Even if you don’t plan on spending much time in your cabin, it should be a relaxing and private spot to sleep and get away from the craziness of cruising. When you choose your cabin, the choices may seem overwhelming for first-time cruisers. There are so many options to choose from, and trust us; each cabin is not made equal.
Should you select a cabin at the front, the rear, or the middle of the ship? Is it better to be close to the elevator or far from them? Why are some oceanview cabins cheaper than others? Are certain cabin types better than others?
Finding the perfect cabin on any ship is a bit subjective. Some people want to be on a higher deck for the view. Others prefer to be on a lower tier to reduce motion sickness. And others want to be right near the action and right within walking distance of their favorite hangout.
Even if we can’t tell you where you will find the perfect cabin location, there are some staterooms you will want to avoid. To prevent you from making a costly mistake, we’ve put together a list of 9 cruise ship cabins to avoid when you book your cruise vacation.
Cabins With an Obstructed View
Although I don’t mind sacrificing a view when I book one of the interior cabins, I’d like to see the ocean if I spend the money on an ocean view or balcony stateroom!
There are particular cabins that don’t offer the best view or any view despite having a window or balcony. Some cruise ships have cabins where a piece of equipment, a lifeboat, or even a portion of another deck can obstruct the view. Some obstructed views will only be a minor inconvenience, however, while others may be blocked completely.
Typically, a ship’s deck plan will mark the cabins that have obstructed views, which is why it is always important to research your ship before you book. But, if you don’t mind the obstruction, these cabins typically have lower prices than similar cabins with complete views.
Tip: Research, the ship’s deck, plans to see which cabins have an obstructed view before booking your stateroom.
Cabins Near the Elevators
The areas around the elevators on cruise ships can be very noisy. You’ll hear the constant flow of people making their way around the ship, heavy foot traffic, and conversations as guests wait their turn for the elevator. On some ships, you will hear the “ding” every time the elevator doors open.
The cruise ship staterooms aren’t exactly soundproof, but the severity of elevator noise varies from ship to ship. Some ships have elevators located away from the cabin areas, while others have little separation at all.
On the flip side, cruise ships have very long hallways, especially on today’s mega-ships. Having a stateroom near the elevator may be convenient if you have difficulty walking and don’t mind a little noise.
Bottom line: Choose a stateroom that’s within a reasonable walking distance from the elevators and stairs.
Cabins Facing Public Areas of the Ship
When you book an oceanview or balcony stateroom, you might assume that you will enjoy views of the ocean, but that’s not always the case.
Some oceanview and balcony cabins face the ship’s interior on some cruise ships, overlooking the busy promenade. You’ll still be able to enjoy breakfast on your balcony, but you will have to contend with a bit of noise and less privacy than you intended.
When you book a room that overlooks the promenade deck, you will have other passengers walking by, talking, shopping, and even looking into your cabin (people are nosy!) In addition, passengers staying in rooms on the opposite side will be able to look right into your stateroom when the curtains are open.
If you crave privacy, make sure you avoid booking a cabin with a view of the ship’s public areas.
Cabins Above and Below Night Clubs and Late Night Venues
It’s no secret that people love to party on cruise ships. Booking a cabin near the ship’s venues like the nightclub or bar may sound like a good idea. Who doesn’t want to be close to the party, right?
Although the cabins on cruise ships are relatively sound-resistant, you will probably hear the thumping of music well into the night. If you are a light sleeper, you will want to avoid these cabins at all costs.
If you are a night owl and plan to be parting all night, it might not be a problem for you. But, you should know that rehearsals often take place in venues during the day. And they can be just as loud as the actual show. Even you won’t be going back to the room until the party is over, you might not be able to have a peaceful mid-day nap during the day.
Those of us who enjoy early bedtimes or mid-day naps will be better off avoiding cabins close to nightclubs and late-night venues.
Cabins Near the Casino
Just like avoiding a cabin near the nightclubs and entertainment venues, picking a room above or below the ship’s casino can lead to noisy nights. Beyond the noise, and they can be loud, there is also the smoke factor. Cruise ship casinos are the only interior places where smoking onboard is still allowed.
Celebrity and Oceania cruises have banned smoking in casinos altogether, and Disney cruises don’t even have a casino onboard. However, there are plenty of ships that still permit smoking in the casino.
Many cruise ships try to contain the smoke with enhanced ventilation systems, but they aren’t perfect. Smoke and the smell of cigarettes can make their way to nearby areas of the ship, including nearby cabins.
If you’re sensitive to smoke or prefer not to smell it, check the ship’s deck plans for the casino and permitted smoking areas before you book your cabin.
When traveling with family or friends and booking multiple cabins, having an adjoining cabin can be lots of fun! You can open the adjacent door and create a larger room for everyone.
But if you aren’t traveling with your adjoining cabin members, there is one significant downside – you will hear more of them than you wish. The cabins on ships are not soundproof, to begin with, but the adjoining door can let in a whole lot of noise from the neighboring cabin.
If you find yourself beside a loud couple or a family with kids, you might not be happy. Unless you are traveling with family or friends, avoid booking a cabin with an adjoining room.
Cabins Close to the Bow
If you suffer from motion sickness while sailing, you will not want to book a room near the ship’s bow. The cabins in the front of the ship are among the worst cruise ship cabins and are where you will feel the motion of the waves more distinctly than the rest of the vessel, especially during rough seas.
The front of the ship pitches a lot more in waves than in the center or back of the ship, which induces motion sickness.
The motion of the ship will be more of an issue on certain ships and destinations. If you are sailing on a mega-ship such as Royal Caribbeans Oasis-class vessels or Carnival Mardis Gras, you may not feel any movement anywhere on the ship. Destinations like the Caribbean have relatively calm waters unless there is a nearby tropical storm.
It also depends on your tolerance to ship motion and seasickness. I personally love the feeling of gently swaying at sea while many of my friends get sick just thinking about being on a boat.
But there is another reason to avoid booking a cabin at the ship’s bow – the anchor.
Cabins Near the Anchor
Looking at the deck plan, you might not know where the anchor is located. Typically it will be near the front of the ship on the lower levels. Many ships are configured so that the anchor is far enough away from the nearest cabin and won’t be heard from your stateroom.
Cruise ships don’t use their anchors when they dock at a port. But, if your cruise itinerary contains “tender ports,” you will want to stay clear of the front lower decks just to be safe.
“Tender ports” are where the ship anchors offshore and “tenders” passengers to land on smaller boats. If the ship will be docking at port, bunking near the anchor won’t be an issue.
If you are unlucky enough to find yourself located next to the anchor, watch out. Unless you are an early riser, the ship’s anchor is not a gentle wake-up call. I have found myself jolted awake in the early hours of the morning by what sounds like a freight train as the ship drops anchor.
Cabins Right Below the Pool Deck
You might think that the pool deck would be reasonably quiet in the early morning and at night. But you would be wrong.
During the day, the pool deck is the location of events, parties, dancing, and live music, which create a lot of noise. Pool decks can sometimes be the location of late-night parties, loud enough to be heard on the decks below. Even in the morning, you might hear crew members dragging the sun loungers around and setting up for the day’s events.
If you care about your sleep, avoid any cabins located below the pool deck.
Cabins Near the Laundry Room
Some ships will have laundry rooms located on passenger decks. While convenient if you plan on doing some laundry on your cruise, the rumbling of a washing machine or dryer doesn’t make for a restful night. Even if you can’t hear the sound of the washer and dryer, it is likely to be busy are of the ship with lots of foot traffic.
Play it safe, and avoid cabins located near laundry rooms
The Guaranteed Cabin
Many cruise lines offer “guarantee cabins” at a discount. Rather than choosing a specific cabin, you’ll choose the lowest category of staterooms you are willing to cruise on, and the cruise line picks a room for you. If you are lucky, you may even get an upgrade at absolutely no extra cost.
Although opting for a guarantee cabin is the best way to have a chance at a free upgrade, you’ll sacrifice your choice for cabin location. You can end up anywhere on the ship. Of course, you can get lucky and receive an upgrade from oceanview to the balcony, but you run the risk of an unsatisfactory location. Your cabin may have a wholly obstructed view, location above the noisy theater, or right beside the anchor.
If you are cruising on a budget and don’t mind sacrificing your choice of cabin selection, guarantee cabins might be worth the risk. But if you are picky about your cabin location, it is worth spending the money and choosing your cabin location. But if you are cruising on a budget and don’t mind sacrificing your choice of cabin selection, guarantee cabins might be worth the risk.
Not all cabins are equal. Spending a little bit of time pouring over the cruise ship deck plans of the ship can help you from making a bad choice with your cabin selection.