... How to Pick Your Cabin!

One of the most important decisions you must make after you have decided on which cruise to take is what cabin do I choose.  In some cases you have an entire ship from which to choose.  In other cases you may have the cruise line choose for you.  While many folks deem their cabin unimportant (the one's who say just get me aboard; I'll never be in my cabin much) I contend a great cabin yields a great cruise. 

Let's take a quick look at your choices. 

You Choose:

Cabin prices vary widely based on where a cabin is placed on the ship.  General rule - amidships (close to the center of the ship, front to back) and higher usually mean higher price.  You can see this is where most ships have their higher priced suites and luxury cabins.  I avoid far forward and far aft, although many folks really enjoy looking out of their cabin and seeing where they have been.  They enjoy aft cabins because they generally have larger balconies. 

Guaranteed Category:

One of the least expensive bookings is what I like to call the gambler's fare.  When you book a cruise, you do not book a specific cabin, you book a category of cabins.  The cruise line guarantees that you will be in the category you select OR a category higher.  You gamble that you will get an upgrade.  We once cruised on the Carnival Destiny, three of us in a guaranteed balcony category.  We did not know our cabin until we stood at the dock and found we had been upgraded several categories and where now in a suite!  That's the good side.  The bad side may be that you end up with a cabin far aft or far forward, where ship movement is the worst. 

On our very first cruise, we went cheap.  We had a guaranteed inside cabin category.  And that was what we got.  An inside cabin with bunk beds, nestled between the elevator and the stairs n three side.  This was a very old ship (Carnival Mardis Gras) with beautiful teak wood appointment throughout.  Even the stairs were wood.  So all night if the grind and moaning of the elevator did not keep us awake, the clip-clop of feet on the wooed stairs did.  We were so glad it was only a three day cruise. 

Location, Location, Location.

Just like real estate, where you are on a ship does matter!  Here are my rules on cabin location.  Adhere to them and you are almost guaranteed a great cruise:

One: Most modern cruise ships have several cabin only decks.  I like to be on a deck that has cabins above me and below me.  Cabins near public areas may be convenient, but can cause noise issues. 

Two: Inside cabins are generally quieter and definitely darker once the light goes out.  If you like sleeping late, and inside cabin is for you. 

Three: Balcony cabins are my standard.  There is absolutely nothing on God's earth like waking up and having a room service breakfast on your own private balcony.  Okay, when I say private, let's not take that to the extreme.  Sex on the balcony is usually not as private as you may think...your call!  On some ships, Princess in particular, some balconies are fully viewable from above.  Just be aware. 

Four: Do not book a cabin over or under public areas like bars, nightclubs or restaurants.  You know what I mean.  We once had a gorgeous balcony cabin underneath the Chops restaurant on the Liberty of the Seas.  Most of the time things were fine.  It was the 2:00 am moving of tables and chairs and banging above that gave us fits. 

Five: The newest ships are designed much differently that older ones.  They have the elevators and stairways cordoned off from the cabin areas fro fire protection reasons.  So the old rule of don't get a cabin near the elevator and/or stairs is not as important as it used to be.  Just be aware. 

Six: The physically higher your your cabin is on the ship, the more apt you are feel the movement of the ship.  Also as we said earlier, avoid the far aft or forward areas due to the same reason. 

Most Importantly.

Remember this is YOUR cruise.  You should be in control of most of the aspects since it is your money involved.  Do not shy away from asking questions of your cruise line or travel agent about anything related to the cruise.