If you’ve been on a cruise ship, you know — no cruise cabins are created equal.
Sure, many rooms may be the same as far as design and amenities, but there’s one important factor that can completely set virtually identical rooms apart — location.
That’s right — just like when choosing where to live, location, location, location is a primary consideration for picking out the best cruise cabin. And while it should seem fairly obvious that you don’t want a room in high-traffic areas or near the noisier parts of the ship (think next to or under the club or casino), the savvy cruiser knows that there are certain cabin locations that are just a bit better than the rest.
In this post, we’re going to tell you our picks for the most coveted locations on a cruise ship.
Next time you’re booking, be on the lookout for the prime spots below. But first, consider your own priorities.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Cabin
What makes a cabin the best is of course based upon your own needs and preferences. And while you might have your bullet point priorities laid out before you browse for cabins, you should check in with our list of three quick questions below to reassess.
What is the cabin near?
Perhaps your priority is to be close to the spa (more on that later), the dining room, the lido deck, or any other amenity on the ship. Consider what’s important to you and how long you want to have to journey each day on board to get there.
Do you want a room with a view?
This is likely an easy “yes,” but it actually can be a bit more complicated than that, because sometimes a window or balcony does not necessarily mean a room with a view. Lower-level rooms with windows won’t provide you with much more than a view of the water, while other rooms views may be blocked by life boats. Study your ship’s deck plan to make sure you actually have a view — after all, that’s the whole point of getting a room with a window or balcony, isn’t it?
How much space do you need?
A suite might sound like a great idea, and is likely what you think of first when you’re considering which rooms would be considered the “best,” but if you don’t plan on doing much more than sleeping in your cabin, is it really worth spending the extra money? Do you want/need the extra lounging area or just a place to sleep? You might find that a suite really isn’t worth it for you after all.
That being said, there are indeed certain locations on the ship that are more coveted than others. Much of this stems from a ship’s design and unique dimensions. We’re here to stress that “best” does not mean “most expensive.” It’s the old adage of location, location, location.
So where are the prime room locations on a ship? Read through our list below.
6 Coveted Cabin Locations on a Cruise Ship
1. For Cruisers On A Budget – Surrounded by Staterooms
Note: This is only a good option if you care more about sleeping in your cabin than enjoying great views from your cabin.
If your cabin is completely surrounded by other cabins above, below, and on all sides, then you are likely to have a good experience. Why? Because you should be fairly sheltered from noise.
Chances are that your neighbors also value a good night’s sleep so they can enjoy the next day’s activities. This gives you a good chance to have a quiet room nestled into the ship’s interior. But if your neighbors like to party or blast the TV at all hours, then nevermind.
Of course, that’s nothing you can predict! Having a noise buffer of other staterooms rather than high-traffic areas or any other ship room can help provide you with a better place to rest.
There are some interior cabins on Oasis Class ships by Royal Caribbean that are very much “padded” by other staterooms. Some will have a virtual balcony which is essentially a large TV screen showing the camera feed from that side of the ship. So you don’t miss out on the view completely.
2. Head Aft for the Best Balconies
If a balcony is a priority for you, you’ll find some of the best ones at the rear, or aft, of the ship. The aft cabins tend to be quite popular because they provide great views and usually don’t have many neighbors.
Pro tip: for the very best rooms, try the corners. The very last port and starboard side rooms on certain decks will sometimes have expanded balconies. Some may even have enough space for a lounger, allowing you to lay out and enjoy the sun from the privacy of your own room. Now that’s cruising in style!
However, you need to make sure of the location and double check what else is around the room. Some aft-facing rooms are near exhaust vents and may have an unpleasant aroma, but for the most part, this is not an issue.
Aft balconies typically are a bit longer than balconies on the port and starboard sides of the ship as well. This means you can actually lounge in that lounger with some extra leg room.
3. Midship Staterooms
A stateroom located midship on an upper deck is another very coveted location because of how easy it makes it to get around the ship. You’ll be in a central location to everything — from dining to the pool deck and every other amenity the ship has to offer. You’ll quite literally be in the middle of all the action!
This is incredibly convenient since some of the larger ships involve a lot of walking from one end to another. Some won’t mind the extra exercise, but many cruisers enjoy having everything they need close by for easy access.
As an added bonus, being midship provides you with increased stability should the ship start to rock. If seasickness is a concern, you won’t feel the boat rocking as much from your mid-ship stateroom.
4. Hidden Gems Between the Lifeboats
You’ve likely heard about a cruiser who was excited to have a balcony or window only to come on board and find their view blocked by one of the ship’s lifeboats. Perhaps this has even been you! But if you study the ship’s layout, you might find that some rooms on the main deck might have a room with a balcony and/or french doors that are nestled between a couple of lifeboats, offering great views and some privacy from your neighbors.
5. Next Level Treat Yourself – A Suite by the Spa
Spa suites and cabins are some of the most sought after locations for those cruisers who like a bit of pampering.
Your suite will be located right next to the spa, so you’ll never have to go far for the royal treatment. Not only that, but you’ll get spa discounts, priority boarding and reservations, unlimited spa access, plush robes, and more perks.
On some Celebrity ships, having an AquaClass cabin means having access to a very popular restaurant called Blu as well. For some, this is worth the upgrade in itself.
6. Scenic Ocean View
These rooms are just a step above the standard ocean view rooms but will be a step below a balcony room in terms of price. These staterooms are typically found at the front of the ship and will feature floor-to-ceiling windows versus the picture window you get in a standard ocean view room. This is because the windows in these rooms toward the front are made to fit the unique dimensions of the ship and room.
And trust us, since they’re at the front, you need those windows to be closed or you’ll be blasted with air all day and night! The unique dimensions of the room paired with the massive windows make the rooms feel much bigger than they actually are and provide great views at a bargain price.
What Cabin Room Location is Best?
As you can see, there are a number of factors that go into determining what is the most coveted location on a ship. There isn’t one simple answer — it will depend on your individual preferences and the layout of your particular ship. You should examine your ship’s plans before you select your cabin so you aren’t surprised to be next to the noisy casino or a long way away from the deck and pool.
Cost and location should actually be your primary deciding factors, with the window or balcony coming next. However, if you dreamed of a cruise with a balcony, then you likely won’t want to settle for less.
For many, there is nothing better than stepping out onto your balcony and breathing in the sea air, letting the ocean breeze blow the curtains and flow through the room, or sitting out on your balcony to read where no kids are running around screaming.
- If you dreamed of a cruise with a balcony — go for it! You might regret it if you try to cut costs and go with an interior room, especially if you plan to enjoy the solitude and privacy. But pay attention to the location of your balcony and whether or not it actually provides that peace and quiet you desire.
- If you are prone to seasickness, pay extra close attention to your location, you’ll want to stay somewhere toward the middle of the ship for less movement.
- Work within your vacation budget to decide whether you’d prefer to spend a bit more on a better/bigger room in a more desirable location or save the money for shore excursions. Nothing is ever too far on a cruise ship, it’s just up to you how much time and effort you’d prefer to put forth to get there.
Traveling alone? Here are the 3 best cruise lines for single cabins
We hope this helps you narrow down your choices and pick out a hidden gem on your ship. While a sale price might draw you in, knowing what exactly that gets you in terms of a room could play a big role in whether or not it is worth it to you. But then again, it might not, and you could be perfectly content with just getting on board in whatever room at the cheap price.
If you can’t quite tell by viewing the ship’s deck plan, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask a salesperson with the cruise line. They will often be happy to help you find that coveted room that you desire, many cruises just don’t even know enough to ask. See? You’ve got a leg up just by reading this post.
The good news is there is no wrong way to cruise. But booking with this knowledge can give you some peace of mind. Enjoy your vacation!
This guest post was written by John Sidney Owens.