Be aware of these 10 cabins before booking your cruise…
1. Above/below public areas
If you’ve ever made the mistake of booking a cabin underneath the nightclub, it’s probably not a mistake you ever made twice. The clacking of feet and boom of the bass will sound into the early hours of the morning, so avoid booking above or below the nightclub at all costs. The same rule can apply to any public area, including the lido deck – which often hosts late-night deck parties, the theater and lounges – which feature shows into the late hours, and anywhere near the casino – which has no closing time and whose smoke tends to permeate through nearby halls.
2. Under the galley
Since the kitchen staff works all hours of the day and night to prep all the amazing food you’re eating on your cruise, be careful not to book a stateroom under the galley, as you might end up hearing all their work throughout the night as a result. It could be just as loud as booking a cruise cabin underneath the nightclub!
3. Near slamming or elevator doors
This is a tricky one, because you’ll need to really study the deck maps [or contact us & we’ll be sure to find the perfect cabin location] to understand where slamming or elevator doors may be. Try to avoid rooms near areas like the spa, where you might hear those loud locker doors, or near a public restroom (like those on the side of the theaters), where you’ll hear not only the slam of the door but also the loud roar of the hand dryer or flushing toilets. The elevator doors themselves may not be loud but the cruisers getting off are a completely different story.
4. Near an “empty” space
If you’re scanning the deck map and you see an empty gap between cabins, this likely indicates something like a closet where the housekeeping staff keeps linens, a self-service laundry room, an AC unit, etc. No matter what that space may be, it will likely be an area frequented by either crew or cruisers, so keep that into consideration.
5. Near the anchor
If you can help it, avoid staying in a cruise cabin near the ship’s anchor at the front of the ship. When the ship anchors in a port of call or on debarkation day, the clatter of the anchor as it is slowly lowered down from the ship has been known to shake walls with its noise, so you can forget sleeping in if you’re anywhere nearby.
6. In the lower decks
The lower decks on cruise ships present a double-edged sword. On the plus side, they usually offer the best deals, and being low in the ship also gives more stability if you hit rough seas. However, on the downside, the lower decks are far from most activities and can be very loud and crowded on port days when cruisers are walking through the halls to get to the gangway. No one wants to open their door in the morning only to see people lining up to get off the ship. Avoid these rooms if you can, but they certainly aren’t as bad as some of the others on this list.
7. Be careful with balconies
If you’re booking a balcony stateroom, double-check the deck map before you put down that deposit and make sure you’re aware if others will be able to see into your room. For example, some Princess ships that have a tiered build, where the balconies on one deck can see down onto those below, who in turn can see down onto those below them. If you value privacy on your balcony, these rooms will prove disappointing to you if you’re not careful.
8. Obstructed views
If a view is important to you, make sure you know what you’re getting a view of. An obstructed-view cabin category might cost less, but the quality of the vista varies from room to room. One view might be only partially obstructed, leaving most of the window occupied by sunsets over waves, while others artfully frame a length of lifeboats.
Passengers on Caribbean Princess vow that even cabins categorized as having a fully obstructed view still provide room for photo ops and ocean gazing.
9. Cabins with little square footage
Sure, price is a major factor when booking your cabin, but give yourself the benefit of the doubt: Would you want your “home away from home” to be smaller than your own bedroom? To give you an example of square footage, the average master bedroom in an American household runs about 200 square feet. Holland’s large inside cabins are 200 square feet. Some of Royal Caribbean’s newest interior cabins now offer virtual balconies (minus the sea breeze) from Studios at 101 square feet to the large inside cabins up to 187 square feet.
“Inside” doesn’t mean one size fits all, so carefully read cabin dimensions before selecting. Also, check whether a balcony is included in the total square footage of the room — the added outdoor space might be nice but not if it’s being factored into an already teeny-tiny cabin.
It’s important to note that some suites on newer ships seem to be smaller than those found on their older siblings. For example, Haven suites on Norwegian’s Breakaway and Getaway are smaller than the suites on its Gem-class ships. Even if you’ve sailed a line before, don’t assume each ship will offer similar cabin sizes.
10. Guaranteed cabins
I am not saying that guarantee cabins aren’t worth the gamble for an upgrade, but if you want assurance that you won’t be in a pitching, noisy cabin, these cabins aren’t the way to go. A guarantee cabin isn’t actually a type of cabin but, rather, a method of booking a cabin. You pick a minimum cabin level you’d be comfortable in, and the cruise line assigns you a cabin close to departure dates based on availability. Example: You book a Guaranteed Verandah an could end up with a forward-lower level obstructed balcony cabin or a mid-ship aft extended balcony.
The potential for an upgrade is appealing, and if you’re cruising on a budget and don’t have a particular issue with any of the cabin dilemmas listed above, then it could be worth your while to see what a guarantee might deliver. But your guarantee also could place you squarely above the anchor, next to a crew entrance, below the theater, or with an obstructed view. With guarantee cabins, you lose your ability to complain about what you end up with.