Your choice of cabin, or stateroom, is likely to be a major factor in how well you enjoy your cruise.
Cruise ship cabins come with variations in four basic categories (inside, outside, balcony, or suite), which vary in size and quality by cruise line and ship. If you view your cabin as your sanctuary, you may find that moving up a few categories may cost less than you imagine because pricing is as much about location as any physical differences in the cabins themselves. Both factors help determine cruise lines’ myriad pricing tiers.
Spacious suites are the most lavish accommodations afloat, and although they are always larger than standard cabins, they do not always have separate rooms for sleeping. This is the priciest option for any cruise, though suites typically come with extras thrown in. At the least, you should expect priority boarding and disembarkation, concierge service during the cruise, and top consideration when making restaurant and spa reservations. Some suites come with butler service, too.
Cabin locations might be on a higher or lower deck, forward or aft, inside or outside—and the location of your cabin can affect your cruise fare as much as the type of cabin you choose. Staterooms high on the ship with a commanding view fetch higher fares, while those on lower decks are usually the cheapest. On lower decks, you’ll pay less, but find more stability, particularly in the middle of the ship. Forward cabins have a tendency to be oddly shaped, as they follow the contour of the bow, and they may have portholes instead of picture windows—and they can also be noisy when the ship’s anchor drops. In the aft of the ship, you’re more likely to hear engine and machinery noise, but many passengers feel the view of the ship’s wake is worth any noise or vibration they might encounter there.