How Much Cabin Can I Afford?

The question of which cabin to choose on a cruise ship is mostly personal preference – after all, the cruise lines do seem to fill all the cabins, don’t they? I have stayed (twice) in the very bottom rung, and visited my parents’ cabin once near the top. Of course there are advantages to each.

First, a bit of a description of cruise ship cabins – now generally known as staterooms. I’m talking about the mass-market lines here, such as Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and NCL, for example. There are basically four categories of cabins; each cruise line may have different terms to describe them:

  • Inside or Interior (no windows)
  • Exterior or Ocean View (windows)
  • Balcony or Veranda
  • Suite (always with balconies these days)

I am sailing in an inside cabin this cruise, although I will be moving to a “promenade” cabin for the second half. (I signed up too late on this two-segment cruise to get the same cabin for all 30 days.) A promenade cabin on Royal Caribbean is an inside cabin with a window that looks on the promenade – a multi-story interior open area in the middle of the ship. This kind of cabin is only available on the largest ships. I’ll report on how I like the promenade cabin later.

My personal opinion is that I would rather be able to afford to cruise more often by booking a cheaper cabin. That is in part because I can work from a cruise ship, so I’m not limited to just a week or two of cruising a year. I don’t spend a lot of time in the cabin, so I am fine with an inside. It does have disadvantages, such as not knowing whether it is light outside when you wake up. Of course, the dark cabin can be an advantage if you want to take a midday nap.

On my last cruise, which was 45 days, the price of an outside cabin was only about $200 more per person, or about 5 percent more in cruise fare, so we opted for it. The various pricing deals definitely can have an effect.

I’ll share more thoughts about choosing a cabin in the next posting or two. (And thanks, Julie, for requesting the topic!)

Mariner 7531  Mariner 7531 split beds

Notice how splitting the bed makes my current cabin seem larger!