Best and Worst Cabins on Cruise Ships

By ,   November 26, 2015 ,   Ships and Lines

What are the best and worst cabins on cruise ships - and why, of course. Where and what are the best cabins on a cruise ship is a question about location, prices & amenities. You pay a price for a room on a ship (more like to be called floating resorts and even islands, really) and you ought to know what is the best available on the market!

Where and what are the best cruise ship cabins is one of the general questions for first timers. Rooms on cruise ships are like tiny homes at sea, and choosing your very best cabin is kinda personal. Also, your choice will depend on line, ship, stateroom size, view, deck location, amenities, prices.

Since choosing the "best of all" is a relative to a rather abstract concept, we offer you a more realistic point of view on the best cruise cabins as a product ranked "value-for-money" (best prices/amenities/location).

types of cabins on cruise ships

  • what and where are the Best and Worst Cabins on Cruise Ships locatedInside cabins are the cheapest, located in the ship's interior (an inside corridor), no window, capacity up to 4 guests.
  • Oceanview/Outside cabins - about 15-20% more expensive, with windows which don't open or porthole, the cheapest of this type may have partially (or substantially) obstructed view.
  • Balcony cabins (also called Veranda) - 30-40% more expensive than Inside; have outside chairs and a table, often with 4-star amenities.
  • Mini-suite and full Suites (multi-room accommodations) - some of the most expensive, with a private veranda, bathtub (hot tub), a large sitting area, 2 closets. Suites and Interior cabins tend to sell out first (partly because there are fewer of them, partly because they offer, respectively, extremely good value and the cheapest fares).
  • Grand Suite and all Penthouse, Owner's, Presidential and the like suites - the most expensive and the largest cruise staterooms at sea (separate living and sleeping areas, a wide variety of bonus amenities and perks). Sizes vary according to line and ship, reaching up to 5,000 ft2 in the case of NCL's Garden Villa suites. At the modest price of only US $30,000 per week you'll enjoy a private sauna and open air Jacuzzi, your very own kitchen, a private elevator entrance, the best butler service money can buy and the best luxury available on a cruise ship.

special types of cabins on a cruise ship - crew/single/family/Spa/accessible

  • Crew cabins are located on one of the crew decks (on some ships located below the water line/under the water), while cruise ship staff cabins are in the passenger areas.
  • Single cabins (aka Solo cabins) are generally difficult to find. The world's best ships with single cabins belong to the fleets of such famous operators, like Fred Olsen and P&O on the UK market and NCL Norwegian Lines. The best of all ships with single occupancy cabins is the NCL Norwegian Epic, boasting 128 of its 100 square foot (9,3 m2) "Epic Studios" - specifically designed for solo travellers, and featuring a full-size bed and a large round window looking out into the corridor.
  • Family cabins - many of a standard size for its category, but with more beds and bathrooms, providing more privacy for parents. Best lines with family cabins are Carnival, Disney, Celebrity, Princess and NCL.
  • Accessible/Disabled cabins are special accommodations for passengers with mobility challenges. These rooms have wheelchair access, wide doors (doors are even automatic on some ships), a bathtub with grab bars, roll-in showers, portable ADA kits for guests with hearing impairments, closed-captioned televisions.
  • SPA cabins - Spa-deck staterooms with direct access to the ship's Spa and Fitness complex.

what are the best cabins on cruise ships (amenities)

In a concise manner, the best luxury cruise cabins are to be found on Regent Seven Seas and NCL ships, while the cheapest cruise cabins are offered by all HAL and Carnival ships (honored also with the "best standard cabins" reward). NCL (Norwegian Lines) are well appreciated for offering a great variety of staterooms. NCL oofers even garden and courtyard suites, and some of the best family cruise suites at sea featuring a separate living and dining area and an exclusive access to a private courtyard with a pool and Jacuzzi. The Regent Seven Seas line is praised for its all-outside all-suite ships and best luxury.

The largest (by category) and absolutely affordable to most cheap cruise cabins are always "the deal" on Carnival ships. The Carnival's standard cabins are the industry's largest and very well-equipped (even the lowest Small Inside category). As for Holland America cabins, they are 25% larger than those of other premium brands.

Carnival, Disney and Royal Caribbean are well known for having more than decent interior cabins - the Carnival's being most spacious, and those of Disney - most family-friendly. The Disney Deluxe Inside Stateroom accommodates 4 persons with a convertible sofa and a pull-down bed, and also features a split bath. The Royal Caribbean ships of Freedom and Voyager class are honored for their unique inside cabins with windows looking out on the Royal Promenade (a tip - if traveling with kids, choose the most affordable Promenade Family Stateroom - an interior accommodation 300 ft2 /28 m2 in size and capacity of 6 guests).

  • The best BEDS on ships. The Oceania line is the winner when it comes to beds - its Tranquility Beds feature Euro Top mattresses, plush duvets, deluxe pillows, even Egyptian cotton linens. If you like to make the best budget ship vacation deals without sacrificing comfort, then Carnival is your game with the line's world famous Comfort Bed System.
  • The best BATHROOMS on ships. The Crystal ship's suites have separate tubs, multi-head massage showers, double vanities, and of course - the marble tiling. For standard cabins, NCL leads by having 3-sectioned bathrooms - the sink is in the middle, while a separate toilet and shower section are positioned on either side. Disney ships are also ranked for their family-friendly split bathrooms.
  • The largest CLOSETS on ships. Regent and SilverSea lines get the 1st prize for having the largest walk-in closets. The storage spaces include a hanging section, numerous drawers and shelves, and places for shoes. The best cheap option is Carnival with its faux walk-in closets.

where are the best cabins on a cruise ship (location)

Choosing the best cruise cabin location on your ship is a matter of personal choice. Generally, your cabin will be located either on lower (higher) deck, mid-ship, forward or aft (rear), with some pros and cons to all these locations. Booking a "guarantee" cabin is an open deal - you pay for a cabin category (not a specific stateroom) - best prices are guaranteed, but not necessarily the best location.

  • Lower Deck cabins - cheapest. The most cheap are the lower deck Interior staterooms. The main advantage (beside the price) is a smoother ride. Main disadvantages - you're using constantly elevators/stairs, more engine noise/vibrations, the sound of the anchor dropping (if you're near the ship's front).
  • Higher Deck cabins - more expensive. You'll feel more motion (not suitable if you're prone to seasickness). But you're closer to the best ship amenities - entertainment and dining venues, onboard pools, Spa, bars and lounges, etc.
  • Midship cabins - less motion and a central location. Main disadvantage - more traffic outside. Also check the lifeboat locations (lifeboats may significantly obstruct your view).
  • Forward cabins - the most motion, wind and spray, smaller windows (often recessed or slanted). Forward located suites provide larger than average balconies.
  • Rear (Aft) cabins - more motion than the midship cabins, but less than the front ones.

best cruise ship cabins by type/cruise line

cabin types the cheapest mid to low-priced best-luxury / the most expensive
  • Carnival has the cheapest Inside cabins - the industry's most spacious "low budget" rooms (195 ft2/ 18 m2).
  • Celebrity ships Constellation, Infinity, Millennium & Summit are 171 ft2 /16 m2).
  • on Disney Magic & Wonder they are 173 ft2 (bath & a half, bathtub).
  • Holland America ships Maasdam, Ryndam, Statendam, Veendam, Volendam, Zaandam - rooms are 182 ft2 /17 m2.
  • Princess ships have Interior rooms of 135 to 148 ft2/ 13 to 14 m2 in size.
  • Windstar ships - beautifully decorated, size 180 ft2, ample closet space, not cheap at all.
best OCEANVIEW/OUTSIDE cabinsPorthole cabins are often offered at Inside rates, but they are way bigger then an Interior or an Oceanview.
  • Carnival Conquest class ships (220 ft2/ 20 m2) - ample drawer-closet space, sitting area with sofa, convertible king bed, cat 6A rooms have a 12 ft2 / 1 m2 window.
  • Royal Caribbean ships Voyager- & Freedom class - cat F (211 ft2 /20 m2) have a 12,3 ft2 window,  cat FO ("family oceanview", 265 ft2 /25 m2) are with 3 berths (1 king, 2 single). The RCI's average outsides are of 180 ft2.
  • Think of the HAL's "compass" ships Noordam, Zuiderdam, Oosterdam, Westerdam - with the largest Oceanview cabins at sea (194 ft2 /18 m2, 2 lower beds convertible to queen).
  • Celebrity Solstice's "Family Ocean-View" has a small Veranda (but still offered as OceanView, 575 ft2 /53 m2), location ship forward, slanted walls. Celebrity Constellation, Infinity, Millennium & Summit (172 ft2 /16 m2, with huge closet space).
  • Princess Sun class  ships (178 ft2 /17 m2).
  • Disney Magic & Wonder Oceanviews are with bath & a half (173 ft2).
  • In the "Best OceanView" category - Crystal Cruises Symphony and Serenity ships (202 ft2 /19 m2) and REGENT Seven Seas Navigator (301 ft2 /28 m2), all with huge picture window.
  • While Seabourn ships don't have balconies, they do have sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors, outside rooms are 277 ft2 /26 m2, with separate sitting area, walk-in closet, marble baths, hot-tub.
  • On the SilverSea's Shadow and Whisper ships the lowest category Oceanviews are "Vista" - (287 ft2 /27 m2, with picture window), the standard balcony is 345 ft2 /32 m2.
best BALCONY cabins
  • Carnival is the cheapest again - on the Spirit, Legend, Pride & Miracle ships - OceanViews are 185 ft2 /17 m2,  balcony size 40 ft2 /4 m2.
  • Celebrity Solstice (195 ft2 /18 m2, comfy, beautifully decorated. Concierge-rooms offer upgraded services/amenities, extra-large bathrooms.
  • Disney Magic & Wonder (253 ft2 /24 m2) - some of the industry's largest balcony cabins.
  • Holland America ships Maasdam, Ryndam, Statendam, Veendam; Volendam, Zaandam (234 ft2 /22 m2, balcony 50 ft2 /5 m2).
  • The NCL ships Gem, Jade, Jewel, Pearl - cat AF Mini-suites (with concierge service) are 234 ft2 /22 m2, balcony size 54 ft2 /5 m2), standard balcony rooms are 162 ft2 /15 m2, with 38 ft2 / 3,5 m2 veranda), and their prices differ slightly.
the best SUITES on ships
  • The Princess' Mini-Suites are better choice than an avrg balcony room, and are often available for little over $1000 pp.
  • NCL ships Gem, Jade, Jewel, Pearl - cat AB (Penthouse Suite, 490 ft2 /45,5 m2, balcony size 54 ft2 /5 m2). This is best deal on cheap luxurious cabins - 1 separate adult bedroom with queen bed, 1 kids bedroom, separate living & dining areas, luxury bathroom with hot-tub, butler & concierge services.
  • The best Luxury cruise suites are on Regent ships Mariner and Voyager ("all suite all balcony" ships) - sizes vary from 301 to 2,000 ft2 /28-186 m2).
  • SilverSea's Silver Whisper & Shadow ships - "Veranda Suites" are 345 ft2 /32 m2, the "Silver Suite" is 701 ft2 /65 m2.
  • The two Crystal ships (Serenity & Symphony) have 2 main suite categories - Veranda & Penthouse. Cat PH (Penthouse) is 367 ft2 /34 m2, Penthouse Suite is 500 ft2 /46,5 m2, both categories with top luxury bathrooms (gold-plated hardware, marble sinks, huge tubs).
  • Windstar Cruises Windsurf ship has "suites" made of 2 adjoining rooms (total size 360 ft2 /33 m2.

where are the absolutely best cruise SUITESwhat are the best cabins on cruise ships

  • On the SilverSea ships Whisper and Shadow - the 1-bedroom "Royal Suite" is 1,352 ft2 or 126 m2 (the 2-bedroom version is 1,697 ft2 (158 m2), the "Grand Suite" is 1,435 ft2 or 133 m2 (2-bedroom is 1,780 ft2 (165 m2) and the "Owner's Suite" is 1,553 ft2 (144 m2). The last category "top luxury cruise suite" prices start from the modest US $850 per person per day!
  • The NCL cruise suites on Gem, Jade, Jewel and Pearl ships are the "affordable choice". The Norwegian Pearl's "Garden Villa" boast a staggering size of not less than 2,320 ft2 (216 m2) plus a huge balcony measuring 1,035 ft2 (96 m2). The Norwegian Jewel's two Garden Villas are combined into an almost 5,000 ft2 (465 m2) mansion. Floor-to-ceiling windows, deck furniture, a separate bedroom (1 king bed), a fabulous private bathroom with hot-tub, 2 additional bedrooms with their own private bathrooms, a living room, a dining room.

And finally, about which are the worst cabins on cruise ships/to avoid (work in progress). First of all, there's no such thing as "the worst cabin" - simply because to offer a bad product (even for cheap money) is not the right way of doing multibillion dollar cruise travel vacation business. However, if you are a person who needs quiet to sleep - choose locations away from elevators and public spaces, with at least 1 deck between your cabin and any crowded place - pools, dining venues, children areas, bars and lounges, night clubs.