Balconies are the source of great debate amongst cruisers. Some believe that cruising is all about being out and about on the ship, mingling with like-minded travellers, and taking part in the numerous activities taking place across the course of the day, with little time to enjoy the advantages of a balcony. Others simply cannot imagine cruising without their own private balcony space! In fact, the demand for balcony staterooms has rapidly grown in recent years, and today’s newer vessels boast more balcony rooms than ever before. Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess, for example, offers balconies in 80 percent of their cabins, while Royal Caribbean are even turning their indoor cabins into amazing virtual balcony rooms on select ships with the use of cleverly placed screens and futuristic technology. Here are 6 reasons why balcony rooms are the most sought after accommodation on cruise ships today:
Unbelievable Views & Scenery
Every cruise region offers its own unique and breathtaking scenery, but there are some areas that are particularly renowned for being completely out of this world – the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Alaska, and the Caribbean, for example. It’s in these regions in particular that for many, a balcony cabin isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity! What many first time cruisers ask is why they can’t simply nip up onto the deck to enjoy these great views. The truth is that they can, but it’s worth taking into account the time of day that ships pass by some of the most spectacular sights.
Take the Swedish and Finnish archipelagos, the Norwegian fjords, and the Panama Canal, for example. Ships will usually enter these beautiful destinations very early in the morning during their final approach to port. Cruising is all about relaxation, you may not want to get showered, dressed, and out on deck for 5am! If you book a balcony room, you can simply order a room service coffee, throw your robe on, and enjoy the view without even having to leave your cabin.
Your Own Personal Outdoor Space
World cruises and extended itineraries are becoming more and more popular, and it’s not unusual to find the major cruise lines offering 30 night exotic fly cruises, one way adventures from Southampton, or even 100+ night world circumnavigations. There’s a real sense of community on these elongated voyages, and passengers tend to become fast friends, but even the most social of traveller needs their own space at times, especially during ocean crossings when shore days are few and far between. While passengers can get out on deck whenever they wish, there’s nothing quite like your own personal space where you can take a moment to enjoy the fresh air, the cooling breeze, and some ‘me time’ before heading back to the excitement of the on board activities and facilities.
Great For Family Travel
Cruising is fast becoming a family favourite. For parents with young children, cruising can be the easiest and most enjoyable way to see the world. There’s no long flights, there’s no struggling with luggage, and, most importantly, there’s no boredom! Passengers wake up in a different port each morning, without any of the hassle usually associated with travel. However, some parents do worry that having young children will limit what they can and can’t do on board, especially at night. Some ships do have night nurseries, or offer in-room child-minding services, but if parents aren’t comfortable leaving their children with youth staff that doesn’t mean that their night has to end prematurely. Balconies allow parents to tuck their kids up in bed, and enjoy an evening out on the balcony, enjoying room service cocktails and nibbles whilst watching the sunset, the waves, and sitting under the twinkling stars.
A common mistake that many cruisers make is that balcony rooms are much the same as an indoor or outdoor cabin, with the exception of a private outdoor space. It’s true that some balcony rooms are quite similar in design and amenities, but there are others that will truly take your breath away, offering a level of indulgence that you thought you could only dream of. Take Holland America Line, for example. Holland America offer Pinnacle Suites on their ships, which boast an outdoor hot whirlpool tub right there on the verandah – the epitome of opulence! It’s well worth doing a bit of research into balcony rooms and suites as they really do differ significantly. Norwegian Cruise Line offer ‘Spa Balcony’ rooms which feature calming and tranquil decor, along with easy access to the on board spa and fitness centre, while P&O Cruises’ eagerly anticipated new ship Britannia will offer ‘Deluxe Balcony’ cabins which are more spacious than their regular balcony rooms. These little extras can really turn a balcony from a ‘maybe’ to a must have.
Front Row Seats
One of the many highlights of a cruise holiday is, undoubtedly, the entertainment. Cruise ship entertainment once had a bad reputation for being a bit cheesy, but today passengers can see everything from world renowned acrobats to award-winning singers and dancers, so it’s no wonder there can be a rush for the ‘best seats’ in the theatre in the evening. What many passengers don’t know is that the best seats aren’t always in the theatres themselves – they’re in the rooms! Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas offer 6 AquaTheater Suites which overlook the AquaTheater, giving passengers an unobstructed view of all the action right from the comfort of their balcony. The wrap-around balconies also offer incredible birdseye views of the bustling boardwalk area, and, of course, the ocean. Too tired after a busy day in port to head out in the evening, but also don’t want to miss out on the fun? Then these balconies are perfect! Plus, they’re absolutely beautiful, with marble entryways and even a dedicated dining room.
Balconies are designed to enhance your cruise experience, and no matter where you’re sailing, when you’re going, or how long you’re at sea, you’ll love the advantages of your own personal balcony. But be warned – once you’ve had a balcony, you’ll always want a balcony!