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Tips for Selecting a Cruise Ship Cabin

by Linda Coffman

Silversea Cruises - Silver Whisper Silver Suite

701 square feet of luxury
A Silver Suite on Silver Whisper

Your home away from home
"What does it matter? I'll only use the cabin for changing my clothes and sleeping!" Ah, I've heard that viewpoint expressed many times. If it truly doesn't matter to you, go ahead and book the very least expensive category guarantee you can find. On the other hand, if you view your cabin as your sanctuary, you will want a bit more than "standard inside."

Cruise ship cabins are not all created equal; however, they are all designed for comfort, convenience, and practicality. Standard cabins on modern cruise vessels haven't quite achieved parity with land based resort accommodations in terms of size, but cruise lines have recognized that small touches (and more spacious quarters) go a long way toward overall passenger satisfaction. You are likely these days to find your cabin equipped with amenities such as personal safes, robes for use on board, hairdryers, and toiletries—the little niceties that hotels have long provided for their guests.

Comfortable, Convenient & Practical
Aside from the little luxuries that vary from cruise line to cruise line, you'll find your cabin furnished in a pleasing decor. At the very least, a cabin contains beds (often twin beds that can be combined to form a queen- or king-size bed), a dressing table/writing desk, a chair, drawer or shelf storage, closet, and bathroom with shower. You'll also find a television set and telephone and some cabins even have sitting areas with a sofa or loveseat and coffee table.

"Omigosh, it's so SMALL!" Yes, cruise ship cabins often appear more spacious in brochure illustrations. Pay close attention to square footage and think "yacht" not "resort"—by doing so, you'll realize that a lot of thought went into the design and layout of your cabin.

What are the differences in cabin categories and what can you expect? Explore the following categories and take a peek at the illustrations to get an idea of which best suits your taste and lifestyle:

Booking the Ideal Cabin
The perfect cabin... the best deal... I'm sure they exist, but they don't always go hand-in-hand. The lowest fares are in the "guarantee" categories—the cruise line guarantees you will be assigned a cabin at least as good as the category you book. Sometimes this means you'll get a higher category, but you don't get to select your location.

Why is location important? If you are prone to seasickness, your preferred cabin location should be in the middle of the ship on a lower deck where you will feel the least motion. If you are a light sleeper or like to sleep late in the morning, avoid high traffic areas (near elevators and stairs), areas of the ship where noise could be a problem (over or beneath a show lounge or disco), and the bow of the ship (where the sound of early morning anchoring activity could disturb your slumber).

A hard and fast rule for cabin selection is: Pick the category and location you will be most satisfied with for smooth sailing on your cruise.

Photo © Author's Collection

Related Articles: 

Cabin Upgrades by George Leppla, Debunking the "Upgrade Fairy" Myth

Cruise Line Profiles - Get a flavor of what to anticipate and determine which cruise line will meet your expectations.

Cruising for Your Lifestyle - Cruise lines are generally termed Mainstream, Premium, and Luxury. Learn what distinguishes them from one another and which fits your style.

Ship Fun Facts - Interesting and obscure; individual ship facts and figures.

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