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Staterooms

Is there a bad cruise ship room to book?

In:
Category: 
17Nov2020

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:
Category: 
29Aug2020

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:
Category: 
27Aug2020

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:
Category: 
27Aug2020

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:
Category: 
24Aug2020

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:
Category: 
14Jul2020

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.

Why you should book a cruise ship inside room

In:
Category: 
06Jun2020

Is booking an inside cabin on your Royal Caribbean cruise a good idea, or a mistake waiting to happen?

An inside stateroom is usually the cheapest option available when booking, and it offers a "home away from home" to enjoy during your cruise. In fact, a lot of people end up booking an inside room for a variety of reasons.

If you are deciding between room choices, here are a few good reasons why you should book an inside cabin for your Royal Caribbean cruise!

How much time will you really spend in your room?

Royal Caribbean offers so much to see and do onboard its ships, and then there are all the activities you can do in the ports you visit, that you have to start wondering how much time will you actually spend in your room.

Unlike a hotel room, stateroom cabins are somewhere to get ready for your day ahead, but not a focal point of where you will spend your time. In practice, many guests find themselves outside of their room for most of the day, so why invest in space you will barely use?

An inside room and a balcony room offer the same basic amenities, but if you are going to be at the pool deck, exploring ruins, swimming, learning how to fold a napkin and dancing the night away, an inside room will still provide a place to shower, sleep and change.

Good idea if you are worried about getting sea sick

Experts say if you are prone to motion sickness, the best location for any stateroom is to be on as low a deck as possible, and towards the middle of the ship.  On most ships, that location is where the inside staterooms are located.

Obviously there are no guarantees that any room will be able to completely prevent getting sea sick, but the location of a room is among the most important factors in reducing the likelihood of it occurring the in the first place.

Inside rooms are not always tiny

Some cruisers hear "inside stateroom" and think a closet posing as a cabin, but that is not always true.

Royal Caribbean offers a great variety of interior staterooms to choose from, especially on their newer ships. Larger interior stateroom category can offer up to 178 square feet of space, and family interior staterooms range between 260 square feet to 324 square feet.

While inside rooms are not the most spacious rooms on the ship, they do offer more space than you might be giving it credit for offering.

The best room for sleeping!

If you want the best sleeping conditions, an inside room is just what the doctor ordered.

Since there is no natural light in an interior room, your cabin can get pitch black when you turn off all the lights, and that means prime sleeping conditions.

Unlike at home or in a balcony room, where the morning light seeps in and wakes everyone up, 3pm and 3am look exactly the same in an inside room (so pack an alarm clock!).

The inside room X factor: virtual balcony

So you like everything so far about an inside room, but giving up that view of the world still bugging you? Try a virtual balcony!

Virtual balcony rooms are available on select Royal Caribbean ships and they are inside cabins that feature a floor-to-ceiling LED screen that offers real-time, high definition views of the outside world.

This fun application of technology provides an on-demand option to see what is going on outside, whether to see if the sun is shining, or catch a view of the port your ship is docking at, the virtual balcony provides a balcony experience, without the balcony cost.

Save money!

Perhaps the most compelling reason to book an inside room is the cost.

Without a doubt, the best reason to book an inside room is for the cost savings, relative to other stateroom categories.

Often, inside staterooms are the least expensive option, which means you cans pend a lot less money on your cruise vacation, or have more money to spend during the cruise on things like drink packages, excursions, the spa and more.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a vacation budget for booking higher room categories, but an interior stateroom gets you on the same ship as people in a balcony or suite, and any cruise vacation is better than no cruise vacation!

The bottom line

Anyone that typically books inside rooms will tell you that you will find lots of public space and open decks on the Royal Promenade, pool decks, helipad give you ample opportunity to go outside and enjoy the fresh air and passing scenery.

The interior rooms may not be the right choice for everyone, but if it is the difference between going on a cruise or not, I will gladly stay in an interior room!

Royal Caribbean cancels plans to introduce Spa stateroom category

In:
Category: 
05May2020

Royal Caribbean announced today it has decided to discontinue the introduction of Spa staterooms beginning with the 2021-2022 season.

After much consideration and as our product offerings continue to evolve in today’s environment, the brand has made the decision to discontinue the introduction of Spa staterooms beginning with the 2021-2022 season.

In a communication to travel agents, Royal Caribbean indicated beginning on May 5, 2020, all bookings in a Spa stateroom will be temporarily moved from their stateroom into a guarantee. Once the accommodation process is complete, guests will be moved back into their original stateroom with the stateroom location, dimensions, and cabin number all remaining the same.

There is no action needed from you as this process is completed.

In addition, Royal Caribbean is offering guests booked in these rooms a repricing to the prevailing fare of a comparable Ocean View Balcony and will also receive a refundable $50 USD onboard credit per cabin that can be used anywhere onboard – including in the spa as well as pre-cruise.

Royal Caribbean announced the new stateroom category in October 2019 that offered guests in-room amenities and spa privileges.

It included amenities and perks like lush bedding and bath products, daily tea and bottled water, and priority spa reservations.

What is the best room on a cruise ship?

In:
Category: 
19Feb2020

When you book a cruise vacation, you will need to choose a cabin and entails determining the best stateroom for your family.

Naturally, you might be wondering what is the best room on a cruise ship. Here is a look at what to know before booking your cabin.

Picking the best room on a cruise

The short answer is there is no single option for everyone that is "the best." Rather, the best cabin for anyone is relative to their preferences, budget and tastes.

Royal Caribbean provides a great deal of staterooms to choose between on any cruise, that run the gamut of price, location and amenities.

When it comes to picking the best stateroom, you will have to weigh these considerations:

First and foremost, how much you can spend on a room will dictate largely your choices.  If you are cruising on a slim budget, suites and perhaps even balcony rooms are going to be out of the question.  If you have more to spend, then you will have more choices.

Perhaps the toughest decision is what type of stateroom to pick. There are good arguments to be made for every type of room, from inside rooms to balconies to suites.

An inside room will save you a lot of money, and makes a lot of sense since the ship has so much to see and do that you likely will not be spending much time in the room.  You could spend a little bit more and get an oceanview room and gain some natural light.  Or perhaps you go for a balcony room, which provides a private area to step outside and enjoy the ocean breeze as you see fit.  And of course, a suite means having the ultimate in luxury onboard and being in a room that nice, you will find good reason to enjoy time in there.

Choosing the right room for you is about how you like to cruise, and what you are looking to do onboard.  Shorter cruises means you will likely be running around trying to see and do everything, so investing a ton in an expensive room may not make financial sense.  On longer sailings, having a larger room means more space to spread out and enjoy to nap, read or watch the world go by.

Deciding if a balcony room is worth the price is something many cruisers have to consider with each booking. Ultimately, it depends on your budget and how much more it would cost to move up to a balcony room (or suite) from a lower category.

How important is location

Where your room is located plays a factor in determining what the best location is on a cruise ship.

The primary concern for most people when choosing a room is noise bleed.  The good news is that most rooms on Royal Caribbean do a good job at blocking out most noise, but no stateroom is soundproof.

A good rule of thumb when choosing a room is picking one that has no public spaces directly one deck above or one deck below it.

When choosing a room, you will need to look at if it's on a higher deck versus lower deck, as well as midship versus forward or aft.

In general, the most popular spot to be on a cruise ship is midship on a higher deck because these rooms are centrally located. Moreover, cabins towards the middle of the ship have the reputation of providing a smoother ride when the ocean is rough. The sensation of movement due to the ocean is perceived differently by everyone, but it is worth noting.

Staying on a lower deck has the advantage of being closer to popular common areas, such as the Royal Promenade, theaters and dining rooms. This means less dependency on elevators.

A room on a higher deck provides more desirable views, as well as being closer in proximity to the pool deck. On warm weather sailings, this may be a very convenient choice.

Which is the best side of a cruise ship to be on?

Many readers are curious which side of the ship they should pick for the room, and I believe it does not matter at all.

First and foremost, there is no set side that is always going to face one particular direction in port or at sea.  It varies depending on a variety of factors, and none of them are going to be known until you are onboard. Moreover, there is plenty to see in all directions when it comes to most sailings.

When docked, the crew can tie up a ship on either side. This means that one side does not consistently have better views when in port.

Ultimately, where your room is located on the ship (midship versus forward or aft) is an arguably more important consideration than the side of the ship.

Room upgrades & Guarantees

If all of this has made sense up until now, here are two other stateroom options that may change up your decision, while potentially saving you money.

Bidding for a room upgrade

Royal Caribbean offers guests on most sailings the opportunity to bid for a stateroom upgrade through something called RoyalUp.

RoyalUp asks guest to provide a blind bid for a stateroom upgrade on the chance the room is available.  Once a bid is made, Royal Caribbean will consider it until such time that there is an upgrade opportunity. 

The advantage of upgrading your room via RoyalUp is that you could move up to a higher, more desirable room, for less than booking it outright.  However, there is no way to know if there is even an upgrade opportunity (the program is used quite often by the cruise line as a backup incase someone cancels at the last minute) and there is no way to know if your bid is "good enough" to win.

If your RoyalUp bid is accepted, Royal Caribbean will assign your room automatically, leaving little to no choice in its location.

Guarantee Rooms

If you want to save money on the a cabin, and are not particular about the exact location, then a guarantee room assignment might be the choice for you.

Booking a stateroom guarantee means Royal Caribbean will pick the exact room assignment for you, while guaranteeing you will get that room category or higher.  

So if you booked a balcony guarantee, you would be assured of getting at least a stateroom with private balcony somewhere on the ship, with the exact room assignment coming later.  Guarantee rooms could potentially provide a higher room category, although this is a rare occurrence.

For guests who do not care that much where exactly on the ship their room is located, a guarantee room booking can save a lot of money on the cruise fare.

What is the best location on a cruise ship?

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20Jan2020

Which is the best side of a cruise ship to be on? Is it better to be on a higher deck on a cruise ship? Where is the best place on a cruise ship to avoid seasickness?

New cruisers often are curious about how important their cabin selection is, and what is the best spot for them on a cruise ship.

There are a number of considerations when it comes to picking the best place to stay on a cruise ship, and a lot of has to do with convenience and seasickness.

Cabin size and cost

Likely the first consideration when picking the perfect stateroom for you is the price and how much space it offers.

Just like picking a hotel room, your cruise ship cabin options come in a variety of sizes, layouts and prices.

When choosing a room, you will first have to figure out which stateroom category you desire, which places the stateroom in a ballpark of price and amenities.

Interior rooms will offer the least amount of space at usually the lowest price. Balcony rooms and suites offer the most space and amenities with also the highest price tag.

Exact room dimensions, layout and price will vary and you can see a large discrepancy in price depending on a variety of factors (check out How far in advance should I book a cruise to get the best price).

Location

Where the room is located can dictate price and options. In general, many cruisers prefer mid-ship room locations on a lower deck, especially if getting seasick is a major concern.

Rooms that are located at the very front or very aft of the ship, and/or rooms on higher decks have a reputation of there being more noticeable movement.

Whether your room is on the port or starboard side of the ship is in most cases totally irrelevant. There are a few rare itineraries where the side of the ship your room is on may matter subjectively, but it is not a factor that I recommend considering.

Picking the right room is often a question of determining which public areas you prefer to be near.  Rooms in close proximity to pools, restaurants, Adventure Ocean, elevators, the fitness center and more may be something to look into when picking the right room.

When in doubt, go for a room towards the center of the ship. Getting a mid-ship cabin means shorter walks to get places, because you are always near what is happening onboard.

If mobility is a concern, picking a room near an elevator towards the middle of the ship is usually the best course of action.  In addition, Royal Caribbean offers special accessible room categories for those in a wheelchair.

When picking a room, be sure to consider what is one deck above or below your room. Public venues above or below your room can sometimes lead to unwanted noise bleed.  Consulting deck plans for your ship is the best way to figure out what is around your cabin.

Views

What you can see from your cabin is a major consideration when picking the perfect room. 

Inside staterooms tend to be the cheapest option available, because they offer no windows or balcony and the least living space. You could move up to an oceanview room, which features a porthole to the ocean.  Adding a private balcony means much more living space in your room, and outdoor space to see, smell and take in the views around you.  Then you have suites which offer the most space and balcony area, at the highest price.

There are some rooms that offer obstructed views, which means you get a discount on the normal cost of the room, but something is blocking your view outside. How much of your view is blocked will depend on the room.

Royal Caribbean also offers staterooms that face inward to the ship, rather than to the ocean. Central Park Balcony rooms, Boardwalk Balcony rooms and Promenade View rooms are all examples of staterooms that offer windows and private verandas sans the ocean around you. These can be fun alternatives, that are often much cheaper than their ocean-facing counterparts.

Which cabin location on a cruise ship is best?

The short answer is, there is no one cabin location that is best for everyone. 

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

Overall, the cost and location of the room are the primary factors when picking the perfect room on a cruise. This may mean paying more than others to get that awesome stateroom in the perfect spot.

Many first-time cruisers are very concerned with getting seasick, and while it can happen, it should not be a primary concern when choosing a room. Do not let this fear force you to overpay for a cabin that looks to be the only choice worth considering. Yes, staying somewhere toward the middle of the ship on a lower deck is the best spot to minimize the sensation of movement, but you can venture a bit off center if it means saving a lot of money.

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