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Which is the Best Place to Have a Cabin on a Cruise Ship?

When it comes to booking your cabin on a cruise ship, the choice between the different types of cabin is normally fairly obvious in terms of what you are getting for your money. But next comes the question of where you want that cabin to be on the ship? At this point, it is tempting to start pouring over deck plans and it can all get very confusing, but we’ve produced our guide to help you know where the best place will be to have your cabin on the ship.

Forward, Mid-Ship or Aft?

In general, you will find the cabins in the mid-ship area are the most popular and often a little more expensive too. The biggest reason for this is because mid-ship is regarded as the most stable part of the ship. Very often in calm waters, this will make very little difference, particularly if you are on a larger ocean ship. However, there may be times when your ship hits choppy waters and you will feel a little more motion of the ocean. This is where you would feel the benefits of a mid-ship cabin location. 

Mid-ship is also popular because generally you are more conveniently located for all the facilities of the ship, as you will find yourself roughly equal distance from facilities at the forward and aft of the ship. 

However, if you do have good sea legs and don’t mind strolling around the ship, then you will save yourself some money having a cabin at the forward or the aft of the ship. At the forward of the ship, you will find a little more motion as the bow of the ship rises with the ocean. At the rear of the ship, you are likely to feel a little more vibration from the engines, although this has been significantly improved over the years and on a modern ship you will probably only notice this when the ship is navigating in ports or if your cabin is located on the very lowest decks. 

Higher or Lower Decks?

In general cabins on higher decks will be higher in price and this is simply because the views are going to be better from your window or balcony. You would genuinely be surprised how much difference a few decks can make to the view! 

Having said that, it doesn’t mean we advise you to go as high as possible, because we do not recommend being directly underneath the pool decks, as you can get noise in your cabin from the activities and people moving around above you.

Another reason to perhaps go for a lower deck ties in with the point above on stability, it is more stable the lower down you are in the ship. So, if you are a little worried about your sea legs then we would recommend combining a mid-ship cabin with a low deck. 

The other things to look out for, is any obstructions you may find to your view. For example, if you are the deck above the lifeboats its likely they will obstruct your view down to the water, which could be important if you are taking a cruise where whale spotting is a possibility! So just be aware of what is around you, as well as what is on your actual deck.

Port side or Starboard side?

In general, being on the port or starboard side doesn’t make much of a difference. These days cruise ships can dock on either side, so you may very well find yourself sometimes facing the land and sometimes facing the sea when you're in port. 

Another theory is that you should choose the side that faces the land for as much of the cruise as possible. The reality is this is hard to work out because for example if you are visiting islands then you could approach those in a number of different ways. Equally if you are taking a cruise around a land mass like South America or New Zealand, it’s very likely this wont be anywhere near land, so it won’t make a great deal of difference overall.

However, there are a couple of key cruises where being on the right side can be handy. If you are taking a transatlantic cruise from Southampton to New York, then being on the Port side will mean you are on the side that passes the Statue of Liberty when you arrive. Equally if you are going from New York to Southampton then you need to be on the Starboard side. On an Alaskan cruise heading in one direction between Seattle / Vancouver and Seward for Anchorage then it is favourable to be on the side facing the land as you generally sail much closer to the shoreline and the mountain scenery in this area is spectacular. However, if you are on a round-trip Alaskan cruise then it won’t make much difference as you’ll face the land for around half the time. 

Sunset View / Facing the Rear of the Ship

A popular location for cabin positions are at the back of the ship overlooking the aft. These offer the best of both worlds because you can see port and starboard sides and also on some ships, the balconies can be a bit larger too. However, they are often also the most expensive of the cabin grades because they are also very popular. If you like the idea of this position, then look out for the category normally referred to as ‘Sunset View’ or ‘Aft View’ but you will need to book early to secure these cabins!

Cabins with Interconnecting Doors or Extra Berths

If you are travelling as a family then interconnecting cabins or cabins with 3rd and 4th berths will obviously be key to your search. However, if you are travelling as a couple then we recommend avoiding interconnecting cabins and those with 3rd or 4th berths all together. 

Interconnecting cabins simply means there is a door between your cabin and the one next door, which will be locked if its not in use. However, we frequently receive reports that it is much easier to hear what is going on next door and of course vice-versa too. If you have a choice, its best just to avoid this. 

If there is only the two of you then having a 3rd or 4th berth in your cabin could mean that there will be a bed folded against the wall, which can look a bit unsightly, or even worse you may find a bed where there would normally be your sofa!

To avoid either of the above situations, this may be where you need to get your glasses out and look at the deck plan. Generally these cabins will be marked with a shape, star or mark. Check the key and choose another one if you find it’s something you don’t want.

Select My Cabin Number or Let the Cruise Line Decide?

A cabin guarantee is a booking whereby you choose your cabin grade, but the cruise line decides your cabin number. You will often find that it’s a bit cheaper to do this, so can be a good way to save money. Sometimes on very special cruise deals, or for last minute bookings, you may find there isn’t the option to choose your cabin number and only a guaranteed cabin grade is available.

Where it is possible to choose, we always think its worth paying a little more to know exactly where you'll be, as that eliminates any chance of being disappointed. However, if you are pretty laid back and none of the things discussed above would bother you, then why not save the money and spend it on a round of drinks or a shore excursion instead!

Auto Upgrade?

Some cruise lines offer an auto-upgrade service which means if a cabin in a higher category is available, they may automatically upgrade you. Although this sounds like a good thing, do be aware that the auto-upgrade will mean you are assigned a new cabin and the cruise line will decide where that cabin is on the ship. You also can’t decline it, as they will automatically give away your old cabin to someone else. The upgrade may just mean the same type of cabin (e.g. balcony) but a higher grade so therefore perhaps a higher deck or different position.

If you have decided to pay to know exactly where you'll be on the ship, then we highly recommend declining the “auto-upgrade” option. However, if you’re relaxed about where you are on the ship, then it could be worth accepting it, as you might get a really good upgrade (though no promises from us!)

Help is at Hand!

At Travel Routes we know where the best places on the ship are, and we will always make sure our clients are in the best possible locations. So, if you are really not sure or think there is more to life than pouring over deck plans, then let one of Travel Specialists find your perfect cruise, and your perfect cabin on the ship!

Please note some of the information contained within our cruise guide may differ once cruising resumes in the wake of Covid-19.

Ready to find your perfect cruise holiday? 

Simply complete the enquiry form to get in touch, or call one of our Travel Specialists on 0203 924 8888

Our Top Selling Cruises

Below is just a tiny selection of our best-selling cruise holidays. Get in touch to discuss your exact requirements and we'll help you find your perfect cruise holiday; 

12-Day Canary Islands with Princess
12-Day Canary Islands with Princess

This 12-day cruise with Princess Cruises departs from Southampton and heads for the warm sunshine of Spain and the Canary Islands. Enjoy 6 ports of call including Lisbon, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Madeira. During your days at sea you'll be able to enjoy the wealth of facilities on-board your Princess Cruise Ship including first-class entertainment and exquisite dining options. The best part of this cruise is that you don't need to fly, so your holiday begins the minute you step on-board!

September departures

Southampton  >  Lisbon  >  Gran Canaria  >  Tenerife  >  Lanzarote  >  Madeira  >  Vigo  >  Southampton

Cruise Holiday Includes

  • 11 nights accommodation on the ship
  • Full board whilst on-board the ship
  • Port fees and taxes

From £799 per person

Price based on two people sharing a Interior Stateroom in September 2021. Other dates and cabin upgrades available. Simply enquire below.

Transatlantic & New York Stay with Cunard
Transatlantic & New York Stay with Cunard

Enjoy this Westbound transatlantic crossing aboard the iconic Queen Mary 2. She is a remarkable flagship, her style and elegance are legendary. With 7-nights at sea the choice is yours. There is as much or as little to do as you please, with more possibilities than you'll have time to discover. After your cruise enjoy 3-nights in New York with 2 full days to explore the 'Big Apple!'

Year-round departures

Southampton  >  Transatlantic Crossing  >  New York

Cruise Holiday Includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation on the ship
  • 3 nights accommodation in Manhattan, New York
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included on-board ship
  • A welcome bottle of sparkling wine
  • Port fees and taxes

From £1,249 per person

Price based on two people sharing an Britannia Inside Cabin on November 2021 departure. Simply enquire below.

Alaska Hubbard Glacier with Celebrity

Enjoy a 8-day cruise onboard Celebrity Eclipse as you set sail to discover the spectacular scenery and amazing attractions of Alaska. From the dramatic glaciers, majestic mountains and the amazing wildlife including whales, there is sure to be something to amaze you on this fantastic cruise. The price also include 2-nights in Vancouver at a downtown hotel. (CXC)

May to September departures

Vancouver  >  Inside Passage (Cruising)  >  Sitka  >  Hubbard Glacier (Cruising)  >  Juneau  >  Ketchikan  >  Inside Passage (Cruising) >  Vancouver

Cruise Holiday Includes

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 7 nights accommodation on the ship
  • 2 nights accommodation in Vancouver
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included while on-board
  • Classic beverages
  • Gratuities
  • Transfers and taxes

From £1,599 per person

Price based on two people sharing an Inside Cabin between May and September. Simply enquire below.

Gems of the Danube River Cruise with Scenic
Gems of the Danube River Cruise with Scenic

Enjoy a classic 8-day river cruise along the Danube to discover the historical wonders of Europe from Budapest to Nuremberg. All while enjoying the elegant atmosphere and exquisite service on-board a 5-star vessel with Scenic River Cruises. (SCN)

April to October departures

Munich  >  Nuremberg  >  Regensberg  >  Passau - Linz  >  Melk - Dürnstein  >  Vienna  >  Budapest

Cruise Holiday Includes:

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 7 Nights accommodation on the ship
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners and premium beverages
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • All gratuities
  • Transfers and taxes

From £2,399 per person

Price based on two people sharing a Standard Suite between April - October. Itinerary also operates in reverse. Simply enquire below.

Southern Caribbean with Holland America
Southern Caribbean with Holland America

What better way to see the Caribbean than on this amazing 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise with Holland America. The cruise takes in 9 diverse islands of the Caribbean on a round-trip voyage from Fort Lauderdale onboard the elegant and spacious Volendam. (HAL)

March to April departures

Fort Lauderdale  >  St. Thomas  >  St. Kitts & Nevis  >  St. Lucia  >  Barbados  >  Grenada  >  Guadeloupe  >  St. Maarten  >  Puerto Rico  >  The Bahamas  >  Fort Lauderdale

Cruise Holiday Includes:

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 13 nights accommodation on the ship
  • 1 nights accommodation in Fort Lauderdale
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included while on-board
  • Signature beverage package
  • Gratuities
  • Port fees and taxes

From £2,599 per person

Price based on two people sharing an Inside Cabin between March and April 2022. Simply enquire below.

Singapore to Hong Kong with Silversea
Singapore to Hong Kong with Silversea

The names may seem familiar but nothing can prepare you for the epic beauty of Vietnam. From the natural beauty Ha Long Bay to the manmade artistry of the sacred temples and pagodas, to the rice terraces and beaches, Vietnam is more than a sum of its parts. Three days in wonderfully chaotic Ho Chi Minh City will excite even the most seasoned traveller while a final day at sea allows for plenty of R & R on board. (SVS)

October to January departures

Singapore  >  Ho Chi Minh (overnight)  >  Chan May  >  Ha Long Bay (overnight)  >  Hong Kong

Cruise Holiday Includes

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 7 nights accommodation on the ship
  • 1 night accommodation in Singapore
  • All Inclusive
  • Gratuities
  • Butler service
  • Transfers and taxes

From £4,399 per person

Price based on two people sharing an Vista Suite in Decxember 2021. Cruise operates in varying lengths and itineraries during season. Price includes 10% early booking bonus. Simply enquire below.

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