While some may be a pro at knowing just what to look for, first time or infrequent cruise travelers may find this to be an overwhelming task, it’s not as simple as choosing a plane seat.
So, what do you need to look for when booking just the right living space for you cruise? It comes down to a few main things; budget, needs, and location preferences.
You may have gone to your local travel agent to book a cruise and found they had about 20 different room types to choose from. Really, there are only 4 room types you need to worry about though:
Inside Cabins: This is a cabin with no view at all and is usually the lowest price.
Outside Cabins: These will give you a porthole or closed window to see the ocean as you travel.
Suite: Suites are bigger, often having two rooms. Some also have a bath or hot tub.
Veranda or Balcony Cabin: Here you will be able to step out of your room and onto a small space outside where you can view the ocean and feel the cooling breezes of the sea.
There are questions that you need to ask yourself when getting ready to choose a cabin.
Are you prone to getting sea or motion sickness?
While many of the newer cruise ships have stabilizers that aid in buffering the rocking motions of the sea, there are those people who are very sensitive even to subtle movement. If this is you then you may want to skip cabins that are located on the higher decks. The higher up the deck, the more you will feel the motion of the ocean. The stablest part of a cruise ship is low and in the center of the boat.
Does noise bother you?
You may be a very light sleeper or just have an aversion to a lot of noises. Or perhaps you are travelling with children or the elderly and need a calmer, quieter environment. Have a look at what is located around the cabin.
By around I mean what lies under, above, and next to your room. You want to steer clear of cabins that are close to active areas like dining areas and club rooms. Cabins that are under pool deck areas can also be noisy with the sound of chairs being dragged around.
Also, the lower you go, the closer you get to humming propellers and engine sounds. Another area to avoid are those cabins located near main entryways and stairwells, where there will be a constant parade of people going by. It may help to pick a room that has other cabins or state rooms just above and below it.
Do You Have Mobility Issues?
This is something to consider if you are with someone who needs to have facilities fairly close by, for example the elderly or disabled would want to be close to elevators or have easy access to dining areas. Some may want to be closer to a pool out of preference, or near the night time activities.
How much space do you need?
If you are travelling as a family you will want a room that is big enough to be comfortable and whose layout is designed for this. That doesn’t mean you have to go for the more expensive state rooms either. Quite a few of the indoor cabins will still have ways to section off areas of the cabin, usually with a curtain or screen to separate the sleeping area from the living area.
If you are someone who can’t cope with closed quartered spaces then trying to save money by getting the smallest cabin possible may not be beneficial to you. Sometimes medical needs can dictate how much room you will need too.
What is the view like?
While the view isn’t a necessity for most, where the cabin is placed can make a difference. Outside cabins normally face one side of the ship or the other, meaning your view runs by you sideways.
There are some staterooms that face forward, allowing you to see the view ahead. But these can also be the windiest and roughest areas at sea. A lot of people prefer those cabins which face backwards because it gives a peaceful tranquility to the view.
Something else to be careful of, when booking a cabin with a view, is for anything that may pose as an obstruction to that view like a stretch of lifeboats for example.
What will you be using your cabin for?
If you only intend on sleeping, washing, and dressing in your cabin then you won’t need something big and fancy. But if you plan on spending a lot of time in your room, you will want something comfortable and roomy.
Timing is Everything
If you want to ensure that you get the type of cabin, ship, and time of year to travel then it is important to leave a deposit early on. While you can often get some great deals by waiting until the last minute, you won’t have control over what you end up with.
But last minute cruises are a great option though for those who aren’t bothered with the cabin type, the cruise ship, or the departure dates. It’s not a good option however for travelling with more than 2 people to a cabin.
This is where you get to fine tune your cabin of choice. Not every cabin on a cruise ship will offer the same amenities.
If you need to have something that doesn’t come standard with a cabin, like a bath tub instead of a shower, then you need to make sure your cabin offers it.
Quite often amenities will be part of the package price you pay for.
Here are the usual things you will find on the amenities list:
* Room safe
* Mini refrigerator
* Coffee or tea maker
* Alarm clocks
* Bath robes
* Hair dryer
* Walk in closets
* Dining table to entertain guests
The more lavish stuff
Concierge services will take care of all of those mundane little things like making reservations for dinner, a show or spa day.
You also get little things like welcome drinks, snacks, and some even have a private lounge for suite guests and important people.
There are also cabins that offer spa set ups and you can even go all out and pay for a personal butler!
Hopefully this post will arm you with all you need to consider when booking a cabin on a cruise ship and making the experience feel less stressful and confusing.
Now, all you need to do is worry about what your packing and having a good time so enjoy it! And don’t forget to come back and share some of your best tips.