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Is the front or back of cruise ship better?

30 Nov 2023
Matt Hochberg

Does it matter if you pick a cabin on a cruise ship towards the front or back of the ship?

Anthem of the Seas

Every ship has many choices of where to pick a cabin, and as you get closer to the sail date, it's likely the rooms mid-ship will sell out first.  Mid-ship cabins tend to be more popular because they're more centrally located and tend to be a better choice for someone who is worried about getting seasick.

Read moreHow to beat seasickness on a cruise ship

If given the choice, you might be wondering better off with a cabin more forward or more aft.

What part of ship is best for cruises?

Wonder of the Seas aerial rear night

It's a matter of opinion, but there are advantages to picking a cabin in certain parts of the ship.

Cruise ship cabins usually fall into one of three categories: forward, mid, and aft. 

All things being equal, conventional advice is to pick a cruise ship cabin mid-ship so you're equidistant from everything onboard so the distance to get around is minimal.

In addition, mid-ship cabins are ideal for new cruisers because it's the best location to be to minimize the sensation of movement that could make you feel seasick. In addition, having a low cabin helps so you don't feel as much sway.

You may also find a price difference if your cabin is forward, aft, or mid-ship.  Depending on the ship, sometimes the more desirable rooms mid-ship or aft can cost more.

Read moreThe 5 best cabin locations on a cruise ship

Is the back of a cruise ship a good location?

Allure of the Seas aft

The primary advantage of picking a cabin at the back of a cruise ship is the view you can get.

If you pick a cabin at the very back of the ship, you can enjoy a view of the ship's wake, and these tend to be quite popular with cruise fans.  Not only is it a pretty view, but the balcony can be bigger on the back.

Some special cabins at the very rear corners of a ship might even feature a balcony that wrap around the vessel in an L-shape, giving you views on two sides.

Enjoying a view from the ship's aft can be almost hypnotic because of how alluring the ocean looks when you have nothing in front of you blocking it.

Speaking of views, when your ship is leaving port, having an aft view gives you the best perspective.

Royal Caribbean has caught onto this this trend and announced pricing changes related to aft rooms. Aft facing balconies and Junior Suites are now going to be separated out as new categories.

However, if your room doesn't face backwards and is just a standard room towards the back, you may just end up with the same room as a mid-ship cabin, but with a longer walk.

Movement at the aft is a bit less drastic than a room forward, but still isn’t the most stable place for those who are prone to seasickness.

What are the benefits of being in the front of the cruise ship?

Bow of cruise ship

Rooms towards the front tend to be cheaper than other rooms largely because there's less demand for a cabin at the front.

Just like rooms towards the back, it's a longer walk towards the front and most of the signature activities and public areas are further away. 

Plus, the front of the ship gets the most movement of any area. The higher the deck, the more noticeable that rolling and swaying motion tends to feel. That makes it less desirable if someone is worried about motion sickness.

Family oceanview on Brilliance

The reason why you might feel more movement at the front is because the front of the ship faces the most wind and direct hits from rolling waves, translating to lots of motion and sea spray. 

Besides a cheaper price, rooms at the very front have a unique perspective.  On many Royal Caribbean ships, you'll find family oceanview cabins at the front that offer significantly more living space without the price of a suite.

Another nice benefit of a front room is it can feel more secluded because there's far less foot traffic.

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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