Don’t book these cruise ship cabins

A cruise ship on the ocean

You may not intend to spend a lot of time in your cruise ship cabin, but you’ll be surprised at the difference getting the right one will make for your time at sea.

Just think: you’re already a captive of sorts to the ship. If you’re on land and don’t have a great hotel room, you can always get out in the city and explore. But, as massive as many cruise ships are, there’s only so much room on them. So, your cabin becomes a sort of refuge for when you need time to yourself.

And even if you don’t see it that way, you’ll at least want to know you can get some sleep (if that’s all you’re using your cabin for).

So, if you want your cruise to be smooth sailing, here are the cabins you should avoid.

Check the plans for hotspots

The first step when booking a cabin is to check out the ship plans. Steer clear of noise and traffic hotspots such as sporting courts and gymnasiums and take special note of where night-time activities take place. You do not want to be anywhere near the nightclub!

The quietest decks are the ones in between other decks. Cruise ships can handle passenger noise complaints but will often not be inclined to turn down the music at the nightclub.

Also, find out where the galleys are, as well as lido decks, movie (and other) theatres, crew service entrances and all-night buffets. Might be wise to steer clear of elevators and stairways too. Oh, and unless screaming kids are your thing, stay away from family suites.

And while the hum of the ship’s engines may send some to sleep, others it may drive crazy, so if noise is a concern, look for rooms as high up as possible.

Check the dimensions

Before hitting the ‘book now’ button, check the cabin dimensions. Some may be listed under the same category but will run up different measurements. So, don’t get sold short (or small) and ensure you check the square footage or total area of the cabin. Try to get the biggest room for the same price. Check that the beds are not pull-out beds and that the balcony area (if you have one) is not included in the total floor space.

A room with a view

If you really must have a view (i.e. be on the outside of the ship) then ensure you don’t get an obstructed view. Cabins may say they have a view, but it may be of the underside of a lifeboat, or your window may be obstructed by a big blue bulkhead.

Aim for the middle of the ship and the upper decks. You’re more likely to have obstructed view at either end and lower decks.

Promenade or boardwalk cabins

You may have missed out on an ocean view room with balcony, so your only other option for a room with a view will be the promenade or boardwalk rooms. Just know that these rooms can be a bit of an aquarium, that is, you can see out but everyone else can see in, too. And there’s no point paying extra for a view if you have to keep the curtains closed the whole time. Some cruise lines will have one-way glass though, so if you’re in doubt, give them a call and ask about privacy in these cabins.

If it’s rockin’ …

If you’re prone to motion sickness or just don’t like the feeling of ‘floating’, then you need to go midship and as low as possible. The rooms in the middle of the ship are less likely to have views (some will have views of the mall or other central feature) but they are also a little more stable and less susceptible to movement.

There are two trains of thought with preventing motion sickness on a ship. Either get in the middle where there’s less movement or find yourself a view and keep your eyes on the horizon. Until you know which one best suits you, it may be a case of trial and error. And if it’s error, hopefully the cruise line can move you to another room or you could try these tips for reducing the likelihood of motion sickness.

No guarantee

There’s something called a ‘guarantee cabin’, which means you choose the minimum cabin with which you’re happy and the cruise line assigns it to you closer to the cruise dates. Sound weird? It’s a way that you can get a free upgrade or get a cabin for a much lower price. But if the cruise hits full capacity, you’ll also end up with an ‘average’ room. Still, if you’re the gambling type and none of the above affects you, then it’s worth a shot for a snazzy upgrade.

Forums are great for finding out about cruise lines and cabins in particular. A local cruise website with a fantastic community forums is

Do you have any cruise cabin tips to share? Is there a cruise ship cabin that you will never book? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Cruise etiquette: Guide to good manners while cruising

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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