I write this post while sitting on the balcony of the best cabin on a cruise ship I have ever had.
I’m in an aft-facing balcony cabin on the deck just above the back patio of the buffet and right under the deck with the outdoor movies. I am a short outdoor staircase away from a drink from the bar or a snack from the buffet or a panoramic view of the open sea.
I can stare all day at the aqua-blue waters the ship’s wake kicks up. It’s mesmerizing and relaxing to me. In fact, I’m doing that right now instead of writing.
As with any kind of real estate, a cruise ship cabin is all about location, location, location.
What Matters to You?
There are basically two kinds of people when it comes to finding a cruise cabin, those who care where they are staying and are willing to pay a bit extra for it and those who are concerned only about price and look for the lowest rate.
Here are some basic things to consider when choosing a cabin on a cruise ship:
- Do you want natural light?
- Do you want access to the outdoors?
- What do you want to be closest to?
- What additional perks do you want?
If you don’t care if you have any natural light coming into the room, an inside cabin might be for you. They’re usually the cheapest and they are DARK. Once inside, you won’t know if it is night or day. They are great for sleeping.
If you want natural light, there are basically two cabin types to consider, outside or balcony/veranda. An outside room has a window that does not open which provides natural light. The balcony rooms have outdoor spaces and sliding glass doors. The sizes of both the windows and balcony differ.
When looking at balconies, check the deck plans to see which ones might have bump-outs, which are often bigger than the balconies near them. You can tell by looking at deck plans which ones might be bigger.
The balcony cabin I am in now has a bump-out and there is room for two lounge chairs, two regular chairs, and a table. The one next to me only has room for the two regular chairs and table.
Do you want to be close to an elevator or staircase? How about to the restaurants or theaters or the spa?
Proximity to key locations is important. If you want to be near the stairs or elevators, be wary of the cabins that are basically at the elevator bays. In these cabins, you can sometimes hear the dinging of the elevators and everyone wishing each other a good night when they get off of the elevators at night. The noise can be very annoying.
Also, if you’re a light sleeper, the cabins just below the restaurants or pools can get loud when staff move chairs around in the mornings.
Deck plans can help you figure what is near and above and below the cabin you’re choosing.
Some cabins have perks built in. For example, an Aqua Class room on Celebrity (like the one I am in now) includes unlimited access to the ship’s thermal suite and a separate restaurant for breakfast and dinner. I place a value on both of these since the food is good in the special restaurant and better than the main dinding room and I like decompressing on hot benches and in steam rooms. It also includes an expanded room service menu which is great for dining on the balcony.
When booking cabins with special perks like restaurant access, consider your other travel companions. Guests are usually not allowed, so if you have access to a restaurant and your friends or family don’t, this could create an awkward situation when it’s time for dinner.
Many cabin classes include perks upon booking. Often, inside cabins don’t have any benefits when booking, while outside or above sometimes include onboard credit, drink packages, or something else.
What kinds of things do you consider when booking a cabin on a cruise ship?