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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Cabin

Here’s the thing about choosing a cruise ship cabin: you need to understand what kind of cruiser you are. Some cruise lines will have more than 20 types of cabins or “staterooms” so it can be confusing whether you are a first-time cruiser – or a more experienced sea-goer. Whether you love socialising – so plan to spend little time in your cabin – or prefer your own company and private space, most cruise lines have the room for you. There are four broad categories of cabins you need to know about before deciding which one suits your needs:


Inside cabins

Usually the cheapest option on a cruise ship, inside cabins are some of the smallest accommodations on a ship and have no window, so they’re not recommended for anyone who feels claustrophobic or who likes to linger for hours in their room. But if you plan to spend all your time on the sun deck, hitting the restaurants or socialising in bars before retiring to your room to sleep, this option might be for you. Some lines are introducing technological features to improve the inside cabin experience, such as RoyalCaribbean’s “virtual balcony” (big screens which show live feeds of ocean views.)


Outside cabins

Featuring a small window or a porthole but no physical access to the outside, outside cabins provide natural light. If sunshine and a glimpse of the ports you’re visiting is important, but you don’t want to pay for a balcony cabin, consider one of these rooms. Just don’t expect an expansive view and you won’t be disappointed.


Balcony cabins

Cabins with their own private balcony used to cost as much twice, but now they’re more affordable. Is the premium worth it? That depends how important it is to see the view. Some passengers are happier on their own balcony, drink in hand, as they arrive in port rather than mixing with the crowds on the upper deck. And for some particularly scenic destinations such as Alaska or Canada, you might regret not having your own balcony to step out on for a close-up view.



As the name suggests, a suite is the largest and most expensive cabin on a cruise ship, with separate living and sleeping quarters. These top-of-the-line spaces can include features such as enormous balconies, spa pools and even baby grand pianos. Most have access to exclusive lounges and decks and some also come with their own butlers who will organise everything from dry-cleaning to on- and off-ship reservations. If you can afford it, a holiday in one of the most luxurious cruise ship suites will leave you feeling like royalty. 

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