Let’s talk about choosing a cabin on your next cruise ship! Here’s the quick and dirty info so you’re not wondering about the prices I’m giving you next time you want to set sail.
People often say, “We just want the deal. What’s the least expensive cabin? We’re not going to spend time in our room anyway!” Since this is true for a lot of people, I’ll answer that question right now. The least expensive cabin on any ship is going to be a type called a “guarantee.” You buy a type of cabin, not a specific cabin. The least expensive guaranteed cabin is an inside (no windows), upgraded is an ocean view (picture window), and the next upgrade is a balcony. You might think you’d get the most bang for your buck by booking a guaranteed balcony—after all, you’re GUARANTEED a BALCONY cabin, for a lower price, right?! The answer is, sometimes that works. Did you know that there are balcony cabins with obstructed views, meaning all you see from your balcony is a lifeboat or a big pillar? Yep. Sometimes a balcony isn’t the beautiful ocean view you were imagining.
The upside of a guaranteed cabin: You’ll spend less money than buying an assigned cabin.
The downside of a guaranteed cabin: You won’t be near anyone you’re traveling with, and you could get an obstructed view or a location you don’t want to be in.
Location + type = price
Cruise ships have lower decks, upper decks, front, middle, and back, in addition to the basic cabin types I mentioned above (inside, ocean view, and balconies). For each type of cabin, the specific location will have a certain price. Since mid-ship is preferable for many people (mid ship = less movement), those cabins will always have a little higher price tag. The lowest decks have lower prices, and the higher decks have higher ones. Many ships now have elite, upgraded areas with private pools, spas, food, or other amenities for those interested. It can get complicated to find just the right location.
As a basic rule of thumb, decide what your top priority is and start there. If you’re traveling with kids and need adjoining cabins, your choices are often limited to what’s available when you book. If you’re traveling with people who are susceptible to motion sickness, consider booking a mid-ship cabin, and possibly a balcony (fresh air + seeing the horizon helps). Let me know the priorities and I’ll help you navigate the rest.
How many people can fit in a cabin?
Most cruise ships have suites for muti-generational families or groups traveling together, but those also carry a heftier price tag. If you’re on a budget and aren’t interested in the suites, it often works great to put small children in your same cabin. Carnival has regular-size cabins that accommodate 5 people; the other cruise lines accommodate up to 4 in a regular-sized cabin. However, remember that a cruise ship cabin is smaller than a hotel room, and if you’re traveling with bigger kids, or even 4 adults, you’ll probably want to stick with 2 people per cabin. It’s not fun being on top of each other for a week with 4-5 adult-size people in a 200-foot space! You’ll be so happy for the extra room, even if it initially costs a bit more.
When in doubt with a cabin-type or cabin-size decision, my rule of thumb is to be as comfortable as you can afford. When you look back on your cruise a few months or years later, you don’t want to remember the cramped, uncomfortable, or non-view rooming experience you had. Instead, you’ll want to remember the amazing food, fun, and connecting time you had with your family members or friends!
If you have any other questions about cruising or other travel topics, let me know!