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How to Choose the Right Cruise Ship Cabin

Cruise ship balcony
Getting a large cruise ship balcony requires having a large budget. Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license
Choosing the right cabin on a cruise ship is partly a matter of budget. But just like real estate, it’s also a matter of location.

The budget decision is fairly easy. Cabin prices are organized according to the size of the cabin, amenities and especially the views.

Cruise ships have four common cabin types: interior, window, balcony and suite. Each cabin type often has some extra variations, once again in size, amenities and views. Suites in particular vary in the amount of space available.

The views aren’t so good for the least expensive interior cabins because they don’t have any views. They are the best choices for passengers on a limited budget who plan to spend most of their time outside of the cabin.

The more expensive cabins do have views in the form of windows or portholes, which are small and probably best for claustrophobic people, or balconies for passengers with much larger budgets.

Although prices for each cabin type depends partly on demand and availability, the following actual cruise gives an idea about how prices vary for each cabin type.

One seven-night cruise out of Miami had an inside cabin for $629, an “ocean view” cabin with window or porthole for $769, a cabin with balcony for $869 and a suite for $1,279.

In terms of space, the interior cabin had 129 square feet, the porthole cabin had 172 square feet, the balcony had 150 square feet and the basic suite had 355 square feet of space.

Notice in this example that a cabin with a balcony is smaller and more expensive than a cabin with only a window or porthole.

Cabin Location Factors

Prices also matter with the location of the cabin on the ship. Three factors matter with the location:

On which deck is the cabin? Low decks mean climbing stairs or taking the elevator to get to the pools, spa, restaurants and other activities on the top decks of the ship. A busy day can mean an occasional long wait time for an elevator.

Where is the cabin between the bow (front) and stern (back) of the ship? A cabin near the bow may mean the passengers have to walk to the stern of the ship to reach the main buffet restaurant, which we have had to do on several cruises. It was not difficult, but it did require more than five minutes of walking and taking stairs or elevators.

Is the deck near noisy middle deck activities? On our last voyage, our very inexpensive cabin was inexpensive in part because it was right by the theater on deck five. We could clearly hear music, singing and applause until 11 o’clock some nights. We didn’t mind the noise, but some passengers might.

The ideal location for a cabin is midship for easy access to everything. But midship cabins tend to sell out more quickly for that reason and often command higher prices.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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December 02, 2018

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