What is a Pullman Bed on a Cruise Ship?

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Hidden Upper Berth on Disney Wonder cruise ship

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Cruise ship cabins are generally designed to support two travelers in a room. But if you book a cabin for three or four travelers, you might find a bunk bed, sofa bed, or Pullman bed.

What is a Pullman Bed on a Cruise Ship?

Fold out pullman bed on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America cruise shipPin
A fold-out Pullman bed on NCL Pride of America (Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line)

A Pullman bed on a cruise ship is a type of bed designed to save space in a cabin. Pullman beds pull down from the wall or ceiling. They are named after the Pullman Company, which originally designed these beds for train compartments.

Pullman beds offer additional sleeping space in the cabin without permanently occupying the limited floor area.

The Pullmans, sometimes called “upper berths,” in conjunction with convertible beds and sofa beds, allow cruise ships to change the room configuration as required by the number of occupants.

Disney Magic Pullman bed with guard rail 1024×507Pin
A Pullman bed on Disney Magic

These beds allow cruise lines to transform a two-person cabin into a four-person in a matter of minutes.

When the Pullman beds aren’t needed (for example, two people booked in a four-person cabin), they can be tucked away out of sight.

A Pullman bed can be stowed away when not in use, usually folding up against the wall or into the ceiling, thereby freeing up space and making the cabin more versatile and comfortable during the day. These beds are especially useful in cabins that accommodate families or groups, as they provide extra sleeping arrangements without needing a larger, more expensive cabin.

The Upper berth on Carnival Splendor with ladder in oceanview cabin 1024×500Pin
An upper berth on Carnival Splendor

The beds are designed with safety in mind, often featuring guardrails to prevent the sleeper from falling out.

Cruise ship cabins might have one or two Pullmans with a convertible bed on the floor. When joined, a convertible bed can be used as two twin beds or a queen-sized bed.

Pullman beds were invented by George M. Pullman, who sought to create a space-saving solution for sleeping on trains. The style of beds was first introduced in sleeper cars on trains in the late 1850s. At the time, they were known as “upper bands,” “bunk beds,” or “pull-down beds.”

Constellation of Peter Pan mural inside an upper berth on Disney Wonder 1024×495Pin
The ceiling for Disney Magic’s upper bunk has a constellation of Peter Pan

Although they were considered a luxury amenity then, modern Pullman beds on a cruise ship are not a luxury.

The beds are small and far less comfortable than regular beds. As an adult, getting a good night’s rest in the small, uncomfortable upper Pullman bed on cruise ships is difficult.

Your cabin steward will raise and lower the bed for you. If you need assistance, you can always ask your stateroom attendant.

Pullmans often have weight limits. And there isn’t much clearance between the bed and the ceiling. The beds are generally best for children and smaller adults, who won’t hit their heads every time they sit up.


Allow cruise lines to fit more passengers in a cabin

Best for families on a budget who require a four-person cabin

Fun for kids


Some ships have low guard rails, which may be unsafe

Some Pullmans are smaller than a single bed

Uncomfortable for sleeping

What is the Weight Limit on a Pullman Bed?

Pullman bed on Carnival Liberty 1024×504Pin
Pullman bunk on Carnival Liberty

The weight limit on a Pullman bed on a cruise ship can vary depending on the cruise line and the specific design of the bed. However, the weight limit for these beds is usually around 200 to 250 pounds (approximately 90 to 113 kilograms).

The weight limit is set to ensure the safety and structural integrity of the bed when in use.

It’s important to note that this is a general guideline, and for specific weight limits and safety instructions, it’s always best to check directly with the cruise line or refer to the information provided in your cabin on the ship. Cruise lines often provide details about the cabin amenities, including any restrictions or guidelines for using Pullman beds, either in their brochures, on their websites, or in the information available in the cabin itself.

Below are some of the weight limits listed by cruise lines.

Cruise LinePullman Bed Weight Limit (kg)Pullman Max Weight Limit
Carnival113 kg250 lbs
Royal Caribbean136 kg300 lbs
Disney Cruise Line100 kg220 lbs
Norwegian Cruise Line163 kg360 lbs
Virgin Voyages136 kg300 lbs
Celebrity Cruises90 kg200 lbs
Princess Cruises113 kg250 lbs
MSC Cruises150 kg330 lbs
Cunard130 kg285 lbs
P&O Cruises115 kg287 lbs

Safety Considerations for Children

Pullman bed on Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas with a short guard rail 1024×583Pin
The Pullman bed on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas has a short railing that might be unsafe for children.

Although the upper bunks come with guard rails, there are considerable size differences between ships. Even cruise ships of the same class have major variations in guard rail sizes.

If you’re worried about your child falling out of bed, here are some precautions you can take:

  • Age and Maturity Level: Pullman beds are generally not recommended for very young children, especially those under 6, due to the risk of falling.
  • Guard Rails: Ensure the Pullman bed has sturdy guard rails to prevent the child from rolling off during sleep. You can ask for an extra guardrail or an inflatable one for added safety.
  • Switch Places: You can switch places with your child and take the upper berth. Keep in mind that the small bed is very uncomfortable for an adult.
  • Have a Backup Plan: You can bring a small inflatable bed as a backup if you feel the Pullman bed is unsafe for your child.
  • Use the Sofa: Your child can sleep on the sofa if your cabin has one.

How Big is a Pullman Bed?

Pullman beds vary in size but are generally the size of a single bed. Depending on the cruise ship, they might be slightly narrower or shorter and are rarely larger than a single bed.

The beds are close to the ceiling, so it’s difficult for adults to sit up fully. Pullman beds are best for children, but if you are traveling with adults, it’s usually best if the smallest adult takes the Pullman.

Can You Raise or Lower the Pullman Bed?

For safety reasons, the stateroom attendant can only raise Pullman beds on cruise ships. If you need help with the bed, you can ask your cabin steward or call guest services.

Article by

Marcello De Lio

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