Now your family is on the ship and you rush to check out your room. You open the door and whoa -- that's a small room! And unless you’ve booked a suite, it is small. Inside cabins are typically 150 square feet and ocean view are slightly larger. But don't despair, you really will fit!
First, other than sleeping and changing clothes, you won't be in your room much. There are so many activities and things to do all over the ship that you'll be outside your room more than you're in it. Second, on the Disney cruises (and perhaps others) do you notice there's only one bed and one sofa? That sofa will be gone by bedtime and converted into a set of bunk beds. Then, the following morning the sofa will return -- all this magic conducted by your room steward. Note that if any members of your family will be napping during the day, you can use the larger bed, or you can ask your steward or housekeeping to create the bunk beds at any time. Third, there really is a fair amount of storage space in the cabin, just look around for the drawers, cubbies, and shelves --which means you will need to unpack fully to make use of them.
Typically, when we go on vacation, we live out of our suitcases and don't take the time to unpack. But if you do that on a cruise ship, you will be going crazy in less than 24 hours -- especially with kids. Once we’re on-board, have eaten lunch and toured the ship a little, I send the husband and kids off to explore so that I can unpack in peace. I hang up as many clothes as possible, then put the rest in drawers and other storage space, arranged by person. Toiletries I place in the very small bathroom -- another reason to bring travel sized items. Electronics and other valuables go in the safe. Shoes are put on shelves or on the floor of the closet. Books and other entertainment items used on the plane or in the car are generally not needed here. I may keep out a book or so per person, but the rest I put away into the suitcases, carry-ons or safe. Any dirty clothes are placed into the suitcases. I also put as many of the suitcases, backpacks, and carry-ons inside of each other as possible. I can typically put one suitcase in the closet, one suitcase next to the bed and the carry-ons underneath the bed. (Sometimes, I have managed to get the large suitcases under the bed as well.)
Voila! It’s organized. Once the kids and spouse return to the room, I show them where everything is and tell them that's where it needs to be put back. We also designate a spot for placing dirty clothes. Doing this unpacking and organizing first thing really helps us, (well, me) feel settled. Now the relaxing and fun can begin!