What Is A Stateroom On A Cruise Ship ( Ultimate Guide)


If you are booking a cruise for the first time then you may be wondering about all of the cruise terminology cruisers use to explain what is in essence a vacation? However when you are planning a cruise vacation this terminology is very relevant. A big question people ask is what Is A Stateroom On A Cruise Ship? Here is everything we know about staterooms and suites on cruise ships.

When you book a land hotel room you are able to book one of two types of room, however on a cruise the list is long. So let’s unpick and look at all the different kinds of stateroom available.

Complete Guide to Cruise Ships Cabins, What are the different types of cabins on a cruise ship.

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What Is A Stateroom On A Cruise Ship?

Otherwise known as cabins, or in a land based hotel, rooms, there are so many kinds of cruise ship staterooms. All with different layouts, in different locations on the ships. You also have to consider factors such as, are you a light sleeper? Do you want your own private balcony or exclusive access to private bars or restaurant’s?

Another huge factor you must consider when choosing your cabin category is cost? Cabins come in all budget levels, this is great as it makes cruise vacations so much more accessible to all. You can simply choose your cabin to suit how much you want to pay for your cruise. We have stayed in all the cabin types and all have their own benefits.

Or do you want your cabin to be in a specific location? Choosing the best type of cabin location will often come at an extra cost. However it means you can choose to have better access to certain areas of the ships.

Balcony Cabin On The AMA Magna

Choosing A Stateroom Location On A Cruise Ship

The cabin type, cabin location and stateroom category depends on several factors and the particular ship you are sailing on

  1. Do you anticipate or are you concerned about being sea sick
  2. Will noise levels bother you?
  3. Do you want easy access to facilities?
  4. If you plan to use the fitness center?
  5. Are you travelling with children?
  6. Are you able to walk far?

If You Are Seasick

If sea sickness is a consideration you will want a stateroom in the middle of the ship on a lower deck Here you will find less movement if the ship hits a rough patch of sea. The higher cabins feel the sway much more, I love this feeling as you drift off to sea at night. But its not for everyone.

Will Noise Levels Bother You?

If noise levels bother you avoid cabins near the lifts. The forward (front) or aft (back) of the ship are much quieter as there is less traffic. Also avoid cabins around the kids clubs, especially if you like lazy mornings or go to be early.

It’s a good idea to be mindful of the decks above or below your chosen cabin. If you are under the gym, sundeck or buffet restaurants you can sometimes hear noise or chairs scraping on the floor above you.

Whereas being over night clubs and entertainments areas can also be noisy too. Cruise ships are well insulated for sound, but you do hear some noise. So get to know the deck plan or speak to your travel agent before you book your cruise vacation and choose wisely.

Oceania Marina balcony cabin 10035

Do You Want Easy Access To Facilities?

Are you an early bird and like to be at the pool at sunrise? Or do you like to pop back or forth from the cabin? If so consider a stateroom on the top half on the ship, but avoiding the deck under the pool deck and buffet.

However if you prefer the dining bars and coffee shops look at cruise ship cabins lower down. Cruise ships are easy to get around but on a seas day lifts do get congested.

Pool on Odyssey of the Seas

If You Plan To Use The Fitness Center?

Then its a great idea to choose a stateroom nearby, thus allowing you to nip to an early morning class. You will find a selection of accommodation including inside stateroom, oceanview cabin and balcony rooms all close by so there will be a great choice.

Cruise Cabins If You Are Travelling With Children?

If you are travelling with children or toddlers you many want to consider a family cabin near the family public areas such as the kids pool or kids clubs. This is especially valuable when you are collecting tired children from the night time activities.

Best Cruise Cabins If You Have Mobility Issues?

If mobility is an issue, all cruise lines have accessible cabins which are mostly large enough for wheel chairs and mobility scooters. Also consider choosing a location nearer to the lifts. Its a long walk to the aft or forward.

View of Balcony Cabin on Odyssey of the Seas

Let The Cruise Line Choose Your Cabin Location

Before we move on to types of cruise cabins on a cruise ship, you can choose to let the cruise line choose your cabin location or choose yourself. Allowing the cruise line to pick your stateroom is a cheaper option and could save several $100 dollars.

However you are likely to get a less convenient location as these will often be the cabins not yet booked by passengers. If you want a specific cabin location pay to choose your own. However if you want a bargain this is a great way to get one.

Choosing A Stateroom On A Cruise Ship

Ok, so we have looked at cabin location. There are also many different types of cabins you can choose. The perfect choice of stateroom on a cruise ship is totally down to you, your budget and preferences.

P&O Iona inside Cabin Tour

Inside Cabins On A Cruise Ship

Interior staterooms offer great value, but are also very comfortable. Also if you are not going to spend much time in your cabin then an interior room is the perfect option. Your generally have a choice of inside staterooms on a lower deck, or higher up. These are the most affordable cabins on a cruise ship so offer great value. Some cruise lines such as NCL also offer single cruiser cabins which is a great cost saver.

Virtual View Cabins On Ships

A virtual view cabin is an inside cabin which has a virtual view much like a giant screen that replicates what a balcony cabin view would offer. These are great when you have kiddies and want the view which is usually real time, but dont want the risk of an open balcony. They are also a more affordable option than a balcony, but with a view.

Virtual Balcony Royal Caribbean

Ocean View Cabin

This depends of the ports of call, for example if a view and natural light is important to you but you have small children? Then you may feel more at ease with a Ocean View Cabin with a large window with a view of the ocean, rather than opening doors our onto a balcony? We found this the best option for us when our children were smaller. And getting the right room for your family makes life so much easier.

However if you are doing a transatlantic cruise on a Northern route you wont go outside much, its too cold and windy so a view is a great idea without the balcony.

Outside CAbins on NCL Encore for families of 5, family cabin Stateroom On A Cruise Ship

Balcony Cabin

Balcony cabins allow to have your own private space overlooking the sea. This for us is a wonderful option to chill on the balcony rather that sit around a crowded pool. There is something wonderful about having the balcony doors open on a hot day as you get ready for dinner with the sea breeze billowing through the cabin.

Do you want a balcony cruise cabin but are on a budget? Then a balcony cabin with obstructed views would be an affordable option. You get the outside space and fresh air but generally have a life boat in front which will obstruct your view.

Another tip if cruising with small children, aft balconies are often staggered so have balconies underneath, additionally promenade cabins on P&O Iona open onto the promenade so also safer for little climbers.

Junior Suites On Cruises

Junior suites offer extra space than you will get in a balcony cabin. But many also come with extra perks, such as sitting areas, mini bars, priority boarding and better locations. The benefits do depend on cruise line, and many offer double points for cruise line memberships when you book this category of stateroom.

Mini Suite Royal Princess - cruise ship for families, What is a Stateroom On A Cruise Ship

Cruise Ships Suites

All cruise lines offer suites, but the offerings do vary. Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, MSC, Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity cruises offer suite staterooms with free access to private bars, and exclusive dining room, a deck with a hot tub and cabins are a larger square footage. Of course you pay for this in your fare, but these areas are exclusively for suite guests.

MSC Fantasia Yacht club large balcony 16035, Best Stateroom On A Cruise Ship

Types Of Cruise Ship Suites

  1. Family Suites
  2. Grand Suites
  3. Owners Suites
  4. Royal Suites
  5. Loft Suites
Cabanas on Symphony of the Seas Royal Suite deck
Cabanas on Symphony of the Seas Royal Suite deck

These suites offer various sizes of accommodation and also levels of perks. On newer ships you will find dedicated areas sun decks, butlers, perks depend on the cruise line. However these come at a price, but guarantee a top level of concierge service. Check out our review of Yatch Club on MSC.

Which Is The Best Stateroom To Book On Cruise Ship?

That all depends and whats going on when we book, time, location, itinerary, budget. What helps is having all of this information at hand to make an informed decision on cabin type and location. We hope it helps and enjoy cruise planning and also check out our best family cruises if you are trying to decide what cruise to take and packing guide I always leave something at home.


  • Sarah Christie

    Sarah also writes for Mini Travellers Family Travel Blog and Extraordinary Chaos Craft and Lifestyle Blog. Both are award-winning blogs with a travel and family focus. She is married and has two boys, aged 18 and 22, who all love cruising as a family. Nothing is better than waking up every day in a new port with new and exciting things to explore. She aims to share how cruising as a family with young adults is the perfect choice for family travel. Her boys are sporty and love the activities, sports and dining options cruising offers. Sarah has worked with brands such as Walt Disney World, Mark Warner, Ikos Resort, Center Parcs, Laura Ashley, Belling and Next.

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