We may be slightly biased, but there’s not much that’s more fun than deciding on a cruise and then settling down to pick the perfect cruise ship cabin to stay in.
Choosing a grade, dissecting the deck plans, checking where the closest bar and spa is, bliss. Apparently though (or so we’ve heard), some people don’t really like the experience of choosing their cruise ship cabin.
Some find it a chore, some find it challenging and others just think it’s overly complicated. Never fear though, we’ve simplified things for you and made booking your cruise ship cabin a very simple decision…
Cutting Through the Jargon
The first thing you’ll need to do is decipher some of the jargon surrounding cruise ship cabins. A cruise ship is, in reality, no different to a hotel room (with the obvious exception that your view changes every day), but the cruise lines will insist on referring to them by different names.
You may think of it as nothing more than somewhere to rest your head of a night but they’ll use terms like cabin, stateroom or other such things along a nautical theme.
Something that could cause confusion is the fact that all cruise ships have high-end suites available to book but if you’re looking at a cabin on a luxury six-star ship they’ll all be called suites (just in case things weren’t complicated enough already).
Once you’ve figured out what to call your cabin you’ll need to decide which grade to book. Luckily, there are only really four basic grades that you need to worry about…
An inside cabin will be just as it sounds, a cabin on the inside of the ship, and the cheapest cabin you can book!
It saves you a lot of money but does mean you’ll be without a view or even a window; perfect for those that just want to get changed and sleep in their rooms, but if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in there you may want to consider booking something else
An outside cabin will be almost exactly the same as an inside cabin in terms of size and layout but, unlike the inside cabin, it sits on the outside of the ship which means you can have a window, a view and some natural daylight.
These kinds of cabins are a nice step between inside and balcony cabins for those that don’t like the sound of the inside but don’t fancy stretching to a balcony cabin either.
This will appear almost exactly like an outside cabin, perhaps a little larger, but the big difference will be that you’ll have a French window leading out onto your own private balcony!
Cruise ship suites come in all shapes and sizes with the basic type (normally known as junior suites) just being larger balcony cabins (with more floor space) whilst some of the biggest can have rooms spread over two stories, private gardens, private bars and your own Jacuzzi out on your balcony!
Location, Location, Location
Perhaps just as important as picking the type of cabin you book is choosing where your cabin is located! You’ll need to take a lot of things into consideration here, especially if you suffer from sea sickness or are a light sleeper. Although, these things don’t usually matter on the mega-ships…
Front of the ship
As this is where theship cuts through the waves, the front will experience the most movement, meaning if you’re prone to sea sickness you may feel a little green!
It’s worth remembering though that this is normally only an issue in waters that are quite choppy, in places like the Mediterranean or the Caribbean you’ll experience a lot less movement (which means no sea sickness!)
Aft of the ship
The back of the ship tends to be considered the next best cabin position after midships. Whilst the front of the ship gets the most movement the back also does get some. Whilst it’s nowhere near as bad as the front of the ship, you may still notice some movement in rough seas.
Midships (or the middle of the ship)
If you imagine your cruise ship as a see-saw, then as it moves up and down the middle stays in the same position, right?
As it moves through the waves, moving up and down, the middle of the ship will remain the most stationary so this is a great one to feel less movement!
The top decks
There’s an old adage in cruising: “the more you pay, the more you sway”. This rather charming idiom came about from the cruise lines charging the most money for balcony cabins at the top of the ship.
These cabins will obviously command a better view than those towards the bottom of the ship but due to the nature of a cruise ship, you may notice a little more swaying than you would on the lower decks of the ship (towards its centre of gravity).
The bottom decks
As we have mentioned, the lower decks may not command as much of a view but don’t forget, you can always walk up to the top deck to enjoy it. What you’ll find in picking a cabin lower down is that you’ll save quite a bit of money and if you’re sensitive to the motion of a ship, you’ll notice it a lot less.
Some modern ships are big, and even if you’re not looking to book a cruise on one of these it’s probably still worth considering the position of your cabin when looking at the deck plans.
How far are you from the lifts? Or the main dining room? Will you have a massive walk coming back from the bar of an evening?
It’s more of an issue for those that struggle to walk long distances, but still worth considering for everyone else nonetheless.
Just as you may want to consider the position of the lifts when you think about your walking distance to them, you may also want to think about noise levels.
Will people queuing up outside them disturb you in the morning if you’re sleeping late? If you’ve gone to bed early, will people coming back after dinner wake you?
If it’s the case that you’re a particularly light sleeper then you may want to pick a cabin away from the lifts.
It’s not just the lifts you need to think about when it comes to noise considerations though. Is your cabin the next deck up from the theatre? It obviously won’t be an issue during the day, but the last thing you want if you fancy an early night is to be able to hear the theatre underneath you.
Try to avoid these kinds of cabins if you can- when you’re looking at your cabin on a deck plan, just have a look above and below you and to either side. Is there anything around you that might be noisy? If there is perhaps it’d be best to look at another cabin.
Does Size Matter?
How much does size matter to you really? Whilst we’ve already said inside and outside cabins tend to be the same size (just with the addition/loss of a window), the size of balconies and suites can vary wildly.
The thing is though, how much size do you need? Now the answer to that may be a lot, in which case by all means book the biggest suite you can afford.
It’s worth remembering though that until you get up to the top, with the top levels of suites all you’re really paying for is extra floor space. But there are still some important points to cover…
Bath vs Shower
To save space some balcony cabins will come equipped with a shower only whilst others will have a full bath. That may not be a deal-breaker for most, but if a bath is important to you then make sure you check the deck plans carefully. The cabins that have a bath and shower will be marked.
Balcony vs cabin space
Whilst we’re on the subject of floor space, it’s probably worth mentioning the age-old debate between balcony size and cabin space.
If you just glance at a deck plan it may look as though all the balconies are the same size, but when you trawl through the fine print you’ll notice some balconies are bigger, with the trade-off being a smaller cabin or vice versa.
Often however you won’t even realise this until you arrive. If you call and speak to a cruise specialist they’ll always be able to check the exact balcony size for you. What you need to decide beforehand is what you’re looking for from your balcony.
Are you just looking to take in the view and maybe enjoy a morning coffee (in which case a slightly smaller balcony and the larger cabin will probably suit you best), or will you be looking to sunbathe out there (meaning you’ll need a larger balcony for the sun lounger but will probably sacrifice a bit of cabin space)?
Make sure you consider all these things and have a think about what you want before letting your cruise consultant find you the perfect cabin!
Well, That’s A Bit Different!
Whilst we’ve covered the basics there’s still a bit more to go over, far too much to cover here in fact but we’ll try to give you a taster.
Cruise ships aren’t just big floating hotels despite the stigma they are often stuck with. Whereas the rooms in hotels are laid out in the exact same size, cruise ship cabins in where there’s space around the engines, the restaurants, the bars and theatre, the bridge and much more.
This means that on any given cruise ship if you’re one of the people in the know (or you know someone that is), you can find some very quirky shaped or designed cabins. Sometimes the cruise lines will advertise this fact, sometimes they won’t. We’ll try to cover a few of the more common ones here…
Believe it or not, it’s possible to get an inside cabin with a view! If you book a cruise on one of Royal Caribbean’s larger ships (Voyager class or above), the ships will have what’s known as the Royal Promenade.
This is a giant walkway in the centre of the ship three or four storeys high. On the bottom level (the promenade) you’ll find shops, restaurants, bars and the occasional parade as well as live music and other entertainment.
This is where it gets good though: on the higher levels, instead of just having blank walls (backing onto inside cabins), Royal Caribbean has added windows to all the cabins so you can overlook the promenade and people-watch to your heart’s content.
There’s a massive demand in cruising at the moment for solo cabins, but a lot of the cruise lines have been slow to catch up with this.
Fortunately, this situation is changing now and most new cruise ships now come equipped with a small number of cabins specially designed for people travelling on their own. Be warned though, they do tend to sell out quickly…
With very few exceptions, all cruise ship cabins will sleep a maximum of four people. This means if you’re travelling with three or more children you’re going to have a problem.
There are some cabins that sleep five or six (in fact there are some suites that can sleep eight-ten people), but these tend to sell out early, especially during the summer holidays with families looking for a holiday.
If you don’t manage to book one of these then two adjoining cabins is an alternative option, and we don’t just mean booking two cabins next to each other.
The adjoining cabins will have an interconnecting door for just this purpose (but don’t worry, it’s locked from both sides if you’re not travelling with the person in the next cabin).
The thought of booking a cabin with an obstructed view can be quite pointlessto some, but by law, all cruise ships have to carry lifeboats and these boats obviously need to be stored somewhere.
Often you’ll find them just outside the lower outside or balcony view cabins. You still get all the natural daylight (and in the case of a balcony more room), but you lose out a little on the view.
For obvious reasons the cruise lines sell these cabins at massively reduced costs, but if all you’re looking for is a cheap cabin with some natural daylight to alleviate the feeling of claustrophobia an inside cabin may elicit then it might be a good choice for you.
The added benefit is that not all obstructed cabins are fully obstructed, some only have partial obstructions. There are obviously several dozen lifeboats per ship so if you happen to book a cabin in-between two of them you’ll still get the full discount but may get a bit of a view as well!
Is That Everything?
The last thing to consider is what extras you’ll get with your cabin. As the cruise lines can’t really increase the size of most balcony cabins, rather than sell them all at the same price they’ll class some as a higher grade and just include extra ‘perks’ with them.
These ‘perks’ can range from exclusive access to restaurants or spas right through to your own private concierge or butler.
What cabin do you usually go for? Which is your least favourite? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for getting the most out of your money?
7 Incredible Cruise Ship Cabins You Won’t Believe You Haven’t Booked YetWeknow which cabins nobody ever books, the cabins that almost always stay empty till the cruise lines fill them with last-minute bargain hunters…
14 Of The Best Insider Tricks For Free Cabin UpgradeMost think it doesn’t happen in real life, but there’ll always be ‘that’ person on your dinner table bragging about how they’ve been upgraded…again…
Editor and Creative Copywriter of Cruise.co.uk's bulletin blog, bringing you cruise news, tips and guides daily! - Contact: [emailprotected]
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What to avoid when booking a cruise? ›
- Misjudge Your Cruise Fare. One of the most important things not to do on a cruise vacation is to neglect the details of your fare, otherwise known as the price of your cruise. ...
- Ignore Cellular Data. ...
- Neglect Travel Insurance. ...
- Under-Pack. ...
- Pick the Wrong Cruise Line.
You want to be as close to the pivot point as possible to feel the least movement. Avoid cabins near the front (bow) or back (stern) and on decks higher than the middle deck of the ship. So, on a ship with fourteen passenger decks, your best options are below deck seven.What deck level is best on a cruise ship? ›
The higher the deck, the better and, often, more panoramic the view. Cabins on top decks aren't always the best on the ship, but many suites and specialty cabin categories are typically located on upper decks.Which side of the ship is better on a cruise? ›
If you'd rather see the sunrise while sailing south or east, staying on the port side is your ideal choice as well. Choose the starboard side for the opposite situation: sunsets are visible on southbound and eastbound sailings while sunrises are visible on northbound and westbound cruises.Where is the noisiest part of a cruise ship? ›
The areas around elevator banks and stairways on cruise ships can be noisy, just like they can be at land-based resorts and hotels. You'll get people milling around talking as they wait for an elevator car. On some ships, you'll also hear a distinctive chime every time an elevator arrives.What actions will get you kicked off a cruise? ›
- Forgetting Documents. The first thing that can get you kicked off your cruise ship is one that prevents you from boarding. ...
- Skip the Muster Drill. ...
- Getting Sick. ...
- Arrive Late. ...
- Bad Behavior. ...
- Disrespect the Staff. ...
- Drinking Too Much. ...
- Lewd Behavior.
Avoid arriving at peak boarding time
We recommend getting to the terminal either early, before the rush, or late (after 2 p.m.), when most people are already onboard. You might still have a little wait, but it won't be anything compared to peak boarding time.
Just like the security screening at an airport, we also screen all luggage our guests bring onboard to ensure everyone's safety. If there is an item in your luggage that is prohibited or is believed to be prohibited, your bag will be taken to a screening location and will be inspected by our Security Team onboard.What is the calmest section of a cruise ship? ›
The lower and more central you are in a ship, the less roll and sway you will feel. Even if you choose a balcony room, choose a low level and a room closest to the ship's center. The higher decks and cabins at the front (forward) or back (aft) of the ship will rock and roll the most.Can you sleep on the balcony of a cruise ship? ›
Can You Sleep on a Cruise Ship Balcony? There are no rules that say that passengers on cruise ships can't sleep on their balconies. That said, cruise lines do generally advise against it. Despite this many people enjoy sleeping on their balconies and you won't have any problem doing so if you want to.
Which cruise line is considered the best? ›
- Norwegian Cruise Line. Score 78.98. MSC Cruises. ...
- Royal Caribbean International. Score 72.49. Carnival Cruise Line. ...
- P&O Cruises. Score 76.61. Azamara. ...
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Score 76.63. Star Clippers. ...
- Grand Circle Cruise Line. Score 89.47. ...
- Atlas Ocean Voyages. Score 88.78.
Balcony cabins are great for giving you that much needed bit of personal space when you're both in the room. If he wants to nap but you're wide awake, a balcony offers you a place to hang out without worrying if you're making too much noise or using too bright lights.Is it better to be high or low on cruise? ›
The best location to book your cabin will be in the center of the cruise ship and on the lower deck. The lower you go down, the less rocking you will experience during your trip. If you suffer from any motion sickness, this area is ideal for you.What deck is best for balcony on a cruise ship? ›
Rear-facing balcony cabins are among the best balcony cabins on any ship. Often, their balconies are bigger than balconies on side-facing cabins and they also feel quiet. There are far fewer balcony cabins at the back of a ship than on the sides of a ship, so you don't hear a lot of noise from your neighbors.Where is the most stable room on a cruise ship? ›
Low and midship: Best cabin location to avoid seasickness
The best cabin location for those worried about seasickness is midship on a low deck. As a ship rocks and rolls in the waves, it is most stable at its lowest, most central point.
You'll likely want to steer clear of forward cabins. These are far and away the cruise rooms most affected by waves since they're the first to dip in rough seas. Even if you're on a lower deck, the forward of the ship might be the worst place to stay if you're prone to seasickness.Is the front or back of a cruise ship safer? ›
The back of the ship tends to be considered the next best cabin position after midships. Whilst the front of the ship gets the most movement the back also does get some. Whilst it's nowhere near as bad as the front of the ship, you may still notice some movement in rough seas.What is a white party on a cruise ship? ›
Bianco, P&O's White Party
This all-white event is usually the biggest themed party night on any P&O cruise. Everyone dresses in white, often adding 'bianco' accessories such as hats, sunglasses, jewellery or feather boas.
This is because this part of the ship, its lowest and most central area, is the most stable during rough sea conditions.
To reduce motion sickness, choose a stateroom in the middle of the ship on a lower deck. You will feel any sway of the ship less in this section. Although it may seem counterintuitive, if you're worried about seasickness on a cruise, book a stateroom with a window or a veranda.
Are there jails on cruise ships? ›
Are there jails on cruise ships? Yes, cruise ships have brigs, which is the nautical term for a jail on a vessel, including a cruise ship. The term comes from the word "brigantine," which is a type of two-masted sailing ship formerly used to house criminals.What happens to a person when they fall off a cruise ship? ›
As soon as an incident happens, cruise ship crew will activate a button that pinpoints the place where the person went into the water. The ship will then stop and turn back to that area. The ship and its crew will perform a lengthy search and rescue operation, lasting several hours.Can I use cash on a cruise ship? ›
Cruise ships do not accept cash onboard because all onboard purchases are charged to passengers personal cruise accounts. Cruise accounts are usually connected to a credit or debit card which is much easier for the cruise lines to process.What is the first thing you do when you go on a cruise? ›
- Drop your bags in your cabin. Depending on your cruise line, you may be able to access your cabin as soon as you board, at least to drop off your bags. ...
- Put away your valuables. ...
- Freshen up and change your clothes.
Ships usually start boarding shortly after the final passenger has disembarked from the previous sailing, usually sometime between 10 and 11 a.m. Adhering to your assigned embarkation time will help to keep the boarding process running smoothly.What is the cheapest month to book a cruise? ›
Traditionally, the cheapest months to book a cruise have been January, February, and March, which are also known as "wave season." The trio of months often welcome industry-wide sales that can extend further than just a reduction on cruise fares.Are there drug sniffing dogs on cruise ships? ›
Carnival Cruise Line has added more security personnel and introduced narcotics sniffing dogs at home ports to screen luggage on both a routine and random basis. Guests may even see dogs on board at home and destination ports to do random searches.Where do you put your suitcase on a cruise? ›
There are closets in every cabin that can hold a suitcase or two. You can also store them under the cabin bed so that you don't have to worry about it taking up valuable space.Can I bring full size shampoo on a cruise? ›
3-1-1 Liquids Rule
You are allowed to bring a quart-size, zip-lock bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes though the checkpoint in carryon luggage. These combined items need to be less than 3 ounces.
For most, prepaying gratuities is a great way to keep track of your overall cruise budget. If they're paid for and out of the way, you won't accidentally spend your gratuity money while onboard or in port or receive a large(r) bill at the end of the sailing.
Which type of cruise ship cabin is typically the smallest? ›
There's too much to see to be inside.” An inside cabin will be the smallest on a ship, and it generally has no window. It's sort of like being in a closet but with a major benefit: It's usually the cheapest cabin on any ship.Can a wave flip a cruise ship? ›
Can a wave flip a cruise ship? It is highly unlikely that a wave could flip a cruise ship. They are built to be wide and have a heavy enough ballast on lower decks that they will survive rogue waves. It would also rely on the negligence of the crew to allow the ship to hit perfectly on the side.What not to do on a cruise balcony? ›
- Stand Or Climb On Railings. Standing or climbing on balcony railings on a cruise ship is dangerous and could not end well for you. ...
- Leave The Balcony Door Open. ...
- Throw Things Off. ...
- Hang Clothing Off The Balcony. ...
- Sunbathe Naked. ...
- Play Loud Music. ...
- Smoke Cigarettes. ...
- Keep The Lights On.
Do not leave the balcony door open! Doing so not only messes with the ship's air conditioning system, but it can create the “mother of all air tunnels” should you open your hallway door.Can cruise workers sleep with guests? ›
Sleeping with the guests is strictly prohibited on board cruise ships, with strict consequences for any member of staff caught copulating with a tourist - but that doesn't stop it happening. Ex-cruise worker Whateverdude1 said: “You can't sleep with guests! Rule #1. [But] everybody did it.”What cruise line has the best prices? ›
- 1 Celebrity Cruises - Celebrity Solstice.
- 2 Norwegian Cruise Line - Norwegian Jade. ...
- 3 Norwegian Cruise Line - Norwegian Sky. ...
- 4 Royal Caribbean - Oasis of the Seas. ...
- 5 Royal Caribbean - Mariner of the Seas. ...
- 6 Norwegian Cruise Line - Norwegian Spirit. ...
Will I have to wear a face mask or physically distance onboard the ship? Masks are recommended, but not required, in most onboard venues, though you may need to wear them in select venues or certain situations on your cruise. Mask requirements are clearly designated through signage and onboard communications..Where's the best place to cruise to? ›
- Nassau, Bahamas.
- Cozumel, Mexico.
- St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
- St. Maarten/Martin.
- San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.
- Key West, Florida.
- Cayman Islands.
You want to be as close to the pivot point as possible to feel the least movement. Avoid cabins near the front (bow) or back (stern) and on decks higher than the middle deck of the ship. So, on a ship with fourteen passenger decks, your best options are below deck seven.How many people can sleep in a balcony room on a cruise? ›
Balcony cabins typically sleep two to four people, but sometimes they can accommodate more.
Are cruise cabins cold? ›
In general, cruise cabins are cool, so you don't have to worry about getting too hot. In our view, we've had issues with the room being too cold for our taste and not being able to warm things up a bit.How much extra money should I take on a cruise? ›
As a general rule, plan to have $50 to $100 each day in the local currency. Also, you may want to bring an extra $20 a day for tipping crew members. Make sure to include smaller bills for tips. Fifty to a hundred dollars a day should be enough to cover small purchases, tips and snacks at each port.Do cruise prices go up or down closer to departure? ›
As any seasoned traveler knows, you'll often find lower rates or free add-ons as the departure date approaches and the cruise line works to fill the ship.Why are higher decks more expensive on cruises? ›
Cabins on the upper decks usually cost more than those on the lower decks. Since these cabins are nearer the pool and sun decks, they are more desirable for those on warm weather cruises who plan to use these amenities.What is a hump balcony? ›
The so-called "hump" balcony cabins are the rooms on the outwards part of the curvy outline of the ship. If you look at a deck plan, you'll notice around mid-ship, the hull design jets outward. What is this? Report Ad. On many ships, balcony cabins in these areas are significantly larger than other balcony cabins.What is meant by Lido deck? ›
But exactly what is a lido deck, anyway? The word "lido" in Italian refers to a beach or seashore where people gather to swim. So, fittingly, a cruise ship lido deck is a centrally located outdoor area where passengers will find a pool or two, along with hot tubs and lounge chairs.Which room in cruise ship is best to avoid sea sickness? ›
To reduce motion sickness, choose a stateroom in the middle of the ship on a lower deck. You will feel any sway of the ship less in this section. Although it may seem counterintuitive, if you're worried about seasickness on a cruise, book a stateroom with a window or a veranda.Is it better to have a room in the front or back of a cruise ship? ›
The back of the ship tends to be considered the next best cabin position after midships. Whilst the front of the ship gets the most movement the back also does get some. Whilst it's nowhere near as bad as the front of the ship, you may still notice some movement in rough seas.Does it matter where you are on a cruise ship? ›
Cruise ships are large, and if you are unable to walk long distances, choosing the right cabin location is very important. Be sure to research what public places you would like to have the most convenient access to; the pool and spa on the upper decks, or the dining rooms and casinos located more mid-ship.Do cruise ships avoid rough seas? ›
When seas get rough, modern cruise ships have onboard technology that helps stabilize them. But if it looks like a more serious storm is in their path, cruise ships generally try to outrun or avoid them.
Are you more likely to catch Covid on a cruise ship? ›
Cruise ships and COVID-19
Although operators have taken steps to improve infection control, cruise ships continue to experience COVID-19 outbreaks, affecting passengers and seafarers. The confined setting on board and combination of multiple households enables COVID-19 to spread faster than it is able to elsewhere.
Check directly with your cruise line about their COVID-19 testing or vaccination protocols before travel. If your cruise line does not have a specific testing requirement, get tested as close to time of cruise departure as possible (no more than 3 days before you travel). Get tested again after cruise travel.Which part of cruise ship is most stable? ›
The best cabin location for those worried about seasickness is midship on a low deck. As a ship rocks and rolls in the waves, it is most stable at its lowest, most central point.Is the back of a cruise ship loud? ›
When the ship reverses the sound is particularly loud and the ship may feel a bit bumpy. The cruise ship's propellers will also have a sound and vibration, that bothers some people more than others. Some enjoy the “white noise” sound it provides, while others don't.Do cruise prices get cheaper closer to the date? ›
As any seasoned traveler knows, you'll often find lower rates or free add-ons as the departure date approaches and the cruise line works to fill the ship.