When picking a cabin, it is crucial to pick one that fits the type of experience you envision yourself having. Having the wrong cabin on a cruise can greatly impact the attitude you carry around for the rest of your vacation. It is important that you pick both a location within the ship and a style that will suit all of your needs.

First, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different cruising terminology before choosing the location of your room. Some ships have as many as 20 cabin categories; the price will depend on size, amenities and location. If you have paid for a balcony but it’s on the bow (front of the ship), it’s possible there will be a lot of wind. However, in the stern, or rear of the ship, there tends to be less wind but more noise from the engine.

  • Bow – the front of the ship. A balcony here may be windy.
  • Stern – the rear of the ship. While there will be less wind, there may be engine noise.
  • Mid-ship – cabins here are more expensive because the middle of the ship is reputed to be more stable.
  • Top decks – cabins here are popular because they are near the pool and sun deck but can be noisy.
  • Lower decks – you might have to walk up more stairs but cabins here are away from the noise of public areas.

The level you want your room on is very much dependent upon the vacation you are looking to have. Are you looking to be around the main activities and socialisation? If so the top deck cabins are your best bet. However, if a relaxing and quiet vacation is the trip you’re in the market for, the lower deck is away from most noise and public areas. Remember: Cabins near lifts will be noisy.

Next, you need to decide what size cabin you’ll need. This should be based upon both the number of people you are staying with as well as the activities you plan to do. If you plan on being in your room only to sleep, perhaps it would be beneficial to book an inside cabin and use the money you’ve saved for extra excursions.

The final decision to be made is to choose whether you want to be starboard (right) or port (left). If you’ve paid for that balcony, make sure you consider the direction you’re cruising in and whether you’ll be able to see the coast from your cabin.

It’s extremely important to consider your budget when deciding the right cabin for you. Remember that many factors play into the cost of your room. The size, location, and services provided will affect how much you pay. An outside cabin at mid-ships will cost you more than an inside cabin near the bow.

Remember, the longer your voyage, the more comfortable you’ll want to be.

At a glance: Main Cabin Categories


Suites and Penthouses

These come in all shapes and sizes. They may include a balcony or other luxuries such as a private butler.

Outside Cabin

Generally, this is the same size as an inside cabin but has a porthole or window. Check that your view is not obstructed by a lifeboat.

Inside Cabin

This style of cabin has no window or one that looks into the corridor. It suits children or adults who will spend their time out and about.

Balcony Cabin

This cabin style lets you step outside and enjoy the view without going to the public deck. Most are large enough for at least one chair.