Staterooms

Spotted: In-stateroom mini-bar order form

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16Feb2017

There has been a "mini" change to guests staterooms on Royal Caribbean cruise ships over the last six months or so, where the mini-bar model on Royal Caribbean ships has drastically changed.

Royal Caribbean guests on a cruise these days will find a form near their mini-fridge, where guests will be able to order exactly the types of beverages they want stocked in their mini-fridge rather than have an array of beverages provided in the beginning of their cruise.

The form is similar to the room service breakfast menu, where guests fill it out at their convenience and then hang the form outside the stateroom door.  Orders placed before 5:00pm will be delivered the same day, otherwise, the order will be delivered the next day before noon.

There are four basic categories of beverages to choose from on the form: bottled water, soft drinks, sports drinks and juice.  

Keep in mind none of the beverages available through the mini-bar are included in any unlimited drink package.

Do you like this concept of having "on-demand" mini bar drinks? Or do you prefer the classic mini-bar experience with drinks pre-stocked? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Our favorite things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship balcony

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13Feb2017

There are many great stateroom choices when booking a cruise, and certainly a room with private balcony is one of the most intriguing options. Having your own private space to enjoy the view of the ocean, a gentle breeze and the activities in port are a fabulous way to spend any cruise.

In addition to just the view, there are some really fun things to try when staying in a balcony room.  Here are some of our top picks for favorite things to do on a balcony while on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Enjoy a meal

Royal Caribbean puts tables on the balcony for a reason, and enjoying a meal outdoors is always a really fun way to enjoy a meal while onboard.

Room service is included in the cruise fare, so you might consider ordering a snack or full meal to be delivered to your stateroom.  When the waiter brings the food, direct them to bring it to the balcony and they will be happy to set it up for you there. In fact, if you are staying in a Grand Suite or above, meals from the main dining room can be delivered to your room as well.

Another option is to bring something back from elsewhere on the ship to enjoy on the balcony. A few slices of pizza from Sorrento's, or just a plate of goodies from the Windjammer are always good options.  Guests can bring food from pretty much anywhere onboard and take it to go for enjoying on the balcony.  We really love bringing Izumi sushi back to the balcony to eat with a fabulous view.

Watch a show

On Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, there are balcony rooms that offer a full or partial view of the AquaTheater, which has some truly impressive physical feats on display in a variety of shows.

Each ship has rather large suites that overlook the AquaTheater perfectly.  Granted, these suites are not inexpensive, but many guests love having an unfettered and private area just for them to enjoy the view of the ocean and the AquaTheater.

Likewise, there are standard Boardwalk Balcony staterooms towards the rear of the ship that also provide a view of the AquaTheater.  Some of these rooms will offer partially blocked or full views of the AquaTheater action too.

Bring drinks back

Just like food, enjoying a few cocktails on your balcony is a great way to take advantage of having a private balcony.  It is easy enough to grab some drinks from somewhere onboard and bring them back to your stateroom to enjoy.

Whether it is sailaway and you are enjoying a toast to the best cruise ever, or just want to get away from the rest of the crowd and sip some bubbly while you watch the waves pass by, enjoying a drink on a balcony is a wonderful way to spend time onboard.

Read a book

You can read a book anywhere on a Royal Caribbean ship, but there is something extra relaxing about pulling up a chair, propping your feet on the balcony and opening up a great book to enjoy.

Reading a book while the ocean breeze passes you by is nearly as relaxing as one of the services offered by the Vitality Spa, and usually quiet enough to become immersed in the story unfolding between the pages.

Go in the hot tub

Certain suites on Royal Caribbean ships actually come with their own hot tub, which means you always have a reserved spot to enjoy the calming warm waters of your own Jacuzzi.

Just like the AquaTheater suites, suite staterooms that have a hot tub are not going to come cheap, but if you value having the best kids of accommodations onboard, it is hard to go wrong with a hot tub that only you can get to use.  Our scientific research team assures us that nearly any view is better in a hot tub.

Watch the sun rise and set (many times)

If you are not enjoying the spectacle of the sun rising and setting at least a few times during your cruise, you are missing out.  When you have a balcony stateroom of your own, you can see one of nature's most beautiful events with the utmost convenience.

Granted, your balcony will need to be facing the east or west to witness this occurrence, but if things do line up, be very certain to take advantage of it. 

Guide to Royal Caribbean's Single and Studio staterooms

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03Nov2016

Traditionally, guests that book a Royal Caribbean cruise (or a cruise in general), have booked a stateroom with at least two guests sharing a room.  The cruise industry was built on this model, but in recent years, more and more guests have opted to cruise alone and Royal Caribbean has responded to this new demand with a special kind of stateroom category for folks that want to cruise alone.

Here is your guide to understanding what a solo cabin is all about, and why you might want to reserve one if you elect to cruise alone.

Why book a solo stateroom?

The primary reason why someone cruising alone would want a single/solo stateroom is because Royal Caribbean will charge a fee for someone trying to stay in a traditional stateroom by themselves.  Royal Caribbean refers to this fee as a "single supplement fee," and it is a means of recouping the cost of that second passenger that is expected to be in the stateroom.  Quite often, the single supplement fee is equivalent to double the cost of a single guest. Because the cruise lines business model depends on staterooms filled with at least two guests in them, single supplement fees have been the means of ensuring the cruise line is not taking a loss on a solo cruiser.

With single staterooms, there is no single supplement fee. When Royal Caribbean added these rooms, they designed them to be respective of the ship's business model and this means solo cruisers do not have to pay double the cost of what the cruise should be.

Studio staterooms are smaller than standard rooms, but they are meant to have enough space for a single guest to live in during their cruise.

Which ships have solo staterooms?

Here is a breakdown of the studio staterooms across Royal Caribbean's fleet.

Ship Stateroom Category Bed Size Total of Staterooms
Anthem of the Seas

Studio Interior with Virtual View

Super Studio Ocean View with Balcony

Full

Full

14

12

Brilliance of the Seas Studio Interior Twin 3
Harmony of the Seas

Studio Interior

Studio Ocean View

Full

Full

3

12

Jewel of the Seas Studio Interior Twin 3
Ovation of the Seas

Studio Interior with Virtual View

Super Studio Ocean View with Balcony

Full

Full

16

12

Quantum of the Seas

Studio Interior with Virtual View

Deluxe Studio Ocean View with Balcony

Full

Full

16

12

Radiance of the Seas Studio Interior Twin 3
Serenade of the Seas Studio Interior Twin 3

Why you might want a regular room

It is important to note that while solo cruisers may seek out a studio stateroom, there are two main advantages of booking a regular room, despite the single supplement fee.

First, a regular stateroom will offer significantly more living space, along with a far greater variety of choices.  As you can see from the chart above, there are not many variations available for studio cruisers and no options for a solo cruiser that wants a suite.

Second, Royal Caribbean does offer double Crown and Anchor Society points for guests that pay the single supplement fee for cruising alone.  While it does have a higher cost than a studio stateroom, the extra Crown and Anchor Society points can help guests move up the status levels quite quickly.

Depending on your budget, booking a regular cabin may be an option to consider.

Choosing a stateroom for your Royal Caribbean cruise

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29Jul2016

One of the first considerations when booking a Royal Caribbean cruise is the stateroom you will select that will be your home for the duration of the cruise.  On any given Royal Caribbean cruise, there are plenty of cabins to consider across a number of stateroom categories.  There are many considerations to take into account, but choosing the right cabin for you should not be a daunting task.

Staterooms come in different sizes, layouts, views and even benefits.  What is important to one person might not be as important to someone else.  There really is no wrong cabin to pick, but there are definitely rooms you can choose that will enhance your cruise experience.

When considering the right stateroom for you, it is important to consider the differences between the various categories. 

Stateroom categories

Inside staterooms

The most basic and smallest of the staterooms are inside staterooms.  Inside staterooms are distinguished from other rooms primarily because they offer no natural view of outside the ship.

Inside staterooms typically have no windows and no balconies.  

The compelling reason to book an inside stateroom is for the value, since they are often the least-expensive rooms you can book and that means it is the lowest entry point to getting on the cruise.  The exact size of the room will vary depending on the class of ship you are sailing on, but inside rooms will offer the least amount of space at the least price.

Over the years, Royal Caribbean has introduced new kinds of inside staterooms that retain the basic qualities of an inside stateroom, but with a new twist.

Promenade view: Promenade view staterooms are inside staterooms that feature a bay window that overlooks the Royal Promenade.  While the room has no view outside the ship, it does provide something to look at, with great opportunities for people watching as well as a great vantage point for events on the Royal Promenade.

Another added benefit of this room category is the bowed windows offer more square footage compared to standard inside staterooms.

The exact size of Promenade stateroom varies depending on the class of ships. Voyager and Freedom class ships Promenade staterooms are 160 square feet, whereas on Oasis class ships they are 193 square feet.

Virtual Balcony: One of the newest innovations to the inside stateroom is the virtual balcony stateroom, which takes a conventional inside stateroom and adds an 80-inch LED high-definition television that provides live views around the ship.

The screens are 4K ultra high definition capable screens that stretch from floor to ceiling and receive a video feed from the ship's cameras that are mounted at the stem and stern of the ship.

With virtual balcony staterooms, guests can enjoy a balcony experience without the balcony price.

Virtual balcony staterooms are offered on Navigator of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas.

Oceanview staterooms

The next category up from inside staterooms are oceanview staterooms, which are slightly larger rooms that have a porthole or window to the ocean.

Much like the inside staterooms, oceanview cabins are on the inexpensive side and provide guests with an affordable means of being on the ship and still have a view.  Natural light is important to many guests, and the ocean view provides that.   Essentially, oceanview rooms are slightly larger inside rooms with a window.

The reason to consider an oceanview room is if a view is important to you, but the price of a higher-category stateroom is not possible. Alternatively, sometimes the price difference between an inside room and an oceanview is not too large, and someone may want to upgrade their room option at not a lot of extra cost.

There is one variation on the oceanview stateroom, which offers even more of a windowed view without the balcony.

Panoramic oceanview: Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom gives much more of a view than a traditional oceanview room, with a floor to ceiling wrap around panoramic window that is 76 inches high by 103-321 inches wide.  That is a big window.

As you might imagine, the reason to book a stateroom like this is for the amazing views without the balcony view price.  

Panoramic ocean view staterooms are found on Navigator of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.

Balcony staterooms

One of the most sought-after stateroom categories are the balcony cabins.  Balcony rooms offer the same kind of living space the previous categories did, but with a private balcony space.

Having your own balcony means you have a special spot on the ship just for you to enjoy, that provides views all around the ship, as well as that terrific ocean breeze. Many cruise fans swear by a balcony for the added space, private area and ambiance that only a balcony room can provide.

As you move up the categories of Royal Caribbean staterooms, balcony staterooms come with more space compared to interior staterooms.  As anyone that has cruised before will tell you, every square foot matters!

When you book a balcony stateroom, you get more inside as well as the space from your balcony.  It all adds up to more room for everyone to maneuver in and makes the entire experience less crowded.  Having a balcony means you have a great spot for sail away, enjoying the ocean passing by, or seeing the port you are docked in from the comfort of your stateroom.

There are a few variations on the traditional oceanview balcony cabin available on Royal Caribbean ships.  These are all the same balcony experience, but with a different vantage point.

Central Park balconies: On Oasis-class ships, Central Park balcony staterooms are available that instead of offering a balcony that overlooks the ocean, this stateroom category offers a view of the Central Park neighborhood.

The Central Park balconies offer the same fresh air and light that ocean view balconies do but with the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of Central Park along with the people watching aspect. In addition, Central Park view balcony staterooms are often slightly cheaper than ocean balconies.

The exact size of a Central Park view stateroom with balcony is 182 square feet with a 50 square foot balcony.

Central Park balcony staterooms are available on Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Boardwalk balconies: Just like the Central Park balcony staterooms, the Boardwalk balcony staterooms trade the oceanview of a traditional balcony for a view of the Boardwalk neighborhood.

In addition to the view of the Boardwalk fun, some Boardwalk balconies can offer views of the ocean and/or the AquaTheater, depending on where your room is located.  Boardwalk balcony rooms are also usually priced less than ocean balconies.

A Boardwalk balcony room offers 182 square feet of living space, with a private balcony between 47 and 52 square feet.

Boardwalk balcony staterooms are available on Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Suites

At the high-end of Royal Caribbean's stateroom options are the suite cabins, which offer the most luxurious and largest of all the staterooms.  As you might imagine, suites are also the most expensive.

The reason to book a suite is simple: you want to indulge on your cruise and splurge for something a bit more than the norm.  Suites offer a tremendous amount of personal space, higher-end amenities, special bonuses and exclusive access.

From Junior Suites to Presidential Suites, there are a number of options to choose from. Suites offer access to a concierge lounge and even a butler. Cabin suites usually consist of more than one room in your cabin and have the most space of any cabin.  It is difficult to convey just how much larger some of the suites really are, with balconies that exceed the size of some staterooms.

In addition to the impressive rooms, suite guests typically enjoy double Crown and Anchor Society points for each night of their cruise, concierge planning assistance, complimentary drinks and a private lounge, reserved seating by the pool and shows, and a whole lot more.

On Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Quantum class cruise ships, the benefits program has been refreshed and is dubbed, the Royal Suite Class.  Suites on these ships offer the most benefits and highest level of service, split across three tiers of benefits. 

Amenities

All Royal Caribbean staterooms come with private bathrooms that are equipped with showers.  Suites have bath tubs in addition to showers, so if you need a tub, be sure to look for that as an option.

Not all staterooms have the same level of amenities, depending on ship class, but there are some basics that all have:

  • Television
  • Private bathroom
  • Safe
  • Minibar
  • Sitting area

Be sure to refer to each ship's layout for specific accommodations and amenities.

Stateroom location

Where your cabin is located can be just as important a consideration as the type of room you select.  Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are massive, and picking your room location means you have to take into account access and convenience to a number of public areas on the ship.

It is important to note that there is no bad location on a cruise ship, it is just a matter of personal preference in terms of which location means more to you.  It is difficult to make generalizations about cabin locations because it can be a very subjective decision but here are some basic guidelines.

In general, the most sought after location for a stateroom is midship, simply because it is centrally located relative to all the amenities and spaces on the ship.  This is true of all cruise ships, and depending on your preferences and itinerary, this may or may not be important to you.   In addition, being centrally located is what most guests who are sensitive to motion on the ocean choose, because the center of the ship tends to have the least sensations of movement.  Those that can become easily sea sick, may want to take special consideration.

When it comes to picking a stateroom location, arguably the most important criteria can be how close (or far) your cabin is from certain onboard facilities.  Some guests prefer to be close to the pool deck, others like easy access to the Royal Promenade and others want to be in close proximity to elevators.  As they say, it is all relative, but consider your cabin's proximity to public spaces near, above and below your room when selecting it.  On the larger ships, the time it takes to walk from one point to another is far more pronounced than on smaller ships, but no ship's walking distance is too great to truly be a concern (provided you suffer from no mobility issues).

Speaking of location, you may also want to consult deck plans before choosing a room to look at how close your room is to public areas that tend to generate a lot of noise.  If you are a light sleeper, some rooms that are above or below a night club, restaurant, pool or some other public area can suffer from noise bleed. How much noise and how bad of an issue can vary from cruise to cruise and person to person. If you're at all concerned about this, choose a cabin that has at least two decks above and below it and the nearest public area to assure quietness.

There is also the choice of having your room on the port (left) or starboard (right) side of the ship.  In my years of cruising, I have found this to be among the least important considerations, since you never know what you will be facing when, and both sides of the ship offer something to see and getting to the opposite side of the ship is quite easy.

Your cruising group

Much of the decision surrounding which stateroom to pick may have to do with whom you are cruising with. A couple cruising will have different needs than someone cruising with kids.

If you are cruising alone, keep in mind most staterooms come with a single supplement fee, which means you will pay extra to subsidize the lack of another passenger.  There are some staterooms that are specifically designed for solo cruisers, but they are rare and only on a handful of ships.

Families are at the heart of what Royal Caribbean offers, and those sailing with children may want to consider two additional alternatives to a typical room.  Family sized staterooms are extra large versions of regular staterooms that are designed with larger groups in mind.  They offer much more space without the typically higher prices that come with a room of that size. Family sized staterooms may not be available to see on Royal Caribbean's web site at all time and tend to have a minimum amount of guests in the room to become available.  Check with a travel agent for exact rates on these rooms.

Families should also consider two adjacent or connecting rooms.  Having multiple rooms may sound expensive, but often it is not that much more and the added space and extra bathroom (!) make this a very attractive alternative.  Families with younger children will want to get connecting rooms to ensure easy access between the rooms, while older kids can probably be fine in a nearby room.  Regardless, a second room is an option to consider for larger groups that need more space.

Couples will find the most options to choose from, since staterooms are mostly designed for two guests per room. Nearly all rooms have twin beds that can be separated or combined to form a queen-size bed. You can request either configuration from your stateroom attendant.

Cruising with friends is another common choice, and like couples, bed configurations can be altered as needed.  In addition, some cabins have 3rd and 4th berths, which means options like sofa beds and Pullman beds (beds that pull-down from the ceiling) can fit everyone comfortably.

Your thoughts

What category do you usually book on a Royal Caribbean cruise?  Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of each category? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!

Staterooms: What are the difference between Royal Caribbean's D1, D2, D4, etc balcony rooms?

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14Jul2016

A balcony stateroom on your Royal Caribbean cruise sounds like a great idea, with imagery of fantastic views of the oceans available anytime you want.  So when it comes to booking the stateroom, you may quickly discover there is not just one balcony stateroom, but rather, a number of options to consider.

Royal Caribbean breaks up its balcony staterooms into various sub-categories and this is your guide to understanding what the differences are between them all.

D1, D3, D8... what does it all mean?

When you look to book a balcony stateroom, you will see a variety of cabin designations among the balcony staterooms.  There will be stateroom codes, such as D1, D2, D4, E1, E4, etc.

Essentially, the difference between all the Category D staterooms is stateroom location, and potentially size of the room as well.  The lower the number, the more desirable the location of the room in terms of how close it is (or is not) to mid-ship.

As the numbers get higher, the stateroom location goes further aft/forward and/or stateroom size can change.

The differences can be very subtle from one category to another, but the price tends to drop as the number climbs (i.e. a D8 tends to be cheaper than a D1).

In addition, the difference between staterooms can include rooms that have third and fourth berths.  Rooms with this distinction can result in different pricing compared to staterooms that cannot accommodate third and fourth berths.

Other balcony categories

In addition to balcony staterooms that have the letter "D", there are other categories of balcony staterooms that may be on the same ship.

  • E
    • Usually, Category E balcony staterooms are slightly smaller rooms than Category D balcony staterooms, otherwise very similar. Between E and D, the difference is size -- the D is larger and this results in a sofa instead of loveseat.
  • C
    • On Oasis-class ships, this refers to Central Park facing balcony staterooms
  • B
    • On Oasis-class ships, this refers to Boardwalk facing balcony staterooms

Interior vs Balcony staterooms on a Royal Caribbean cruise

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28Jun2016

A common question for guests planning a Royal Caribbean cruise is whether they should save money by staying in an inside stateroom or pay a bit more for the amenities, size and view in a balcony stateroom. Is it worth it to pay extra for a balcony cabin on a cruise? Do I really need a room with a balcony?

Like almost every hypothetical question posed by this blog, the answer is, "it depends."  I hope this post will be helpful in analyzing the most important features of each stateroom category to see which category has advantages.

Price

It should come as no surprise that inside or ocean view staterooms are usually cheaper than balcony staterooms.  The added room size, balcony and view of a balcony come with a higher cost.  The thing is, how much extra can vary.

The price gap between an interior stateroom and a balcony will vary from ship to ship and sailing to sailing.  Sometimes it is measured in the thousands of dollars, and other times it is just a few hundred (or less).

When considering the price difference, one should look at the nightly price and what that gets you.  Nearly everyone that books a Royal Caribbean cruise is on some sort of budget, so even if they want to book a balcony stateroom, it may not be financially viable.  It is important to at least consider the options because there are many scenarios in which the difference in price is quite low.

Often inside staterooms are the least expensive option, which means guests can spend less money on their cruise vacation or have more money to spend during the cruise on things like drinks, shore excursions, specialty restaurants or anything else for sale.

The difference in price will depend on factors like itinerary (balconies on Alaska itineraries are more expensive than Caribbean itineraries), time of year (peak vs low season) and ship class (newer ships have more balconies, so more supply).

Advantage: Interior staterooms

Room

Balcony staterooms are significantly larger than interior staterooms. As an example, on Allure of the Seas a standard interior stateroom offers 150-172 square feet of space, whereas a Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony comes in at 182 square feet, plus a 53 square foot balcony.

Room size is hard to quantify in a blog post, but every extra foot you have of living space does make a difference and it becomes noticeable quickly. It all adds up to more room for everyone to maneuver in and makes the entire experience less crowded.

Beyond the size difference, balcony staterooms have natural light, which makes the room feel less dark and gloomy.  You also get fantastic views of the ocean and ports you are visiting.  

Even the most ardent interior stateroom fan will be hard-pressed to debate the virtues of an interior stateroom over a balcony.  Personally, I think the best part of an interior room is the fact it can get pitch dark, which makes for excellent sleeping conditions.

Advantage: Balcony staterooms

Your vacation plans

Everyone vacations differently, and what you plan on doing (or not doing) may dictate which stateroom category makes the most sense for you.

Are you the kind of person that gets up at dawn, is doing every activity in the Cruise Compass and returns to their room only to shower and sleep?  Or are you someone that likes to take it easy and sleep in, or read a book?  

Many guests that pick an interior stateroom will tell you that they do not spend a lot of time in their room, so why should they pay for amenities they will not use.  It is a good point, although in my experience, I think the stateroom you book dictates to some extent what you end up doing.  If I book an inside room, I definitely do not spend as much time there as I do when I book a balcony. Having a balcony means I go there for sailaways and I bring food back to the room to eat.  The room can be the deciding factor in how you vacation in some cases.

Where you are sailing to also can be part of the decision.  Certain itineraries favor balcony staterooms over other itineraries.  In the Caribbean, it is not nearly as compelling to get a balcony stateroom over an interior stateroom compared to the Mediterranean or Alaska itineraries. That is not to say guests in an inside stateroom completely miss out on the natural beauty to behold, but they just have to do more to experience it.  

Advantage: Varies

Cruise Length

The duration of your cruise can be a major factor in deciding which stateroom category makes more sense.

Longer cruises, 7-nights or more, may offer more incentive to get a balcony so you can have your own outdoor space to relax.  Quick three- and four-night cruises may not necessitate spending money on a balcony since your time is limited and you may not spend as much time in your room.

One of the advantages of booking a balcony stateroom on a shorter cruise is the total price will not be as high as a longer cruise.  And some of the longer cruises (repositioning cruises) can offer great deals on all rooms, including balconies, because they are harder sailings to fill.

Generally speaking, the longer the cruise, the more advantageous a balcony stateroom, although the price factor that we spoke of earlier may supersede even the cruise length consideration.

Advantage: Balcony

Alternative choices

We would be remiss if we did not mention certain categories of staterooms that bend, blend or otherwise are a hybrid of the two categories.  Cruising has changed over the last few years, and Royal Caribbean has started offering new stateroom options that cater to different tastes and budgets.

One of our favorite room categories is a virtual balcony room, which is an inside stateroom with a 80-inch LED television that provides live high-definition views from outside the cruise ship, right into your stateroom.

There are balcony staterooms that do not face the ocean, but instead offer views of the Boardwalk and Central Park neighborhoods. These balcony staterooms have the same balcony experience of ocean-facing balconies, but often at a discounted price and perfect for people watching.

Speaking of people watching, Promenade view rooms offer a bay window view of the Royal Promenade, which provides the perfect vantage point for people watching and checking out what is happening on the Royal Promenade. It doubles as the perfect spot to view the parade!

Panoramic ocean view staterooms offer a floor to ceiling wrap around panoramic window that is 76 inches high by 103-321 inches wide.  That is a big window and you get amazing views without the balcony view price.

All of these stateroom categories offer guests the option of having a view without paying for the full balcony price.  Granted, none are exactly the same as having your own private balcony and the amount of living space is still more limited.  But for many guests, it is a "happy medium" between that balcony price and a standard inside stateroom.

Other

"Other" is not really a definable characteristic of any stateroom. Instead, this is a bit of a catch-call for other important features and amenities that do not fit in the above categories.  In addition to the critical categories above, another category that may be important is lifestyle. Being able to enjoy a glass of wine on your private balcony or have the ocean breeze enter your room are things that cannot be qualified objectively, but is important to some.

Likewise, sleeping in a pitch-black room of an interior stateroom can lead to some of the best sleep you have since college.  Many of us go on vacation to catch up on sleep and the notion of "quality of sleep" really means something when you avoid getting woken up by natural light entering the room.

How about romance? It seems like every cruise commercial out there that harps on romance on the sea has at least one shot of a couple enjoying the sunset on their balcony.  

Verdict

Whether it is worth it to you to pay more for a balcony stateroom depends upon your preferences, budget, and how much time you will be spending in your room.  If you like having extra space with views, balcony staterooms score points.  If money is an issue, the cost-savings of an interior stateroom will make you happy.  Plus, that is more money you can spend elsewhere on the cruise, like in a good specialty restaurant.

For us, balcony staterooms make a lot of sense for the extra space, private balcony and ambiance...provided the price is right.  We have a budget for every cruise we take, and the price difference between a balcony and interior stateroom is often a major deciding factor.  There is no question that when we have a balcony room booked, we spend more time in there than if we have an inside room.

For inside room fans, there are plenty of public places onboard to enjoy views anytime of the day or night.  The promenade deck, helipad (on select ships) and pool decks give us plenty of outdoor space when we need to "get out."

The interior staterooms are not for everyone, but we have nothing against them.  If it is the difference between going on a cruise or not, we will gladly book an interior stateroom.  A balcony is great, but not worth breaking the bank for it either.

Your thoughts

Is it worth it to you to stay in a balcony stateroom? Or, do you just save as much as money as possible by staying in an inside stateroom? Share where you normally choose to stay (and why!) in the comments!

Photos Harmony of the Seas staterooms

In:
24May2016

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas has a lot of great stateroom choices to consider, and today we have a look at some of these staterooms.

Royal Caribbean released photos from some very popular stateroom categories and since we love to daydream about staying in one of these staterooms, we are sharing these photos.

AquaTheater Suite

Royal Family Suite with Balcony

Owner's Suite with Balcony

Family Ocean View Stateroom

Presidential Family Suite

Boardwalk View Stateroom with Baclony

Which of these stateroom categories would you want to stay in? Tell us in the comments!

Secret Royal Caribbean staterooms: Extra large Oasis of the Seas balconies

In:
11May2016

Across Royal Caribbean's fleet of cruise ships, there are some interesting and unique staterooms that are slightly different than the rest of the staterooms in the same category.

Today, we are looking at some balcony staterooms on Oasis of the Seas that give you a lot more space for no extra cost.

Photo by Emmy Schaffer

Certain Central Park balcony staterooms offer guests almost double width balconies for the same cost as other Central Park balcony staterooms.

These rooms are to the aft of the Living Wall and are on Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Photo by Emmy Schaffer

The cabin numbers are on decks 10, 11 and 12:

  • 10229
  • 10629
  • 11229
  • 11629
  • 12229
  • 12629

It is worth noting that the larger balcony is not indicated on the deck plan.

If you are looking to book a Central Park balcony stateroom and want to get your family some extra living space, these staterooms are a great way to do it without breaking the bank!

Thank you to Emmy Schaffer for providing information for this post.

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