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