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Selecting your cabin on a cruise

Updated on October 21, 2016

Choosing a cabin for your cruise

Choosing the right cabin on a cruise ship can be a daunting task. What type, located where, inside or outside, etc.

First let's look at type. Typically this falls into several categories:

  • Inside (including Inside Family cabins, Inside cabins with virtual balconies, and Inside cabins that have a view of insde the ship e.g. Promenade cabins on Royal Caribbean)
  • Outside (generally have a porthole or window with a view of the land/sea)
  • Family (can be inside or outside)
  • Balcony cabin (with balconies facing the sea or inside the ship e.g. Central Park cabins on Royal Caribbean)
  • Junior Suite (generally bigger balcony cabins)
  • Suite (the best cabins onboard)
  • Accessible cabins (can be inside or outside)

Prices rise, as the cabin type gets better. Cheapest are the inside cabins on lower decks. Most expensive are the Suites on higher decks.

Typical cabin on the Navigator of the Seas
Typical cabin on the Navigator of the Seas

Things to consider

Things to consider when selecting cabin location:

  • Deck position
  • What's above and below your selected cabin
  • Forward, mid-ship or aft
  • Port or starboard

Deck level

The deck level can be important. Low decks (still above the water line) can be good if you don't want to feel too much movement of the water, but you may hear more noise (anchor dropping, etc). Mid level decks can be good for reaching all areas of the ship easily, but equally may be near areas prone to noise (lounges, etc). Upper decks are generally better but on very large ships may feel more of the roll, pitch and yaw.

Above and below

Be careful when selecting an exact cabin to check what is immediately above and below your cabin. You don't want the late night lounge directly below you, or the jogging track directly above you! Ideally have cabins above and below you and perhaps not positioned right beside service corridors.

Forward, mid-ship or aft

Aft cabins (although sometimes having larger balconies) can suffer from shudder from the engine. Mid-ship cabins are well placed to reach all activities without having to navigate long corridors. Forward cabins are good, but in rough seas you can feel and hear the ship's bow lifting out of the water and smacking back down onto the waves! However, if you are on the bridge deck and in a forward cabin, you may routinely run into the ship's officers (if that's important to you!) If your forward outside cabin is directly under the Bridge, you make be asked to close curtains after nightfall (to prevent light pollution on the bridge from your cabin lights).

Port or Starboard

For this one, you need to know your itinerary. You don't want to have a balcony cabin on the wrong side of the ship when you are sailing out of Venice for example and all the action is on the other side!


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