I’ve been on many cruises from both coasts to the Caribbean and Europe on 4 different lines, so I can speak from experience. I’d like to share a few ideas about booking your next cruise. It starts with the choice of cabin. On a ship, your room is called your cabin or stateroom. They can be as luxurious as in a fine hotel, or as austere as a large closet. While your budget may determine the size and placement, you need to understand the real reason for your choice. Begin with the cruise experience itself.
Whether you’re a novice or cruise expert, you must recognize the restrictions and realities of being on a ship. This floating hotel moves. It takes you to your destinations, which makes it a unique home for your 3, 7, 10, or other multiple days journey. Because it sails during trips between ports, there will be a noticeable swaying. Nowadays, modern stabilizers reduce the motion considerably. But high winds and choppy seas can still cause the normal shipboard experience to be less than perfect. This element is crucial in picking an ideal cabin, and it has everything to do with physics.
The outside, higher staterooms will be subject to increased motion as the ship sails. Conversely, the lower, inner cabins, will feel less movement. If you book early enough, you get to see a ship’s layout and pick the cabin’s deck level and it’s position inside or outside. Now this brings up an obvious point. Do you want a porthole or window?
If the answer is ‘Yes,’ then an outside room is the only option. But what is your logic? If you’re thinking how you want to occasionally look out the window, what will you see? During the sailing, the answer is probably, water. And that’s only during the day. At night, the sea is virtually black. In port, you will have a view, but it depends on your position, of which you have little control. When the ship is anchored away from port, it still might just be the ocean. If in port, it could be looking out to sea or toward the town, again, depending on the position of the ship. Either way, you’ll see something, when you are in your cabin.
This brings up another issue. Why are you in your cabin? Typically, you should be elsewhere, like eating, sun bathing on deck, visiting a port, in one of the lounges, or at a show. Your cabin is intended as a place to sleep, change clothing, or wash up. Otherwise, it’s wasting your vacation time. The ship itself has all the wonderful amenities that you require for a great getaway. All the public rooms have chairs, couches, and chaises for relaxing. If you want a true view of the ocean or port, do so from the rails of the ship or from a deckchair. But you may want a balcony off your cabin to serve that purpose, right?
Perhaps. But there’s little privacy the way they are placed and the balconies are just a few feet long. Back on the various decks of the ship, you can move around for better views. In your cabin, you can’t. And, like the porthole, they’re useless at night. Of course they’re also outside and not air-conditioned during hot, humid, or windy weather. Finally, they are a premium product and can be quite expensive.
That applies to cabin size, as well. The suites are large and pricey. They offer more seating and room, but consider how often you’ll be using the space. In comparison, even the tiniest cabin most often has a couch, queen bed, lots of storage space, TV, shower, closet, and some have refrigerators and wall safes.
So here are your choices:
Small inside cabins for those on a budget and desiring less motion
Small outside cabins with a porthole that are priced a bit more.
Larger cabins in both areas depending on affordability
Outside cabins with balconies and optional suites, costing the most.
The higher the cabin level, the more cost. But you also experience more of the ship’s movement, as well. Weigh the cost versus the need and why you want a window. Some of the wealthiest cruisers still prefer inside cabins to reduce the motion. Consider the location to elevators, which can be noisy when people get in and out. This is true for the theater and lounges as well. Cabins closer to them, will pick up more of their partier’s voices. The quietest cabins are down below, away from public areas. Remember that the elevators are only several hundred feet away from most cabins, regardless of where they are located, making them still convenient. And once more, book early to get the best choices. Bon Voyage!
Jeffrey Hauser was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master’s Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. He has authored 6 books and a novel, “Pursuit of the Phoenix.” His latest book is, “Inside the Yellow Pages” which can be seen at his website, http://www.poweradbook.com. Currently, he is the Marketing Director for thenurseschoice.com, a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.
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