Cruise Lines Are Too Chatty with Guest Cabin Numbers

Gary L Deel
7 min readMar 2, 2022

By Dr. Gary L Deel, Ph.D., J.D.

My family and I love to vacaton. And one of our favorite vacation options is cruising. We love the amenities, the flexibility, the travel to interesting places, and of course…the food.

However, one thing I don’t love about the typical cruise line experience is the inexplicably cavalier way in which some cruise lines compromise passenger cabin privacy and safety.

If you stayed at a modern and responsibly operated hotel almost anywhere in the world recently, you were likely witness more than once to a security protocol concerning guestroom safety and privacy — and you might not have even noticed.

It usually goes like this. You check in at the front desk. The agent takes your information, verifies identification, completes the process, and then eventually issues you your room number and your keys. And the security feature lies in the way they do this.

Commonly, the agent will write your room number somewhere discrete — such as the inside of a keycard envelope. They will then hand you the closed envelope, and verbally tell you that the keys and your room number can both be found inside.

Why do this? Why not simply tell you your room number? The answer is fairly obvious: So that there is no risk anyone else around you will hear and learn your room number.

For some, this might seem little more than an exercise in paranoia. Why should you care if someone else hears your room number? Such a perspective fails to appreciate the kinds of “worst case scenarios” that can and do actually play out in real life, from time to time.

For example, suppose a couple has booked a room at a hotel for the weekend. They are checking in at the front desk, and seated in the lobby nearby is a desperate and depraved woman who is down on her luck. She notices that the couple is wearing expensive jewelry, and that they have some large designer luggage with them.

The hotel clerk concludes the couple’s check-in process and hands them the keys to her room. He says to them “Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. You are staying in Room 321 on the third floor. The elevators are to your left and down the hall. Please have a pleasant stay with us.”

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Gary L Deel

Dr. Gary Deel is a consultant, an attorney, an executive leader, an author, a podcast host, and a professor for several different universities.