If you’ve not cruised before, you may be wondering why you would want to choose a cabin. After all, you don’t choose a hotel room! But you do get the opportunity to make a choice on a cruise ship, and here’s why it may matter to you.
Contemporary Style in an Aqua Class Balcony Cabin on the Celebrity Eclipse
Types of Cabin
On a cruise ship, cabins come in a variety of types from suites to balcony, outside or inside cabins. Prices will generally run in a downward direction from suites to inside cabins. Suites vary in size and amenities, with many having butler service; some are in very grand duplex or loft style with facilities such as a piano or private gym. In a suite you will usually have a separate sitting room or sitting area, and in some cases there may be a second bedroom for your children. Most suites have an outdoor space, sometimes with a private whirlpool tub, and also facilities for outdoor dining. A balcony cabin will have some outdoor space which varies in size and shape by ship and deck; indoors you will normally find a sitting area alongside the sleeping area. Outside cabins are normally arranged similarly to a balcony cabin, but feature a window or porthole instead of french doors to the outside. Inside cabins are again similarly laid out, but feature a mirror or pictures instead of a window.
Not all balconies are equal: this one is twice as big as the picture shows due to the shape of the ship
So how do you go about choosing your cabin?
- Do you want to choose? If you want to save money on your holiday, you can elect to book a guarantee cabin. This means that you will be allocated accommodation of at least – and sometimes better than – the grade you have purchased. The benefit is that you save money, and can sometimes end up with a better category of cabin. The downside is that you have no choice on where that cabin may be located on the ship.
- How much time are you likely to spend in your cabin? If you intend to enjoy all the facilities available to you on the ship to their maximum, and the cabin will be where you change clothes, shower and sleep, then it may not matter to you what kind of cabin you book. In which case, make sure you use those savings for many more happy holidays! But if you like nothing better than to chill on your balcony with a good book, then you might want to pay more attention to where on the ship you are located. Do you want a balcony that given you some shelter from the sun, and one where you are not overlooked?
- Where on the ship will you be spending most of your time? If you love the open decks, and a big ship is your cruise liner of choice, then a cabin on the upper decks will give you quicker access to the sun.
- If you would like to restrict the amount of walking you do on a big ship, then choose a cabin near to one of the banks of lifts. Consider where you will be dining, and look at a cabin with easy access to that part of the ship; it will save you from walking up and down a big ship’s long corridors each evening.
- If you like to lie in, think carefully before selecting a cabin at the bow, as you will hear most noise from docking at that end of the ship. Similarly, be aware of potential noise from restaurants, the gym and theatre when choosing your cabin.
- If you suffer, or fear you may suffer, from seasickness, choose a cabin lower down in the ship and in the middle of the boat, This will minimise any impact of the movement of the ship. Having said that, it is unusual to feel much motion at all on most cruise ships, and I’ve often had to look outside to see if we’ve yet left port.
- Ask your travel agent for their advice. (And perhaps audition a new agent if they don’t have any to offer!) There are many variations on the types of cabins available, and you might just find something different that suits your needs. For example, newer ships have inside cabins that have windows with views over the inside spaces of the ship. There are bright and funky cabins for solo travellers on the newer Norwegian Cruise Line ships, which have an associated studio lounge where you can meet and chat with fellow solo travellers. Finally, I have heard of a fantastic inside cabin on board Royal Caribbean. Its window to the Royal Parade is obscured by the cows from the Ben and Jerry shop below. So the cabin is decorated in “cow style” and… if you book it, you get free Ben & Jerry’s during your trip. What a bonus!
Traditional style cabins on P&O’s Azura
Stylish contemporary lines on Oceania’s Marina
So when it comes to cabins, first choose if you want to choose. And then if you do, choose wisely!