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5 reasons you'll regret downsizing to a smaller cruise cabin

30 Mar 2024
Calista Kiper

Cruise ships can accommodate a variety of different vacation preferences and travel budgets.

There’s no wrong choice of cruise cabin—it’s all about finding the one that best suits your needs.

Whether you end up staying in the most expensive suite or the cheapest interior cabin, you can still experience an amazing cruise vacation.

However, before you book, you’ll want to find out everything you can about which cabin suits you best.

Staying in a smaller cabin, such as an interior or oceanview stateroom, has the benefit of saving you money. 

You can tailor your cruise to fit your budget, spending those savings on add-ons like WiFi, shore excursions, or spa packages. 

Or you could save them to put towards your next cruise vacation!


But there are also disadvantages to booking the cheapest room.

If you’re still debating, here are some reasons you might regret opting to book a smaller, cheaper cabin.

Read more: Your really dumb cruise ship cabin questions answered

What is the cheapest cabin? 

The cheapest option will usually be a guarantee stateroom.

This means that Royal Caribbean will give you a discount if you allow them to assign you an open room.

A few weeks before the cruise, you will be assigned a room that was unsold up until then. Discounts vary depending on the ship and sailing, but usually, this is the cheapest way to book a cabin.

As you can imagine, guarantee staterooms are usually the least desirable rooms. These tend to be windowless inside cabins.

However, there are several disadvantages to booking this cabin category.

Limited space for luggage

Luggage under bed

Especially on a longer cruise that runs 7 days or more, you’ll want to bring along lots of luggage. 

Royal Caribbean ships have a stunning variety of activities onboard and they also bring you to ports where you can experience all sorts of adventures.

There is a lot to prepare and pack for, so you can expect to bring some big bags!

But in a smaller cabin, you can find yourself running out of space to store all that luggage.

Harmony of the Seas vanity and drawers

Other than the closet, older ships don’t have as many big storage spots. Often, you’ll find a spot to store one suitcase, but not much else.

Especially when it comes to big suitcases, it’s hard to fit them under the beds or in the closet.

You may even have to leave them out on the floor, causing you to trip over bags every time you move around the room.

Harmony of the Seas closet and safe

If you tend to overpack, or are going on a longer cruise, you should consider booking a bigger room to have enough storage space.

Read more: I stayed in the cheapest, smallest cabin on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas for $210 per night. Look inside my 142-square-foot room.

You’ll have to leave the room for entertainment

Booking a small, inside cabin will leave you with little opportunity for in-room entertainment and relaxation.

There will be no window or balcony for natural light or a view of the ocean—you’ll have to go out to view the weather or scenery.

Besides a vanity with limited counter space, there’s no table for you to enjoy meals inside the room. You’ll have to dine elsewhere.

Even reading and watching movies can be dissatisfying in such a small space. 


If you’re traveling with another guest, you may find that there’s not enough room for the two of you to entertain yourselves separately. An inside cabin has no separate rooms or private spaces.

If one person wishes to nap, and one wants to watch a movie, you’ll have to compromise or leave the room.

Many cruisers who book an inside cabin find themselves leaving the room for the majority of the day, and only returning to sleep.

If having a cabin where you can relax is a priority for you, a bigger cabin would be a better fit.

No access to fresh air and sunlight

Beach sunset

Inside cabins are typically on the interior walls of the ship, meaning they lack any balconies or windows.

Some inside cabins do have a virtual balcony—a LED screen that displays a live feed of the outside of the ship.

However, you won’t have any natural light or sea breeze from inside your stateroom.

Inside cabin on Enchantment of the Seas

Cut off from the sun and any view of the sea, you won’t be able to tell the weather, if it’s day or not, or whether the ship has arrived at port.

This can also lead to greater nausea and seasickness. Viewing the horizon and feeling a breeze are also great cures for seasickness, so if you stay in a small inside cabin you may have to end up leaving the room to get some relief.

If you love natural lighting, fresh air, and gazing at the sea on your cruise, staying in a small inside cabin can put you at a disadvantage.

You'll only get the basic amenities

Harmony of the Seas beds

Staying in the cheaper interior and oceanview cabins grants you a basic set of amenities, including:

  • A bed for two
  • Private bathroom and shower
  • Vanity
  • Safe
  • Mini-fridge
  • Closet
  • Television
  • A dedicated stateroom attendant
  • Cleanings once a day
  • Hair dryer
  • Telephone

However, if you’re looking for any additional perks, you’ll want to upgrade.

Junior Suites and above provide an elevated experience and personalized service. Suites come with another level of luxury, with amenities such as:

  • A private bathtub
  • Balcony 
  • Priority boarding
  • Royal Caribbean bathrobe
  • Luxury bathroom amenities
  • Espresso coffee machine
  • Pillow top mattress
  • Double Crown and Anchor Society points
  • Two cleanings a day

Whether you’re a first-time cruiser wanting to experience the best Royal Caribbean has to offer, or an experienced veteran who wants to see the ship in a new way, upgrading to a bigger cabin is the best way to enjoy these benefits.

Book a suite for that feeling of being pampered in the comfort of your stateroom.

Read more: I stayed in the cheapest cabin on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas for $463 a night. Take a look inside my 172-square-foot cabin

You could be assigned an undesirable location

odyssey of the seas interior cabin deck plan

Getting assigned a guaranteed cabin means that you will likely be given a less desirable location.

This could include a spot at the very front or back of the ship, which will experience more of the motion of the sea. This increased movement leaves you at a risk of further seasickness.

Those who are particularly sensitive to the movement of the sea might want to pay extra and choose a location close to the middle of the ship.


You could also end up in high-traffic areas—such as near elevators, on higher decks near the pool—that generate a lot of noise.

For families with young children, or people who are light sleepers, these locations can be a real disadvantage. 

Getting poor sleep could lead to a miserable cruise!

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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