What Are Underwater Cruise Ship Rooms and Are Passengers Allowed In?

Christine Steuber
Nov 9, 2022
Wondering if you can book an underwater room with windows on a cruise ship? Read on to find out!

I personally love cruising and have been on a ship a few times. But have you ever wondered whether cruise ships come with underwater rooms? 

You bet!

The question is – what are they, and are you allowed in? Moreover, do they have panoramic windows to let you observe ocean wildlife?

Let’s try to figure out the answers, shall we?

What Rooms Can Be Found Underwater in Cruise Ships?

Even if you’re not planning on spending time in the underwater cruise ship rooms, it still can be good to familiarize yourself with it. Learning about them can help you better understand how the ship functions. 

So here’s the list of the rooms:

  • Crew cabins 
  • Social and dining rooms for the crew 
  • Fridges and freezers 
  • Engine rooms 
  • Laundry rooms
  • Medical center 
  • Jail and morgue 

Now let’s discuss their functions.

Crew cabins

As you can guess, these rooms are where the crew members stay. Depending on the ship, cabins can be located below the waterline or totally submerged. 

But unlike the passenger rooms, the crew cabin isn’t spacious and fancy. Instead, these rooms are narrow and only include essential features. 

You can get an idea of how they look from this picture:

Here, crew members share dorm-like rooms based on their department. These crew cabins also have access to shared bars, eating rooms, and gyms. 

Usually, two members share one room, but bigger cabins for more individuals are also available. Bunk beds are the standard type of bedding as it enables more members to sleep within a confined space. So basically, each square foot matters on a ship. 

For privacy, some ships add curtains on the bunk beds. Other noteworthy characteristics are TVs, storage space, a private bathroom, shelves, and a cooler. 

The members with a higher rank have private cabins with windows and more amenities. 

Social and dining rooms for the crew

More commonly known as crew messes, these rooms serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the crew members. Al their meals are made in the crew galley, which is on the same level.

This room is also a great opportunity for the staff to socialize and get a quick break from their duties.

Here’s what it looks like:

The crew members line up and choose the food they want, similar to a high school cafeteria. However, newer ships are progressing towards having seating booths that resemble a restaurant.

The dining room is also where the crew members can hang out. It is like a buffet and is usually pretty large. Just so you know, there are different places for the crew to eat, depending on their rank.

Finally, there’s usually a TV in the underwater dining room so the crew can catch up on their favorite shows while enjoying their meal.

Fridges and freezers

Cruise ships usually have mini bars with fridges and freezers that store food and drinks. For example, some refrigerators are for beverages and snacks that passengers order for room service delivery.

On the other hand, some freezers are workstations for crew members. For instance, in the fish freezer, fishmongers are responsible for cleaning and cutting the fish, while butchers cut the meat from the beef freezer. 

You can see the freezer here:

Freezer in an underwater cruise ship freezer room
Credit: Pinterest

The refrigerator system is truly critical as it carries refrigerated victuals and cargo for the passengers and crew members. Refrigeration ensures that food is fresh at all times. Plus, it prevents oxidation and the spread of germs. 

Engine rooms

These underwater rooms are definitely the heart of a cruise ship. This is where the hammers, pistons, and crankshafts rotate to make the vessel progress ahead. 

No other room is as important as an engine room, which looks like this:

Cruise ship underwater engine room
Credit: GCaption

The engine room is located above the keel to ensure stability, which means that the ship’s lowest deck is completely dedicated to machinery.

Instead of a long hall spreading in the hull, the machinery of the engine room is segmented into tiny watertight departments. One area might feature air conditioning, whereas the other compartment can include main engines. That’s why engine rooms are a minimum of three decks high.

Laundry room

The laundry room is particularly useful for worldwide cruise travels, in which the individuals can wash, dry, and iron their clothes. Moreover, parents with children can also take advantage of these facilities. 

Here is what the room looks like:

Credit: Disney Cruise

All the leading cruise lines offer wash, press, and ironing facilities in the laundry cabin. These self-service launderettes are a one-stop destination for washing your clothes. 

Plus, laundry rooms are usually situated near passenger rooms, so you won’t have to lug a basket of clothes several decks down. 

Medical center

We’re humans and can get sick anytime, even on the water. So what can passengers do in such an emergency? 

Worry not, as a separate medical center is available on all cruise ships for this purpose.

Here’s how they look:

Cruise ship medical center example
Credit: Atlantic

With these medical centers on the ship, you’ll always have a team of professional medical personnel available to help you with whatever you need. They provide top-quality emergency medical care to all passengers. Most cruise ships include one or more doctors with nurses for their assistance. 

The medical center commonly includes beds and is situated on the lower decks, away from the crowds. Finally, the onboard medical care treats scrapes, sunburn, seasickness, and much more. 

Jail and morgue

Did you know that there’s a jail on the ship? Oh, yes! There’s a small jail on the vessel called the brig. Whoever becomes a threat to other passengers or violates the law will be sent to the cruise jail. 

Like the medical center, it’s also located away from the crowds – in the crew-only areas. 

Here’s what it looks like:

Jail brig underwater cruise ship space
Credit: Cruise Hive

Brig guarantees passengers’ safety until law enforcement can tackle complicated issues once the ship arrives at the shore. 

And morgues also exist on these vessels, in case you were wondering.

Cruise ship morgue room example
Credit: Cruise Blog

Big ships include a designated morgue if a passenger passes away during traveling. Cruises are equipped to hold dead bodies until the ship arrives at a port big enough to return the deceased bodies to their homes.

Why Most Cruise Ships Don’t Have Windows Under Water

Sorry to burst your bubble, but underwater cabins usually don’t come with windows, and let me tell you why. 

  • The sea water isn’t very clear down there because of engines working and stirring up the water.
  • Glass windows require continuous cleaning, which costs a lot. 
  • With time, glass windows can get scratched. 

Due to these reasons, underwater windows are made of three-ply tempered glass laminate adept at tolerating pressure. 

Can Passengers Book a Room in the Underwater Part of a Cruise Ship? 

As mentioned above, the lowest decks are primarily intended for crew members, who eat in the crew mess, manage the engine room, sleep in their designated cabin, and so on. 

All the rooms below the waterline are responsible for running the ship and account for 10% of the total area. 

However, underwater rooms for passengers are usually available on river cruise ships. The windows are at head height when travelers are standing and are only above the waterline.

You can grasp an idea of what these cabins look like from the video below:

Credit: YouTube

These are the cheapest rooms on the ship, and some people call them aquarium class because it’s like you’re living in a fishbowl. 

Cruise Ships with Underwater Lounges

Even though I told you that most ships don’t have underwater rooms with panoramic windows available to the passengers, some explorer ships still offer that option. 

In particular, cruising company Ponant has introduced such vessels to its customers. They have underwater lounges below the water line, where you can observe the wildlife while enjoying a tasty drink. 

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Now, let’s take a closer look at these ships. 

Ponant Le Champlain

First up, Ponant Le Champlain belongs to the Ponant Explorer series, which unravels remote locations. Its sustainable and innovative infrastructure guarantees an elite atmosphere, so you can expect low-profile luxury.

Here are the core characteristics of this ship:

  • Can accommodate184 guests.
  • 92 staterooms & suites.
  • Spa.
  • 2 restaurants.
  • An underwater bar.

In addition to the stunning views of ocean life, the underwater bar also offers a variety of delicious drinks and snacks. Whether you’re looking to relax with a cocktail or two or are interested in trying something new, trust me, this would be your favorite place to do it.

Check out this walk-through video to get an idea of how awesome it all looks:

Credit: YouTube

This expert from Harr Travel points out that, although Le Champlain is a “smaller” ship, there is still plenty of room on board, and you won’t feel cramped or crowded, even during mealtimes or when you’re getting off the ship to explore.

Ponant Le Bellot

Featuring the latest equipment, racing lines, a pleasant ambiance, and contemporary architecture, Ponant Le Bellot presents minimal cabins to maximize the best experience for all onboard.

Here are its prominent features:

  • Eco-friendly sailing.
  • Terrace or balcony with each unit.
  • Spacious rooms.
  • An underwater bar.

There’s also the Blue Eye – a multi-sensorial underwater lounge that can simultaneously accommodate 40 passengers. You can take a closer look at it in this video:

Credit: YouTube

This is the Blue Eye – a multi-sensorial underwater lounge that can simultaneously accommodate 40 passengers.

And if you want to learn more about what this ship features in general, check out this walk-through:

Credit: YouTube

As the only flaw, the reviewer stated that the balconies do not have a glass fence like most other ships, so you cannot see through it. But on the other hand, when you get up from the chair, the view is enchanting!

Ponant Le Bougainville

The next on my list is Ponant Le Bougainville, which comes with the following features:

  • Open-to-the-sea design.
  • A marina to access the ship’s Zodiac inflatables easier.
  • An outdoor pool. 
  • An underwater lounge.

Speaking of the underwater lounge, this is a unique and exciting place to enjoy the underwater world and drink some tasty cocktails. It has a clear glass bottom that offers a stunning view of ocean life. 

And here’s a solid review of Ponant Le Bougainville by the passenger named Sheila:

Credit: YouTube

According to Sheila, the ship offers minimum entertainment, so don’t expect a casino or many children amenities. But, on the other hand, she’s very pleased with the underwater lounge.

Ponant Le Dumont-d’Urville 

I couldn’t wait to present you a Ponant Le Dumont-d’Urville, which is a rare delight with its many on-site comforts, some of which are as follows:

  • Hi-tech equipment. 
  • A multi-sensorial underwater lounge. 
  • Comfy bedding and armchairs. 
  • An underwater bar.

The underwater bar on this Ponant ship is a truly special experience. Guests can sit at the bar and watch the underwater world go by through the huge windows. So impressive, isn’t it?

Ponant Le Dumont-d’Urville has excellent onboard facilities that you’ll absolutely love. My best friend had her honeymoon here, and she can’t stop talking about it. 

I know you’re excited to see a walk-through video of this beauty (including the underwater bar), so there you go:

Credit: YouTube

This video covers just about everything, including the cabins, which are very luxuriously decorated.

Ponant Le Laperouse

Finally, answer this question – can you imagine the highest luxury with cruise exploration?

This is what Ponant Le Laperouse can offer you – and even more than you can imagine!

These are its main features:

  • A theatre, pool deck, panoramic lounge, and wellness center. 
  • Terrace or balcony. 
  • Tasteful interiors. 

The panoramic lounge is spacious and comfortable, and it has a bar where you can order drinks. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring the ship and enjoy watching the ocean’s flora and fauna.

And here’s a video of a happy passenger enjoying the lounge (and showing us the rest of the ship):

Credit: YouTube

This passenger sailed on Ponant Le Laperouse around New Zealand and was impressed with such a rich offer. There are even 92 cabins – each one with a balcony and breathtaking views.

Over to You

I hope you enjoyed learning about underwater rooms for passengers offered by cruise lines.

To wrap up, these are the rooms in all underwater decks:

  • Crew cabins
  • Social and dining venues for crew members.
  • Jail and morgue.
  • Freezers and refrigerators.
  • Medical center.
  • Laundry rooms.
  • Engine room.

Although most cruise ships don’t offer panoramic underwater lounges, there are some explorers, like the ones I’ve listed, that still let you enjoy the rich oceanic world.

Did you have fun reading this article? I have more of these on travel topics, so go check them out on my blog! Thank you for reading!

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