How to Choose the Best Cabin on a Cruise Ship

Planning a cruise vacation involves many decisions. One of the most difficult is how to choose the best cabin type and location for your budget and lifestyle.

When examining cruise ship designs and decks, whether online or in brochures, those planning a cruise will quickly notice the different categories of cabins.

Sometimes there are more than 20 different categories on a ship! Travel agents and journalists usually answer two questions:

  • How do you find the right cabin to suit your needs and budget?
  • How do you get a cabin upgrade on a cruise ship?

    We hope you enjoy watching this video about How to choose a cruise ship cabin

    Source: Royal Caribbean Blog

    We'll review the different types of cruise accommodations to help you choose the best cabin on a ship for your needs and style!

    What is the best cabin on a cruise ship?

    Choosing the best cabin on a cruise ship is definitely a matter of personal choice, with cost and location being the main factors in decision making. You can have a lot of fun in an indoor cabin on the lower level. However, an exterior cabin with a window, or better yet, a balcony, makes the cruise experience that much better and more enjoyable.

    Sitting on the porch with a good book or just being able to get out and breathe in the ocean breeze helps differentiate a cruise from a resort vacation.

    Having a cabin as a refuge after a busy day ashore can add something special to the cruise experience for those who enjoy quiet moments on their cruise vacation.

    While many people advise new passengers to book the cheapest interior cabin as "they won't be spending much time there anyway", this is not true for everyone.

    If you are on a cruise of seven days or more, you will have days at sea that you can spend relaxing in your room, watching a movie or taking a nap.

    On a cruise ship, your cabin is the only place where you can get away from everything and everyone. Selecting a cabin type is as personal as deciding where to sail and on which ship. We are all different and what is not important to one person may be to you.

    Is the price of the cabin important?

    Price is certainly a consideration, but if your vacation time is limited, you may be willing to pay more to get a cabin that fits your lifestyle. The best advice is to know the cabins of the cruise ships and make the right decision for you.

    A cabin with a porch will cost 25% more, almost double the price of an interior cabin. Some cruises prefer to go twice as far and stay in an inside cabin.

    Others with more limited time may prefer to splurge on a balcony or suite. Cabins with a balcony are sometimes smaller than cabins with a window, as the balcony is replacing the interior space. When booking the cruise, be sure to check that the size of the room is more important to you than a balcony.

    What are the different types of cruise cabins?

    The price of a cruise ship cabin (terms are interchangeable) depends on its size, layout, and location. Staterooms on large conventional cruise ships are often advertised as standard indoors, with ocean view, balcony, or suite.

    The smallest cabins on luxury lines are sometimes much larger than those on conventional lines and have views of the sea or balcony, making the quality of accommodation one of the biggest differences between cruise lines.

    Cabin and balcony size and cabin location can vary significantly within the same price range on any ship.

    Standard cruise ship cabins - Inside cabins (no porthole or window)

    Today, many cruise ships have similarly sized standard cabins and amenities, and the difference in price is location. The cheapest, within the standard cabins of a conventional cruise ship, measure between 120 and 180 square feet.

    Because most cruises are relatively new or have been renovated, staterooms are often tastefully decorated with two single beds that can be pushed together to form a queen-size bed for couples. Staterooms have wall-to-wall carpeting, individually controlled air conditioning/heating, dressing or storage space, closet, telephone, and satellite television.

    The television usually has news, sports, local channels on board to broadcast information on shore excursions or guest speakers and movies. Some staterooms have VCRs or DVD players, and some televisions also have radio/music channels. The cabins also usually have a bedside table, reading lamps, and a chair.

    Most modern cruises come with a hairdryer, so you won't have to bring one from home. Some standard cabins offer a personal safe, desk, desk with chair, convertible sofa bed, mini-refrigerator, and even Internet access, although this is generally much more expensive than the common Internet room. The cruise brochure or website generally specifies what amenities are in each stateroom.

    Standard cabin bathrooms are generally small and most are shower only (no bathtub). The shower generally has good water pressure, with the only complaint being its small size.

    Don't be surprised if the shower curtain keeps trying to attack you! The bathroom also has a sink, shelves with toiletries, and a noisy airplane-like vacuum toilet.

    There is often a small step between the bedroom and the bathroom, perfect for plucking your toe. Bathrooms also often have a retractable clothesline for drying bathing suits or clothes.

    Standard Cruise Staterooms - Outside Ocean View Staterooms (Harbor or Window)

    Oftentimes, standard ocean view cabins and standard interior cabins are nearly identical in size and layout. The only difference is the window.

    Most modern ships have large windows instead of portholes, but these windows cannot be opened. So if you want to have the sea breeze in your room, you will need a balcony.

    Some boats have guard booths and others have windows. The guard cabins are on the lower decks and are cheaper.

    The only view you have from a viewpoint is whether it is day or night. At times, you can also see the ocean waves crashing against the porthole as you cruise; it's almost like looking at a front-loading washing machine.

    Cabins with Balconies or Verandas

    The next step above an outside cabin is the one with a porch (balcony). These cabins have a sliding glass or French doors that provide access to the outside.

    The sliding doors also mean that you can see outside from anywhere in the cabin - that is, lie down in bed and still see the ocean outside. Veranda staterooms are also typically larger than standard staterooms and some qualify as mini-suites. which means they have a small seating area with a sofa or sofa bed.

    Minisuites also often have a curtain that can be closed to separate the sleeping and living areas. This feature is ideal for couples (or friends) who have different sleeping habits.

    Early risers can sit in the living room or on the balcony and enjoy the sunrise without waking up their partner.

    Most balcony staterooms do not have balconies large enough to accommodate an armchair where you can lie down and sunbathe in private. Balconies are usually narrow, wide enough for two chairs and a small table.

    If you want a larger balcony, look for a cabin at the rear of the boat. The balconies of some boats do not offer privacy. These porches would definitely not be suitable for nudes during the day.


    A "suite" can mean that you have a small living room, a curtain to separate the bed from the living room, or a separate bedroom. It is important to ask and look at the stateroom layouts before booking, as the name can be a bit misleading. Suites almost always have balconies. Suites are larger and many have larger bathrooms with bathtubs.

    A suite will have all the amenities found in other cabin categories, and may even have butler service. Suites come in all shapes, sizes, and locations.

    They are a wonderful gift, especially if you spend many days at sea or if you want to spend a lot of time together in your cabin. Some luxury lines have all their cabins as mini-suites or suites.

    Cabin Locations

    Cabin location is the third most important factor in the cruise category, in addition to size and type. Cruise ships sometimes offer passengers a "guaranteed" cabin, which means that you are paying for a category rather than a specific cabin.

    A guaranteed stateroom may be cheaper than choosing a specific stateroom, but may not provide the desired location. You're taking a risk and letting the cruise line assign you a stateroom in a certain category.

    Be sure to do your research before booking a "guaranteed" cabin (or any cabin). You may be delighted with the value you get for your money, but you may also be disappointed if other cabins in the same category are in much better locations.

    When reviewing deck plans, be sure to check what is above, below, or to the side of your cabin. For example, a booth can be very noisy if it is located under a dance floor. Also, an ocean view cabin on a walkway deck will have a lot of foot traffic.

    Lower deck cabins

    Inside staterooms on the lower decks are generally the cheapest cruise ship staterooms. While the lower deck cabins provide a smoother ride in rough seas, they are also the farthest from common areas like the pool and lounges.

    You'll take the stairs or travel further in the elevators on a lower floor, but you can also expend some of those extra calories. So while the standard interior cabins are all the same size and layout on a ship, you can save a few hundred dollars by choosing to stay on a lower deck.

    The same applies to standard ocean view cabins, but you may want to ask about window size as the ocean view on the lower deck may only have portholes or a smaller window. Two problems you may face with cabins on the lower decks are engine noise and anchor noise.

    If your cabin is close to the front of the boat, it may appear that the boat has hit a coral reef when anchoring. The racket will wake anyone up, so the only good thing about the noise is that it can serve as an alarm.

    Newer boats tend to have less engine noise and their outriggers suppress boat movement, but you may hear this anchor noise a few times a day in ports where the boat must use a buoy.

    Upper deck cabins

    Staterooms on the upper decks generally cost more than those on the lower decks. Since these cabins are closer to the pool and deck, they are more desirable for those on warm-weather cruises who plan to use these amenities.

    They also offer better panoramic views. However, you will have more roll overhead, so on smaller boats, those that are prone to seasickness should avoid a cabin on the upper deck.

    Boat cabins

    Sometimes standard boat cabins are a good option due to their central location and less traffic. They are excellent for those who have mobility problems or have a tendency to get dizzy. However, an intermediate cabin may have more traffic outside the aisles, as other passengers will often pass. Some cruises charge a bit more for intermediate cabins or even have them in a separate category. If you are considering a cabin in the middle of the ship, be sure to check the location of the boats or lifeboats. They can block your vision and make noise when they are raised or lowered. Most cruise lines will tell you if a cabin is vision-blocked or limited, but it's a good idea to check for yourself.

    Bow cabins (front)

    The cabins at the front of the ship generate more movement and attract those who feel like "real" sailors. It will have more wind and dew in front. In rough seas, a bow cabin can definitely be exciting. Please note that the forward stateroom windows are sometimes smaller and angled or retracted, which means that you cannot see as much as you could to the side or rear of the boat. Cruise ships often place suites in front of the ships to take advantage of the unusual shape and take the opportunity to provide passengers with larger balconies.

    Aft cabins (rear)

    If you want a large balcony with your stateroom, look towards the rear of the ship. These cabins also offer a panoramic view of the place where you sailed.

    The aft cabins of the boat have more movement than the cabins located in the center, but less than the bow cabins.

    One downside: depending on the shape of the ship, lounge or restaurant passengers can sometimes look down on the aft cabin porches. It doesn't have much privacy!

    If all this information is confusing, it simply shows how much diversity exists between cruise ship cabins. When planning your next cruise, study the design and architecture of the ship's deck plans before selecting your stateroom.

    Check with your travel agent and other people who have sailed the ship. Think about what is important to you and consider the cost difference.

    If your vacation time is limited, you may want to spend a few more dollars on a better cabin.

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