By Cruise columnist
updated 8/29/2006 3:08:47 PM ET 2006-08-29T19:08:47

Recently, cruise lines have become much better in bed. Taking their cue from hotel “bed wars,” which began seven years ago when Westin Hotels and Resorts introduced its “Heavenly Bed,” cruise lines are now wooing customers with promises of a better night’s rest in newly upgraded beds. Pillow-top mattress, down duvets, and higher-quality sheets have turned up everywhere, and some lines even offer passengers a choice of pillows (soft or firm, regular or hypoallergenic, down or fill).

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The bedding has become so popular that some passengers want to take it home with them. Now they can. Three cruise lines are now offering their beds and linens for sale (new not used, of course), and they’ve got lots of takers.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Manufactured exclusively for Carnival, the “Carnival ComfortBed” sleep system includes a comfortable eight-inch spring mattress and box spring, a duvet made from 100 percent hypoallergenic down, and high-quality, cotton-blend satin-stripe sheets and pillowcases.

“We never imagined it would be so popular,” says Bob Dickinson, Carnival’s president and chief executive officer. “Guests are telling us that this is by far the most comfortable bed they’ve ever slept in.”

Ever since Carnival introduced the bed last year, guests have been asking where they can purchase their own. In response, Carnival created a special Web site,, which allows consumers to purchase the bed and its accessories. Complete bedding sets, which include four pillows, two pillow shams, a down duvet, a duvet cover and a set of sheets, start at $399. Prices for the mattress and box spring start at $999. Components can be purchased individually, as well.

Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen noted that the company is selling several hundred bedding components each month and that sales have increased dramatically since the Web site launched last November.

Holland America Line

“The neat thing about buying a bed that you have slept on during a cruise is that it is like a week’s trial period,” says Rose Abello, Holland America’s vice president for public relations. Indeed, response to the line’s “Mariner Dream Bed” has been overwhelmingly positive. Customers often say it’s the best sleep they’ve had in years, and several ebullient wives have written to say that their husbands stopped snoring because of the bed.

The Mariner Dream Bed is a custom-designed Sealy Posturepedic Euro-top mattress with 300-count cotton bed linens with a striped, soft sateen finish, duvet and choice of hypoallergenic or down pillows. The entire collection can be purchased online in Holland America’s Web store. Plan to spend about $850 for a twin. Linens, pillows and duvets are sold separately, with prices ranging from $35 to $300.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises started the shipboard bed wars in 2003, and it was the first to sell its bedding online. Oceania’s “Tranquility Bed” is custom-made in France and features a plush Euro-top mattress with a layer of memory foam topped with 350-count Egyptian cotton linens, a plush down comforter, silk-cut duvet cover and fluffy down pillows.

The cruise line is currently upgrading its bedding again. “We keep raising the bar,” says Tim Rubacky, Oceania’s public relations manager. He says the new mattresses will be thicker and have more memory foam, and linens will be upgraded to 700-count Egyptian cotton.

Unfortunately, you can’t buy the mattress. Because the beds are manufactured in France, the cost is prohibitive, Rubacky says. But anyone can purchase the line’s linens at the Oceania Cruises Online Boutique. Currently, the 350-count linens and duvets are available in king and queen size. The prices are a relative bargain: a king-size white goose down duvet runs $119 and flat and fitted sheets cost just $21 to $23 apiece.

I cruise a lot, and I can testify that cruise-line bedding has improved dramatically in the last five years. In some cases, it is truly dreamy. Go ahead and buy some. Then your only problem will be staying awake.

Anita Dunham-Potter is a Pittsburgh-based travel journalist specializing in cruise travel. Anita's columns have appeared in major newspapers and many Internet outlets, and she is a contributor to Fodor's "Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises 2006."E-mail Anitaor visit her Web site

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