Choosing the Best Cruise Cabin for You

choosing your cruise cabin

The type of cruise cabin you choose for your cruise can and almost certainly will impact your budget

It is important for you to have a clear understanding of what you are buying.

Shipboard accommodation varies not only from cruise line to cruise line but often from ship to ship within a single cruise line!

This has to do with:

  • when the ship was built
  • the purpose the ship was built for
  • the economies of scale for that particular ship.

Also, the demographics, (age, income, lifestyle of the guests the ship will carry) will affect the pricing.

Typical Cabin or Stateroom Layout

Cabins can vary in size from under 100 square feet (including bathroom) to magnificent garden villas on the top deck like those on the Norwegian Star at over 5,000 square feet.

Typically you will find cabins under 150 square feet compact – to say the least. You may feel quite cramped.

Carnival Cruise Lines cabins start in the range of 185 square feet and are some of the largest, standard cabins at sea.

Above the 200 square foot size you will usually find mini-suites and suites, most often with private balconies where you can enjoy your outdoor view of the sea (very very romantic)!

Your cabin choice also depends upon how many people are in the cabin. Some cabins accommodate only two people. Others while the same size; can accommodate three or four persons. This can be a consideration as third and or fourth guests in a cabin usually gets a significant discount!

No wonder! Picture four people in a cabin of 150 square feet with one washroom!

Triple and Quad occupancy cabins have upper berths than fold out of the wall or come down from the ceiling. Fitting three or four passengers into a standard size cabin may also be done where a sofa bed is available and/or the cruise line may provide a cot, which is provided at night and removed from the room during the day.

My personal recommendation is to look for a cabin size at least 170 square feet or more.

Most cabins (or staterooms as they are often referred to) vary only by size, layout, furnishings and amenities but these differences may be important to you so ask about them!

Even the lowest accommodation today will have private bathroom facilities (most with a shower but no tub). They will have telephone service and a color television. Some will come with refrigerators. If these items are important to you, make sure they are on your checklist.

Remember, next to the itinerary and ship, cabin type and location will be your most important consideration! Why? Because you will be living in this room for the duration of your cruise and the wrong accommodation can dramatically affect your cruise comfort.

Regardless of the cabin type you are choosing, the position of the cabin may be critical to you!

A cabin positioned high and toward the bow (pointy end at the front of the ship) may contribute to motion discomfort (politically correct term for sea sickness) on the off chance you encounter rough weather at sea.

In a similar way being positioned aft (back end of the ship) can also affect your comfort in bad weather.

Today’s modern cruise ships employ exceptional stability innovations and it is rare that you will encounter discomfort due to motion. If this is a concern to you, make sure your booking agent knows you want to have a cabin on a lower deck (less side to side motion) and mid-ship (in the middle) to reduce movement.

Remember, you won’t find the cabins with private balconies in the lower part of the ship so think this one through if you have concerns about seasickness and motion discomfort.

Cruise Cabin FAQs

The key considerations in choosing your cabin are:

How much motion will there be?

The smaller the ship, the greater the rolling and pitching. A mid-ship lower level cabin will help.

What is the square footage of the cabin?

Get the whole picture including bathroom and balcony. Cabin and balcony size can vary significantly within the same price category.

Will anything obstruct my view?

The hull, lifeboats, and equipment on the deck can limit your view. But some “obstructed view” cabins are great value because they are situated between two lifeboats and have a clear site line. Ask your booking agent.

How large are the windows?

They may be portholes, standard size windows, floor to ceiling windows or floor to ceiling glass doors that open to a verandah.

Can other passengers see me in my room or on my verandah?

A stateroom on a promenade deck could allow other passengers who walk by your window, the opportunity to view inside. Most modern ships use reflective glass to minimize this, which works during the day but not at night when your lights are on.

Some balcony cabins over look others and everything happening on the lower balcony is visible to others.

Is the room noisy?

If you like to sleep late or are a light sleeper, avoid cabins near the anchor, the tenders, the engines, the disco, the galley and the stairwell.

The intention here is to answer questions about cruise cabins!

If you’re completely new to cruise holidays you’ve probably already discovered that booking your first ever cruise can be a bit daunting. There are so many new things you need to learn in order to get your booking just right, and one of the most difficult aspects of a cruise can be choosing the right cabin for you.

Once you understand the lingo and the different cabins that are available though, you’ll be off to a flying start so you can make headway with your booking.

Let’s start with the basics…

What is a cabin?

You can look at a cabin as your hotel room on the cruise ship. Don’t expect anything too big though, as cruise cabins are generally pretty small. This is because cruise ships transport huge numbers of people and in order to save space the cabins are only are big as they need to be.

Though your cabin may end up being small, you’ll still have enough room to store your belongings and get a good night’s sleep!

And what’s a stateroom?

That’s just another term for a cabin, so you might see the two interchanged on websites and in brochures.

How big are cabins?

This really all depends on which cruise line you’re sailing with. For instance, Carnival Cruises boasts some of the largest standard cabin sizes available, with most starting at 185 square feet. Some of the smallest on the market are just 150 square feet though!

If you want to splash out and get yourself a penthouse cabin (they really exist!) you could end up with a 200 square foot stateroom that has its own private balcony. These can be quite expensive though.

How many people can sleep in a cabin?

Most cruise lines have cabins that can sleep up to four people, with a combination of double beds, bunk beds, single beds, sofa beds and foldaway cots that can be provided by the cruise line.

However, if you’re cruising with four or more people it can generally be advisable to go for one of the larger cabins so that everyone can enjoy a bit of space. There are double and even single cabins available as well.

Here’s a tip – you can tell how many people the cabin sleeps by the ‘berth’. For example, a 2 berth cabin will sleep two people; a three berth cabin will sleep three people, and so on.

Will I get a view?

Cruise cabins only come with views if they’re referred to as ‘outside cabins’. This just means they’re placed on the outer section of the ship and have a porthole or picture window that allows you to look out to sea.

Inside cabins are situated within the middle of the ship and don’t have windows, which means they can be much cheaper than outside cabins. It’s up to you which you’d prefer, but if you’re trying to save money you might want to consider an inside cabin.

Will the location of my cabin give me seasickness?

In some cases, yes. If you’re prone to seasickness you should choose a cabin that’s located closer to the middle of the ship and which is quite low down. This minimises the amount of rolling and pitching that you’ll be able to feel.

Are cruise cabins soundproofed?

Not really. This isn’t such a problem if your cabin is located away from the public areas of the ship, such as the lido deck. However, the suits and penthouse cabins are usually situated just below the lido deck (as this area of the ship affords the best balcony views), so they can sometimes be a little noisy. To minimize the amount of noise, choose a cabin that’s vertically sandwiched between other cabins so they act as a buffer.

Knowing which cabin to choose can seem incredibly confusing to first-time cruisers, but with a little bit of research and some practice you’ll soon be able to book cabins with the greatest of ease.

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