What You Need To Know to Choose a Cruise Stateroom
by Jacqueline Michaels
Not all staterooms are created equally. This is a fact that becomes all too painful if you happen to choose the wrong room for your cruise vacation. I've heard horror stories of sleepless nights filled with the endless droning of ship engines, of claustrophobic cabins scarcely the size of a walk-in closet, and of vacationers having to go up two or three decks before they could tell if it was day or night. On the other hand, there are stories of unbelievable luxury, of sitting idly on a private verandah watching the sun set while sipping wine, and of spacious suites decorated to lavish perfection.
Believe it or not, these two scenarios, and everything in between, happen on every cruise ship on each and every voyage. This is why cabin selection is one of the most, if not the very most, of important decisions that you can make before taking your cruise. And with more than 20 different types of staterooms available on a single cruise ship, choosing the right room is no easy chore.
Understand you are going to love the cruise ship itself. There will be many spacious areas on the ship and on the deck and there will be so much to do on the ship and on the different shore excursions that you actually can only use your room to sleep! The cruise industry is not expanding and building ships at the great rate they are because people are not enjoying their cruise. On the contrary, people love cruises and there are many reasons why. I just want you to understand what the staterooms are really like so you are not surprised in a negative fashion and so you can make an informed decision to make your cruise the best possible dream vacation it can be for you.
The number one factor that most people consider before choosing a stateroom is price. The price that you pay for booking a stateroom is dependent on many factors including the size of the room, the rooms layout, and the location of the room on the ship. The ship itself can even play a role in how much a stateroom costs. This is because luxury liners are normally crafted with larger rooms and more built-in luxuries. In fact, the smallest stateroom available on a luxury liner might be much larger than a room on a mainstream cruise liner. Rooms on a luxury liner also almost always come with an ocean view or balcony.
Types of Cruise Ships
While many new cruise liners have inside staterooms of comparable size no matter which type of vessel you choose, the ship type plays an important role if you book passage on an older ship. Keep in mind that a larger ship usually has larger rooms and more amenities, but don't take this for granted without checking it out first or you could be in for a surprise.
Here's a brief overview of popular cruise lines and the types of ships that they use:
1. Large Ships Carnival Cruise Lines; Celebrity Cruises; Norwegian Cruise Line; Princess Cruises; and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
2. Mid-size Ships Crystal Cruises; Holland America Line; and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
3. Small Ships Hapag-Lloyd Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises.
Types of Staterooms
Once you have chosen the type of ship that you wish to book passage on, you will need to decide what type of room would be best suited to your voyage. This will no doubt be decided by a variety of factors including your budget, the length of your cruise, and your personal preferences.
To help you decide, here is a list of the four major types of staterooms and a description of each:
1. Standard Inside Staterooms (no window or porthole) -
These are the least expensive of all staterooms and are, therefore, the smallest. These rooms normally are only about 120 to 180 square feet, but are usually tastefully decorated. Gone are the bunk beds of yesteryear. Today, most inside staterooms are furnished with two twin beds that can be pushed together for a couple. While the sleeping situation has improved, the bathroom in an inside stateroom is still excruciatingly small. There is no tub, only a shower, and a noisy vacuum toilet like that on an airplane. A sink and a few shelves finish off this small, but functional space. The rest of the stateroom is decorated in much the same way as a hotel room with wall to wall carpeting, individually controlled heat and air conditioning, TV, telephone, dresser, and a reading chair.
2. Standard Outside Staterooms (with porthole or window) - These rooms are virtually identical to inside staterooms with one small exception: the window or porthole. Modern ships normally have large picture windows instead of a porthole but some modern ships still offer rooms with portholes on lower decks. These are less expensive than the rooms with windows but don't offer much of a view. Some portholes are even partially submerged under the waterline or blocked by lifeboats.
3. Staterooms with Balconies or Verandahs - These staterooms are larger than the standard stateroom and come complete with an outside space. Although small, this extra space gives you the opportunity to see the ocean at all times from every angle in your room. And when you bore of sitting inside your cabin, you can open your door to a fresh breeze or step out on the balcony to absorb the view. Many of these staterooms even have a separate sitting area furnished with a convertible sofa which supplies extra sleeping space.
4. Suites - Suites are balconied cabins that feature separate sleeping and sitting areas. These are the largest rooms that you can book on a cruise ship. Many even have large bathrooms which are completed with a tub. While these are the most expensive rooms aboard a cruise ship, the price may well be worth it if you plan on spending numerous days at sea or a good deal of time relaxing in your room.
Another consideration that you need to make before booking a stateroom on a cruise ship is location. The location of your stateroom not only affects price but also affects the entire cruise experience. A stateroom too close to the engines can be noisy, and a stateroom on the lowest levels can make you feel like you are entombed and not part of the festivities on the upper decks. On the other hand, if you plan on spending little time in your room, these sacrifices might be well worth the money that you save. Now you know, so off you go!
About the Author
Be informed when you go to book a cruise! Visit Cruise Line Tips for details you need to know on cruise lines like Princess Cruise Lines and other cruise ships.
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