How to Choose the Ideal Ocean Cruise Cabin
Cruises are back up and running again, and ship sailings are booking up at lightning fast speeds! If you’re considering a cruise for your next vacation, one of most important decisions you’ll make isn’t necessarily the itinerary, the cruiseline, or the time of year, as you might expect. Believe it or not, one of the aspects of cruising that I assist my clients with most often is how to choose the ideal cruise ship cabin for their style, needs, and budget.
When it comes to choosing the perfect stateroom, layout and location—both of which determine cost—are primary decision-making factors. Keep reading for more of my advice on how to choose the right cruise cabin for you
and your loved ones.
Although all cruise ships differ slightly, most have four basic types or categories of staterooms: inside, outside or oceanview, balcony or mini-suite, and suite.
Inside cabins are the smallest of the categories at roughly 120 to 180 square feet with no windows to the outside of the ship (though some cruiselines have added windows onto the ship’s interior public spaces or screens with virtual views). As you might expect, it’s the most affordable of your options. Extroverts and adventurous vacationers may be satisfied with an inside cabin, using it only to bathe and sleep to prepare for their days in public areas or ashore. Outside cabins are similar to inside cabins but often a bit larger and with a porthole or picture window with a view outside of the ship. Keep in mind that these windows don’t open, though they do provide natural sunlight. Outside cabins run roughly 20 to 25% more expensive than inside cabins. Vacationers who want to save on accommodations but plan on spending occasional time napping or watching a movie in their stateroom may prefer this option.
Balcony cabins feature sliding glass or French doors leading to a private veranda, allowing you to step outside your stateroom without venturing to a public deck. Balconies are often narrow—just wide enough to fit two chairs and a small table. However, some balcony cabins are also mini-suites with a small interior sitting area. Balcony cabins cost roughly 25 to 50% more than inside and outside cabins. Vacationers who will be cruising more than five days, who will have a few days at sea, who will want in-room meal service, or who will be likely to encounter stunning views may prefer this option, while vacationers traveling to chilly climes may not require this outdoor space. Suite cabins are the height of luxury at sea, being the largest staterooms onboard with separate living and sleeping areas, large balconies, and full-size bathtubs. Depending on the cruiseline, many suites expand on the amenities of the balcony cabins with concierge or butler services—useful for booking reservations and excursions—and exclusive spaces onboard. Vacationers who relish privacy, ease, and spaces away from the crowd will prefer this option.
Now that you’ve decided on your cabin type, you’ll need to consider cabin location. Whether you’re prone to seasickness, have limited mobility, are sensitive to noise, or are all about the views, I can help you find the perfect spot onboard.
Stability: If you’re concerned about seasickness, you want to choose a cabin on the lower decks as well as something more centrally located toward midship. Here, you’ll feel less ship movement. On the higher decks and toward the front (forward) and back (aft) of the ship, you’ll feel the most rocking and rolling. Forward cabins give you the true sailing experience with the most motion, wind, and spray, while aft cabins have a medium amount of motion.
Distance: Consider your mobility. Do you want to be near to or far away from ship amenities like the pools and sundeck, entertainment hubs, and elevators? The lower decks are the furthest from common areas, meaning a lot of stair climbing or elevator riding, as are the forward and aft cabins, meaning a lot of hallway walking. Higher decks and midship cabins are the closest to the action.
Noise: If you’re sensitive to noise, choose a cabin with other cabins adjacent to it on all sides, including above and below. Cabins on the highest deck are close to the pools, the biggest noise culprit. But you’ll also want to avoid service areas, show lounges and bars, and laundries, too. Midship cabins tend to experience more foot traffic in the hallways from passengers headed to forward and aft cabins. On the lower decks, both forward and aft, you may hear noise from the ship itself as the engine, anchor, and bow thrusters keep the cruise on track.
Views: Consider your itinerary. If you’re going roundtrip or transatlantic, the side of the ship you’re on doesn’t matter much. But if you’re on a one-way sailing, choose a cabin on the side facing the land for gorgeous views. In forward or aft facing rooms, expect 180 degree vistas, as well as huge balconies that allow you to see in both directions for those rooms on the corners. However, beware of less privacy on tiered aft balconies, which can be seen from public decks above.
Whatever cabin you decide to call home on your next cruise vacation, I’m here to help make sure it’s as cozy and comfortable as the home you left behind. Why not get in touch with me today so that we can reserve your perfect spot before the ship fills up? The wide open seas are calling your name! As always, I’m wishing you smooth sailing, wherever your travels take you.