When we hear the term ‘obstructed view’, it conjures up all sorts of images. Will my vista over the ocean waves be massively disturbed? Can my fellow passengers take a peek through my porthole at all hours of the day and night?

All things considered, obstructed view cabins are a necessary feature of any cruise ship and, we would argue, an option that’s worth considering. Seasoned cruisers will know exactly what an obstructed view cabin is, but for those who’ve never set sail before, it’s another piece of cruise lingo to get to grips with.

We’re here to dispel some of the myths and help you make an informed decision about whether an obstructed view cabin is right for you. And where better place to start than with the word itself?

Obstructed. We’ve been programmed over the years to accept ‘obstructed’ as a negative term, but when booking a cruise it takes on a whole new meaning. While your view may be interrupted, obstructed doesn’t mean blacked out – the complete opposite, in fact! Natural light will still stream into your cabin and you’ll have a firm grasp of whether it’s night or day.

Obstructed view balcony

What Causes The Obstruction?

Obstructed view cabins are necessary. A cruise ship sailing without lifeboats is a definite no-no for obvious reasons and no matter how well designed a vessel is, there’s still got to be room for them somewhere. These boats are often used as tenders when a cruise ship is unable to dock directly into port, whether that’s because the ship is too big, or difficult weather conditions on the day.

Obstructed view cabins therefore claim the title of ‘obstructed’ most often because of the lifeboat positions. They are found in a particular area of a ship and this means that some cabins’ views will be blocked.

Cabins located in these positions on a ship will fall into one of two categories: fully obstructed or partially obstructed. The position of the cabin between the lifeboats will affect the percentage of the window that will be obstructed, but the most important thing to remember is that natural light will still flood into your stateroom.

You will also find that some cruise ships have obstructed view staterooms where the obstruction is not caused by safety equipment, but by the design of the ship itself. In some cases, the cabins will be obstructed simply because the ship has been structured in a specific way.

Obstructed view cabins come in all shapes and sizes, so if you’re debating whether to change your reservation, the answer is no. You’ll still get a great position on the ship, amazing views all-day long and a fantastic place to be for a sailaway. Why would you want to give that up?

Some obstructed view cabins are only fractionally affected by a beam running down the window. So yes, you’ll still get to see those pearly white sands as you pull up in the Caribbean, or the glassy seas of the Norwegian Fjords, all from the comfort of your cabin.

The Cabin Locations

Another negative (and incorrect) belief of obstructed view staterooms is that they will be in the most undesirable locations onboard, probably stuffed somewhere in the darkest depths of the ship where no one wants to go. Wrong! These cabins are located in some of the best positions – you’ll find them situated on a mid-deck, often in close proximity to the Promenade Deck and in easy walking distance to many of the onboard attractions.

Why Book An Obstructed View Cabin?

If you want to stick to a budget and like the idea of cruising with a window in your stateroom, then obstructed view cabins are the perfect choice. They offer excellent value at only slightly more than an inside cabin, yet benefit from the added bonus of a great view.

We’d also recommend thinking about the type of cruiser you might be. Are you someone who likes to relax in your room and enjoy your own personal space? Or are you one for using the cabin simply as a place for sleeping and getting changed, preferring to spend more time out and about on deck? If you’re the latter then obstructed view cabins, along with inside staterooms, present a great choice. They are cost-effective, great value and often ideal for a whole host of destinations.

If you’re new to cruising then you will inevitably have heard tales from relatives, friends, friends of friends, even the neighbour’s dog walker. They all have cruise stories and they are all willing to pass on their advice … BUT weigh up your options. Speak to our Cruise Expert to find the right choice for you. What one person loves, another may hate so it’s all about finding the cruise ship and the accommodation that’s best for your needs. You may be looking at an inside cabin but prefer the thought of natural light coming through a window. A clear view or balcony may be over budget but this is where the obstructed view cabin fits the bill perfectly.


Spotting Obstructed View Cabins On A Deck Plan

We’ve all been there, scanning a deck plan completely bemused by its myriad of colours and complex structure.  The bigger the ships get, the more difficult these deck plans are to interpret but this is where we step in to help. Not only do we know these deck plans like the back of our hands, we spend months ensuring that we know the ships inside out. This gives us the answers to questions like “where are the obstructed view cabins?”

These cabins can be spotted on most brochures using a key. P&O Cruises, for example, use a specific symbol to show partly-obstructed view staterooms, which will be shown on all applicable cabins and will be matched with a colour code. We know it sounds complicated, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it becomes easy. Remember we’re always on hand to help out with any questions you have.

arvia deck plans
Arvia deck plans P&O Cruises Arvia deck plan


Don’t write off obstructed view cabins based on first impressions or simply how they sound. Obstructed view cabins are extremely popular and are often one of the first cabin grades to book up due to their fantastic value for money. Natural light is aplenty so if the cruise is right, go for it, you won’t be disappointed!