Making your cabin selection -
Whew - another big decision, cabin selection, hang in there we promise things will get easier. How much you want to spend will certainly be a factor here but don’t lose sight of the big picture. And the big picture is a place they call “The Great Land” and your “great adventure” is experiencing it. This is one destination where an outside cabin with a window or balcony is essential in our opinion.
If you’re reading this page you have probably spent some time reviewing the information on this site. You’ve made a decision on ship size and narrowed down your cruise line choices. You are ready to make your cabin selection.
At this point you can visit one of a multitude of web sites or call your travel agent or the cruise line and request a brochure. We suggest having a brochure hard copy to reference and here’s why. Many times when viewing deck plans online you can only see one level at a time. This is really inconvenient. A brochure will allow you to see all the decks side by side offering you a better overall perspective of where you want to be located.
Here are some cabin selection considerations:
What is above and below you? Large public areas can be loud. From our own experience a cabin below the pool deck for example tends to be noisy. Fellow passengers drag furniture across the deck above, children running or the organized activities taking place.
What is next door? A location near the youth facilities or an elevator access may not be the quietest.
Where are the lifeboats? No, no, no – this is not what you think. On some ships the lifeboats will obstruct the view from your cabin – most cruise lines are up front about disclosing this information but it doesn’t hurt to be informed. (Are they located on a deck with public rooms or staterooms?)
What about engine noise? If you book a cabin in the stern (back) of the ship you may experience some thruster noise or vibration. On one of the lower decks you may hear engine noise.
You’re worried you might get seasick, now what? The cabins least affected by the motion of the sea will be located in the middle of the ship on the lower decks. You’ll want to steer clear of an upper deck location and cabin selection in the bow or the stern. Keep this in mind - traveling through the protected waters of the Inside Passage is some of the smoothest sailing around. Motion sickness may not even be an issue.
Where are the most affordable cabins? Inside cabins are easy on the pocket. If you have any claustrophobic tendencies you’ll want to move across the hall to a room with a view.
Is privacy high on your priority list? Some cabins may look out onto a public area or those with balconies may not be completely secluded and other guests may be able to see you. This will be difficult for you to determine from the deck plan. Call your travel agent or the cruise line to verify if this is important to you.
A typical ship will offer a wide range of cabins at various price points depending on size, features and location. The most expensive cabins with the best features will be listed first in the pecking order with the less costly types following in sequence. How the furniture is arranged and the amenities included are explained in the brief description provided.
Sometimes the bed description can be confusing. “Lower beds” refers to two twin beds that can be configured into a queen. You will request your preferred arrangement when you make your booking. “Bunks” or “upper beds” refer to beds that pull out of the wall.
This is probably a cabin selection no brainer but “inside” means no windows not even a porthole artificial light only. “Outside” means you’ll have some source of natural light, a porthole, picture window or door leading to a balcony/veranda.
Cabin size will be reflected in square footage. If you’re like us this doesn’t mean much. A simple rule of thumb – the higher the number the better. Here’s the deal:
- 160 square feet and under are budget accommodations and space will be at a premium
- 180 square feet are middle of the road, offering room to breathe in pleasant surroundings
- 250 square feet and up are premium suite accommodations
Now, as you consider your cabin selection, we know everyone is concerned with price so your first job is to find the lowest-priced cabins within the category you’ve selected. Most cruise lines designate a cabins ship location by a letter system (AA, K, F, etc.) color code and the name of the deck they’re on. Take this information and look at your deck plan, where are these located? Review the questions noted above. Are you comfortable with your findings? If so, GREAT, you’ve saved yourself some money by selecting the entry level into that category. If not, move up to the next price range within the category you’ve selected and repeat the process. Eventually you'll find what you are looking for.
If you are not familiar with cruise line pricing you will see a pattern developing. Cabins located on the higher decks and close to mid-ship will be more expensive.
Take a moment to reflect on what you find in the cabin selection process. In many cases upgrading to the next more expensive category is doable and will not break the bank. You need to remember this will be your home away from home for at least a week. Consider your comfort and vacation style before you commit.
A couple of final thoughts – the less expensive cabins and the most expensive cabins tend to sell out quickly. If the cabin you want falls into either of these categories you will need to book early for the best cabin selection. We can’t imagine why you would want to in this destination, but if you plan on spending a lot of time in your cabin, book the largest stateroom you can afford.
This is one of those times when it really is location, location, location that matters.
| “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
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