Seven ‘Positions’ On A Cruise Ship And Why You Should Try Them

June 19, 2015

First things first get your minds out the gutter. Yes we’re all adults here and yes we all probably do have a favourite position when we’re on a cruise (or anywhere else for that matter) but we’ll be talking about the best location for your cabin on a cruise ship today… nothing smutty at all (this time), sorry.

So what is your favourite position for a cabin when you’re cruising? Everyone always seems to have one and no two people ever seem to quite agree what constitutes a ‘good’ position.

Below then we’ll be discussing the seven most popular areas on a ship that are used to define your position with the pros and cons of each…


Disclaimer: We’re going to be discussing the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ locations for your cabin on a cruise ship but it’s important you remember that there is no right or wrong answer; it’s all down to personal opinion (this is just meant to be a bit of advice to help you choose).


Please note that when people do discuss best and worst what they actually mean is which cabins get the most movement when they’re out at sea; it’s not like certain cabins in certain positions have bigger TVs or free mini bars (although that would be good to know!)

If you don’t suffer from sea sickness you should just be able to skip some of the pointers below.

It’s also worth noting that the bigger a ship you choose to cruise on, the less of an issue this will be. Smaller ships suffer from more movement as they get rocked by the waves more; obviously the bigger a ship is, the less it can be ‘rocked’.

Your destination should also play a lot into your decision. You’ll get a lot less movement in sheltered seas like the Caribbean or the Mediterranean than you might on a transatlantic for example so booking a cruise to one of those if you’re worried about sea sickness might be a good idea.

So which location is best for you…?


Front (front of the ship)

Technically a nautical term but at least this is one of the easier to understand. Quite simply, as it sounds, these are cabins located at the front of the ship.

Of all the cabin locations you can get this is probably the worst for movement. If you imagine a cruise ship as a see saw, as it cuts through the waves the front of the ship will dip down in the water and then come back up, meaning you’ll get the most movement at the front of the ship.

The plus side to that however is that if you don’t suffer from seasickness the cruise lines will sell you cabins in this location for a big discount!



Mid-ships (middle of the ship)

Common wisdom has always stated that if you can get a mid-ship cabin then this will be the ‘best’ position on the ship.

Going back to the see-saw metaphor, imagine the middle of the it. Whilst the seats go up and down the middle never actually moves.

It’s the same on a cruise ship. As it cuts through the waves the front or end will move up and down but the middle of the ship (mid-ships) will stay relatively stable.

mid ships


Aft (back of the ship)

Aft cabins are those at the rear of the ship and suffer from the same problems as those at the front, just to a lesser extent.

You see this is where the see-saw metaphor breaks down a little. Although the back of the ship will rise and fall as the ship cuts through the waves, it won’t be to the same extent as cabins at the front.

This makes cabins at the aft the second most favourable position to book after mid-ships. You won’t get as big a discount as you will for the front but you’ll still find them slightly cheaper than a mid-ships cabin.

cruise ship - aft


Top (top of the ship)

There’s an old adage in cruising; the more you pay, the more you sway. It relates to the fact that cruise lines will always charge the most for cabins at the top of the ship (as these obviously have the best views), however the higher you are up the ship the more you’ll feel the movement.

You see, you need to remember that cruise ships aren’t hotels. First and foremost they’re ships which mean they’re subject to the wind and waves. The lower you stay in relation to the ships centre of gravity, the less your cabin will move (your view just might not be as good!)

cruise ship - top deck


Bottom (bottom decks of the ship)

Relax, you can’t book a cabin under the waterline! You’ll always have a view from your cabin (assuming you’re not booked in an inside) but as already stated picking a cabin situated low in the ships centre of gravity will mean you get less movement from the waves


Being low down can present other problems, especially on older ships.

On some older ships, particularly low down and towards the back of the ship – you can sometimes feel the vibrations of the engines.

This isn’t really an issue on the newer, bigger ships but worth bearing in mind if you’re considering a cruise on an older or smaller ship.

Not everyone likes being able to feel their bed vibrate during the night!

cruise ship - bottom deck


Port and starboard (left and right sides of the ship)

Of all the deciding factors involved in picking a cabin, which side of the ship you’re on should really factor in last.

There was a time (back in the golden age of cruising) when the side of the ship you were on could be very important.

In fact it’s where we get the word posh from (Port Out Starboard Home).

For the non-nautical amongst you port is left whilst starboard is right.

The theory behind it was that when sailing from Southampton to New York you’d have the sun shining on your cabin on the port side going there and on the starboard side coming home.

These day’s however most cruise itineraries are just great big circles so picking a side really doesn’t have any benefit.

cruise ship - port and starboard


And the rest….

There’s a whole host of other positions we could discuss with you if we had the time (but you’d be here all day and probably most of tomorrow, still reading) like the sunset verandas on the Celebrity Eclipse or the famous ‘hump’ on Royal Caribbean’s ships.

Probably the last thing you want to consider before you book though is what else is around your chosen cabin. It’s easy enough to figure out, just take a look at the deck plans…

Is there a bar or restaurant above or below you? Will it be noisy at night? (A big problem if you like to go to sleep early.)

Is your cabin above the theatre – will that be noisy?

How far are the lifts from your cabin? Will you have a huge walk to and from them every day as you navigate the ship?


We’ve tried to cover most of the major points but there’s so many different deciding factors that we couldn’t possibly cover them all!

Fortunately we don’t have to.  If you’re worried you can speak to one of our specialist cruise consultants here who all have a wealth of experience in picking the perfect cabin (they should, they do it for their own cruise holidays all the time!)

What’s your favourite position on a cruise then?

What do you do if you can’t get it?

Let us know in the comments below….