How to Choose The Right Cabin For Your Cruise Vacation – 10 Tips And Factors To Consider

As travelers plan to cruise the open waters for the first time, this personal adventure is one that involves selecting just the right cabin to accommodate a wide range of factors. When it comes to selecting a cruise cabin, details such as budget, size, and amenities often sway an individual’s decision. Depending on the people attending the cruise, one factor may hold more importance than another. For instance, a cabin located close to a noisy part of the ship may cost less if one is willing to deal with the racket during their stay. Below you will find some of the main factors that people consider when choosing a cabin for a cruise.


Cabin Options

Although there are many cabin categories in a cruise ship, they can be narrowed down to four types:

Standard inside cabin. This type of cabin has no windows and is located on the inside corridor. It is usually carpeted and furnished with a telephone, TV and air conditioning unit. The standard inside cabins of newer cruise liners includes a refrigerator, small vault, table, loveseat and an Internet access. The bathroom has a shower but typically is small with no tub. It usually has a retractable clothesline for hanging wet garments to dry.

Ocean view. It is similar to the standard inside cabin except that it has a fixed window, which means it cannot be opened.

Balcony. It has a small balcony where you can go outside the cabin and feel the ocean breeze. The cabin is typically bigger than the standard inside but the balcony is rather narrow and can only contain a couple of chairs and a small table. It has a sliding glass door to access the balcony.

Suite. A choice from modest to deluxe comes standard for most cruise ships. They have all the amenities of other cabin types and they are larger with bigger bathrooms. A $30,000 a week suite should include a kitchen, sauna, hot tub, private elevator, and a butler.



Cost is typically the primary concern of most travelers. The more amenities a cabin offers, the more it will cost. For example, cabins with a balcony typically cost 25% more than cabins with just a window. Windowless cabins cost far less, but guests are left with no view. It is important to know what you are willing to live without on your trip. If a balcony is not that important, then forego it to save money for entertainment or a future trip. Cabin sizes will differ on different cruise lines. The smallest rooms on larger cruise ships will be bigger than some of the larger rooms on smaller cruise ships. Many people prefer to get a smaller room and extend their vacation. After all, the cabin is just a place to sleep. All of the fun and entertainment is above deck.

When working on a budget, you may opt for smaller accommodations to save money. The time of the year you book your cruise will also affect the price. Holidays often showcase inflated rates, while the summertime fills cabins to the hilt.



Depending on the cruise you attend, cabins are offered in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Some accommodations are as small as 100 square feet (including a bathroom) to more than 5,000 square feet on larger ships that takes up a sizeable chunk of the upper deck.



The layout of a cabin is presented through the various sitting and sleeping areas that a selected space will provide. Larger options, such as the mini-suite, place travelers in a larger cabin with an ocean view. Separate sections of the cabin are sometimes set aside for dining, sleeping, and social activities. Depending on the type of cabin you choose, you may have access to a variety of extra perks.


Sleeping Arrangements

The number of people traveling with you on a cruise will determine the kind of sleeping arrangements you wish to secure. Some may require their own bed, while others are fine with crashing on a sleeper sofa. When traveling with children, sleeping arrangements often becomes of importance.


Number of Beds

Some cabins offer a regular bed, while other accommodations present alternate sleeping options. Usually a double will fit two people, who may have their choice between twin beds, a double bed, or a queen/king sized model. In triples and quads, sometimes the third and fourth traveler may have to sleep on a folding upper bed, bunk bed, or sleeper sofa.



The location of a cabin is also important because it could be the difference between having a restful night’s sleep and hearing the clamor of passengers as they use the staircase or elevator located close by. Cabins located below a jogging track, main deck, disco, the galley, restaurant, or close to anchors and machinery pose the most problems.

Questions to ask yourself; How close do you want to be to the upper deck? Do you have children who will be hard to travel up and down flights of stairs with every day? Where is the cabin in relation to the engine or water lines? Be sure to look at a map of the cruise ship before choosing a cabin location. Many people are not very concerned about where their cabin is since they will just be sleeping there. However, on longer cruises, your cabin will be the only private place you have to get away from all the noise and relax. You may want to be certain the cabin is far away from the main deck to ensure it will be a quiet area. On the other hand, perhaps you enjoy the party, do not plan on sleeping much, and would prefer a cabin close to all the action.

Experienced cruise vacationers prefer cabins that are located higher on the ship as they are away from noise, but you can get seasick more easily at this level. If you want a quiet cruise then you should get a cabin one level down the staterooms or the Lido Deck as there is where the actions are. Do not get a cabin situated close to the engine room or too low in the ship for you can hear the loud noise of the bow thrusters in those areas.

Whatever cabin you choose, consider selecting the one, which will be facing the land especially if the islands on the itinerary have fantastic views. Overall, no matter what…..choosing a cabin is very important, as an uncomfortable cabin could make for a very uncomfortable trip.


Amenities & Extra Perks

Cruise cabins are known to present an array of extra features and amenities that increase in lavishness with the more money you spend. For example, most staterooms possess wall-to-wall carpeting, extra storage space, and satellite television. Some cabins provide VCR or DVD access or a variety of radio and music channels to enjoy. Suites may offer access to a wet bar or decked out bathrooms with the possibility of a Jacuzzi.



When traveling aboard a cruise, one of the most unique draws includes the ever-changing view of natural surroundings, local wildlife, and the changing sky. Some cabins offer spectacular views, while others are made with no windows. Depending on where your cabin is located, you may or may not endure an obstructed view from lifeboats, the hull, or other pieces of equipment. Sometimes, these rooms cost less than other selections.


Outside Access

Some travelers want to enhance their cruise by enjoying access to the open air from their accommodations. For a little extra money, cabins with balconies or verandas are available, which allow individuals to enjoy a morning cup of coffee by the light of a sunrise or sip a martini by nightfall. Outside access from a cabin also allows travelers great opportunities to enjoy the nature scene of cruise destinations, such as the Panama Canal, the Yucatan Peninsula, or Alaska.


Other Important Tips To Consider When Booking & What To Expect

If you decide to travel first class after understanding the options explained above, and have booked a suite, you have very little to worry about. That’s why you booked a suite, right? To get the most comfortable accommodations you possibly can.

However, if you have booked the cheapest cruise package possible, you have every reason to be a bit worried as to what to expect. So, this article is mostly for those of you who are worried that your cabin might be the tick that makes your trip unpleasant.

Here is what you can expect in an economy cabin on your cruise. You can expect your bed length to be a bit shorter. Smaller cabins do not have the room to have a full sized bed placed in them. You will find two twin-sized beds in there. If you are traveling as a couple, you can push the beds together.

Most cruise lines expect people to travel at least in a two-some, so rates for cabins are based on double-occupancy. If you get a quote of $359 for a special cruise, then plan on you booking two people. If you only book one, your rate will be doubled.

Booking a cruise is not like booking a hotel room, where the rate is a set fee. Cruises are different. They take into account that a full ship makes profit. If everyone was able to book one person per cabin, then the cruise would sail a half full ship. You must take into account all the amenities and extras that are included with the price: meals, desserts, snacks, drinks (alcoholic and carbonated drinks are usually extra, check with your carrier), tipping, on-board entertainment, and room service.

If you have an economy class cabin, you can expect to be on the lower decks of the ship, and possibly on the inner most portions of the ship, without a window. This could be to your advantage if you get sea sick, as these rooms experience the least amount of movement.

If you booked your cabin close to the time of departure, your cabin will probably be toward the stern (back) of the ship or towards the bow (front). These cabins sell out very last, and are not the most desirable rooms. Your cabin could also be near the engines, and you could experience some disturbing engine noise. If your ship is sailing full, it will be very difficult to switch to a different room. If you are able to switch cabin locations, remember that your cabin will be in the same class.

If you think you might splurge and be willing to pay a little more in order to get a better cabin, remember to book your cruise early. The most expensive cabins sell first. That is why you see such great deals close to the time when the ship will depart. The cruise line is trying to sell the cabins that get taken last – the economy rooms, and they’re usually inexpensive, anyway.

If this is your first time cruising and you think you might go on more cruises, go ahead and take an economy cabin just to make sure you like it. This way, you will know what to look for in your next cruise. If you have saved up and plan to take one great cruise in your lifetime, save a little more and get a higher class cabin, one with a balcony.

Most cruise lines have a map of their ship online, with pictures and dimensions of the different classes of cabins and suites. If you have special needs or concerns, you can always contact the cruise line and make sure there are accommodations for your needs.

Good luck booking your cabin, and if you are cruising singly, you may as well take a buddy since you will be paying that same price!

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