How To Choose Your Perfect Cruise Ship Cabin

How To Choose Your Perfect Cruise Ship Cabin

Your cruise ship cabin can greatly influence how much you enjoy your holiday. After all, feeling comfortable and content and getting good rest throughout your time on board is critical for making the most of your cruise holiday.

However, with many options when it comes to cruise ship cabins, it’s not surprising that guests often have lots of questions when trying to find the best one for them. This blog aims to help you choose your perfect cruise ship cabin, answering many cruise guests’ frequently asked questions, such as:

What are the cabin types on cruise ships?

What cabin is best on a cruise ship?

How many people can stay in a room on a cruise?

Which side of the cruise ship is best?

What are cruise ship cabins called, and what are the different types?

One of the first things that often bewilders first-time cruise guests is the different names used for cruise ship cabins and the array of choices they have when selecting one. Some cruise lines refer to their cruise ship cabins as staterooms, sometimes just rooms or accommodation, but it effectively means the same thing – your own place to sleep and relax throughout your cruise holiday.

There are four different types of cruise ship cabins: inside (or interior) cabins, outside cabins (or ocean-view cabins), balcony cabins and suite cabins. Almost all cruise lines use these categories when referring to the different cabins on their ships.

Inside cabins

When choosing an inside cabin, cruise guests will enjoy the most cost-effective way of cruising. Generally, inside cabins are the smallest rooms on a cruise ship and do not have a view or a balcony.

Outside cabins

Outside cabins are the next category up. With an outside cabin, cruise guests get a window with a view. Therefore, these cabins are also referred to as ocean-view cabins. Windows can either be portholes or picture windows.

Typically, outside cabins have the same or very similar amount of space and range of amenities as an inside cabin but just benefit from a window.

Balcony cabins

Upgrade to the next category, and you can step outside your room and breathe in the fresh air, as with a balcony cabin, cruise guests have their own private balcony. 

Guests often ask, ‘Is it worth getting a balcony on a cruise?’ and most find it definitely is. Balconies provide a little extra space and are great for some quiet sunbathing or enjoying the spectacular views when you sail into port.

Suite cabins

Suite cabins offer the best accommodation on board and are also the most expensive. You’ll find there are different levels of suite depending on the cruise line and cruise ship.

However, with almost all suite cabins, cruise guests usually have a living area separate from the bedroom, larger balconies and bathrooms, which sometimes come with a bath. Staying in a suite cabin, cruise guests often have access to many other added luxuries, including a butler and concierge service, in-suite dining and high-end coffee machine and priority access to other amenities around the ship.

What are cabin sizes on cruise ships?


Cruise cabin sizes can vary quite significantly on a cruise ship. When looking at what is the smallest cabin on a cruise ship, you’ll find it is the inside and outside cabins. 

The space in the different categories of cruise cabin is not industry-consistent. However, to give you a rough idea, inside cabins average between 150 and 185 square feet on the ships of leading cruise lines. Sometimes outside cabins are marginally larger, with ten to twenty square feet more.

Standard balcony cabins have a bit more room and tend to be between 175 to 220 square feet. 

When it comes to suites, there are many variations and sizes, often uniquely designed by the cruise line. Therefore, space in a suite varies incredibly not only between the cruise lines but also between the different suites on a ship. 

For example, one of the biggest suites at sea is the Disney Wish Tower Suite. With two storeys covering nearly 2,000 square feet, it can sleep up to eight guests.

At the other end of the scale, Princess Cruises offers Mini-Suites. These have a separate sitting area, and at around 323 square feet, they are still quite a bit bigger than standard balcony cabins.

How many people can stay in a room on a cruise?

Nearly all cruise ship cabins sleep at least two people. (Occasionally, you get rooms for solo travellers.) Cruise cabins for couples usually have two twin beds that can be pushed together to create a queen-sized bed. 

If you are travelling as a larger group, you may be wondering, ‘Do cruise ships have cabins for 3 adults?’ The answer is yes; there are cruise cabins for families or larger groups that are designed to sleep three to five guests.

These cruise cabins for families include upper berths that drop from the ceiling or wall to make bunks over floor-level beds. The other option is to have sofas that convert into single or double beds.

For babies or toddlers, rollaway cots are provided. With this innovative approach, cabins that are pretty similar in size can accommodate more people, when required.

Of course, if you decide to book a suite, where some of the largest can sleep up to eight guests, you’ll have much more space for all your family or group.

Which side of the cruise ship is best?

Open deck on cruise ship, sea view

While the suite cabins are the best category of accommodation on board, where your cabin is located on the cruise ship can also make a difference to your cruise holiday experience.

Guests often ask, ‘Is it better to be in the middle or back of the cruise ship?’ and ‘What is the best floor to stay on a cruise ship.’ Here are some general rules of thumb to follow when deciding where you want to stay on the ship.

Proximity to the ship’s facilities

First-time cruise guests are often surprised at just how big cruise ships are, particularly if they are sailing on a mega-ship. If you have a young family or guests in your party with limited mobility, it is worth considering a cruise ship cabin closer to certain facilities. 

Seek out a deck plan to work out which facilities, such as the main dining room, sun deck and pools or entertainment, you would like to be closest to, so you can choose your cabin location accordingly.


While proximity to facilities has its benefits, it also has a downside: noise. If you are a light sleeper or an early riser and do not want to be kept awake by the noise from the evening entertainment, opt for a cabin that is further away from this activity. 

Cabins that are sandwiched above and below other cabins tend to be the quietest. Meanwhile, those close to nightclubs, bars or the pool deck (where there may be night-time pool parties) will be where the noise is at its loudest.


The third consideration for cruise ship cabin location is whether you are prone to seasickness. If so, it is best to opt for a cabin nearer to the centre of the ship and on one of the lower decks, as you will feel the vessel’s movement less here. 

Are cabins at the back of a cruise ship good?

Balcony cabins at the rear or aft of the ship are often considered some of the best (excluding suites). You’ll get some fantastic views, particularly as your ship leaves port, and, due to the ship’s design, the balconies are typically more spacious.

Also, they can be quieter with fewer neighbours nearby and the entertainment often happening mid-ship. The movement at the aft is less than at the front of the ship.

However, it is not as stable as in the middle, so probably not the best option if you suffer from seasickness. The other disadvantage of having an aft cabin is that you’ll be closer to the engine and may experience some noise or vibration.

With so much choice, there is plenty to think about when selecting your cruise ship cabin. So, if you have any further questions about where to book your cabin, please get in touch with our cruise specialists. 

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