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Junior Suite vs Balcony Cabin, worth it?


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I understand this may be a difficult question to answer due to differing opinions and what holds more value in a cabin to most people.  My wife and I have been on 3 cruises and have only stayed in ocean view balcony cabins on Oasis class ships (Harmony x1 and Allure x2).  We've got a booking in Nov '22 on Explorer for 8 nights to the ABC's (also an ocean view balcony cabin on deck 8), and we're looking at a 5-night sailing on Oasis in June out of cape liberty.  For the Oasis one, we are on the fence about "trying" a Junior Suite.  It's not that we wouldn't like it, but I'm just not sure that it's worth paying basically double the price of the balcony cabin.  Since it is a little shorter, the price isn't as high as it would by for your typical 7-8 night sailings, which is why if we did go for the Junior Suite to sample it, this would be a better opportunity.  However, the whole reason we decided on this June sailing was because it was only 5 nights and thus, cheaper, so we can fit it in our budget.   I should say, we are very grateful that we even have the financial ability to go on cruises; however, we try to be as frugal as possible to live within our means.   So I'm really trying to reach out to those of you who may have been on the fence before about stepping up your Balcony Cabin bookings to a Junior Suite and if you found it to be double the experience for double the price?  

As far as I can tell, the extra perks are a bigger cabin (no more side stepping to get around the front of the bed), full tub (has anyone taken a bath in it?), a walk-in closet, and a bigger balcony. Also, you get access to the Coastal Kitchen, but not the other VIP areas that Grand Suites and up get. 

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My primary objection to a less-than-JS cabin is the bathroom.  I really, REALLY hate that toothpaste tube shower and beginning with the JS, you begin to increase the size of the bathroom.  The extra space in the JS room and balcony is certainly a bonus, but the bathroom is the reason that we began booking bigger staterooms.

There really aren't that many "perks" with the JS and with the Explorer there will be almost none...so you will have to try it once and see if it makes enough of a difference for you !!

Access to the Coastal Kitchen on the ships that have a CK is on an availability-basis only so just realize that it is not a guaranteed perk.  It seems as if access for JS to the CK seems to be a bit more reliable on the Quantum class ships than it does on the O class but there have been lots of mixed results for those staying in JS.

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There's no right or wrong answer to your question.

We made the decision to book JS on Oasis or Quantum class ships to get the extra C & A points and reserve a night or two in Coastal Kitchen.   One other perk that we received in Miami was we were allowed to board in the Pinnacle/Suites line instead of the general boarding line back in September.  Did not have the same "perk" in Bayonne.

Personally I don't like the bathtub and prefer the shower only but the walk in closets and extra space are really nice.   

On a smaller or older ship, there doesn't seem to be a lot of differences between the JS and balcony.  You don't always get a walk in closet or tub.    We are perfectly happy in a balcony cabin.  Sometimes there wasn't much difference in price, but I've noticed that since the resumption of cruising, these prices have gone through the roof.   Would rather save that money for dining, drinks, and excursions and get to cruise another day.  

 

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I think you should try it at least once.  We will try a JS on our next Mediterranean cruise in the fall.  For us, the cost seemed reasonable, but that isn't always the case.  With all of the Covid frustrations, I think it's OK to splurge on a special trip.

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Wow these are great answers, thank you all for providing perspective. I think for now, we will be happy with our Balcony Cabins, and if we ever come across a sailing where the JS isn't quite double the balcony price, we may jump on it.... what I'd be afraid of is setting a new standard, and then not having the budget to spend on the other things like excursions and drinks etc... in the meantime, I'll try my hand at RoyalUp!

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1 hour ago, AlwaysRollin said:

Wow these are great answers, thank you all for providing perspective. I think for now, we will be happy with our Balcony Cabins, and if we ever come across a sailing where the JS isn't quite double the balcony price, we may jump on it.... what I'd be afraid of is setting a new standard, and then not having the budget to spend on the other things like excursions and drinks etc... in the meantime, I'll try my hand at RoyalUp!

I live in fear of splurging for a Star Class Aqua Suite one day, and never being able to return to a regular cabin after that. 

RoyalUp is a great strategy, especially right now.  Lots of good deals are out there.  Hope you get to try a JS on a future sailing. 

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Most of our sailings have been in Junior Suites, and they are well worth it to us.  Depending on the ship, you could either have double-bathrooms, or a huge single bathroom and a walk-in closet large enough to live in.  A larger couch, a larger balcony, and more floor space, all are nice. 

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As we speak, I'm booked on a cruise next month in a balcony stateroom.  I was offered a Royal Up, jumped on it in a heartbeat, and I have my fingers crossed.😎

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10 hours ago, AlwaysRollin said:

I understand this may be a difficult question to answer due to differing opinions and what holds more value in a cabin to most people.  My wife and I have been on 3 cruises and have only stayed in ocean view balcony cabins on Oasis class ships (Harmony x1 and Allure x2).  We've got a booking in Nov '22 on Explorer for 8 nights to the ABC's (also an ocean view balcony cabin on deck 8), and we're looking at a 5-night sailing on Oasis in June out of cape liberty.  For the Oasis one, we are on the fence about "trying" a Junior Suite.  It's not that we wouldn't like it, but I'm just not sure that it's worth paying basically double the price of the balcony cabin.  Since it is a little shorter, the price isn't as high as it would by for your typical 7-8 night sailings, which is why if we did go for the Junior Suite to sample it, this would be a better opportunity.  However, the whole reason we decided on this June sailing was because it was only 5 nights and thus, cheaper, so we can fit it in our budget.   I should say, we are very grateful that we even have the financial ability to go on cruises; however, we try to be as frugal as possible to live within our means.   So I'm really trying to reach out to those of you who may have been on the fence before about stepping up your Balcony Cabin bookings to a Junior Suite and if you found it to be double the experience for double the price?  

As far as I can tell, the extra perks are a bigger cabin (no more side stepping to get around the front of the bed), full tub (has anyone taken a bath in it?), a walk-in closet, and a bigger balcony. Also, you get access to the Coastal Kitchen, but not the other VIP areas that Grand Suites and up get. 

I do not believe Explorer has Coastal Kitchen.  I usually do not book Jr suite or Grand Suites unless they have a Coastal Kitchen.  I do like the larger room and bathrooms though and most often book Jr Suites.  Works out great for a cabin for just the 2 of us.  But I also book according to prices and have to make a judgement as if it is worth it. It is different for everyone.  

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9 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

My primary objection to a less-than-JS cabin is the bathroom.  I really, REALLY hate that toothpaste tube shower and beginning with the JS, you begin to increase the size of the bathroom.  The extra space in the JS room and balcony is certainly a bonus, but the bathroom is the reason that we began booking bigger staterooms.

There really aren't that many "perks" with the JS and with the Explorer there will be almost none...so you will have to try it once and see if it makes enough of a difference for you !!

Access to the Coastal Kitchen on the ships that have a CK is on an availability-basis only so just realize that it is not a guaranteed perk.  It seems as if access for JS to the CK seems to be a bit more reliable on the Quantum class ships than it does on the O class but there have been lots of mixed results for those staying in JS.

I just stayed 2 weeks on Oasis in JS.  No issues at all getting reservations to Coastal Kitchen.  Might have to change you preferred time a little though.  With the JS you can only reserve dinner the day of.  Meaning not in advance, or for the whole cruise.  You just call or drop by in the morning and no issues at all.

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We Royal Upped to a Junior Suite on Adventure back in September.  We paid $200 pp I believe. 
 

We really enjoyed the extra space, the shower, and the closet, but we haven’t found a Junior suite close enough in price to a balcony since then.   We had a balcony on Freedom after we stayed i the Junior suite and we were content. 

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5 hours ago, Alwaysplnty said:

I have booked a JS on the Allure for my two sisters and I in November (Sister Trip).  Decided we needed the extra space and bigger closet.  Haven’t been on RCCL in quite a long time and not familiar with Royal Up or what exactly is the Coastal Kitchen?  Any info would be appreciated.  Thanks!

RoyalUp is a program where you can bid to upgrade your cabin.

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/booked/cruise-room-upgrade

Coastal Kitchen is a dedicated restaurant for suite guests only.  If you are in a JS you will be allowed to dine there for dinner depending on availability. 

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We typically stay in a balcony type room, but DH and I did try a JS once on Adventure as the price was right.  The bathroom difference wasn't a huge deal for us (I don't remember more space, just the shower was a tub-style shower in the JS), but what I found great was the walk in closet and all the drawers for storing our stuff.  With a regular room, we are always scrambling for space for our things (not that I bring too much or anything...lol).  Extra room space was nice too, and of course double points if you book upfront.  Having said that, we only jumped on the JS once due to the price.  Typically it's too much of a difference, especially when travelling with our kids (or for similar price, we will get connecting balcony rooms) and we manage fine in a regular room, or rooms.

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