You booked a cruise on a wonderful cruise ship. You picked out the perfect itinerary. But how much thought did you put into choosing just the right cabin?
You might think, “Hey, I’m on a cruise ship and I have the same access as everyone else to the main areas, so who cares where my cabin is?”
And if you don’t mind losing some sleep, having extra noise outside your stateroom, having to walk a lot more or spend more time in the elevator or stairwell than is necessary, sure, that’s fair.
But a cruise cabin that is not suited to you and your idea of a great vacation can really ruin a cruise. So knowing what cabins to avoid and which ones to focus on is a critical part of the cruise booking process.
Here are 5 important steps I like to take when choosing the ideal stateroom on my cruise.
Step 1: Choose the actual cabin and forego the guaranteed fare.
This one might be obvious, but letting the cruise line choose your cabin for you will only guarantee the price, not the best location.
Some cruisers will choose a type of cabin, whether it be a suite, ocean-view, or interior stateroom, and let the cruise line pick the deck and location. Don’t do this if the cabin matters to you.
It’s just too risky. Sure, you might save a few dollars, but having the ideal location and type of stateroom could be worth more to you than the few dollars saved.
I always choose the exact cabin on my cruises and then follow the rest of the steps in this article, with only a few exceptions.
Step 2: Pick a cabin that is surrounded by other cabins.
Having cabins on either side of you and both above and below your stateroom will provide a noise buffer from noisy venues.
It might seem counterintuitive to have other passengers surrounding your cabin, but certain venues can make way more noise then fellow passengers (hopefully =).
This is important especially if you don’t plan to stay up extremely late into the night. Some areas of the ship may have late parties and loud music that could disrupt your sleep and cause excess vibration. Let your neighbors buffer the noise and get some rest so you can hit those excursions with a well-rested mind and body.
I always check out the deck plans when choosing a cabin. I will look not only at the deck on which I plan on booking my cabin, but I will also look one deck up and one deck down. I’ve had cabins right on top of very active venues before that I would have noticed had I studied the deck plans better.
Step 3: Skip the cabins with interconnecting doors
Having an interconnecting door to the next stateroom is great if you are traveling in a group and actually know the passengers next door. It’s not so great if you want to keep noise to a minimum.
These doors allow more noise pollution to leak through than you would think. Even if your fellow cruise passengers are not talking loudly, often just shuffling around the cabin can be heard in some cases.
I’ve experienced this problem when the passengers next door had a much earlier schedule than I and their early morning routine disrupted my beauty sleep. It was then and there I determined to make sure no future cabins had interconnecting doors.
This again will be clearly marked on most deck plans so you can see which staterooms have doors between them. Skip over these cabins and find something with a solid wall on either side of your cabin.
Step 4: Choose a mid-ship cabin
Take this one with a caveat. Aft balconies and front-facing suites can be amazing. This step is more of a practical choice for most cruise preferences.
A mid-ship cabin will not only experience less movement at night when the ship is moving to the next destination, but it also allows you to be closer to all common areas of the ship.
My very first cruise had an aft balcony and I loved the views and sound of the water. But areas at the front of the ship seemed just so far away. Elevators are great for going up and down, but horizontal movement on a ship has to be done with legs. Now, I didn’t mind the extra workout and getting my steps in, but it definitely wasn’t a convenient location for getting around.
Having a cabin in the center of the ship allows you to always be half-way to any venue on the vessel. The restaurants near the back of the ship and the theater at the front are always about the same distance. And it’s nice when you forget something in your cabin and need to run back real quick. We’ve all been there.
If you’re someone who has an issue with movement and sea-sickness a mid-ship cabin is ideal for you as well. The difference in motion can be quite stark if the seas are a bit rough compared to the forward and aft parts of the ship.
Step 5: Choose a cabin between the promenade and lido deck
In addition to being in the middle of the ship in terms of forward and aft, a cabin situated between the main promenade and lido deck can be ideal as well.
I had a cabin on deck 2 before. And this was on a ship with 18 decks. Anytime I wanted to go anywhere it required either a very long, arduous trek up the stairs, or many stops on an elevator that seemed to stop on every deck.
Most of your time on a cruise ship will be spent on the lido deck or decks near the promenade so being right in the middle of this area will mean you only need to go up or down a few decks to go anywhere.
I’ve had cabins right on the lido deck before as well, and this was very convenient for hitting the buffet or swimming in the main pool. It did mean a bit of a descent for going to the main theater, but much of this depends on where you plan to spend most of your time on your cruise.
I realize most of the above is all about preference and your preference may be different than mine. But that’s the great thing about cruising. Thousands of passengers can all be on the same ship and have exactly what they want out of a vacation.
I just hope the above is helpful in making sure you get the kind of cabin you need to make your getaway something special and remarkable.