If you’re planning your first cruise, or if you’ve gone on one or two in the past but ended up unhappy with your room selection, we have some tips for choosing the right cruise cabin that should help. There’s definitely more to it than picking a hotel room.
The most basic thing to understand is that while you may be faced with a dozen or two different types of cabin options, they all fall into one of four basic categories:
Types of Cruise Staterooms
- Interior cabins are the smallest rooms and have no windows to the outside.
- Outside cabins are of a similar size to or slightly larger than inside cabins, and they have windows or portholes.
- Balcony cabins have balconies, allowing passengers to be outdoors without being on deck. They’re often the same size or just a little more spacious than the previous two types.
- Suites are the biggest cabins; they usually have separate living and sleeping areas and various amenities.
Being familiar with these four cabin categories and their main differences is key to picking the right room on your cruise ship. From there, a number of considerations are important when selecting your stateroom. Below is some advice about the most critical factors to help you have the most enjoyable time possible on your cruise.
Considerations for Choosing the Right Cruise Cabin
- If you’re susceptible to seasickness, choose the lowest and most centrally located stateroom on the ship, as this eliminates or minimizes the problem; the higher and more outward the room, the more it sways.
- Again, inside cabins are the smallest, and they don’t have a natural light source. But they’re also the lowest priced. These are often best if you don’t plan to be in your room much.
- Outside cabins are similar, but the windows and views of the water help some people enjoy their room a little more and feel slightly less confined.
- Balcony cabins are a good option if you want the ability to be outside without always being on a public deck. They’re often a smart pick if you want to enjoy the solitude of your stateroom sometimes while on the cruise. Not all balconies are created equal, though; some are tiny, while others facilitate outdoor dining or even have a hot tub.
- Suites are ideal for cruise ship passengers who intend to hang out in their room outside of sleeping, and those who have a hard time getting comfortable in tight quarters. Of course, you pay for the extra space and amenities.
- Decide which amenities you really want; many are only available in suites. Dining area? Walk-in closet? Balcony? Hot tub? Wet bar? Concierge service? Look over your options, think long and hard about how much you’ll be in your room versus out enjoying the ship’s public offerings, and of course don’t lose sight of your vacation budget.
- Consider whether there are certain amenities, like the pool or mid-ship entertainment hub, that you want to be close to.
- Being by the pool—especially with a balcony overlooking it—sets you up to hear the most noise, including late at night.
- A room near staff service areas, bars, or lounges are also likely to have more noise than other cabins.
- Rooms on the lower level near the rear or front of the ship may also be noisy—and even have some vibrations—due to proximity to the ship’s engines or thrusters.
- If you’re particularly noise-sensitive, a mid-level cabin with rooms both above and below is generally the best bet, insulating you from the primary sources of sound on a cruise ship.
- Pay attention to the stateroom layout, especially if you’re taking a family cruise. In particular, note how the sleeping areas are partitioned.
- Ocean views are best at the very back of the ship. As a trade-off, though, you’re usually furthest from the activities, and often people on balconies above you can see down into your balcony.
- Be aware that not all windows, portholes, and balconies provide ocean views. Some look out over the ship, and some cabins have obstructed views due to the ship’s design.
- If you’re taking a one-way cruise, you only have one chance to see the scenery, so select a stateroom that faces land.
More Tips for Cruise Newbies
If you’re a beginner cruiser, there’s probably more on your mind than just choosing the right cruise cabin. Find more helpful advice in our posts about how to prepare for a cruise and what to pack for a cruise.