31st Mar 2016
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Cruising: five benefits of booking a balcony
Author: SJ Fallick
woman standing on a stateroom balcony looking through binoculars

When planning a cruise holiday, there are many things to consider including the ship, and where and when to cruise.

There are also decisions to be made about accommodation, namely whether or not you would prefer a stateroom with a private balcony – a hot topic in the cruising world. Having experienced a cruise with and without a balcony, the short answer is yes, you definitely do. The long answer is, as any seasoned cruisers will know, balconies have many benefits. Here are five.

1. Pay for the privacy
A private balcony gives you a quiet place to relax and enjoy the passing vistas and ports of call. Sure, you may have privacy in your room, but it’s not quite the same as having privacy outdoors and soaking up the sea air in peace.

Private balconies are particularly beneficial for scenic cruising – such as Alaska’s Inside Passage, or transiting somewhere unusual, such as the Suez Canal – when outside decks become busy. Staterooms with balconies on deck corners, or aft on a ship, can also be quite deep, offering a combination of both covered and open areas.

 2. Having a balcony doesn’t necessarily mean more money
In the past you had to pay a lot more for a stateroom with a balcony, mostly because there weren’t many of them on ships – it’s the supply-and-demand situation I vaguely recall learning in Economics. Today, however, many vessels are being built with more balcony staterooms, so the price for this outdoor space isn’t always all that much higher than the norm. Also, at times, you’ll find deals offering upgrades from ocean views to balcony staterooms. Hot tip: you should jump onto these before someone else bags your balcony. 

3. Extra space
If you’re travelling with someone who needs to spend more time in their stateroom than normal, such as a person with a health problem or a very elderly cruiser, a balcony not only gives you additional space, but also allows you to enjoy the great outdoors while they relax inside. For some couples, a balcony can also mean that they can enjoy their accommodation together while doing different things: one person can have a nap or watch television, while the other sits outside and reads a book. Alternatively, if your travel companion does something particular untoward, you can lock them out on the balcony to think about their actions as punishment. (Please don’t actually do this, as I’m joking!

4. They can help tame seasickness
Having a private open space with your stateroom, where you can breathe fresh air and watch the horizon, can help anyone who suffers from seasickness on a cruise. A balcony is also particularly beneficial on longer cruises, in case it takes time to find your sea legs.

5. Alfresco dining
Some cruise lines make a big deal about the romance of balcony dining, but you can also enjoy all your meals alfresco if your ship has room service. Imagine breakfast in port or at sea, a late lunch after a shore tour, or a romantic of dinner for two with the backdrop, and sound, of the ocean. One of my favourite memories of the Mediterranean cruise we took with a balcony was having dinner on my private balcony just offshore from Monaco, and watching all the lights sparkling in the night. As Mastercard would say, priceless. 

Where do you stand on the subject of cruising and balconies? Are you a definite yes, or do you really not care?

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    SJ is a regular travel contributor to YourLifeChoices. Her dream is an endless summer where bikinis are work-appropriate attire.





    COMMENTS

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    2nd Apr 2016
    7:07am
    Just booked our first - a cruise to USA, as we have family there we want to visit and my partner won't fly. Booked a balcony stateroom. Very nervous about spending so much. I hope it proves worth the cost.
    Gra
    2nd Apr 2016
    5:22pm
    Very much worth the cost Rainey. I've only done two cruises but booked balcony staterooms each time. A little dearer than inside or ocean view cabins but the extra room, the benefit of those wonderful sea breezes, being able to have your own space for leaning on the railing taking in the passing scenery - it's worth every cent.
    Have a great cruise, if this is your first I think you will be hooked on cruising for life.
    GreyViper
    3rd Apr 2016
    6:54pm
    Sorry Gra, I can't agree with you. If you have only ever cruised with a balcony it's a bit hard for you to make a comparison. We have done over a dozen cruises and we have tried every cabin type from inside through to a mini-suite. To me it comes down to value for money. If the upgrade does not cost too much more we will upgrade but there is nothing wrong with ocean view or even an inside cabin. Quite often the ocean view cabins are lower down on the ship and therefore will experience less movement in rougher weather. Also some of the ocean view cabins actually have bigger wardrobes than the balcony cabins because the beds are located differently because the don't have to allow access to the balcony doorway.
    We did a 29 night cruise from Sydney to San Francisco a few years ago and only paid $2500 pp for an inside cabin. An ocean view cabin would have cost an extra $1500 pp and so we did not think that was worth it. After all, we tend not to spend much time in our cabin anyway. I would suggest looking at how much EXTRA that the upgrade costs and if it is not too much then take the upgrade. I would rather put the extra $1500 each towards the next cruise. Also we did a cruise around South America and when we got down south it was far too cold to spend anytime out on the balcony at all!
    Compare prices and make your decision based on value for money would be my advice.
    HAPPY CRUISING!
    Old Man
    3rd Apr 2016
    10:40pm
    As most cruises travel at night and anchor about dawn or thereabouts, a balcony seems a bit of a luxury. We have tried the different cabins and we didn't like a cabin with no natural light, it felt stuffy. A window is nice but our preference is a balcony cabin. There will be some who agree, some who disagree and some who don't care one way or the other. My suggestion is to try them all and work out which one suits you.
    dreamer
    2nd Apr 2016
    8:11am
    Love Balcony travel spend a lot of time on the balcony when we travel.
    Tried inside and with window not the same miss out on so much fresh air.
    Spanna
    2nd Apr 2016
    8:31am
    On a long trip a Balcony is a must... Make sure you are on the right side of the ship when arriving at a port, and also an unrestricted view for photos. Rainey on a long trip well worth the money.....
    lorjim9
    2nd Apr 2016
    9:07am
    its a must to have a balcony on long cruises 7 plus nights able to see so much more when entering ports majority are early morning visits . leaving ports just as good
    Fran
    2nd Apr 2016
    9:52am
    Its a no-brainer as far as I am concerned, have tried all the other options, however the cost is a big factor (not to some people of course)
    Quite often you see, free upgrade to balcony when you book an oceanview, thats the time to pounce.
    I have just finished a cruise where I opted for the option where you paid a price just a fraction higer than oceanview, and they promise to give you a balcony cabin, however you cannot choose where you want to go. As I pay the single supplement, I thought I would try this option - I was so happy with the cabin I had. Would try this option again.
    casper dude
    2nd Apr 2016
    1:51pm
    Do check a plan of the ship before you book as some balcony rooms are on the same deck as all the lifeboats and other maritime clutter and your view would be very severely restricted. A plan should show these. The higher deck you go, the better. We have done just two cruises and both with a balcony and wouldn't do anything else. Very nice. Also check the benefits of whether you book on Portside or starboard side, depending on your direction, particularly in the Med. you will see far more if you get it right!
    Greyone20
    2nd Apr 2016
    2:33pm
    Yes,Yes ,Yes,well worth the extra.
    Bonny
    3rd Apr 2016
    1:37pm
    Not worth the extra money. Last cruise I did I booked the cheapest cabin available just to see what it was like and loved the complete darkness and lack of noise compared to more expensive cabins.
    Marg
    3rd Apr 2016
    2:31pm
    We enjoyed breakfast on our balcony for most mornings. Simply ordered, gave the time and it was delivered to our cabin. A fantastic start to the day!
    Bill R
    3rd Apr 2016
    5:06pm
    Spanna, do you mean the starboard side or the same side as the wharf when docking? I have been on cruises when the ship moored with the wharf on different sides at different ports. Yes, a balcony is definitely worth it.


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