Choosing the Right Cruise Cabin

You decided on an itinerary, a cruise line, and a cruise ship and all that is left is choosing a cabin. How do you pick from the many categories available? All cruise lines are different and so are cabins. One inside cabin may be teeny tiny while another may be quite large. Take the time to read the description of each cabin and its dimensions and look at pictures to get a good idea of whether it will work for you. There are many variables to keep in mind, such as the age of the ship, which may result in either bigger or smaller cabins so that makes it hard to compare cabins on different ships exactly because of this. Cruise lines will send their ships into dry dock for refurbishments (carpeting, new flat screen TV’s, furnishings, public areas, etc.), but a new ship will always look newer. Also, each cruise line will offer various categories of each type of cabin and the differences will usually be location, size, and price.

Inside Cabins: Inside cabins are just that – inside. These cabins are on the inner aspect of the ship without a view to the outside. Why choose an inside cabin? Some people don’t care about the ocean view. Those who like to stay out late like inside cabins because they can sleep in without having the sun stream in through the window to wake you up. A typical inside cabin will have two twin beds that can be moved together to form a full size bed, a desk and chair, closet, and bathroom. These tend to be the least expensive cabins on the ship.

Here are a few examples of inside cabins on various ships. I chose a few of the popular cruise lines, but this in no way represents all of the possible cabins that are out there.

The first is an interior double cabin on Princess Cruise Line‘s “Caribbean Princess.” Twin beds that make up into a queen-size bed. Refrigerator and TV. Spacious closet. Bathroom with shower. Approximately 163 square feet.



The next is an interior stateroom on Royal Caribbean‘s “Explorer of the Seas.” Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size), sitting area , vanity area, and a private bathroom. (160 sq. ft.)

This is a standard inside stateroom on the upcoming Disney “Dream.” This room comes with many standard amenities, featuring room for 3 or 4, with queen-size bed and underneath storage, convertible sofa, wall pull-down bed in some, separate sleeping and seating areas as well as a couch and desk, plus a Magical Porthole with real-time views.

Oceanview Cabins: These cabins will be on the outside of the ship with a view to the outside via a porthole or larger window. Perhaps you took a cruise in an inside cabin and decided you wanted to see the water on your next cruise, but didn’t want to spend money on a balcony cabin. You get the view at an affordable price in an oceanview cabin. Be careful when booking your oceanview cabin as some ships offer these cabins with an obstructed view. You’ll get the window, but maybe your view will be of the lifeboats parked right outside the window. In that case, is the extra money really worth it? Oceanview cabins will have beds, desk and chair, TV, closet, and bathroom.

This is an oceanview double cabin on Princess Cruise Line‘s “Ruby Princess.” An oceanview stateroom includes all the amenities of an interior double, plus it features a picture window, providing added ambience and memorable views. (categories E-G have obstructed views). Approximately 158 to 181 square feet of space.

This is a large oceanview stateroom on Royal Caribbean‘s “Freedom of the Seas.” This cabin has two twin beds (can convert into queen-size) and private bathroom. (200 sq. ft.)

This is a deluxe oceanview stateroom on the upcoming Disney “Dream.” This room easily accommodates a family of 3 or 4 and includes a queen-size bed with underneath storage, convertible sofa, wall pull-down bed in most, split bath, privacy divider and a crystal-clear porthole view. Relax in more space than you’d find in a standard room.

Balcony Cabins: Call them balcony cabins or verandah cabins, any way you look at it you are ending up with more room and a direct view to the outside and the view. On your balcony you might find two chairs and a small table and in your room you will find your bed, desk and chair, TV, closet, and bathroom. Diehard cruisers seem to know where the best balcony cabins are on the ship, be it the large aft cabins or the “hump” cabins on some ships where the balconies bump out to give a larger balcony and room. Many cruisers who have chosen oceanview cabins treat themselves to a balcony cabin and vow they will never go back! Once you get to sit out in the morning with your coffee and admire the view, be it the sun rising over the Caribbean or the Alaskan wilderness, you’ll realize that nothing beats a balcony cabin.

This is a verandah stateroom on Holland America. 2 lower beds convertible to 1 queen-size bed, whirlpool bath* & shower, sitting area, private verandah, no-host mini-bar, floor-to-ceiling windows, (284-398 sq. ft. with verandah*). Include all the stateroom amenities, plus:

  • Signature Mariner’s Dream™ bed featuring plush Sealy Posturepedic® Euro-Top mattress and finely woven cotton linens
  • Luxurious bathrobes for use during your voyage
  • 100% Egyptian cotton towels
  • Premium massage showerhead
  • 5x magnifying lighted make-up mirror and salon-quality hair dryer
  • Fragrant soaps, lotions, shampoo and other bath amenities from Elemis Aromapure
  • Complimentary fresh fruit on request
  • Elegant ice bucket and serving tray for in-stateroom beverages
  • Flat-panel TV and DVD player
  • Ice service, shoeshine service and nightly turndown service

This is a superior oceanview stateroom with balcony on Royal Caribbean‘s “Oasis of the Seas.” Superior Ocean View Staterooms offer a gorgeous view, sitting area (some with sofa bed)and vanity area. They also offer a mini bar and private balcony, among their amenities. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size), private balcony, sitting area, and a private bathroom. (182 sq. ft., balcony 80 sq. ft.)

A deluxe oceanview stateroom with verandah on the upcoming Disney “Dream” will look like this. This stateroom comfortably fits 3 or 4—much more space than is found in our standard staterooms—and includes a queen-size bed with underneath storage, convertible sofa, wall pull-down bed in most, split bath and private balcony.

Suites: I don’t think I have to tell you why people choose suites, do I? These cabins are easily the most desirable and also the most expensive. With amenities beyond what the normal cruiser receives, suite guests are treated to only the best on cruise ships. These larger cabins are ideally located and are they spacious! Suites come in a variety of sizes and styles from the Mini or Junior Suite up to the large and spacious Owner or Penthouse Suites with pianos, oversized balconies, and more. Suites are great for large families traveling together or friends or couples looking to travel together and splurge. I love that when people discuss the suites, they write them out with capital letters like Royal Loft Suite. That must mean it is special.

How about a Suite with Balcony on Princess Cruise Line‘s “Ruby Princess”? Surrounding you with luxurious accommodations, a spacious suite with balcony includes all the amenities of a mini-suite plus incredible premiums. These include luxury balcony furniture, deluxe canapes, fresh flowers, DVD/CD player, free access to DVD library, two flat-panel TVs, one complimentary mini-bar setup, a roomy walk-in closet, upgraded bathroom amenities, complimentary use of the Lotus Spa Thermal Suite, laundry and dry cleaning services, and web access in the Internet Cafe. Approximately 461 to 687 square feet, including balcony.

Let’s look at a Penthouse Suite on Holland America. A bedroom with 1 king-size bed, oversize whirlpool bath & shower stall, living room, dining room, dressing room, pantry, 1 sofa bed for 2 persons, mini-bar refrigerator, guest powder room, floor-to-ceiling windows, private stereo system*, microwave*, (1,126 – 1,318 sq. ft. with verandah*). A very special amenity exclusively for guests cruising in a Penthouse Verandah Suite or Deluxe Verandah Suite, the industry-leading Neptune Lounge features a private place to relax, socialize with other suite guests and enjoy the personalized service of a concierge. The fleet-wide lounges provide worktables, large screen television, library, sofas and chairs, wi-fi and refreshments throughout the day. One-Touch 24-hour Concierge Service is available when the Neptune Lounge is closed.

On Royal Caribbean‘s “Oasis of the Seas,” the Royal Loft Suite is the largest of all lofts onboard the Oasis of the Seas. It features its own Baby Grand piano, indoor and outdoor dining rooms that seat eight, private wet bar, a library and extended balcony with its own LCD television, entertainment area and Jacuzzi. The Royal Loft Suite has the ability to connect to a Crown Loft Suite for additional room to accommodate a total of ten guests. Two deck high stateroom with panoramic views. Master bedroom and bath on second level. Bath has a tub, shower, two sinks and bidet. Stairway to second level. Four twin beds (can convert to Queens). Bath with shower on main level. Private balcony with whirlpool and dining area. Dining area with dry bar. Living room sofa converts to double bed. Closets on each level. (1,524 sq. ft., balcony 843 sq. ft.). Stateroom can accomodate up to 6 guests.

The Concierge Royal Suite with Verandah on the upcoming Disney “Dream” is a palatial suite and is the largest, most upscale offering. It easily sleeps 5 and features 2 bedrooms with queen-size beds, 2 bathrooms including mirrors with built-in TVs (master bath includes double sinks, whirlpool tub and rain shower), media library, wet bar, pantry, walk-in closet, private verandah with Jacuzzi and many lavish amenities.

Now that you have seen and read the differences, you will be able to make an informed decision come time to choose your cabin. I hope you also had a chance to see how the different cruise lines really are different with their most basic option to you, your accommodations. When choosing a cabin, location is important as well and within each category of cabin the higher the price, the better the location. More on that next time!