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I tried a Junior Suite to see if it’s worth it. I spent $1200 extra to upgrade from a balcony cabin

24 Oct 2023
Matt Hochberg

One of the most challenging decisions you can make is trying to determine if it's worth it to spend extra to move up from a balcony cabin to a Junior Suite.

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's cabins come in many configurations, and there are pros and cons to each. You can find great value with an inside cabin, look for the perks of a suite, or find comfort in a balcony. Everyone picks a room for different reasons.

The Junior Suites on Royal Caribbean fall into a blend of both balcony and suite, and it is difficult to make a general rule why you might pick it over a balcony cabin.

The reason choosing between a balcony or Junior Suite is challenging is because of how close in nature they are and because the price gap can be so different depending on the sailing you pick.


Not only that you could also be choosing between moving up to a Junior Suite or even going further and booking a Grand Suite.

On my Serenade of the Seas 7-night cruise to Canada and New England, I decided to book a Junior Suite and spend right around $1200 more to move up to a Junior Suite and I think it was worth it.

Room differences

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

I'm fond of describing a Junior Suite as, "an extra large balcony room" because in many ways it boils down to that.

Most balcony cabins on Serenade of the Seas will have 179 square feet of living space and a 41 square foot balcony.

The Junior Suite comes in at 300 square feet and 65 square feet of balcony space. That's not quite double, but it's close to it.

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

If you're sharing the cabin with one other person, the Junior Suite can feel palatial in terms of how much extra space you have to walk around. It's noticeable when you try to get around the other person without having to shimmy or slip by them.

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas
Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

I think a lot of people that book Junior Suites love the bathroom configuration, as you'll get a full-size tub instead of the standard shower.

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

The balcony is also larger, and if you spend a lot of time on your balcony, then there's a good reason to move up to a Junior Suite. Having not just chairs but a lounger makes it feel like a spot you would want to spend time in, and there's enough room on the balcony that it feels like a big space.

One other difference with a Junior Suite is there is a walk-in closet.  On Royal Caribbean's older ships that don't have as much storage space as newer ships, it's so nice having plenty of closet space.

Junior Suite balcony on Serenade of the Seas
Junior Suite balcony on Serenade of the Seas
Junior Suite balcony on Serenade of the Seas

Like all cabins, you'll get a mini fridge, safe, vanity sitting area, and storage space.

What you get for staying in a Junior Suite

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

While not a full suite, you do get certain perks for booking a Junior Suite.

  • An extra point per night in Crown and Anchor Society
  • Priority boarding
  • Dinner at Coastal Kitchen on Oasis Class and Quantum class ships
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Bathtub
  • Walk-in closet

What I liked about my Junior Suite

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

Walking into my Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas, I was immediately struck by the width of the room. If you've never been in a Junior Suite, you will immediately notice how much bigger it is.

The room isn't actually that much longer, but it's certainly wider.  There's more space to walk when moving past the bed, and then there's a sofa, table, and chair and ottoman.

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

I really loved the chair and ottoman much more than I thought I would, and it was the perfect spot to get work done while being comfortable.

I also found the shower to be much more enjoyable because it's not the usual "space tube" shower.  I'm sure those that prefer having a tub will find it even more important.

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

Then there's the balcony, and I find I spend so much more time on my balcony when it's not very hot outside. Being this was an October cruise to Canada, heat was not an issue.

We stayed in the two bedroom panoramic oceanview suite on Serenade last year when sailing to Alaska, and it lacked a balcony in favor of windows.

Read more: Royal Caribbean Alaska guide

In retrospect, I much rather prefer the balcony now because I like having the fresh air, sound of the ocean, and being able to peek my head over the balcony railing to see what's coming up.

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

I would be remiss if I did not talk about the fact it's not really a suite, so there's no Suite Lounge access or Concierge host benefits.

This doesn't bother me much on this sailing because I was with a large group of friends sailing on a Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise, so I wouldn't want to spend much time in the Suite Lounge anyway.

However, you still get two Crown and Anchor Points per day for staying in a Junior Suite, which makes it an easy way to move up the ladder of Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

Cost difference

Junior Suite on Serenade of the Seas

I don't think any factor weighs as much in if it's worth it to book a Junior Suite than how much more it will cost.

You can wax poetically all about why it's worth booking any cabin, but money is what makes the world go 'round and it's a major reason for anyone to pick a cabin.

The cost difference between a standard oceanview balcony and a Junior Suite on this sailing was $1258.

Balcony room on Serenade of the Seas

My Junior Suite cost $4181 for two people, including gratuities and it was a refundable cruise fare. My price dropped to $3913 when my wife was dropped from the reservation because she could not sail.

Someone else on my cruise staying in an oceanview balcony paid $2655 for two people in their room.

The cost difference will vary considerably for every cruise, and sometimes the price gap is negligible, and other times it's substantial.

So why did I think it was worth spending extra?

Ultimately, I valued the space it provided and because at the time of booking, I thought it would be a cruise for just me and my wife and why not splurge a little bit to get a bigger room.

I'll spend extra when my kids cruise with us, but I have a tendency to assume if it's just me or my wife, that we don't need a lot of space.

Serenade of the Seas balcony

Given that I knew the itinerary would be new and not hot outside, I thought a balcony was necessary.  Having a larger balcony was equally interesting.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt a Junior Suite was an affordable splurge. I certainly could have saved the money and used it towards something else, but I wanted to treat my wife to something bigger than a balcony without going up to a suite.

Is a Junior Suite worth it?

Junior Suite

Depending on your sailing, the price difference will vary considerably.

The extra space, double Crown and Anchor Society points, and tub shower are nice perks to have. Just like any larger cabin, when you get onboard and have the extra space, you'll likely forget about the bill you paid a few months earlier.

The primary decision for most is the cost. The difference can be just a few hundred dollars or up to thousands.

JS balcony

The decision can be more worthwhile to move up to a Junior Suite if you have more than two people in a cabin. This is when that extra space can really come in handy.

It can also be worth it to book a Junior Suite if you're chasing Crown and Anchor points.  Getting an extra point per night makes it easier to get to the higher tiers faster.

Ultimately, I compare the price of a Junior Suite to a balcony and then think about who I'm sharing the room with, the itinerary, and if I think I'll spend a lot of time in the room or not.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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