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The rare cruise ship cabins that get booked very quickly

In:
16 Jul 2022

You probably are aware of the four main kinds of cruise ship cabins, but on some ships, you'll find a few variations that stand out from the pack.

Family Oceanview Cabin on Oasis of the Seas

While most balcony rooms look pretty much the same, and inside cabins as well, over the years, there's been a few cabin designs that had to vary somewhat in order to conform to the ship design.

These unique layouts have become popular with people that cruise a lot because they may offer more space, perks, or another benefit that usually doesn't come with that sort of room.

Not only are these cruise cabins unlike other rooms, they often sell out sooner. It's kind of like a "secret menu" at a restaurant that insiders know about.

Aft balcony

Whether you want to book these rooms for yourself, or are simply curious about what they offer, here's a look at a few rare cruise ship cabins that are not only different from the rest, they will be booked quickly.

Ben & Jerry Suite

Freedom of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

When Royal Caribbean built the Freedom Class cruise ships, they added a Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor to the Royal Promenade, but the design of the shop blocked the view of one Promenade View stateroom on each ship.

Cabin 6305 on Freedom, Independence, and Liberty of the Seas has two cows from the store sign in the way of the bay window.

Secret Royal Caribbean staterooms: Liberty of the Seas stateroom 6305 | Royal Caribbean Blog

As a result, Royal Caribbean wanted to give anyone that booked this room an added benefit to make up for the ruined view.

Known as the "Ben & Jerry's Sweet," this room is designed with a black and white cow motif, and includes vouchers for a complimentary ice cream at Ben & Jerry's as well as access to the suite lounge.

Cabins designed for solo cruisers

Studio on Anthem

On some Royal Caribbean cruise ships, there are a few staterooms meant for someone traveling by themselves.

These studio staterooms are smaller than a traditional cabin, but they have just enough space for one person. Best yet, they do not get charged the single supplement fee.

The single supplement fee is traditionally charged to someone booking a cruise alone, because cabin pricing is based on double occupancy,

Studio cabin on Harmony

When Royal Caribbean added these rooms, they designed them to be respective of the ship's business model and this means solo cruisers do not have to pay double the cost of what the cruise should be.

Depending on the ship, there could be as few as two studio rooms, or as much as a dozen.

You can view a list of which ships have studio cabins and if you want one, book it early.

Hump balconies

Radiance of the Seas

Most balcony cabins across the fleet look the same, but you might be able to get a larger balcony if your room is positioned perfectly.

The so-called "hump" balcony cabins are the rooms on the outwards part of the curvy outline of the ship.  If you look at a deck plan, you'll notice around mid-ship, the hull design jets outward. 

Hump room

On many ships, balcony cabins in these areas are significantly larger than other balcony cabins.  And usually the price is the same.

You'll find hump balcony rooms with massive balconies on Radiance Class, Voyager, Freedom, Oasis or Quantum, but look closely at the deck plan to see which balconies are larger.

Aft balconies

Similar to the aforementioned hump balcony rooms, some ships have rather large balcony rooms on the back of the ship.

There are aft balcony rooms on every Royal Caribbean ship, but some of the rear-facing cabins on Vision Class, Radiance Class, and Freedom Class cruise ships have very large balcony space.

Aft balcony room

This means you not only get an interesting vantage point to enjoy, but much more living space outdoors.

People that cruise a lot will book up the aft balcony cabins on an Alaska cruise for the viewing opportunities.

Extra large Central Park Balcony rooms

Ever since I learned about the handful of Central Park balcony rooms on Oasis Class ships, I always look to book these first.

There are two Central Park balcony rooms on each deck that have almost double width balconies for the same cost as other Central Park balcony staterooms.

Extra large central park room

The cabin numbers are on decks 10, 11 and 12:

  • 10229
  • 10629
  • 11229
  • 11629
  • 12229
  • 12629

Why do these rooms have extra space? There's no actual cabin next door because the area is used by Royal Caribbean for something else.

Having that extra balcony space is a very nice benefit during your sailing.

Family cabins

If you have two or three kids with you, it could be a great idea to try out one of the family oceanview and family inside cabins available on select ships.

While these cabins don't have a balcony, they do offer a ton of living space.

Family oceanview on Brilliance

First and foremost, these cabins offer a bedroom for the parents, and either an additional bedroom for the kids, or a nook with bunk beds for the kids.

There's also two bathrooms, which can be a godsend for parents sailing with older kids.

Kids room bunk bed

These cabins are typically located at the very front or very rear of the ship and offer a ton of living space, meant to be shared by families of 4 or more guests. 

Family rooms are cheaper than a suite and in many cases offers more space.

Mailbag: What's the best cruise ship cabin for my family?

In:
15 Feb 2022

Royal Caribbean is known for being a family cruise line, so which family-friendly cruise cabin should you pick for your vacation?

Grand Suite on Freedom

From time to time, I answer questions our readers have sent in here on the blog so that everyone can benefit from the advice.

We want to book a cruise for my family of 5, but we can't fit in one room. What's our best choice for a cruise ship cabin for my family? - Christy D.

The best cabin for any family will depend on a few factors in order to narrow down the choices.

Royal Caribbean says kids may be able to cruise under CDC's 95% vaccinated restart plan | Royal Caribbean Blog

Every cabin on a cruise ship has a capacity limit to it, which means a family of five or six will have less choices if you want to stay in the same room.

In addition, your budget will play a role in picking the right room for you.

A good starting point is to decide if you want to have everyone in the same cabin, or get separate cabins.

Family cabins

Royal Caribbean offers family-sized staterooms on many of its ships, usually with the word "family" as a prefix to the stateroom category title.

These rooms are designed for 5 or 6 guests, and come with more living space.

With extra beds and square footage, these family cruise ship cabins have what you would need to fit everyone in, and will cost less than a suite.

There can be two major downsides to these family rooms: the location tends to be at the very front or very back of the ship, which makes for longer walks to the elevators, as well as potentially a higher sensation of movement during rocky sea conditions.

In addition, many of these cabins only have one bathroom. Not every ship offers family cabins, and there are only a few to begin with.

Family-Connected Staterooms

99 days of Quantum: Family-connected staterooms | Royal Caribbean Blog

Whereas family cabins are essentially larger standard cabins, the family-connected staterooms are individual rooms that can be booked together and have common doors removed to create a larger room.

Family-connected staterooms were introduced on the Quantum Class cruise ships, allow you connect three different staterooms to form one large shared space.  That also means three bathrooms for one space.

If this sounds like a great option, the issue may be simply finding them. As far as I can tell, they are only available on Quantum Class ships.

Suites

Suites are always going to be the biggest rooms on any cruise ship, and that extra living space can be very attractive for families.

Not only can suites accommodate 5 or 6 people, some of the larger suites can fit even more. The most expensive suite on Royal Caribbean can fit as many as 11 guests.

Of course, we're talking about suites, so this will not be an economical choice for many families.

Suite prices can vary significantly, but they are rarely a cheap option. Some families will split the cost to save on costs.

Connecting cabins

Rather than putting everyone in one room, why not get multiple cabins?

Booking more than one room is usually not as expensive as it sounds, especially compared to a suite.

Royal Caribbean offers connecting cabins that have a common door inside, which means you can open or close that door as you see fit.

Photo tour of connecting Category D7 balcony staterooms on Oasis of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Even if you don't book a connecting room, on some ships you can open up the balcony divider and get a common walkway between the rooms at that juncture.

If you don't need a connecting door, booking two (or more) cabins near each other without a common door opens up all sorts of possibilities that can really save money. Parents can book a balcony cabin, while their older children stay in an inside cabin across the hall.

Connecting cabins can be more economical, and provide one full bathroom per cabin.

Another advantage is there can be more separation between each cabin, since the connecting door can be closed. This is is especially helpful with young children who need quiet and darkness to sleep.

The downside to booking more than one room is connecting rooms are limited, especially if you book close to the sailing date.

In addition, booking more than one room will not get you the benefits of a suite.

Which should you pick?

Guide to balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean | Royal Caribbean Blog

Often the decision is made for you depending your budget and ship you sail on, but assuming you have a wide budget and lots of room choices, there are pros and cons to each option.

I generally recommend families get two connecting cabins because it provides separation between the rooms, and two full bathrooms. It's usually cheaper than a single-cabin approach, and gives parents what they want: to be in the same room as their kids, without having to sleep in the same room as their kids.

Suites | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you have older kids, or traveling on a multigen trip, being able to book multiple rooms that do not have to be connecting/adjoining will save a great deal of money.

Suites are fantastic, and if you can afford one, it's difficult to not enjoy all those wonderful amenities, especially on Royal Caribbean's Oasis or Quantum Class ships. Those ships have the Royal Suite Class amenities for suite guests, which means a higher level of service and perks.

Difference between aft balcony & balcony cabins

In:
21 Dec 2021

Balcony cabins on a cruise ship come in locations all around the vessel, including some on the aft of the ship that are highly desirable for certain cruisers.

Aft balcony rooms are usually standard balcony rooms, but with a location that overlooks the back of the ship.

If you've talked about balcony location with some people that cruise a lot, then you may hear about how wonderful a cruise cabin an aft balcony is to book.

What's the difference between an aft balcony and a regular balcony room, and what should you know about these rooms?

What's special about an aft balcony

As the name implies, an aft balcony is a balcony that overlooks the back of the ship.

Aft balcony staterooms stand out because they offer a different kind of view from a standard balcony, which some cruisers find desirable.

Having a view of the ship's wake is something you may find relaxing and/or enjoyable to watch, especially while sailing out of a port.

Aft Staterooms - Royal Caribbean Discussion - Royal Caribbean Blog

In addition, the aft balcony rooms on some Royal Caribbean ships have significantly larger balcony space than a balcony cabin on the side of the ship. 

Essentially, you may end up paying a similar price as someone who books a balcony on the side of the ship, but get much more living space on your private veranda.

Another nice benefit of an aft balcony is you will not have noisy people walking by your door, compared to cabins midship.

Why you might not want an aft balcony

Photo tour of 2 Bedroom Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

The principal drawback of an aft balcony is the distance of the room to the elevators.

On Royal Caribbean cruise ships, there are two elevator banks: at the front and middle of the ship. 

Depending on the size of the ship and your aversion to walking long(er) distances, the amount of walking to and from your room may be a concern.

Brilliance of the Seas Live Blog – Day 8 – Cozumel, Mexico | Royal Caribbean Blog

In addition, aft balcony rooms can sometimes have less have a breeze compared to balcony rooms on the side. This will vary from sailing to sailing depending on the weather, but it is not unheard of to have a hotter balcony feel due to the lack of wind moving past.

Just like rooms at the very front of the ship, the sensation of movement can be potentially greater at the very back of the ship.

It's also possible an aft balcony may cost more than a balcony elsewhere on the ship.

One more thing about aft balcony rooms on Royal Caribbean: the aft balcony rooms on some ships can have obstructions. This is the case with Voyager and Freedom Class ships.

Tips for aft balcony cabins on Royal Caribbean

Photo tour of 2 Bedroom Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

You will find aft balcony rooms on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships, but the more affordable ones will be on Vision, Radiance, Voyager and Freedom Class ships.

On Oasis and Quantum Class ships, the aft balconies are primarily suites that command a much higher price.

If you want to nab an aft balcony room, you will want to book it early. These cabins are among the most highly sought-after staterooms because of their desirable location.

Before booking, look at the deck plans for the ship you are going to sail on and investigate which aft balcony rooms have the extra balcony space.

Is an aft balcony worth it?

Freedom of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

If having an extra large balcony and different views from your balcony is important to you, then an aft balcony can be worth booking.

You should be okay with the distance to the elevators, so anyone with mobility issues will want to avoid them. Likewise if you are sensitive to motion sickness and should instead book a room midship.

If you do want to book an aft balcony, be sure to act quickly and reserve it as soon as you can.

The views of the wake alone are usually what draws most people to booking an aft balcony.

More information

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 more: Where is the best place to stay 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.

8 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.

The most desirable locations

Here's which parts of the cruise ship will be off limits to unvaccinated passengers on Royal Caribbean's first cruise back | Royal Caribbean Blog

By far, most cruisers prefer a cabin midship for stability and proximity.

A midship cabin will likely have the least sensation of movement, which is helpful for anyone worried about getting seasick. 

The reason why a stateroom in the middle of the ship is better is because it's more centralized, and the sensation of movement is reduced the closer to the middle and lower you are on a ship.

Video: How to not get seasick on a cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

In addition, being midship means less of a walk to the elevators, as well as things to do on other decks.

Whether you are going to the pool deck, Royal Promenade, or dining room, being  midship means a faster commute to and from your cabin to these locations.

The reason you should know midship cabins are highly desirable is because they tend to sell out faster than rooms on the front or back of the ship. Be sure to book early to snag a great spot.

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.

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.

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