The first thing to get your head around is that there could be more than 30 different cabin types – or “staterooms” as they’re known in ship parlance – for you to choose from.
The differences can be subtle, but small distinctions can be significant to your overall experience.
Your principal decision will be based around what you can afford in the balance between size, facilities and location, with prices tiered accordingly.
Years ago, balconies were a rare treat on the largest ships, but today, many of the newer vessels offer primarily balcony cabins, so the choice at least is made simpler by focusing on stateroom configurations.
For all the variables, cabins are basically categorised into four major types and the nuances occur within each class.
It’s worth noting, you won’t be spending a huge amount of time in your cabin by day, so consider that when you are weighing up options and prices.
You may opt for extra shore excursions and dining at specialty restaurants for example with the money you save by taking a slightly more modest accommodation option.
You’ll also need to check the deck configuration of your preferred ship to see where the main features are that may or may not affect you.
Do you want to be near the central elevators if mobility is an issue for you? Prefer to have easy access to the pool decks or kids club?
Are you concerned about seasickness? (If so, a quick tip is to choose a cabin on a low deck toward the centre of the ship where motion is minimal).
On another note, no matter your cabin of choice, they all come with private ensuites and are serviced daily.
To help with your decision-making, here’s a snapshot of the four main classes of cabin on offer most cruise lines and ships.
As the entry level and most affordable, rooms without windows or balconies are not for everyone, but the money saved can be significant.
If the prospect of being at sea without a view to the outside world sounds a little claustrophobic, don’t dismiss the idea immediately.
Modern cruise ship designers have thought hard about making the interior staterooms more appealing, such as the ‘virtual balconies’ offered on Royal Caribbean, which are screens on the walls that show a live camera feed of the view outside. And it’s surprisingly effective.
OCEANVIEW / OUTSIDE CABINS
Essentially, the next step up from being inside, is paying for an outside view.
‘Outside cabins’ mean, obviously, they are located on the outside of the ship but generally have no direct access to the open air.
You’ll get a porthole or a window (although they do not open) and more than likely a larger space than you’d get with an inside cabin.
Being able to sip a drink on your own balcony or opening the doors to take in the crisp ocean air as magnificent vistas roll by is what cruising is actually all about for most regulars.
Expect to see a fair jump in price from the Oceanview class but if you can afford it, you won’t regret it.
Think about it this way, without the convenience of being able to wander a few steps to swing open the doors to your private verandah, your only option in other cabin classes is to walk outside and make your way to the open public decks.
Cabins are often larger again and usually come with a small sitting area between the bed balcony. If sailing in scenic locations such as Hawaii or Alaska or in tropical climates like the Caribbean, a balcony is well worth the upgrade.
Because of these reasons, balcony cabins are often the first type of cabin to sell out.
Now you’re getting ritzy. In a suite, expect divided living areas with one or more bedrooms, often sweeping floor to ceiling windows, a balcony, plenty of storage, and often, butler service and other ‘suite’ perks such as exclusive lounges, dining and more.
Suites are designed to spend time in, so don’t even bother shaking the piggy bank upside down to splurge on one if you expect to join in all the ship’s activities, shore excursions and evening entertainment.
Do your homework and find out the finer details of your ship’s layout as every cruise line and ship class is different. Bon voyage!
Go cruising now when you speak with our friendly Cruise and Travel Solutions Specialist at Cruise Megastore on 1300 657 948.
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