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How to Choose the Best Cabin on a Cruise Ship

What Category of Accommodation Suits Your Budget and Lifestyle?


Bed Time
8058853@N06/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Sitting Area in Category B Penthouse Suite #868 on the Seven Seas Voyager

Sitting Area in Category B Penthouse Suite #868 on the Seven Seas Voyager

RSSC Seven Seas Voyager (c) Linda Garrison
Celebrity Infinity Cabin

Celebrity Infinity Balcony Cabin

Celebrity Infinity Photo (c) Linda Garrison

Planning a cruise vacation involves many decisions. One of the most difficult is how to choose the best cabin type and location for your budget and lifestyle interests. When looking at cruise ship layouts and decks either online or in brochures, those planning a cruise will quickly notice the many different cabin categories. Sometimes there are over 20 different categories on a ship! Travel agents and journalists often get two questions:

This article provides information on the different types of cruise accommodations in order for cruise travelers to pick the best cabin for them on a ship.

What Is the Best Cruise Ship Cabin?

Choosing the best cabin on a cruise ship is definitely a matter of personal choice, with cost and location being the primary decisions. The cabin on my first cruise in 1967 was perfectly suited for four teenage girls on a high school graduation cruise. The stateroom on this 3-day cruise to Nassau was about the size of a walk-in closet, and had no windows, a tiny bath, and two bunk beds. I'm still not sure how we got all of our "stuff" in there. We barely had room to turn around, and the hum (or was it a roar?) of the engines was evident at all times. We thought we were well below the water line, but who was to know--we certainly couldn't see whether it was day or night without going up several decks. However, it was better than the primitive tent camping I had done with my family--we had indoor plumbing and electricity. In spite of these somewhat Spartan accommodations, we had a wonderful time, and I was hooked on cruising.

Over 45 years later, I still love to cruise and can have a great time in an inside cabin on the lowest level. However, I found a long time ago that having an outside cabin with a window, or better yet a balcony, makes the cruise experience much better and more enjoyable. Sitting on the balcony with a good book or just being able to step outside and breathe in the sea air helps differentiate cruising from a resort vacation. Having a cabin as a retreat after a busy day ashore has become more important as I've gotten older.

Although many people recommend to new cruisers that they book the cheapest inside cabin since "they won't be spending much time in there anyway", that's not really true for everyone. If you are on a 7-day or longer cruise, you will have days at sea that you might want to spend relaxing in your room, watching a TV-movie, or taking a nap. On a cruise ship, your cabin is the one place you can get away from everything and everybody. I think selecting a cabin type is as personal as deciding where to cruise and which ship to cruise on. Everyone is different, and what is not important to one person might well be important to you.

Is Cabin Price Important?

Of course. Price is certainly a consideration, but if your vacation time is limited, you might be willing to pay more to get a cabin better suited to your lifestyle. The best advice is to be informed about cruise ship cabins and make the right decision for you.

A balcony (veranda) cabin will cost you from 25 percent more to almost double the price of an inside cabin. Some cruisers would prefer to go twice as often and stay in an inside cabin. Others with more limited time might prefer to splurge on a balcony or a suite. Although I love a balcony cabin, these cabins are sometimes smaller than those with just a window since the balcony is replacing the inside space. Be sure to check when booking your cruise if size is more important to you than a balcony. This is a decision each person has to make on their own.

What Are the Different Types of Cruise Ship Cabins?

The price of a cruise ship cabin or stateroom (the terms are interchangeable) is dependent on its size, layout, and location. Cabins on large mainstream cruise ships are often advertised as standard inside, ocean view, balconied, or suite. The smallest cabins on luxury lines are sometimes much larger than those on mainstream lines and are either ocean view or balconied, making the quality of accommodations one of the biggest differences between cruise lines. Cabin and balcony size and cabin location can vary significantly within the same price range on any ship. Let's take a look at some different types of cabins on cruise ships.

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