Inside cabins are the most affordable but least desirable accommodations on a cruise ship.
Royal Caribbean found a way to brighten them up by adding a virtual balcony or porthole, mimicking the real views outside the cruise ship.
But is a Royal Caribbean Virtual Balcony cabin just another gimmick? And are they worth the price?
Let’s find out.
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What is a Virtual Balcony?
Royal Caribbean’s virtual balconies are 80-inch, floor-to-ceiling, ultra-high-definition screen that projects real-time views of the ship’s surroundings.
The technology aims to provide guests with a true-to-life experience of balcony staterooms at a fraction of the cost. The “balcony” includes a virtual railing and natural sounds.
You can hide the display by closing the curtains, muting the audio, or turning it off completely.
Your view depends on which direction the display faces. If your screen faces the port side, you’ll have a view facing the port side of the ship.
If your screen is mounted facing the ship’s stern, you’ll enjoy an incredible view of the ship’s wake.
And, before you ask, you can’t use the display to stream movies or sports.
At first glance, the idea sounds like another gimmick used to justify higher cruise fares.
But, the experience works surprisingly well.
When sailing in a virtual balcony stateroom, we really do forget that we’re indoors.
And it’s more than just a novelty experience.
The real-time video allows guests to view the weather. Passengers can check if it’s sunny, rainy, or cloudy without leaving their room.
And the ambient sounds make for excellent white noise while falling asleep.
How Does a Royal Caribbean Virtual Balcony Work?
The experience is created thanks to some serious tech.
Virtual balconies use RED Epic cinematic cameras, which offer impressive visuals and up to 240 frames per second.
The cameras pick up everything a human eye could and delivers the video to the 80″ 4K LED Sharp Aquos screen in the stateroom.
The effect is surprisingly realistic. The display is entirely believable, with curtains hiding the edges of the screen.
But, instead of a floor-to-ceiling screen, guests are greeted by a smaller porthole-sized view of the horizon.
Is it Worth Upgrading to a Virtual Balcony?
Cruise fares for cabins with a virtual balcony vary by ship, destination, sail date, and itinerary.
But, you can expect to pay around $90 to $120 per person per night.
Virtual balcony cabins typically cost more than the standard inside stateroom. But in our opinion, it’s well worth the price.
Virtual balconies offer an enhanced experience at a fraction of the price of authentic balcony staterooms. If there’s a day when you prefer not to see the view, you can simply draw the curtains or shut off the display.
Which Royal Caribbean Ships Have Virtual Balconies?
Royal Caribbean offers virtual balconies on the following ships:
- Wonder of the Seas
- Symphony of the Seas
- Harmony of the Seas
- Odyssey of the Seas
- Spectrum of the Seas
- Anthem of the Seas
- Ovation of the Seas
- Quantum of the Seas
- Navigator of the Seas
- Explorer of the Seas
- Voyager of the Seas
Before you book an interior cabin on Royal Caribbean, it’s important to note that not every inside stateroom offers a virtual balcony.
You can find a virtual balcony in every inside cabin aboard Quantum, Anthem, and Ovation of the Seas. However, Navigator, Voyager, and Explorer of the Seas have 81 virtual balconies, and Harmony of the Seas has just 76 virtual balconies.