to ensure everyone’s well-being, and being aware of these can make your high-seas adventure both fun and safe.

Ship deck with a lifebuoy

Mother Nature can sometimes throw a wrench in your sun-deck plans. During rough seas or stormy weather, access to the top deck may be restricted by the ship’s crew. This is because wet surfaces can create slip-and-fall hazards, and strong winds can make open areas unsafe. Cruise lines are equipped with advanced weather tracking systems, and captains will often navigate away from storms when possible, but safety is always the priority.

In such situations, you’ll find clear signage indicating deck closures and crew members will be on hand to direct passengers to alternative indoor entertainment and dining options. Remember, these precautions are for your safety, so it’s important to adhere to any instructions or restrictions put in place during these times. After all, the goal is to ensure you enjoy your cruise and return home with nothing but fond memories and fabulous photos! 🚢💨🌊

Funky Cruise Fact: You might notice the absence of certain deck numbers, like 13 or 17, due to various maritime traditions and beliefs. It’s a quirky aspect of nautical culture that adds to the mystique of cruising.

Cruise Ship Structure and Top Deck Dynamics

Embarking on a cruise journey is a layered experience, much like the structure of cruise ships themselves. Imagine a floating city, and you’ve got a cruise ship! These nautical giants boast multiple levels, each offering its unique attractions. Royal Caribbean cruise ships, known for their impressive sizes, often have a larger number of decks, enhancing the variety and scale of onboard amenities.

The lower decks are often the hub of tranquility, housing guest cabins, and engine rooms, while the middle decks spice things up with entertainment hotspots, shopping areas, and most dining options. Here, you’re likely to find the main dining room, a haven for food lovers.

In between two cruise ships

Ascend to the upper decks, and you’re greeted with leisure and luxury — the sun deck, pools, possibly water parks, and an array of outdoor facilities await. The “Lido deck,” a term synonymous with relaxation, usually denotes the pool area, often accompanied by casual eateries and panoramic ocean views. From the hull (the ship’s body) to the topmost deck, cruise ships are marvels of maritime organization, designed for maximum enjoyment as you sail the high seas. 🚢🌊🍽️🌞

  • The Charm of Top Decks: Yes, top decks are given on all cruise ships, forming the upper echelon of the ship’s architecture. They’re a quintessential part of the cruise experience, hosting a range of activities and offering breathtaking views of the ocean’s vastness.
  • Culinary Delights: Many cruise ships take dining to new heights—literally. The topmost deck is often home to specialty restaurants, offering everything from gourmet dishes to casual barbecues under the open sky. Imagine grilling at sea with a sprawling ocean view, or toasting to the good life as you sail towards the horizon!
  • Seeking Serenity High Up: While the top deck is known for its buzz, finding your quiet corner isn’t an impossible task. Opt for off-peak hours like early morning or late evening for a more peaceful vibe. However, do note that due to its popularity, complete solitude is a rarity up top.
  • Top Deck Risks: While cruise ships are bastions of safety, the topmost deck poses unique challenges. Its open nature means more exposure to wind and weather, and the deck’s wet surfaces can be slippery.

What’s the riskiest spot on a Cruise Ship? Interestingly, the riskiest part of a cruise ship isn’t a fixed spot. It often depends on passenger behavior and adherence to safety protocols. However, due to its exposure to elements and the potential for human error, the topmost deck warrants extra care.

Also, it’s worth noting that reaching the topmost deck might require a bit of a trek, especially from the lower decks, and the hum and vibration of the cruise engine dissipate as you ascend, offering a quieter ambiance. So, while the journey upward might be longer, the unique atmosphere and views can make it worthwhile. 🚢✨🍽️

Enjoying the Open Air Away from the Top Deck

Craving the sea breeze but not the top deck crowds? No problem! Opt for balcony cabins to savor your private slice of the ocean. These cruise ship cabins offer the luxury of solitude coupled with stunning views, right from your room. It’s like having your exclusive mini-deck!

View of balcony cabins of a ship

Alternatively, explore the promenade deck that many cruise ships feature. It’s usually lower than the top deck but still offers ample open-air space, ocean views, and a pleasant stroll without the bustle.

Funky Cruise Fact: Cruise ships sometimes have ‘secret’ decks, not always highlighted in deck plans. These hidden gems offer quieter spaces, often with stunning views. However, their accessibility may vary based on the ship’s design and policies.

Choosing Cruise Ship Decks for the Best Experience

Embarking on a cruise is like entering a floating palace where each floor offers a unique experience. Ever wondered what the best floor is to stay on a cruise ship? It’s not one-size-fits-all; your ideal deck depends on your preferences and needs.

Chairs and tables on a balcony of a ship cabin

Families with children might prefer decks with quick access to pools and activity areas, often found on the upper decks. For seniors or those seeking tranquility, middle decks offer stability, less noise, and easy access to the ship’s amenities. The young and restless might enjoy the vibrancy of the lower decks close to nightclubs and theaters.

While choosing your cruise cabin picking the starboard (right) or port (left) side is also an important consideration. For example, on the Carnival Sunshine, it’s advisable to avoid rooms near the engine room or the anchor, as these can be noisy. Your choice might depend on the itinerary. Starboard could offer picturesque sunsets or prime views of a coastline, depending on your route.


Riding the tough waves of decision-making for your cruise adventure boils down to personal preference. While the allure of the topmost deck is undeniable, it’s essential to weigh aspects of safety, serenity, and enjoyment.

Front of a cruise ship on water

Every cruiser’s haven can be somewhere different: the vibrant ambiance of common areas, the peaceful retreat to a private balcony, or the charming nooks of ‘secret’ decks. Remember, your comfort and happiness are the real anchors of a memorable voyage. So, chart your course, consider your options, and prepare to embark on a journey that’s perfectly tailored just for you. Bon voyage! 🚢✨🌊


Is it bad to be on the top deck of a cruise ship?

Not inherently, but the top deck has nuances. It can be noisy and crowded, less shielded from the elements, and potentially more prone to motion sickness. Preferences and sensitivities dictate if it’s a fit for you. However, it’s a paradise for sun lovers and social butterflies, offering an energetic atmosphere and activities galore.

What deck to avoid on a cruise?

Avoid decks directly under public areas. Noise from overhead activities (dining, pool, nightclubs) can be bothersome, especially at night. Seek tranquility in decks sandwiched between other cabin levels. Also, consider your itinerary; lower decks are more stable but might feel more enclosed, especially on scenic routes. Mid-ship cabins, known for less motion, often strike a balance between quiet and convenience.

What happens on the top deck of a cruise ship?

The top deck is a hub of activity! Expect pools, hot tubs, sun loungers, and maybe even a cinema or an observation lounge. It’s the social heart of the ship, buzzing with entertainment and relaxation options. Additionally, it’s where many cruise ships host parties and outdoor events, offering a festive atmosphere under the stars.

Is it better to be on the top floor of a cruise ship?

“Better” is subjective. The top floor offers proximity to fun amenities and panoramic views but can have more motion, wind, and noise. Your comfort, priorities, and sea-sensitivity should guide this choice. On the flip side, it’s perfect for those keen on staying active and engaged, with quick access to activities and events. Plus, the higher vantage point provides unparalleled views of ports, sunrises, and sunsets, enhancing your travel experience.