A cruise vacation offers a tremendous value already. But not every cabin is created equal.
In this article we are going to look at the 5 cheapest cruise cabins on any ship.
If you want to save as much money as possible you should look for these staterooms. Just know that they are cheaper for a reason.
The advertised price you see for a cruise on a brochure or website is almost always the price for an interior cabin. Cruise lines like to show a really cheap rate to make a cruise vacation look even more affordable. So, they show you the cost of the very cheapest cabin on the ship: an inside cabin.
These cabins have no balcony, no window, and often not quite as much space. But if you don’t mind the darkness, meandering the interior halls of a cruise ship to find your cabin, and wondering what time of day it is when you wake up, an interior cabin fits the bill.
How much cheaper is an inside cabin compared to a balcony cabin?
In many cases an interior stateroom is 50% to 90% cheaper than a stateroom with a balcony or veranda. All things being equal, this means you can go on three cruises with an inside cabin for the same price as you would pay for just two cruises with a balcony.
As long as you don’t get claustrophobic and don’t mind a tighter space, getting in the habit of booking one of these cabins will allow you to go on more cruises. These staterooms still have all the other amenities of other cabins such as two twin beds that make into a king, nightstands, a desk, TV, closet, and mini-fridge.
Before you’re tempted to stretch your budget for a balcony cabin, remember that you’ll get to enjoy the same food, shows, and amenities on the ship as everyone else, even if you opt for the cheapest cabin on the vessel.
When selecting your cabin on a cruise booking you may see something called a guaranteed cabin rate. This simply means that you pick the category and the cruise line will select the cabin for you and make sure you get at least that category or higher. You can get a guaranteed stateroom in the interior, ocean view, balcony, or even suite category, which will guarantee a lower rate than if you had personally selected the exact stateroom location for that category.
This is why it’s one of the cheapest cabins you can get on the ship, and it works across many categories.
But while this gets you a better deal on a cabin, it also comes with a risk. You may end up in a less than desirable location, and there’s nothing you can do to change it.
After booking your cruise your stateroom will remain unassigned for a while until the cruise line works their magic and finally reveals where you will spend your vacation.
If the location on the ship is not a big deal to you, but you still want to make sure you have a certain category or higher, a guaranteed cabin is a great option.
However, if you like to be near an elevator, want a cabin near the lido deck, or have a general preference on where you will sleep on the ship, you should opt out of the guaranteed rate, and just pick the cabin yourself.
While the listed price of a solo cabin, or studio cabin, may be higher than the regular cabins in the same category (not always), when you factor in the lack of a “single supplement fee”, it ends up being cheaper in most cases.
After all, you have to remember that those listed cruise prices only show the cost on a per person basis. With a studio cabin made for solo travelers the price is not automatically doubled, like it is for a standard cabin. So you have to consider the price of a studio cabin without the single supplement fee.
Now, not every cruise ship has solo cabins. I recently put together a list of every cruise ship that currently has solo staterooms. Cruise lines like Carnival, Princess, and Disney Cruise Line do not have studio cabins, so solo travelers will have to look elsewhere for a studio cabin rate.
Solo cabins are some of the first cabins sold out when a cruise line opens bookings. There has been a resurgence in solo travel as of late, so if you want to book a studio cabin you will want to do so well in advance of your planned cruise dates.
As you can see in the screen shot below, a studio cabin on a 2024 Caribbean cruise with Norwegian Epic is currently about 60% cheaper than the inside cabin. Norwegian Epic has more solo cabins than any other cruise ship at sea right now, so it’s a go-to choice for many solo cruisers.
Again, you can check out our full list of cruise ships with solo cabins for a more comprehensive list.
Ocean View Cabins
Normally, an ocean view cabin will cost more than an inside or interior cabin. But I have seen prices between the two categories that were practically identical. It may be only a few dollars more to book an ocean view stateroom over an interior stateroom, making it will worth it to have some natural light and a bit of a view.
I have even seen some ocean view cabins that were the same price as the inside cabins, making it an easy decision for those wanting a little more space. Sometimes these are obstructed views or smaller porthole windows, but if you’re looking for the cheapest cabin on the ship, make sure you don’t overlook this option.
Combine an ocean view with a guaranteed cabin selection and you can get a cheaper rate than an interior cabin as well, so don’t assume you have to settle with a windowless room if you want to save money.
I always like to look at the square footage of the cabin as well, so I know if I’m just getting a better view or some extra space on top of it. The square footage may vary even in the same class if a set of cabins are at the bow of the ship, for instance. Near the forward part of the ship the exterior of the vessel will narrow, impacting how much space you actually have. This is why a quick look at the ship’s deck plans can help clarify what you’re paying for.
Related: Best way to get cabin upgrades
Obstructed View Cabins
I’ve booked a few cruises with an obstructed view before, but it wasn’t on purpose. You see, when you book a guaranteed cabin you never know where the cruise line will put you. My first Princess cruise had a lifeboat right outside the window of my ocean view cabin, but I was happy to have saved a lot of money on a cheaper cabin. And some view is better than no view in my opinion.
While obstructed view cabins are among the cheapest on a cruise ship, they come in a variety of categories and actually obstructions. An ocean view or a balcony cabin may have an obstructed view, typically caused by a lifeboat, but the lifeboat could be covering 75% of your view or just a small part of it. Sometimes it’s just part of the structure of the ship that will block your view or a large beam that gets in the way.
Either way, these obstructions, while somewhat annoying, can save you money.
A great positive on obstructed view cabins is that they are typically in desirable locations on the ship. Since usually it’s a row of lifeboats that block the views these cabins are located mid-ship, providing easy access both to the lido deck and lowest passenger deck when tendering.
What kinds of things can obstruct the view other than a lifeboat? It can be a number of things but often will include the following: gondola cleaning machines, walkways and observation decks, a bulkhead, whirlpools, steel railings, etc.
An important think to note is that cruise lines will always tell you if the cabin you book has an obstructed view. But sometimes it will say “partial view” and could end up as just a minimal obstruction.
Newer cruise ships try to minimize the number of cabins with obstructed views because they can’t sell them for the same rates as regular cabins, but if you want to find some great deals on a cruise ship don’t shy away from those obstructed views.