How much time and effort do you spend on choosing your stateroom location for your cruise? For many cruisers, the primary deciding factor that goes into booking a room is the type that’s being booked – interior, oceanview, balcony, etc. – and after that, we tell our travel agents “Just make sure I’m not underneath the nightclub.” But by spending a little bit more time researching the ship you’re sailing on, you could get a lot more out of your vacation through your room location.
Type of Room
As I said, for most of us the type of stateroom we book plays a big factor is where our room is going to be. For example, on most ships, if you’re booking an oceanview or cove balcony room, your room will probably be on Deck 1 or 2. This will give you easy, quick access to the atrium, guest services, and to embarking/debarking the ship on port days, but it also means you’re further from the lido buffet, which is on one of the upper decks. With an interior room, you have a much wider variety of options, as interior staterooms are found on nearly every deck, and balcony staterooms are just as numerous on most ships too. So if you want more variety in choice in your location, interior and balcony rooms will typically offer more flexibility.
Onboard Activities & Dining
The onboard activities and dining of your ship should also play a role in determining your room location. Maybe you’d prefer to be mid-ship, next to the heart of the promenade for shopping, bingo, trivia, theater, and all the other inside action. Or maybe you’d rather be up closer to the lido deck so you can be first in line for food and beat all the deck chair hogs. Or maybe you’re planning some pampering and would prefer to be closer to the spa or specialty dining restaurants. No matter what your preference is, let your travel agent know when he/she books your cruise if there’s something you’d like to be closer to. Every cruise ship offers something different, so be sure to do some research or to ask your travel agent what’s onboard so that you can select the room that’s best for you. The closer you are to where you want to be, the more time you can spend enjoying your cruise and less time walking around the ship. And that can really make a difference, especially on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships that are about three football fields in length!
Special Stateroom Needs
Special room needs will also affect your room location. Most cruise staterooms are based on double occupancy, so adding a third or fourth passenger to a room can sometimes affect your room location as well, especially depending on whether those additional passengers plan to sleep in a pull-down bunk bed or a pull-out sleeper sofa. Your room location could also be affected if you require one with wheelchair accessibility or if you have a family or group traveling and want adjoining rooms. If you’ve ever looked at the deck maps of a cruise ship, you’ve probably noticed that some staterooms have special symbols marking them. These symbols will tell you what each stateroom offers in terms of occupancy, accessibility, and amenities.
Last but certainly not least, the motion of the ship is also something to consider when choosing your room’s location, especially if you’re sailing during hurricane season and have the possibility of going through rough waters. If you’re concerned about the motion affecting you, book low and central. The more forward or aft or higher up your room, the more you will feel the ship rock. And on many ships even in calm waters you will still feel and hear a slight rumble from the ship’s engine in aft staterooms.
Of course, there’s one last thing your room location will depend on: availability. If you’re booking a last-minute deal, you might have to make concessions. The earlier you book, the better selection of stateroom options you’ll have to choose from. So book early to be sure to maximize your cruise vacation!