Choosing Your Cruise Cabin

The type of cruise cabin you choose for your cruise can and almost certainly will impact your budget...

It is important for you to have a clear understanding of what you are buying.

Shipboard accommodation varies not only from cruise line to cruise line but often from ship to ship within a single cruise line!

This has to do with:

  • when the ship was built
  • the purpose the ship was built for
  • the economies of scale for that particular ship.

Also, the demographics, (age, income, lifestyle of the guests the ship will carry) will affect the pricing.

Typical Cabin or Stateroom Layout

Diagram Courtesy of Princess Cruises



Cabins can vary in size from under 100 square feet (including bathroom) to magnificent garden villas on the top deck like those on the Norwegian Star at over 5,000 square feet.

Typically you will find cabins under 150 square feet compact - to say the least. You may feel quite cramped.

Carnival Cruise Lines cabins start in the range of 185 square feet and are some of the largest, standard cabins at sea.

Above the 200 square foot size you will usually find mini-suites and suites, most often with private balconies where you can enjoy your outdoor view of the sea (very very romantic)!

Your cabin choice also depends upon how many people are in the cabin. Some cabins accommodate only two people. Others while the same size; can accommodate three or four persons. This can be a consideration as third and or fourth guests in a cabin usually gets a significant discount!

No wonder! Picture four people in a cabin of 150 square feet with one washroom!

Triple and Quad occupancy cabins have upper berths than fold out of the wall or come down from the ceiling. Fitting three or four passengers into a standard size cabin may also be done where a sofa bed is available and/or the cruise line may provide a cot, which is provided at night and removed from the room during the day.

My personal recommendation is to look for a cabin size at least 170 square feet or more.

Most cabins (or staterooms as they are often referred to) vary only by size, layout, furnishings and amenities but these differences may be important to you so ask about them!

Even the lowest accommodation today will have private bathroom facilities (most with a shower but no tub). They will have telephone service and a color television. Some will come with refrigerators. If these items are important to you, make sure they are on your checklist.

Remember, next to the itinerary and ship, cabin type and location will be your most important consideration! Why? Because you will be living in this room for the duration of your cruise and the wrong accommodation can dramatically affect your cruise comfort.

Regardless of the cabin type you are choosing, the position of the cabin may be critical to you!

Sample Deck Layout


A cabin positioned high and toward the bow (pointy end at the front of the ship) may contribute to motion discomfort (politically correct term for sea sickness) on the off chance you encounter rough weather at sea.

In a similar way being positioned aft (back end of the ship) can also affect your comfort in bad weather.

Today’s modern cruise ships employ exceptional stability innovations and it is rare that you will encounter discomfort due to motion. If this is a concern to you, make sure your booking agent knows you want to have a cabin on a lower deck (less side to side motion) and mid-ship (in the middle) to reduce movement.

Remember, you won’t find the cabins with private balconies in the lower part of the ship so think this one through if you have concerns about seasickness and motion discomfort.

The key considerations in choosing your cabin are:

How much motion will there be?

The smaller the ship, the greater the rolling and pitching. A mid-ship lower level cabin will help.

What is the square footage of the cabin?

Get the whole picture including bathroom and balcony. Cabin and balcony size can vary significantly within the same price category.

Will anything obstruct my view?

The hull, lifeboats, and equipment on the deck can limit your view. But some “obstructed view” cabins are great value because they are situated between two lifeboats and have a clear site line. Ask your booking agent.

How large are the windows?

They may be portholes, standard size windows, floor to ceiling windows or floor to ceiling glass doors that open to a verandah.

Can other passengers see me in my room or on my verandah?

A stateroom on a promenade deck could allow other passengers who walk by your window, the opportunity to view inside. Most modern ships use reflective glass to minimize this, which works during the day but not at night when your lights are on.

Some balcony cabins over look others and everything happening on the lower balcony is visible to others.

Is the room noisy?

If you like to sleep late or are a light sleeper, avoid cabins near the anchor, the tenders, the engines, the disco, the galley and the stairwell.

The following will give you more detail on the types of cabins or staterooms available:








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Did You Know?.

CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) 62 cruise line members represent more than 90 percent of global cruise capacity, with 482,000 berths on CLIA Member ships. With more than 22 million people cruising worldwide each year, the cruise industry will invest $25 billion to launch 55 new ships between 2015 and 2020. In 2015, the industry will introduce six new oceangoing cruise ships and 16 new river cruise ships.

Top 2014 Cruise Trends (CLIA)

Rebound in luxury cruising (luxury category ships, onboard upgrades) based on an improving economy and increased consumer confidence

Multigenerational and celebration travel increase for all passenger source markets with larger sized family as well as social/ affinity groups traveling together

Continued development and availability of technology to facilitate and lower the cost of onboard communications as well as to provide more efficient passenger servicing

Expectation of first-time passenger growth driven by the 95 million Millennial generation based on population size and positive experiences cruising with their parents

Cruise lines offering more all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities for increased ease in booking and ship enjoyment

Cruises increasingly attracting consumers seeking active vacations with extreme excursions, longer stays in ports for sightseeing and high-energy onboard facilities

Seeing the world in comfort and ease, especially exotic locations, will continue to drive new itinerary creation and cruise ship deployment

Hot destinations for 2014 according to CLIA cruise line members include: Trans Pacific, World Cruises, U.S. Rivers, South America, Antarctic, Middle East, Canada/New England, Africa and Exotic Rivers