You have selected your cruise date and style of cabin and the next screen is…a jumble of nonsensical cabin numbers. How do you choose? Favorite number? Close your eyes and point? Follow these five tips and you should end up with a cabin that will complement your trip, not make it worse.
1. Look at deck plans. Be sure to check out the deck plans of the entire ship to see what is above and below your potential cabin. You may think you have found the perfect room only to find out that the aerobics room is directly overhead, or that the night club is a little too close for comfort. Spend time researching the ship before booking and learn what parts of the ship are most appealing to you.
2. Elevator/stairwell preference. This is completely a matter of personal choice, but pay attention to elevator proximity. Some people on cruises love being close to the elevators or stairwell, since the hallways onboard can be quite long. So if you have a bum leg or don’t feel like hiking a mile to your cabin, chose one close by. The other side of the coin, of course, is the potential noise not only from people using the stairwell/elevators, but from everyone returning to their cabins and passing by yours. Unfortunately, some of these folks may have spent too much time at the pool bar and may be a little raucous.
[stextbox id="custom" caption="LandLopers Tip" float="true" align="right" big="true"]Don’t worry about booking your cruise too early. If the fare drops, you can always ask the cruise line for a refund.[/stextbox]
3. Stern or aft? Believe it or not, this is an important choice. If you’re in the very aft of the ship, there is a likelihood of ash from the smokestack and there will be noise from the deck chairs above you. Stern and aft cabins are also at the extremes of the ship, which means a lot of walking. Finally, if you are prone to seasickness, then it is best to avoid these cabins as the motion from rough seas will be intensified.
4. Obstructed view? Many cabins have obstructed views, a fact which is sometimes very difficult to discover until it’s too late. I remember calling a cruise line once directly and STILL could not get a clear answer. The obstructions are usually from lifeboats, which hang on the side of the ship. The degree to which the view is obstructed depends on the cabin.
5. Read recommendations. There are several online communities that have compiled reviews of cabins on almost every mainstream cruise line. The best of these is www.cruisecritic.com, which has spreadsheets of cabin attributes based on guest reviews. Think of it as SeatGuru.com for cruise lines. Read through these and learn about any possible negatives for the area of the ship where you think you would like to book.
Overall, the cabin is only part of your cruise. Frankly, if it’s a good cruise, you should only be in your cabin to change, nap and go to bed. So enjoy your trip and bon voyage!