My very first cruise cabin was an aft-facing balcony. After this, I was hooked, not just on the cabin category but on cruising in general.
If you want an aft-view balcony on a cruise ship that gives you that iconic wake view off the back of the ship you will have to pay up for it.
No matter what cruise ship you plan on booking, an aft balcony carries a premium cost. In this article we will look at how much more it costs, why it costs more, and what you actually get for the extra money.
Not all aft balconies are created equal
The prices of an aft-facing extended balcony on a Royal Caribbean Oasis-class vessel will be well above regular balcony prices, and they are often sold out first. These balconies have the best seats in the house for the Aqua Theater shows that take place in the back of the ship. This factor, on top of how large they are and the great views you get not only of the ocean but the Boardwalk, contributes to the higher premium cost.
How much more do aft-facing balconies cost?
After looking up cruise fares with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line, I found that the price difference between a standard balcony cabin and an aft balcony cabin can be as much as 10% to 25% higher.
In my analysis I found that the price difference is more influenced by the ship itself than the itinerary or time of year. Additionally, I had to look at cruises that were over a year from sail dates because aft-facing balconies sell out much quicker, and pricing was not available for last-minute cruises.
For some short 4 and 5 day cruises on Carnival cruise ships the price would be $180 to $250 more for the aft balcony. As mentioned above, prices for aft balconies on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class vessels were much higher
More balcony space
If more square footage on your balcony is important to you, you will love aft balconies with the extended space. It’s not uncommon to find full loungers on the balcony, as you have more space to completely sprawl out and enjoy the outside part of your cabin.
Regular balcony staterooms on the side of the ship are often fairly cramped, and there’s little to no legroom if you’re facing the ocean. They often have regular chairs, and while some have a reclining feature you don’t have much room.
Every cruise ship is different and offers a different amount of space on these back-facing balconies, so the cost will vary based on this space as well. Even different aft decks on the same ship will offer varying square footage for these cabins.
Limited number of aft balconies available
Pricing is also influenced by supply and demand. Because there simply aren’t as many aft-facing verandas on a cruise ship, they can be sold at a higher price. They are already highly sought after by regular cruisers who want more space and the other perks to go with it.
Take a ship like Carnival Horizon. Out of the total of 880 balcony staterooms there are only 45 aft-facing balconies. With this limited supply cruise lines know they can charge a bit extra and they will till sell out.
The added privacy is one of my favorite parts about aft balconies. You have fewer neighbors along your corridor and the sound of the wake provides a white noise that drowns out any faint noises you might hear otherwise.
We’ve all been there. You’re relaxing out on the balcony when you hear your neighbors next door on theirs, and you hear every part of their conversation. The dull roar of the wake is both pleasant on the eyes and ears to provide that privacy.
But not every ship’s aft balconies are very private. It really depends on the layout. I’ve been on some balconies that literally looked immediately over the balcony beneath it. So, if cruisers were hanging out on their balcony and I was looking out over mine, I’d practically be a part of their cruise as well. That’s not ideal to me.
Still, you can often find more privacy with one of these cabins. Just make sure you study the deck plans of your cruise ship before you book. I always like to know what’s immediately around my stateroom (above, below, and on either side) to make sure it will be both quiet and private.
It’s quieter not only because of the sound of the ocean and wake, but it’s also further away from some of the busier areas of the ship. This isn’t to say that every ship is quiet towards the aft part of the vessel.
If there’s a show or party in a lounge in that area of the ship it will refute this point. But for the most part, I’ve found the aft part of cruise ships the most quiet, especially since major shows will take place towards the front, Aqua Theater on Oasis-class ships excluded.
For me, there’s nothing more relaxing on a cruise ship than overlooking the ship’s wake. At the end of a sea day you can look out over the horizon and see exactly where your ship has been and how it has made any turns along the way. It’s also symbolic of going on an adventure as you get further away from land.
You can often find marine life swimming along with the wake as well. Dolphins especially like to swim in the wake of a ship as they can swim faster with less effort and can reach higher speeds. Now that’s a visual from your aft balcony you will never forget.
If you have your heart set on booking an aft-facing balcony on a cruise ship you might have to book pretty far out in advance. These state rooms sell out fast. You should also be prepared to do a bit more walking. Sure you will be close to the buffet area on most cruise ships, but anything at the front of the ship will require walking the entire length of the vessel. You will also feel more movement from the ocean when traveling at full speed.