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Tips for Selecting a Cruise Ship Cabin:

by Linda Coffman

A Silver Suite on Silversea Cruises' Silver Whisper has a separate bedroom that can be closed off from the living/dining room area.

Your home away from home
Home Suite Home—these are the most lavish accommodations afloat!

Suites are sweet indeed, but not all are created equal. Some luxury ships term all accommodations as "suites" and they generally range in size from about 250 to 1500 square feet. 

While even smaller suites (often termed mini-suites) and penthouses are generous in size, the largest suites are more like apartments at sea. For example, the Garden Villas on Norwegian Cruise Line's Dawn-class ships measure in at an extraordinary 5,350 square feet. Not only do they have a large living room and three penthouse bedrooms, they also feature huge private outdoor sun decks equipped with hot tubs, changing rooms, and dining areas.

In addition to the usual amenities, your suite will have a small refrigerator or mini-bar. Depending on the cruise line, it may be stocked with complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, and the alcoholic beverages of your choice. You can be assured that a bottle of champagne on ice will await your arrival. Little extras might include afternoon tea and evening canapés served by a white-gloved butler.

Garden Villa bathroom with a view (and a television) on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Star

The beds in most suites are two twin-sized that can be joined together to create the equivalent of a queen- or king-size bed. Expect roomy closets, abundant storage, and deluxe imported soaps and toiletries in the bathroom. And the bathroom may even be outfitted with a jacuzzi-style tub and separate shower.

Penthouse suites and mini-suites on modern ships have intimate sitting areas with a sofa, chair, and a cocktail table. Some of the tables can be raised to dining height. 

Suites and mini-suites in the smaller size ranges may only have floor to ceiling, wall to wall curtains that separate sitting areas from the sleeping space. For suite accommodations with a completely separate living room and bedroom, look for those with approximately 400 square feet and larger.

A mini-suite on Norwegian Cruise Line's
 Norwegian Star

Suite balconies are usually furnished with two chairs and a small table for outdoor lounging. Depending on the ship and balcony size, you may also find a table and chairs for al fresco dining. Be aware that balconies are not always 100% private--dividers might be opaque and may not extend all the way from ceiling to floor or from the ships hull to the railing. On Princess Cruise Line's Grand-class ships, the balconies are "stepped" like a layer cake. The result is that certain categories, even some mini-suites, have balconies which are visible from above.

The top drawer suites on some ships even include the luxurious touch of complimentary laundry service. How SUITE it is!

Take a look at:

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Cabin Selection Tips

Photos © Author's Collection

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