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Which deck is best on a cruise ship?

21 Nov 2023
Matt Hochberg

The best deck on a cruise ship depends on a few considerations that will vary in importance to every cruiser.

Ocean view balcony

Let's dispel with the notion that there is a universal deck choice that's perfect for everyone, because there isn't such a thing. Instead, there are reasons to pick one deck over another depending on your personal preferences.

If you are traveling with kids, have mobility issues, like to party at the pool, or are sailing to Alaska, the choice of the best deck could vary considerably.

If you're trying to find the best deck to pick a cabin, here's what to look for depending on your situation.

The best deck if you get seasick

ocean view from cruise ship

If you're prone to getting seasick on a cruise ship, picking the right deck can make a big difference in mitigating the chances of it happening.

Ideally, you want to be on the lowest possible deck at the center of the ship.  This is where the sensation of movement is least, and will help reduce the likelihood of you getting seasick in the first place.

If you're staying in a balcony cabin, pick a deck closer to the Royal Promenade instead of the pool deck.  So pick deck 6 instead of deck 10.

Speaking of avoiding getting seasick, it's a good idea to book a balcony cabin that has a view of the ocean. Being able to see the horizon is one easy way to settle your stomach and re-adjust your mind.

Read more5 Royal Caribbean cruise ship balcony cabins to book (and 2 to avoid)

Grandeur of the Seas hallway

If you're okay with an inside cabin, a cabin on deck 2 midship is actually a great choice.

Read moreIs a cruise ship cabin on deck 2 bad?

The best deck if you have kids

Adventure Ocean with kids

If you're taking your kids on a cruise, I would recommend picking a deck close to the kids club and pools.

Royal Caribbean puts its kids club and sports deck activities at the top of its ships. 

If you can book a cabin on deck 10, 11, or 12, you can get a really convenient place to easily get back and forth to the places your children will want to go.

On most Royal Caribbean ships, the Windjammer buffet, kids club, and pool are all within a deck of each other.  So picking a higher deck is a good idea for families.

Read more: Best Royal Caribbean cruise ships for kids

Surfside neighborhood with Water's Edge pool

On Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has flipped the script a bit and put all of its kids programming centralized on a lower deck.

You'll find the Surfside neighborhood, Adventure Ocean, and teens club all interconnected around deck 6.  So for this ship, pick a cabin near Surfside.

The best deck if you don't want a lot of noise

Whether you are a light sleeper or just don't like to deal with noise bleed, avoid picking a cabin on a deck that is below a public area, such as pool, dining room, or promenade.

When you pick any cabin, I recommend picking it on a deck that has another cabin deck above and below it to minimize the chances of noise bleed.

When you have a public deck above yours, you run the risk of hearing crew members working at odd hours dragging chairs, loud music bleeding through, or sounds of people stomping.

Radiance of the Seas bow

You'll also want to avoid picking a cabin at the very front of the ship because bow thrusters and the ship's anchor can be very loud.

The best deck if you are sailing to a scenic destination


If your cruise is going to the fjords of Norway, Alaska glaciers, or South Pacific sea, you should pick a cabin on a high deck.

The higher you are on the ship, the better vantage point you'll have. This is especially helpful for getting the best perspective when there are natural wonders around your ship.

cruise ship aft balcony ocean view

In fact, a lot of veteran cruisers will pick a room at the very back of the ship for an aft view. It's beautiful to see the ship's wake as you see the scenery go by.

It's important if scenic views are important to you to avoid any cabin that has an obstructed view.

Aft balcony room

Obstructed view cabins are rooms that have something blocking part of the view, such as lifeboats or the structure of the ship.

Moreover, avoid booking a guarantee cabin so you don't get an obstructed view cabin.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean cabins to avoid

The best deck if you are staying in a suite

Suite Sun Deck on Wonder of the Seas

The best reason to book a Royal Caribbean suite is for the perks you get, and making sure they're convenient is a good way to maximize the suite's value.

If you're staying in a suite, book a cabin on the same deck or close to the suite lounge and sun deck.


On Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Icon Class ships, you'll want a suite on deck 17 so that you are just steps away from these reserved areas.

Read moreGuide to Icon of the Seas cabins and suites

On Royal Caribbean's smaller cruise ships, picking a deck near the suite lounge is less important since there are less suites-only areas, but I still think it's a good idea to have a cabin nearby the suite concierge.

The best deck if you have mobility concerns

If you have a mobility issue, pick a cabin on a lower deck and near an elevator so that you have less distance to traverse.

Avoid booking a cabin at the very end of a hallway on any deck, or any cabin at the top of the ship.

Being on a lower deck makes it easier to get to the public areas you'll likely need to access a lot, such as the dining rooms, bars, and lounges.


In addition, being on a lower deck means it will be easier on the first and last day of the cruise when boarding and disembarking the ship.

Bottom line

AquaTheater Suite w/Balcony

The best location on a cruise ship depends on the person, so don't assume there is a perfect deck for everyone. Cruising is a very personal type of vacation, where everyone has their own experience. So what's important to one person will be less important to someone else.

Read moreThe 5 best cabin locations on a cruise ship

You'll want to weigh the pros and cons of any deck based on your preferences. Someone that does not get seasick will have more choices than someone who does get seasick. Likewise, a suite guest will want to choose a deck differently than someone staying in an inside cabin.

The truth is the deck choice you make is less important than you might imagine.  Picking the perfect deck might make your trip better overall, but it's unlikely you could make a terrible choice in which deck your cabin is located.

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 expert 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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