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Frugal Savings Tip: What Is A Pullman Bed On A Cruise Ship?

Embarking on a cruise doesn’t have to break the bank, especially if you’re armed with smart, frugal travel tips. One key budget-friendly feature to be aware of is the Pullman bed, a unique accommodation option found on many cruise ships. Designed for space efficiency and cost-effectiveness, Pullman beds are ingeniously integrated into cabin walls or ceilings and can be conveniently pulled down or folded out when extra sleeping space is needed.

Quick Answer: What is a Pullman bed on a cruise ship?

A Pullman bed on a cruise ship is a space-saving sleeping option, typically tucked away into the wall or ceiling of a cabin. These beds can be pulled down for use and stowed away when not needed, maximizing the available functional living space in the cabin. Cabins with Pullman beds provide a practical and budget-friendly alternative to booking an additional cabin or an expensive suite.

This concept, originally developed by George M. Pullman for train travel, has been adeptly adopted by the cruise industry. Major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Princess Cruises incorporate Pullman beds into their cabin designs, offering a flexible and economical solution for travelers. Understanding the role and benefits of Pullman beds will not only enhance your cruising experience but also help you maintain a strategic travel budget on your next sea voyage.

Photo | What is a Pullman bed on a cruise ship?

What Is A Pullman Bed On A Cruise Ship? (The Details)

A Pullman bed is a space-saving sleeping solution, often used on cruise ships, to maximize the capacity of small cabins. Initially designed for train cabins, these beds offer a luxurious and spacious environment during the day, with a comfortable bed available at night.In cruise ship cabins, Pullman beds are typically stowed away on the cabin walls or concealed in the ceiling, making them easy to pull down when needed (by staff). This frees up floor space during the day and creates a convenient sleeping arrangement at night. Pullman beds are usually positioned above the other bed(s) in the cabin, transforming a 2-sleeper cabin into a larger capacity cabin, ideal for families or friends traveling together.

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Pullman beds offer numerous advantages, such as:

  • Space-saving: By pulling down from the wall or ceiling, they save floor space, making the cabin feel more spacious during the day.
  • Convenience: Easy to set up at night and stow away in the morning, they provide a practical yet comfortable sleeping arrangement.
  • Cost-effective: Pullman beds allow more passengers to stay in a single cabin, reducing the per-person cost and making cruise ship holidays more affordable.
  • Family-friendly: They are a perfect solution for families with children, allowing everyone to share a single cabin while keeping a close eye on the little ones.

Overall, Pullman beds on cruise ships are an innovative way to enhance the cruising experience for travelers with limited space and budget constraints. They address the need for comfortable sleeping arrangements while still providing enough room for activities and relaxation during the day.

Example of what is a Pullman bed on a cruise ship

Why Are Pullman Beds Used?

When planning a family cruise, saving space in a cabin is essential for comfort and practicality. Pullman beds serve as an effective solution for accommodating third and fourth passengers in small cabins. By using these beds, your family will have more floor space to move around during the day, since Pullman beds can conveniently be stowed away.

Pullman beds are particularly beneficial for families with children, as they can maximize the number of people in a cabin without compromising space. However, it’s important to be aware of potential safety concerns and age limits when considering these beds for young passengers or those with mobility issues.

Comparatively, other bedding options such as pullout beds or sleeper couches may be suitable for those unable to climb ladders, though these alternatives tend to occupy more floor space. This can make it challenging for fellow cabin mates to move around freely.

In summary, the use of Pullman beds is essential for:

  • Efficiently accommodating families in compact cabins
  • Preserving floor space by stowing beds when not in use
  • Allowing cruise ships to fit more cabins, increasing overall capacity

Remember to consider the needs of everyone in your group when selecting cabin options, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable family cruise experience.

How To Use A Pullman Bed

To use a Pullman bed on your cruise, simply inform your cabin steward or stateroom attendant in advance. They will lower the bed from the ceiling or wall while you’re away in the evening, making sure it’s secure and ready for you.

In the morning, leave the folding of the bed to the professionals. They will stow it away to create more space in the cabin. Remember the following tips for a comfortable experience:

  • Observe the weight limit for upper Pullman beds, as it may not be suitable for heavy adults.
  • Use the provided ladder to access the top bunk.
  • If a child is using the bed, make sure the guard rails are lifted for safety.
  • Be mindful of the clearance above the bed to avoid hitting your head.

Pros & Cons Of Using Pullman Beds vs. Regular Beds


  • Space-saving: Pullman beds are great for inside cabins as they fold away when not in use.
  • Comfort: More comfortable than sofa beds and similar to single beds in size.


  • Limited headroom: Can be frustrating for tall people due to less space between the bed and ceiling.
  • Accessibility: Difficult for passengers who need to get up during the night.

Woman sleeping peacefully in bed

Tips For Sleeping Well On A Pullman

To ensure a comfortable and restful night on a Pullman bed, follow these tips:

  • Choose the right sleeper: Allocate the Pullman bed to someone who doesn’t need to get up frequently during the night, minimizing disruptions for other cabin occupants.
  • Prioritize safety: Always use the guard rail to prevent accidental falls, especially for children.
  • Adjust for comfort: Although Pullman beds save floor space, they might be a bit shorter than regular beds. Taller individuals may want to sleep on the lower beds.
  • Maximize small space: Be mindful that Pullman beds require navigating ladders and occupying a smaller area, so ensure your belongings don’t clutter the bed.
  • Optimize bedding: For extra padding and comfort, consider bringing an additional pillow or mattress topper.

Following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a good night’s sleep on a Pullman bed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the weight limit for Pullman beds?

Pullman beds, commonly found on cruise ships, are designed to fold away when not in use to maximize space in staterooms. Although they can accommodate most adults, there is a weight limit to ensure safety. Typically, the weight limit ranges between 200-250 lbs (90-113 kg) depending on the specific cruise line. It’s essential to check the maximum weight limit with your chosen cruise before booking, as exceeding this limit may pose safety risks.

Are there any age restrictions for using Pullman beds?

Yes, you’ll often find age restrictions for using Pullman beds to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of younger guests. Generally, children under six years old are not allowed to use Pullman beds, as they may be challenging for them to access or pose a safety risk. A good alternative for families with younger kids is booking a stateroom with a sofa bed instead.

What is the difference between a Pullman bed and a sofa bed on cruise ships?

Primarily, the main difference between a Pullman bed and a sofa bed is their location and the way they are set up:
A Pullman bed: folds down from the wall or ceiling of a stateroom and is accessed using a ladder. It’s typically mounted above the room’s main bed(s) and frees up space when stowed away. 
A sofa bed: is a seating area that can be converted into a bed when needed. Sofa beds are suitable for families with younger children or guests who may have difficulty accessing a Pullman bed and tend to be available in more spacious staterooms.


While Pullman beds are usually just as comfortable as regular beds, it’s understandable to have some reservations regarding using one of these beds. It’s always best to check your cruise booking to ensure that your cabin contains the sleeping arrangements you prefer.

Pullman beds are best suited to children and young adults comfortable with climbing ladders. Elderly passengers and those with mobility issues will likely find a Pullman bed overly challenging, so consider these factors when choosing your cabin.  

Tyler Bowman


Tyler has sailed dozens of cruises, always with a keen eye for value. She loves getting the most fun out of the fewest dollars.

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