Cruise Travel Frequently Asked Questions - Cabin Questions


Cabin Questions
Is there any difference between cabins on the lower decks and cabins on the higher decks?

On today's newer ships, there are basically four types of cabins:

Inside Cabins - these are cabins without windows

Oceanview Cabins - basically the same size as inside cabins only they have port holes or picture windows.

Deluxe Cabins - about the same size as an oceanview cabin, except it may have a private balcony which adds to the overall square footage of the cabin.

Suites - significantly larger than other cabins on the ship, often with a private balcony or verandah.

You find the Deluxe Cabins and Suites on the higher decks of a cruise ship, so, yes, there is a difference here. However, Standard Inside Cabins and Oceanview Cabins are basically the same on any deck. For example, a Category 4, Inside Cabin on Carnival's Fantasy on the Riviera Deck is the same size as an Oceanview Category 9 on the Empress Deck. The difference become evident in the Cat 11 and Cat 12 Demi-Suites and Suites.

How many people can I get into my cabin?

Most cruise ship cabins are built to accommodate two passengers. However, there are many on each ship that can accommodate three and four passengers. Carnival, The Big Red Boat, and Disney all have ships that sleep five in one cabin. These cabins are obviously very popular among families and go quickly during family vacation times. So book them early if you need them.

Is an oceanview cabin worth the extra money?

Our clients tell us the the biggest advantage of having an oceanview cabin is that it makes your cabin seem so much bigger. It's amazing what natural light will do for a room. It also gives you some perception of time. When you wake up at 7:00 am in an inside cabin, you can't tell if it's 2 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon. For them an oceanview cabin is worth it for this reason alone. Want to know what the weather's like? Open your curtain. With an inside cabin, you throw on some clothes, run outside and run back again.

On the other hand, our other valued clients say the opposite. "Who needs a window. I'm only going to be in there when I sleep anyway. I could use that extra money on shore excursions, my bar tab, or my next cruise."

Who's right? They both are. It's really up to you. Oceanview cabins generally cost about $100 more per person for a 7 or 10 night Caribbean cruise and about $200 more per person for a European or Exotic itinerary. Our agents will be glad to discuss the features and benefits of both types of cabins without pressuring you into something you don't want.

The only itinerary where we highly suggest an oceanview cabin is Alaska. With daylight hours approaching 20 - 22 hours in the peak season, it's wonderful to be able to enjoy it from your cabin.

Where is the best location for my cabin if I'm concerned about the ship's motion?

While motion sickness shouldn't be a major concern on today's ships, you should still know the best way to avoid it if possible. If it's available, you should request a cabin that is relatively close to the middle of the ship. If you can imagine a see-saw in the play ground, it's the ends that go up and down, not the middle. (No, cruises are not like see-saws). You should also look for a cabin that's closer to the bottom of the ship, not the top. The higher you are, the greater the potential to feel a left to right rolling motion. Example, the top of a tall palm tree will always sway more in the wind than the bottom of the tree.

Again, today's ships are fully stabilized making your cruise comfortable in virtually any location. As a matter of fact, if motion discomfort were such an issue, the suites on a ship wouldn't be at the top and near the front.

To make sure you get the best cabin for you, book early, book early, book early. If wait, you'll have less to choose from.

Do the cruise lines ever give free upgrades?

Everyone either knows someone, met someone on a ship, or they themselves have been upgraded to a higher category than they paid for. Yes, it does happen and but not as frequently as people think. How do upgrades work? Who knows? We're still trying to figure it out, but here's our theory.

Most upgrades go to passengers who book early and buy the lowest category on the ship in the form of a "Category Guarantee." A "Category Guarantee" means that when you book your cruise, you are not assigned a cabin number, you are simply guaranteed that category or better. Since most people who cruise simply want to get the best price, "Guarantees" are a great way to fill the ship with people looking for a good rate.

The cruise lines always sell more guarantees in a category than there are cabins in that category. For example, the lowest rate on Celebrity Cruise Line's Zenith is a Category 12, inside cabin. There are approximately 6 category 12 cabins. However, on each sailing, Celebrity will sell between 40 and 60 Category 12 guarantees. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that 34 people are going to get a free upgrade. Usually these upgrades are given on a first come first serve bases.

Most upgrades are often from low inside cabins to higher inside cabins, or low outside cabins to higher outside cabins. Rarely do passengers get upgraded from inside to outside but it does happen. But don't book an inside cabin expecting a free upgrade to an outside. It probably won't happen.

If you are assigned a cabin when you deposit on your cruise, your chances of an upgrade are very small. If you are travelling in a quad, your chances are very rare in that there are relatively few quad cabins on a sailing. Cabin assignments on guarantees are usually made between a few weeks and the day of sailing. If you don't like the cabin they give you, tough luck, you're stuck. So if you're afraid of being at the front, back, top, bottom, under the dining room, then don't take the chance. Take an assignment at time of booking.

I don't plan to spend much time in my cabin. What's the most affordable way for me to get on the ship?

Very good question, and one we hear quite often. The most affordable way to get on the ship other than stowing away is to book an "inside guarantee." The rate is often a little lower than the rate for the lowest category on the ship. You will not receive a cabin number when booking. It will be assigned as late as the day of sailing. And your cabin assignment could be in any category on the ship. You could receive the lowest category on the ship or the highest. You never know. However, expect an inside cabin. The drawback is that you don't know where you'll end up. It could be the front, back or middle, so if that's a concern to you, we recommend avoiding this pricing program.

Since most cabins on today's ships only differ by the fact they're on a different deck, most folks don't mind taking a chance of where they end up. Most of our clients who take advantage of this deal are quite satisfied with their accommodations. If you seriously plan to spend little time in your cabin, then consider this promotion.