A cruise ship cabin with a window in the back

Insider’s reporter spent seven nights on the world’s largest cruise ship. She has five tips for making a cabin feel more like home.Joey Hadden/Insider

  • For a seven-day Caribbean voyage, I make my cabin feel more like home with a five simple tricks.

  • It was my first cruise on the largest ship of its kind, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas.

  • Because I traveled alone, I put up pictures of my loved ones and brought along my favorite soap.

Since I would be traveling solo on my first cruise, I brought a sense of home onboard for the week-long trip.

Wonder of the Seas cruise ship is seen docked in the Bahamas on a clear day

The ship, Wonder of the Seas, docked in the Bahamas.Joey Hadden/Insider

I often get homesick when I travel alone, so I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks in my past journeys to make any place feel more like home.

This was especially relevant on my recent trip cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas. The reporting trip was my inaugural voyage aboard a major cruise, which just happens to be the largest cruise ship in the world.

During my seven-night voyage, the ship sailed to Roatán, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico; and Royal Caribbean’s own private island in the Bahamas. There were plenty of sites to keep me occupied, but I knew I’d want to return to a room with a touch of my New York apartment.

Read more: 10 things I wish I’d done differently on my first cruise, from choosing a better room to reserving shows in advance

Any hotel or cruise ship room can feel sterile, so I made my cabin feel like home with a few goodies from my suitcase.

The author in her stateroom on the world's largest cruise ship

The author in her cruise ship cabin.Joey Hadden/Insider

Once I boarded, I made my way to my cabin and found a quaint, clean space. It had everything I needed — a bed, a couch, a desk, two closets, and a bathroom — but it lacked personality. It didn’t feel like a place where anyone would live.

I started thinking about ways I could create a sense of familiarity on the ship. My cabin, I thought, would be my space to recharge, so I wanted to personalize it.

Read more: cruise ship. Take a look inside my cabin.” class=”link “>I spent 7 nights in a 179-square-foot room on the world’s largest cruise ship. Take a look inside my cabin.

Stick a magnet on your door. It’s not only festive, but makes the room easier to spot in a hallway of identical doors.

A red arrow points to a magnet on a blue door

A magnet the author put on her cabin door.Joey Hadden/Insider

On a cruise ship, every cabin door looks the same. It makes finding your own overwhelming at times, especially if your cabin is far from the elevator. (Mine was.)

Luckily, I had packed a magnet from my fridge to put on my door.  The magnet featured a photo of Lucy’s Fried Chicken, a go-to restaurant of mine in Austin, where I attended college. The magnet had an added perk: It differentiated my door from others.

Each time I wandered the hallway of identical blue doors, I was filled with a sense of relief and security when I spotted my fried chicken magnet.

Read more: I packed for a weeklong cruise with just a carry-on and a backpack. Here are 10 items I’m glad I brought and 7 things I wish I had with me.

Set up the closet like you do at home.

The cabin closet empty (L) and full of clothes (R)

A closet in the cabin before (L) and after (R) the author unpacked.Joey Hadden/Insider

Whenever I travel, I find that the more I unpack and “move in,” the more comfortable I feel.

I typically organize my closet like I do at home, putting folded clothes in drawers, hanging my dresses, and lining my shoes on the racks.

Read more: I just went on my first cruise — here are 15 things that surprised me the most about this type of travel

Bring your own toiletries and familiar scents, even if the cruise ship supplies these amenities.

An arrow points to the author's toiletries in the cabin bathroom

The author’s own toiletries on the shelf in the bathroom.Joey Hadden/Insider

You commonly find soap and lotion in cruise cabins, but I’m a big fan of bringing my own. The scents remind me of home. Instead of using the provided body wash and bar of soap, I opted for those in my toiletries case.

I’m a sucker for lavender, vanilla, and coconut aromas. Lavender and vanilla have been my chosen scents for years, while coconut reminds me of my mom — she never fails to smell like one.

Read more: We compared every aspect of Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise ships. Here’s what it’s like to sail on each.

Put pictures of friends and family on the desk.

An arrow points to photos of the author's loved ones in the cabin

The author displays photos of her loved ones in her cabin.Joey Hadden/Insider

Anyone who has been to my apartment knows that I have pictures of the people in my life on the walls. My loved ones live all over the world, so I don’t see them often. Photos help me feel like they are with me.

On the cruise, I decorated my cabin vanity with photos from my planner. If I felt lonely, I’d look back on these memories and be reminded of good times. I slowly got over my homesickness.

Read more: I took my first cruise alone and did these 8 things to make solo cruising more fun and less lonely

Plan a nightly Facetime call before going to bed.

A pug on facetime in a dark room

The author on a Facetime call with her mother and dog.Joey Hadden/Insider

At home, I enjoy catching up with family members on FaceTime, telling them about my adventures of the day and hearing about theirs too. So every night on my cruise, I called my mother or my partner. Creating this daily ritual helped me feel more at home.

Going to sleep was still a challenge in this foreign place, but looking at pictures and smelling my hand lotion made it a little easier.

Read more: I packed for a 7-day cruise with just a carry-on suitcase and backpack. See everything on my packing list and how I organized my items.

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