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Guide to balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean

In:
22 Sep 2021

Balcony staterooms are among the most popular category of cabin you can book on any cruise ship because of the combination of space and value it provides.

When you book a balcony cabin, you get a well-sized room along with a private balcony to enjoy at anytime during your cruise.

Royal Caribbean offers more balcony rooms on its ships than ever before, with its newest cruise ships offering the most balcony rooms.  In short, you will find plenty of balcony room choices when booking a cruise on any of its newest vessels.

If you are thinking about booking a balcony stateroom on your Royal Caribbean cruise, here is what you need to know about this stateroom category.

Balcony room basics

No matter which balcony cabin you book on any Royal Caribbean cruise ship, you can expect a very similar experience across the board.

Balcony rooms all feature a bed that can be split into twin beds if necessary, private bathroom with stand up shower, sitting area, television, mini fridge cooler, and of course a private balcony.

Most of the time, there will be a couch in the room. In some balcony rooms, the couch can convert to a twin bed.  Other balcony cabins may also include pullman beds, which are retractable beds that can descend from the ceiling.

Photo tour of Category 6B Spacious Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony on Independence of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

The typical size of a balcony stateroom on Royal Caribbean is right around 180 square feet, not including the balcony.

The balcony itself has seating for at least two people and has a table.

Read moreAvoid these mistakes when picking a cruise ship cabin

Types of balcony rooms

Is a balcony stateroom worth it on a Royal Caribbean cruise? | Royal Caribbean Blog

There are a few types of balcony cabins you can book.

Traditionally, a balcony room means you have a view of the ocean.  Balcony rooms are situated on the outer portion of the ship, with the ability to look out from your room to the ocean.

Royal Caribbean also offers two other types of balcony rooms that actually face inward towards the ship, instead of outwards to the ocean. These interior balcony rooms are only available on Oasis Class cruise ships.

Balcony room on a Royal Caribbean cruise: Is it worth the price? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Boardwalk balcony rooms have a view of the Boardwalk neighborhood, while Central Park balcony rooms have a view of the Central Park neighborhood.

These inward facing balcony rooms tend to be a little bit cheaper than oceanview balcony rooms, and offer excellent people watching opportunities. There is still plenty of fresh air to enjoy, and you get to see what is happening below in the neighborhood.

Read moreWhat you need to know about neighborhood balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships

Obstructed balcony rooms

Odyssey Obstructed Balcony Guide - Royal Caribbean Discussion - Royal Caribbean Blog

It is worth talking about a subset of the balcony rooms, known as obstructed balcony rooms.

Obstructed balcony rooms have some physical barrier that blocks at least part of the view you would usually have in a balcony room. That is not to say the view from your balcony is completely obstructed, just partially.

Most commonly, obstructions are either life boats or the ship's structure.

The reason to book an obstructed balcony room is you will be able to get a good deal on these types of cabins because demand for them is much less than a regular balcony. But if having something blocking at least part of your view from your balcony will bother you, then avoid these types of balconies.

Why you should book a balcony room

6 mistakes & 3 things we did right on our Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you are wondering if booking a balcony room is worth the extra money compared to an inside room, here are a few good reasons to move up to a balcony.

Read moreWhat's the difference between a balcony and a suite cabin on a cruise?

Private space

Radiance Class | Royal Caribbean Blog

Without a doubt, the number one reason to book a balcony room is you get a private balcony to enjoy when you want it.  

Unlike the top deck of the ship, there is no one to contend with to get a great view of the ocean. Moreover, it is your place to enjoy in the morning and evening, or with a cup of coffee.

Some passengers like to take their room service orders outside and enjoy the meal on their balcony as an added plus.

Unlike the pool deck, a private balcony means private space to enjoy time in the sun and also somewhere much more quiet.

More living space

What's the difference between a balcony and a suite cabin on a cruise? | Royal Caribbean Blog

A balcony room will also give you more space, both inside and outside.

Balcony rooms are larger in terms of square footage, and the balcony adds even more space to enjoy.  Cruise ship cabins are traditionally smaller than hotel rooms, so every square foot counts.

When you are traveling with children, having that extra space really makes a difference.

The views

Of course, the views you get from your balcony are worth it alone to book.

Having a balcony on certain itineraries really makes a difference, such as Alaska or Europe. You will be able to see wildlife and the coastline as your ship passes by, which is especially nice during sail away or sail in.

In addition, just having a view of the open ocean is calming.

Conclusion

What are the differences between Royal Caribbean's 1D, 2D, 4D, etc balcony rooms? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Balcony rooms offer more living space than inside rooms, and the private balcony gives you a really nice area to enjoy anytime during your cruise.

Of course, a balcony room will cost more than an interior room, but in many cases the price jump to a balcony is not unreasonably more.

For a lot of cruise fans, having their own balcony to see every morning, enjoy the ocean as it passes by, and watch the sunset from is worth it every time.

Cruise FAQ: Cabins

In:
17 Mar 2021

Choosing a cruise cabin isn't easy. In fact, with so many options, it can be downright confusing.

We've already broken down Royal Caribbean's cabin types for you, but below, we'll explore some of the most common questions we're asked about staterooms.

What do cruise ship cabins look like?

Cruise ship cabins look a lot like hotel rooms in many ways, albeit smaller in most cases. They're outfitted with carpeting, decorative lighting and wall art, along with plush duvets and throw pillows. Whether or not your stateroom has a view or a balcony with outdoor furniture will depend on the type you book.

Although layouts for special cabin types can vary by ship, rooms on all mainstream cruise lines' vessels include a bed that can be configured as a queen or two twins, at least one night stand, a vanity with a chair, and a coffee table.

Many also include a larger chair and/or a sofa, which may or may not convert into a bed. Some staterooms also provide bunks that pull down from the ceiling to sleep third and fourth passengers.

In each cabin is a bathroom with a shower (rarely a bathtub), sink, toilet, mirror and storage shelves, as well as towels and in-shower dispensers for basic toiletries that are likely to include body wash and a shampoo/conditioner combo.

Staterooms generally also come with interactive TVs that allow you to watch a limited number of channels, rent movies and check the ship's position and your onboard bill; a phone with the capability to call other cabins on the ship (shoreside calls cost a pretty penny); a hair dryer; reading lamps; and outlets for charging devices.

Each cabin will also have some sort of closet space with shelving, drawers and bars for hanging clothes. Additionally, the closet is where you'll find life jackets, robes and slippers (in higher-level staterooms), forms for requesting dry-cleaning and laundry services, and a safe for storing small valuables.

How big are cruise ship cabins?

The size of your room will depend on the cabin type you book. As a rule, the larger the cabin, the higher the cruise fare. In general, the larger your view, the more interior space you'll have, as well.

Although sizes vary by ship across the cruise industry, insides (no view) generally start around 150 square feet, with outsides (porthole or fixed window view) offering just slightly more space. Veranda accommodations (with balconies) usually start around 175 square feet, not including the balcony.

Suites, on the other hand, offer significantly more living area. One of the largest afloat includes the Regent Suite on luxury brand Regent Seven Seas' Seven Seas Splendor. The stateroom encompasses more than 4,400 square feet of space -- more than many large houses on land.

For questions about specific measurements for a cabin you're considering, check with your cruise line or travel agent.

What is the best deck to be on for a cruise?

The best place to book a cabin on your ship depends on several factors.

If you're someone who is prone to motion sickness, you'll want to reserve a room on a lower deck, as close to the middle of the ship as possible. Make sure it's at least an ocean view cabin, as gazing at the horizon -- where the waterline meets the skyline -- can help to alleviate symptoms.

Looking for peace and quiet on your sailing? Avoid staterooms that are above, below or next to crew areas such as the galley, and noisy public spaces like the theater, pool deck or kids club. Your travel agent or cruise line representative can help. If all else fails, Google deck plans for your ship.

However, if breathtaking vistas are what's most important to you, we highly recommend staying in one of your ship's coveted forward- or aft-facing cabins. These are often pricey suites that are positioned on higher decks, but the wake and captain's-eye views they afford are worth every cent.

Is it worth paying extra for a balcony on a cruise?

It all depends. If you're someone who plans to go ashore in every port and squeeze as many onboard activities as possible into each day, you probably don't need a balcony because you won't be in your room except to shower and sleep.

There are also plenty of outdoor public spaces with railings where you can enjoy sea views if you don't want to miss out while respecting your vacation budget.

However, if your goal is to have some alone time or romantic time with your significant other, if you plan to enjoy your morning coffee with a view in your bathrobe, or if you're someone who feels claustrophobic in small spaces, we highly recommend balcony accommodations.

What do cruises do with unsold cabins?

They sell them at a discount. Cruise lines strive to fill ships completely, so if any staterooms are left unbooked one to two months prior to the embarkation date, you could snag a sailing for a steal if you're flexible. (Generally, that means being able to pay in full at the last minute and not being too picky about cabin type.)

Because it's less of a kick in the teeth for lines to discount their lower-end cabins, they will often try to coax already-booked passengers into upgrades from lower- to higher-tiered staterooms for a small added cost. That ensures balconies and suites are filled, and the vacated insides and oceanviews can then be offered at discounted rates.

The discounted rates are usually offered through large travel agencies and marketed to people who live near the ship's embarkation port.

How do you choose a room on a cruise ship?

Picking a cabin can be difficult, particularly with the large number of types available on any given ship. Your best bet is to consider the following before making a decision:

  • Preferences: Do you need a room with a view? If so, does your view need to come with outdoor space?
  • Travel party: With whom are you traveling? Do you need space and beds for more than two people? Are you cruising alone? Do you need connecting rooms?
  • Location: If you're prone to seasickness, book low and middle. If you're a light sleeper, book away from noisy public spaces.
  • Price: Does the type of cabin you want fit into your budget? Sign up for price drops, and ask your travel agent about deals and discounts.
  • Status: Are bragging rights or high-level loyalty status important to you? If so, you'll want to book swankier digs.

What are the different types of cabins on a cruise ship?

In:
04 Jan 2021

What are the different kind of cabins on a cruise ship, and which is the right one for you?

Your stateroom is your "home away from home" during a cruise, and when you book a cruise, you will have to choose which type of room for your family.

A cruise ship cabin vary considerably, from compact and utilitarian to lavish and large. There are rooms designed for just one person, and rooms designed for an entire family.

The exact room you need will depend on your budget, preferred location, and type of amenities you want in a room.

Royal Caribbean stateroom basics

Before we breakdown the types of cabins on a Royal Caribbean ship, there is a common distinction that every cabin has across the fleet.

All rooms on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship come with a bed, private bathroom, safe, shower, television, vanity area and closet.

Beyond that, the room you select may offer more amenities, but you should know that a cabin has some basics that you do not have to be concerned about missing out on.

Read more: How to choose your cruise cabin

Inside

Sometimes called interior or inside rooms, these cabins are the smallest and usually lowest cost rooms available.

These rooms can accommodate 2-4 guests (depending on the configuration), and feature no outside view beyond the cabin.  This means no windows, portholes or balcony rooms.

They may be smaller than other categories, but that does not mean they are necessarily cramped either. 

Most guests that book insider rooms cite the lower cost and fact there is so much happening onboard the ship that time spent in the room is minimal.

Read moreWhy you should book a cruise ship inside room

Interior rooms with a view

In addition to traditional inside rooms, Royal Caribbean also has a few variations on the interior room concept.  These are rooms that lack a natural window view outside the ship, but have a feature that offers a view of something else.

Royal Promenade View rooms: These rooms have a bay window that overlooks the Royal Promenade area. Pulling back the curtains allows for a view of what is happening on the Royal Promenade.

Virtual Balcony: A regular inside room that features a floor-to-ceiling HD television that shows a high definition real-time view of what is outside your cruise ship. There is even the silhouette of a balcony dynamically inserted into the view.

Central Park View: A window that offers a view into the Central Park neighborhood, rather than the ocean.

Read moreUnique Royal Caribbean staterooms

Oceanview

The next step up from a standard inside room is an oceanview cabin, which offers a bit more living space and an outside window or porthole.

The porthole windows do not open, but do offer a view of the ocean from you room. The exact size of the window will vary from ship to ship, but it is usually large enough to easily see through without having to be right up close.

These rooms usually cost a bit more than an inside room, and offer natural light.

Just like inside rooms, they can accommodate 2-4 guests.

Balcony

Perhaps the most popular category of stateroom is the balcony room, which offers a private balcony in addition to the standard accommodations.

A private balcony means you can go onto your balcony anytime you want to enjoy the view outdoors, along with the smells, sounds, and weather. Each balcony has a table and at least chairs to sit on.  Some larger balconies even have loungers.

There are a lot of different types of balcony rooms that are broken down by room size and location.

Read moreWhat are the differences between Royal Caribbean's 1D, 2D, 4D, etc balcony rooms?

Balcony rooms can accommodate 2-4 guests.

Royal Caribbean also has balcony rooms on its Oasis Class ships that offer a view of the Central Park or Boardwalk neighborhoods, instead of the ocean. These balcony rooms tend to be priced a bit lower than an ocean balcony room.

The price for a balcony room is usually affordable, but greatly depends on other factors as well. Many cruisers find balcony rooms to be within their budgets and a desirable choice for the larger living space and open air balcony perk.

Read moreIs a balcony stateroom worth it?

Studio cabins

A lesser-known category of rooms are studio cabins, designed for someone going on a cruise alone.

These are smaller rooms that offer accommodations for a solo cruiser without the usual single supplement fee associated with going on a cruise without double occupancy.

These rooms are few and far between, and often book quickly because of demand.  Not every ship has one, and some ships only have a few rooms.

Solo cabins are a good idea if you want to save money while cruising by yourself, but they are sell out so quickly that they may not be available by the time you cruise.

Read moreGuide to Royal Caribbean's Single and Studio staterooms

Panoramic

A relatively new type of room is a panoramic stateroom, which is as large as a balcony room but without an outdoor space.

Instead, the room features floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a wide angle of ocean views from anywhere in your room. The windows range between 103-321 inches wide, but rest assured you are getting a very large window.

Not only do panoramic rooms include a great view of the outside, the category VP Ocean View Panoramic Suite actually come with full suite benefits, such as concierge service and complimentary alcoholic beverages each evening.

Read moreTop 5 different staterooms you should consider for your next cruise

Suite

At the top of Royal Caribbean's stateroom offerings are the suite category, which combine luxury and upgraded accommodations.

There are quite a few types of suites that essentially differ based on their location, size of the room, how many people it can accommodate, and benefits.

The lowest tier of suites is the Junior Suite, which is really an "extra large balcony room" because it offers significantly more space without the full suite benefits.

Grand Suites are where the true suite benefits begin, and each type of suite beyond a Grand Suite includes more living space.

The exact type of suites will vary from ship to ship.  On Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Quantum Class ships, there is a special program for suites known as the Royal Suite Class, which offers enhanced suite offerings.

There are a few notable suites that stand out from the rest as particularly enticing:

Royal Loft Suite: On Oasis and Quantum Class  ships, there are some suites that are two levels.  The loft suites come in a few sizes, that can sleep up to six guests, and feature a large window on top of a private balcony.

The split level design means there is lots of living space included in a flashy configuration.

Ultimate Family Suite: Perhaps the most ornate cruise ship suite ever created, the Ultimate Family Suite lives up to its name by offering just about everything a family with kids would want in a room.

In-suite slide, air hockey table, table tennis, giant balcony, jacuzzi and more are part of the room. It is a large space with lots for families to enjoy while at sea.

The Ultimate Family Suite is available on Symphony of the Seas & Spectrum of the Seas.

AquaTheater suite: Available on Oasis Class ships, the AquaTheater suite is a massive room that has a giant wrap-around balcony with views of the ocean and the AquaTheater below.

The outdoor views are what makes this type of suite truly stand out, as you can enjoy views of the AquaTheater shows right from your balcony. There is no need to go down and reserve a seat, and no one to compete with to get out of the Boardwalk once the show is over.

Read more5 giant suites you can book on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Suites are a splurge that offer the largest cabins on a cruise ship, along with special perks and amenities.  All of this comes at an increased price that usually is significantly more than lower categories of rooms.

The choice to book a suite is almost always about cost, and if your vacation budget can fit it.

What is the best cabin on a cruise ship?

The  best cabin will depend on your preferences and budget.

There is no inherently bad cabin to pick, so it is a matter of choosing the right room that you can afford and would feel comfortable staying in.

Suites are attractive for their lavish offerings, but their price usually precludes them from most people's plans. 

A balcony room is a good mix of space at an affordable price, but you could save a lot of money by going down to an interior room and then using those savings to spend on shore excursions, drink packages or souvenirs.

Ultimately, the decision on the best cabin will come down to price, size, and location. 

Read moreWhat is the best location on a cruise ship?

In general, it is hard to go wrong with a balcony room for nearly all first-time cruisers. A balcony room is usually a good value, and includes enough living space with the added bonus of that private balcony so many look for in a stateroom.

If money is tight, consider bumping down to an oceanview or inside room and plan to spend more time around the ship than lounging around in your room.

If you are accustomed to buying first class airfare or bigger rooms at a hotel, then a suite is a great choice.

7 things you should know about your cruise ship cabin

In:
09 Dec 2020

Cabins on a cruise ship are your home away from home, and whether you are going on your first cruise or you sail every year, there's always opportunities to enhance your cruise ship cabin.

If you are looking for some easy ways to plus your stateroom, I have a few tried and true tips that cruise fans have shared with me over the years.

Hopefully these tips and secrets will make your cruise ship cabin just a little bit better.

Beds can be split apart

Your stateroom bed can come in two configurations: together to form a king size bed, or separated in twin configuration.

The good news is you can change the set up at anytime. Your travel agent can specify which arrangement you want before the cruise, but sometimes that instruction gets lost or you may end up changing your mind.

Ask your stateroom attendant at any time to make a change.

Speaking of your attendant, if you need the couch bed opened up at any time for a nap (or put away to free up space), they can easily be reached via your stateroom telephone to help make that change.

Bring liquid soap for the bathroom

Staying healthy on a cruise has never been more important than now, and my favorite stateroom bathroom tip is to bring your own liquid soap.

Royal Caribbean provides soap in the bathroom sink, but it is in bar form.  

Not only is liquid soap easier to dispense, you can get one with the fragrance you prefer as well as one that moisturizes better than bar soap can.

Liquid soap is especially useful with kids and ensuring they are keeping their hands clean.

Pack magnetic hooks

One of the best tips for your cabin is to buy magnetic hooks to use for adding additional storage in your room.

Your cabin walls are metallic, which means you place magnetic hooks just about anywhere.

Storage space on Royal Caribbean ships is notoriously low, and magnetic hooks provide convenient ways to hang clothes and accessories.

I recommend these magnetic hooks if you have not purchased one yet (note, this contains an affiliate link which adds no additional cost to you).

Store your luggage under your bed

Space is at a premium in your cabin and the best place to stash your luggage is underneath your beds.

If you lift up the bed skirting, you will discover plenty of space to shove your luggage underneath.  If possible, put smaller pieces of luggage inside bigger ones and then put the luggage under the bed.

You can use any card to keep the air conditioning going

Royal Caribbean has begun adding a feature to its rooms where upon entry, you place your SeaPass card into a holder to activate the room's lighting and air conditioning.

I am all for ways to conserve energy, but coming back to a warm(er) room after a hot day is not ideal either.

You can place just about anything the size of a SeaPass card in there, including library cards, business cards or your local pizza place loyalty card.

Most ships can open balcony dividers

If you are staying in adjacent balcony rooms, you might be able to open up the balcony divider so that you can have a giant balcony to enjoy.

Ask your stateroom attendant about opening up the divider once you get on the ship.

The ability to open dividers depends on the ship, but a lot of ships are able to do this.

Bring your own laundry hamper

For years my family relied on just picking a corner of a closet and dumping all of our dirty laundry, leaving a giant pile that seemed to grow just as much outwards as upwards.

Instead, buy a cheap pop up laundry hamper to stick in your closet, or wherever makes the most sense.

By getting a pop up one, you can easily pack it to get to your cruise. Many dollar stores sell these, which are great to use for a sailing or two before you toss it after the cruise is complete.

Bonus tips from our readers

Want more stateroom hacks? 

Our RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have shared a bunch on our message boards, including using zip lock bags, more storage tips and preferred packing strategies.

Check out their tips and share your own!

More helpful articles

Is there a bad cruise ship room to book?

In:
17 Nov 2020

When you book a cruise, is there such thing as a bad stateroom to book?

The last thing anyone wants to do is make a mistake that they will have to live with for the entire length of their cruise, and which room you pick is a major decision in your cruise plans.

The good news is picking a cabin is less "hit or miss" when it comes to Royal Caribbean cruises compared to perhaps other cruise lines. In addition, modern cruise ship design has paid closer attention to room locations to avoid some of the issues of the past.

If you are booking a cruise and want to know how to pick the perfect cabin (and which rooms to avoid), here is what you need to know.

Location, location, location

If you are worried about picking a bad room, the question you really should be asking is what is your stateroom near and far away from?

Just like buying a house, the location of your cabin has implications for convenience, neighbors, and what the room has to offer.

The first thing you want to do is pull up a deck plan for your ship to see where your room is located on the ship.  

You will want to check the deck plans for what is one deck above or below your cabin. Ideally, you want a room that has no public spaces (pools, restaurants, venues, etc) above or below your room to mitigate the chance of noise bleed.

If there is a public venue above or below your room, don't assume you are in for a disaster. This is more of a best practice, and Royal Caribbean cabins are generally speaking well insulated from noise.

You may also want to pay attention to distance from your room to elevators or staircases.  On larger cruise ships, the walking distance to an elevator from rooms at the end of a hallway can be lengthy, so anyone with mobility issues or simply wants to reduce the "commute time" should look for a room closer to an elevator.

One other consideration is if you are worried about getting seasick.  To minimize the sensation of movement, pick a room that is as close to the ship's center, and on the lowest possible deck.

Private balcony

Another consideration is if you want a room that has its own private balcony or not.

Booking a room with a balcony means you get not only fresh air whenever you need, but also your own private space to enjoy during the cruise.

First time cruisers may quickly dismiss booking a balcony or suite in order to save money, but a common regret is from people who book interior rooms and later wish they had a balcony.

Of course, you can have a great cruise without a private balcony, but it is something you should absolutely consider.

Does the side of the ship matter?

Another vestige of the old days of cruising is picking which side of the ship your cabin is located in order to get a better view.

For Caribbean and Alaska cruises, the side of the ship your room is located is irrelevant because the views are pretty much the same, and there is no advantage to being on one side or another.

Ships do not dock on the same side of the dock each time they visit a particular port, so it is impossible to guess the direction your ship will be. Depending upon winds, tide, and other ships in port, the same ship could change sides within the same port from trip to trip.

In general, I do not think it is worth worrying about which side of the ship your room happens to be on, and instead consider the other factors, such as proximity to elevators and what is above or below your room.

Guarantee rooms

As you go through the booking process, you will run across an option to let Royal Caribbean pick your specific cabin, which is known as a guarantee cabin.

This means Royal Caribbean will charge you less money for booking a particular category in exchange for giving up the ability to choose your specific stateroom.

This means once you book, you do not know the exact room assignment. At some point in the weeks leading up to the cruise, Royal Caribbean will assign your stateroom.

If you are not picky about your exact room location, you could opt into a guarantee room to potentially save hundreds of dollars.

Which cabin is the best location on a cruise ship?

There is no objective answer to the "best" location on any ship. Your room selection is a combination of availability and personal preference.

In general, the cabin location and cost are the major considerations when you book a cruise. 

You have to weigh the considerations outlined in this post and decide which is most important for you.

More stateroom booking articles:

Avoid these mistakes when picking a cruise ship cabin

In:
29 Aug 2020

Before you think all cabins are the same when booking a cruise, take a moment to look over these really common cruise ship cabin mistakes.

The stateroom you pick is an important decision, because it is where you will spend the most time during the cruise, so choosing where it is located is an important decision.

With a little bit of extra research, you can avoid blunders that I hear about from cruisers time and time again.

Not looking what is above or below your room

Perhaps the biggest concern is picking a room that experiences "noise bleed", where noise from another venue can be heard in the room.

Royal Caribbean's staterooms do a pretty good job at muffling nearby noise, but no cabin is soundproof.

Before you book a room, look at the ship's deck plans and look what is above and below your stateroom.  Ideally, you want other staterooms on either deck and not public venues like pools, restaurants or other public venues.

Keep in mind that is not the worst thing if there is a public venue on a deck above or below your room, but it is a best practice if you can avoid it.

Room location if you are worried about getting seasick

The sensation of movement affects everyone differently, but it is a mistake to book a stateroom all the way forward or all the way aft if you are prone to motion sickness.

Getting seasick on a cruise is something a lot of first time cruisers are worried about, and while there are a lot of easy remedies in case it occurs, picking the right room can greatly help as well.

Ideally, you want to book a stateroom that is on a low deck and centrally located to lessen the feeling of movement. While balcony rooms are a good idea, you want to be on the lowest deck, with a room that is the most midship available.

Try to avoid higher decks, as well as cabins at the very front or back of the ship.

Distance to walk

On the bigger Royal Caribbean ships, where your room is in relation to the rest of the ship is a consideration to account for as well.

The proximity of your room to elevators, pools, Royal Promenade, and other popular areas can play a factor in picking the right room for you.

If you think you might spend a lot of time at the pool deck, picking a room on a deck closer to the pool deck might make more sense to avoid the hassle of going back and forth to your room across the ship.

Similarly, if you have mobility concerns, picking a stateroom closer to the elevator banks would be a good idea.

Trying to put everyone in one room

Families going on a cruise often try to book a room that can accommodate everyone in one room. This may seem like the logical solution, but you should consider booking two (or more) smaller rooms instead.

While there are lot of cabins that can fit 4 people in one room, it may not be the most comfortable situation (plus the fact you are all sharing one bathroom).

Instead, consider booking two connecting rooms that have a common inside door between them.  Not only will this provide more room, physical separation and an extra bathroom, it may not be that much more money than trying to book one of the larger rooms.

Looking at only the price

We all have a limited vacation budget, but looking only at the price when choosing a cruise ship cabin is a big mistake.

You will want to look at more than just the price when choosing a cabin, including where it is located and what is (or is not) included with the room.

Your cabin is one part of the vacation where paying a little bit more for a higher category or better location can make a huge difference in your cruise enjoyment.

5 giant suites you can book on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

In:
27 Aug 2020

Have you ever dreamed of being that person that gets to stay in the biggest and most extravagant room on a cruise ship? Someone is going to do it, so why not you?

Suites on Royal Caribbean cruise ships are a blend of luxury, service, and a lot of extra living space. These rooms are not cheap, but they do offer the best amenities and perks of any stateroom you will find onboard.

Whether you are already living the limousine riding & jet flying lifestyle, or just dreaming about it, here are the biggest cruise ship suites you can rent on Royal Caribbean.

Ultimate Family Suite

Royal Caribbean sought to redefine what a suite experience can be with the Ultimate Family Suite.

Combining deluxe amenities with family fun, the Ultimate Family Suite is a two-story suite that offers just about everything parents, kids, and curious friends could want in a room.

There's an in-suite slide, air hockey table, table tennis, giant balcony and even your own Royal Genie to help make your cruise super simple onboard.

Royal Caribbean sought to create a suite that was unlike anything else, and as soon as you step foot into the UFS, you will get that sense of uniqueness.

The Ultimate Family Suite is available on Symphony of the Seas & Spectrum of the Seas.

Royal Loft Suite

If you are looking for posh accommodations with the most living space you can find, the Royal Loft Suite is right for you.

Available on Oasis and Quantum Class ships, the Royal Loft Suite is the premiere suite option. This multi-story suite can sleep up to six, and features a two-decks-high panoramic window view.

On the main level there is the open living/dining room with dry bar and sofa. Next door is the media room, another bedroom and of course a large private balcony with dining area. There is even a private whirlpool tub on your balcony.

The master bedroom on the second level has a King-size bed with Duxiana mattress and a private bathroom with soaking tub, shower, two sinks and a bidet.

Included with the room is your own Royal Genie, who acts as your personal assistant to take care of restaurant and show reservations, in-room dining requests, and any other needs – from laundry, pressing and shoe shining, to luggage handling and unpacking. 

Two bedroom Aqua Theater Suite

If you want to combine an epic suite with equally impressive views, then the 2 bedroom AquaTheater Suite is the right choice for you.

The AquaTheater suite features a balcony that is almost as large as the suite itself, wrapping around the back of the ship to offer unparalleled views of the ocean, and AquaTheater shows below.

There are two bedrooms inside the suite, along with a spacious living area that features a dining room, marble entry and an entertainment center.

Just like the other Royal Suite Class cabins, this includes the top tier of Royal Caribbean's perks, including a Royal Genie.

Ultimate Panoramic Suite

Royal Caribbean decided to come up with a new kind of suite that lacks a balcony, but still includes some incredible views.

The Ultimate Panoramic Suite is only available on Oasis of the Seas, and includes a a 200-degree view through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Royal Caribbean says this is the same vantage point as the Captain’s view from the bridge.

This new room type also offers a walk-in closet, and upgraded bathroom with panoramic views of its own.

Just like the other suites already mentioned, this is a Star Class suite, which means you get access to the Royal Genie, as well as many other Star Class perks.

Royal Suite

If you are not sailing on an Oasis or Quantum Class ship, there are still lavish suites available throughout the fleet, and the best catch-all option for someone who wants simply the best is the Royal Suite.

These large rooms offer multiple bedrooms, an expansive balcony, and wonderful perks and benefits.

The balcony in a Royal Suite is also very impressive, and the Freedom Class ships include a dining area, wet bar and hot tub.

More suites on a cruise information

Here are a few other really helpful posts about staying in a suite on Royal Caribbean.

Should I book a guarantee stateroom on a cruise?

In:
27 Aug 2020

Guarantee staterooms are a tempting offer: pay less for a cabin without the ability to choose the exact location, but is it worth it?

Many cruisers find the lower price very appealing, but are concerned they are making a mistake by playing roulette with their stateroom location.

Here is what you should know about guarantee staterooms on a cruise, and if they are worth giving a try.

What is a Guarantee Cabin?

A guarantee stateroom is when Royal Caribbean (and most other major cruise lines) give you a discount on a particular category of rooms in exchange for giving up the ability to choose your exact room.

This means once you book, you do not know the exact room assignment. At some point in the weeks leading up to the cruise, your stateroom assignment will appear.

In addition, the cruise line promises at least that category of room, which means there is a slim chance you could be upgraded.

The exact discount you can expect for opting for a guarantee room depends on the sailing.  When you select a category of rooms, you are given the option of going with a guarantee room or choosing one, at which point you can see the savings by going with a guarantee.

Guarantee cabins are a tool the cruise line uses to help fill in the gaps of unsold staterooms. There are simply some rooms that are less likely to get booked, so guarantee rooms help close that gap.

When do you get your stateroom assignment?

There is no definitive timeframe when your cabin actually gets assigned.  It can happen at any point leading up your actual sail date.

Royal Caribbean states a guarantee room assignment is made at some point between 5-30 days before sailing.

Most of the time, a few weeks before the cruise your room is assigned. In some rare cases, the assignment process has taken up to a day or two before the cruise sails, but these are rare.

There is no notification when it occurs, you just have to log into Royal Caribbean's website and check if a room number now appears.

Is a guarantee cabin worth it?

It can be a good deal to book a guarantee stateroom, but it depends on the discount and your tolerance of cabins.

First and foremost, the discount should make you feel comfortable booking a guarantee.  If the price difference is negligible, then you are better off picking your own room.

Equally important is the idea you are okay with your stateroom being somewhere on the ship that is out of your control.  Cruise ship cabins are designed to be as well-appointed and noise-free as they can be, so the odds are you will not end up with an awful room.

If you are very particular about where your stateroom is, then a guarantee cabin is not for you. However, if you are flexible with the room location and want to get the lowest possible price (with maybe a chance at an upgrade), then going with a guarantee is not a bad plan.

What's the difference between a balcony and a suite cabin on a cruise?

In:
24 Aug 2020

What does booking a suite get you that is not included with a balcony, and what makes one a balcony a better choice over a suite? 

These sort of questions can stymie new cruisers who want to know if moving up to a suite from a balcony is worth it, and what the differences are between these types of staterooms.

If you want to know what makes a balcony different from a suite, here is a good breakdown between these popular categories of cruise ship rooms.

Price

Off the bat, you may notice a difference in price between a balcony and a suite.  Depending on the type of suite, this price difference can be substantial.

While a balcony stateroom price is widely regarded as "affordable" for most vacation budgets, suite prices can really run the gamut from "reasonable" to "outrageous".

Royal Caribbean has a wider variety of suite categories to choose from than balcony rooms.

Many repeat cruisers will compare the price of both types of rooms, before deciding if the extra cost is worth it.

What's included

 

Of course, what you pay for these rooms has to factor in what you get with the stateroom.

Balcony staterooms are like other standard cabin accommodations, where essentially it is larger cabin than smaller stateroom options, with the primary benefit being you have a private verandah to enjoy anytime you want.

A suite is an even larger balcony room that comes with a variety of additional benefits meant to justify the higher cost.

The exact benefits you can expect with a suite can vary, but here are the most common amenities included:

  • Priority embarkation/disembarkation
  • Complimentary Pressing on First Formal Night
  • Concierge Service
  • Priority Dining Reservations
  • Bridge, Galley & Backstage Tours
  • Suite Lounge/Concierge Club Access (Hors d’oeuvres and Cocktails Each Evening)
  • Priority Tendering (Where Applicable)
  • Welcome Fruit Amenity
  • Welcome Evian Water
  • Main Dining Menu Available for In Suite Dining (During Operating Hours)
  • Complimentary 24-Hour Room Service
  • In Room Mr. Coffee/Tea Service (kettle)
  • Reserved Section in Theater - Main, Studio B, AquaTheater, Two70

You should be aware that Junior Suites do not include the full set of suite benefits that other suites do. Despite its name, Junior Suites are more like "extra large balcony rooms".

Living space

A big difference between a balcony and a suite is the amount of room you get with each cabin.

Balcony rooms are fairly large spaces that can accommodate between 2-4 guests (depending on the type of balcony room).  

As an example, on Allure of the Seas, a Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony comes in at 182 square feet, plus a 53 square foot balcony.

Suites start out being a bit larger than a balcony room, and some of the biggest suites can span the size of multiple smaller cabins.

Suites range in size from 350 to almost 1,400 square feet, and the biggest ones feel like a luxury apartment, rather than a cruise ship cabin.

Not only do suites provide more living space, it also means these are the kind of rooms you would need to book if you want to have more than 4 people in one room.

Families traveling with 5, 6 or even more passengers can find larger suites that can accommodate them. Family suites on some of Royal Caribbean's newer ships have multiple bedrooms and are designed for multi-generational cruisers.

Loyalty points

Another key difference between a balcony and a suite is how many Crown and Anchor points you earn by staying in either cabin.

A balcony cabin will get you 1 point for every night of the cruise (2 points per night if you are solo in that room).

A suite will earn 2 points for every night of the cruise (3 points per night if you are solo in the suite).

Staying in a suite is one of the best ways to move up the ranks of the Crown and Anchor Society (the name of Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program) because those double points add up quickly.

Should you book a balcony or suite?

Ultimately, the decision to book a suite or balcony cabin is going to be a personal decision based on price, what's included and other subjective considerations.

If there was an equation for deciding, the variables change from sailing to sailing, and ship to ship.

While some people will stick to one category over the other on principle, many more weigh the options and prices before picking.

There is not a right or wrong decision, just a question of what you have budgeted and what you are looking for in an onboard experience.

What are the differences between Royal Caribbean's 1D, 2D, 4D, etc balcony rooms?

In:
14 Jul 2020

Balcony staterooms on a cruise are a very popular category of cabins, but Royal Caribbean breaks down its balcony rooms across a variety of subcategories leaving many to wonder what does it all mean.

Naturally, you might be wondering what the difference is between each category of balcony rooms, and why there are price differences.

Here is what you need to know about these balcony room to know the difference between them all.

1D vs 2D vs 5D vs 7D

When you decide to book a balcony stateroom, you will see a variety of category numbers: 1D, 4D, 1A, 1E, 2F, etc. There are sixteen sub-categories of balcony staterooms across Royal Caribbean's fleet (not including suites or interior balcony rooms).

The basic difference between each category code is the stateroom location and/or size of the room. The lower the number, the more desirable the cabin, in terms of size or location on the ship.

As the numbers start to climb, you will find rooms further away from the mid-ship, as well as less square-footage.

The differences can be very subtle from one category to another, but the price tends to drop as the number climbs (i.e. a 7D tends to be cheaper than a 1D).

In addition, the difference between staterooms can include rooms that have third and fourth berths.  Rooms with this distinction can result in different pricing compared to staterooms that cannot accommodate third and fourth berths.

In May 2018, Royal Caribbean simplified and re-categorized their staterooms to have more consistency across the fleet. In some cases, D1 or D4 balconies simply became 1D or 4D rooms, while other categories were combined or broken apart.

Other balcony categories

In addition to balcony staterooms that have the letter "D" in the category, there are other categories of balcony staterooms that may be on the same ship.

  • A : Ultra Spacious Ocean View with Large Balcony
  • C: Ocean view with Large Balcony
  • E: Obstructed Ocean View Balcony
  • F: Studio Ocean View Balcony
  • X: Ocean View Balcony Guarantee
Category
Code
(May 2018
and beyond)
Category
Code
(Pre-
April 2018)
Category NameCategory Description
1AFBUltra Spacious Ocean View with Large BalconySpacious room with large Balcony; Sleeps up to 6 guests
1CD1Ocean View with Large BalconyMidship room with large Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
2CD2Ocean View with Large BalconyMidship room with large Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
4CD1Ocean View with Large BalconyAft room with large Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
1DD2, D3Ocean View BalconyMidship room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
2DD4, D5, D6, D7Ocean View BalconyMidship room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
3DD3Ocean View BalconyMidship room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
4DD7, D8Ocean View BalconyMidship room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
5DD2, D3Ocean View BalconyForward/Aft room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
6DD4, D5, D6, D7Ocean View BalconyForward/Aft room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
7DD3Ocean View BalconyForward/Aft room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
8DD7, D8Ocean View BalconyForward/Aft room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
1EDOObstructed Ocean View BalconyObstructed View room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
2EDOObstructed Ocean View BalconyObstructed View room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
2FE6Studio Ocean View BalconyStudio room with Balcony; Sleeps 1 guest
XBXOcean View Balcony GuaranteeOcean View Balcony Guarantee

Which room should I book?

Now that you understand what the categories mean, you might be wondering which category is the right choice for your family.

First and foremost, you will be limited by the room capacity, so if you want a room that can handle 3 or 4 guests, then any category that can only sleep up to 2 guests is out of the question.  Similarly, rooms that can accommodate 4 guests may be "overkill" for what you need.

The other two considerations are price and location.

The location is arguably the next most important consideration, as where your room is on the ship (mid-ship, aft, forward, or somewhere inbetween) is an important consideration for some. 

If you are concerned about getting seasick, or prefer convenience to the elevators, then a room mid-ship should be your choice.

Lastly, price moves a lot of guests one way or another. Those higher balcony room numbers (6D and 7D) are going to cost you less, but expect a longer walk down the hall. The obstructed view rooms will save you money as well, but you will not have full view out of your balcony.

Ultimately, the rooms left to book and budget tend to dictate which room categories are really under consideration. Knowing how Royal Caribbean has categorized its rooms provides better insight into picking the right choice for you.

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