Choosing the right cabin location can seem like a difficult task. With so many to choose from, it’s crucial to start whittling down your options so you can end up with the stateroom that’s right for you.
There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s all down to personal preference, as well as your budget and the cruise itinerary. Most seasoned passengers have a preference for either inside, outside (ocean view), balcony, or suites but if you’re a first-time cruiser, you might not have a preferred cabin location.
Inside, Outside or Balcony Cabin?
Booking a cruise holiday is completely different to a land-based holiday. You’re choosing more than just a sea or garden facing room, your accommodation on board is all about being tailored to the way you like to do things. Inside staterooms are the best accommodation for value for money, as these staterooms are often equivalent in size to outside and balcony cabins, but do not have an ocean view. Instead, the picture window or balcony area is replaced by a large mirror. Whilst some passengers are concerned these cabins will feel a little strange with no natural daylight, we say that if you’re only going to be in your cabin for changing and sleeping, then it’s the ideal choice.
If you enjoy spending time amongst your own private surroundings and relaxing in your stateroom, then an ocean view or balcony cabin is often a great choice. You’ll also be able to sunbathe on your private balcony rather than out on the open decks.
Suites are stunningly beautiful and come with a wide range of indulgent benefits and amenities. These cabins may be the most expensive style of accommodation on board but they are most certainly worth it. Modern day innovations include the likes of Loft Suites on board Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises’ Reflection Suite with a private bathroom that features a shower cantilevered over the side of the ship for incredible views.
Once you have reached a decision over the cabin choice that’s right for you, the next challenge comes in choosing the location of your cabin.
So just how do you choose your cabin? Are some staterooms located in better areas than others? Let’s take a look.
Forward or Aft Cabin Location?
Is a cabin at the front of the ship, or at the back, the better option? Or how about right in the middle? Well, once again, it all depends on your personal preference. The truth is, if you’re a first-time cruiser, you could ask 100 seasoned cruise travellers in a row where the best position on a ship is and you are guaranteed to get a mixture of answers – it’s all down to opinion. Whilst some guests believe the front of the ship is not the best place to be, others love it as it is close by to many facilities including the pool areas.
So how about the back of the ship? This location is slightly more desirable than forward cabins, so you may find these sell out a little quicker. The beauty of the aft is that you’re well away from the crashing waves, and are within easy reach of some of the best lookout spots on the ship. Concerns will always be raised by certain passengers, especially travellers who prefer a mid-ship position but this perception often stems from traditional cruising. In the past, prior to modern day cruise ship design and stabilising technology, it was the case that the mid-ship area was always the best bet for cabin position. Forward and aft areas were considered noisy and often not the most ideal areas for passengers that are susceptible to motion sickness.
Nowadays these concerns have, for the majority of cruise passengers, been put to bed, hence many cruise lines now locating their most luxurious accommodations at the forward and aft positions. This includes the P&O Cruises Ultimate Penthouse Suites and Cunard’s Queens Grill.
Without a doubt, if you want to relieve any concerns and book with complete peace of mind then opt for a mid-ship position.
There is no doubt that, by the laws of physics, the centre of the ship is the most stable, often due to the centre acting as an axis. The only thing to be aware of is that in the centre of the ship, although an excellent position for stability, it’s a good idea to consider your cabin position from all angles. Staterooms located in the mid-ship areas are often a decent walking distance from many areas on board. Whilst this location is often ideal for the dining rooms, many entertainment areas on board are often located at the forward and aft on board, the same also applies to buffet restaurants and many pool areas. It is important to consider these factors when looking at your cabin position.
Higher or Lower Deck Cabins?
There are advantages, and disadvantages, to cabins located on both high and low decks, so which do you choose? Cabins located on low decks will largely be immune to dramatic movements of the ship, making them very popular amongst those who tend to be sensitive to the motion of the ocean. A higher location will emphasise movement, but you’re also much nearer to some of the most popular attractions on the ship, such as the pool deck and al fresco bars and cafes. Balcony rooms and suites all tend to be located on the higher decks, commanding spectacular views across the water and movement is minimal even on the upper decks so do not let this sway your decision (excuse the pun), just choose an area where you’d like to be.
Know Your Surroundings
You may find it beneficial to check out the deck plans of your ship before committing to a cabin. Why? Because you want to make sure you book a cabin that’s in an area that will be suited to you. If you’re travelling with children, being on a deck with the kids’ clubs, or other children’s activities can be very beneficial. Similarly, if you enjoy spending the evenings in the on board bars, choosing a cabin near to the entertainment venues means it’s an easier to navigate your way ‘home’.
Lifts are a regular topic of conversation on board cruise ships. For first time cruisers it can be a worry that being near a lift will keep you up all night as ‘cruise ships never sleep’ but there really is no need for concern. Elevators aboard the majority of today’s cruise ships are soundproofed. What once was a real worry if you were located near them; cabins close to elevators now are seen as a positive thing as it means less walking and easy convenience, which is not something to turn your nose up to after sampling the amazing cuisine on board, you may find the stairs too much!
Always Look Up…
Along with checking out what facilities are on your deck, it’s also worth looking at what’s directly above you. If you’re a family with young children, for example, and plan to have your kids in bed earlier than the average cruise passenger heads for the land of nod, then choosing a cabin directly underneath the nightclub isn’t the most sensible of options. Cruise ships today are built to minimise noise, and they’re very good at doing so, but it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution. If, however, you’re a bit of a night owl and love the on board nightlife, then there’s no reason not to choose a cabin under an evening entertainment venue. They’ll be nice and quiet when you’re trying to have a lie in!
Many passengers prefer not to choose a cabin directly under the pool area, or under restaurants. Deck chairs that surround the pools may be dragged along the floor causing a little noise, but this will only be problematic if you plan on spending a lot of time in your cabin during the day. With so many great activities and places to explore, who wants to spend all day in their room?
Of course, if you consider what’s above you, you should also consider what’s below you. What’s located directly below isn’t much of an issue – you only need to be concerned if you’re located above the theatre or other music venues, where speakers may be situated close to the ceiling. Families with young children who may be heading to bed early may find this to be a problem. For those out and about during the evenings, not so much.
So What is the Best Cabin Location?
That’s really up to you! It’s important to keep in mind that there really is no ‘bad’ cabin on a cruise ship. They are built to give all passengers the best experience possible, and if bad cabins were a thing, no ships would be sailing out at full capacity. Of course, it’s worth taking into account the above tips when choosing your cabin, but don’t worry if you don’t get the location you wanted – you’ll still have an amazing experience!