People ask me the question: “what’s the best cabin on a ship?” al the time. My answer is depends….
Obviously suites are definitely the best cabins on board as they usually offer a separate living room area, sometimes offering 2 bathrooms and a huge balcony. They also usually offer a separate area for meals and some sort of lounge access.
Unfortunately not everybody can afford such indulgences, so what cabins are the best? There are cabins that are intrinsically good and cabins that are personally preferable.
As a general rule the best cabins, independently from the cabin type, are the ones in the lower decks in the middle of the ship. Reason why they are the one that rock the least when the ocean is rough. For the same reason these are usually the most expensive cabins in each category. If you don’t get seasick then this doesn’t matter.
I personally try to avoid cabins that are all the way to the aft are they are usually very close to the propellers and for this reason they tend to be more noisy and you can both hear and feel the vibrations. Cabins all the way to the front of the ship have can be noisy when the ship is anchoring, but this happens only in port and in the morning. Another source of noise in port are tender cranes when there is a tender port and a cabin is close to the tender cranes it can be quite loud. Also cabins that are below the gym, below a lounge or above the theatre are usually quite noisy as well and we avoid them. It is always a very good idea to check the deck plan when booking a cabin. Ideally a good cabin is one that is surrounded by other cabins (above, below and on each side).
Some people don’t like cabins too close to elevators because they can hear passengers talking while waiting. I personally prefer to be close to an elevator because I think it is more convenient. Another personal preference are cabins close to the pool, because we like the convenience of getting to the pool quickly.
Cabin Types (from the cheaper to the most expansive):
- Inside: Inside cabins are cheaper, much cheaper- so for a longer cruise it can be a good way to save some money. They are also very dark that making them ideal to sleep in. The downside there is no natural light and the air might get a little stuffy (check this link for a good tip to avid stuffy air). If the cruise is very port intensive and every day you are out enjoying the ports chances of using the cabin other than sleep in it are very slim.
- Obstructed Oceanview: The difference between an inside cabin and an obstructed Oceanview is just the fact that you get some natural light but that is it! So unless natural light is really important for you there is no point on booking these cabins unless there is no price difference between this cabin and an inside.
- Oceanview: The difference between these cabins and the previous one is the fact that you can enjoy the scenery from the cabin and have plenty of natural light. They are slightly more expansive than inside cabins and can have a mildly larger layout.
- Balcony: These are most peoples’ favourite cabins. It’s wonderful to be able to go outside, enjoy the fresh air, maybe have breakfast or a glass of wine on the balcony. Consider though, in some itineraries, the chances of using the balcony are very limited. In cold destination, for example, chances of being able to use the balcony are very limited. So if you are on a budget consider that. Also if you are on a very port intensive cruise, you most likely, won’t spend much time in your cabin. If you are new to cruising, balcony is better choice, because most new cruiser think that they might be a bit claustrophobic inside. Some cruise lines offer an upgraded, Premium Balcony option as well. These are practically the same as a normal balcony cabin but with a bigger balcony and a higher price.
- Mini Suites: These cabins are in between a balcony and a regular suite. Meaning they have a larger sitting area, usually with a pull out couch. They are also perfect for families with kids that can use the pull out couch as a bed and the all family can share the cabin. Notable mention: With a mini suite, you often have a larger bathroom, consisting of a full bathtub, and separate shower as well.
- Special Class Mini Suites: These have the same layout of the previous type but they are located in a more premium area of the ship. They also have a dedicated area at the main restaurants that allows guest to skip the line.
- Suites: These are the best and most expansive cabins on board. They usually have a living dining room separate from the bedroom. Some suites can have more than one bedroom and bathrooms. Some type of suites have large wrap around balconies. Passengers booked on a suite have a separate restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinners. Most cruise lines offer Concierge and Buttler service included in the suite fare. On some ship they also have a separate lounge or a special bar for suite guest only. On other ship there are specific suites that are connected with the spa and have unlimited access to the wellness center.
My Personal Tips when Picking a Cabin:
- If we have been on the itinerary before we usually book an inside cabin, reason why we saw the ports before we would rather save some money. With some luck we get an upgrade. Inside & oceanview cabins, in our experience, are usually the ones we get upgrades on.
- If it is a new itinerary and a cold destination, we usually book an Oceanview cabin, as our chances of using the balcony in a very cold destination are pretty slim but we still like to see outside.
- If it is a new destination and in a warm destination we almost always book a balcony because we like to lounge outside and enjoy the scenery.
- Sometimes there are special perks attached to a balcony cabin (ie: free drinks, or gratuities if you book a balcony or above) in that case we tend to book a balcony.
In our experience, we get upgraded, or at least a good offer for a better cabin, about 60% of the time when we book an inside or oceanview room. We noticed that if the cruise is a back to back chances of getting upgraded are much lower, as the same cabin might not be available for both cruises.
I hope these tips are helpful!
Andrea was born and raised in Northern Italy. At the age of 30 he moved to Vancouver Canada. Over the years he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Central America and Asia. He is passionate about traveling, cruising and travel photography. He likes to write about his traveling and shows his travel photos.