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Travel: How to Choose the Right Cruise Cabin

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It might surprise you that size may not be the most important factor in choosing your cabin. Location and the amenities that are included in your cabin’s category can be much more important.  Here are some tips to help you select the cabin that is best for you.

You may not be able to fulfill all the suggestions on the list, and not all luxury ship designs allow you to avoid every potential problem.  If possible, pick the ones that fit most of your top preferences and needs.  My advice comes from both my personal experiences as a cruise addict but also from my professional services to the travel industry.

1. If you are worried about seasickness, look for cabins that are mid-ship.  Even if you have sea-legs, you never know when you might hit rough water.  Often, when cruise ships are in the off-shore channels, you can feel the motion from the waves between the land and the ship.  When my husband and I were on a small luxury ship in the Adriatic during the summer, we experienced a hurricane—a rarity.  The last hurricane was over sixty years ago!

2. Don’t be seduced by the trappings of the biggest and most expensive suites.  These cabins can be huge, luxurious and loaded with amenities such as sitting rooms, private outdoor spas, sprawling balconies and other amenities such as early boarding or free wi-fi. But before you choose these suites, look carefully at the deck plans. Many of these cabins are located either across the front of the ship—the bow—or in the very back—the stern.  The cabins in the bow will experience the most motion.  The cabins in the stern might be noisier if they are over a sports or entertainment area.  And if the smokestacks are near the stern, you just might find smoke in your eyes or soot on your deck when you sit outside.

If you want more space, opt to book adjoining cabins in the middle of the ship. You can ask the ship to take out the beds in the other cabin so you can convert it to a sitting room. Your ship’s cabin choices most likely include categories that are at least at the equivalent of a concierge or executive level.  These cabins tend to be more in the middle of the ship. They do include upgraded amenities, but these will not be the same as the ones in the most expensive suites.  If you decide to select adjoining cabins in a lower category, get bold and ask for the amenities of the more expensive suites!

  1. Examine carefully the deck plan of the area near your cabin.  Your common sense tells you not to book near the elevator or stairwell.  But do you know what those lines are on the deck plans opposite your potential cabin?  Those lines usually indicate an access door for the crew.  Call the cruise line or ask your travel agent to find out what is opposite or very near your cabin.

When my husband and grabbed one of the last suites on a sailing to Hong Kong, we realized, after we boarded, that our cabin was opposite a supply room.  The crew went in and out of that room all day and part of the night.  And, of course, that door banged every time someone used it.  We heard the clunk of the vacuum cleaner being dragged, the clang trash being emptied into bins, and the annoying scratch and screech of crew talking on their mobile devices to other staff.

Also, don’t book the cabin opposite the laundry room or the executive lounge. It’s tempting to be so close, but you will hear the banging and clanging and the loud hallway conversations of passengers who forget that they are not at home.

4.  Think twice before booking a cabin on the lowest passenger deck.  Luxury cruises are certainly expensive.  But be careful about saving your money by booking the lesser costly cabins that are just above the crew decks.  Often, the crew is allowed to smoke in their cabins, and the smoke could end up right through the vents in your cabin. Ask your travel agent or call the cruise line to find out if you are above the crew cabins and if smoking is allowed in these rooms.

The cabins on the lowest passenger decks might also experience the most vibration from the ship’s engines.

5. Know what other deck activities are just above or below you.  Cabins on decks just below the pool deck will hear the scraping of deck chairs being set up or put away each night.  If the sounds of dragging and screeching feel like fingernails on a chalkboard to you, then you might have to choose another deck or cabin.  Find out how many evenings of dancing under the stars on the pool deck are scheduled.  The thumping base might be annoying.

Cabins directly above the casino can also send smoke wafting up to your balcony or cabin.  Find out if smoking is allowed on the ship—and if so, where.

Hope these tips are helpful.  Luxury cruising is—well—luxurious, for sure.  The ships are more intimate, the food fantastic and the service-to-passenger ratio is the best.  The low number of passengers, however, also means less number of cabins—and less chances that you can avoid all of these potential issues.

My best advice is, as the saying goes, is to “pick your poison” to avoid the things that concern you the most.  My biggest issue?  Seasickness.  So, you won’t find me in those cabins across the bow of the ship.

Happy Sailing!

Author: Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish is a nationally recognized psychologist and licensed clinical social worker #7132, honored for her pioneering work with women’s issues in love, life, work and family. The National Association of Social Workers has named her as One of the Fifty who has contributed to the field, and by Marquis’Who’s Who publications. Her latest self-help, research-based books are Smart Relationships and  The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie the cartoon companion book where you can follow a year of Cookie’s love missteps and learn about yours! Go to her website www.lovevictory.com and sign up to receive your free booklet, “What to Do on the First Three Dates.”

 

 

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1 Comment

  • Shelley Munro May 27, 2014 1:25 am

    Excellent advice. I can vouch that the cabins up front can be very bumpy during rough weather. Luckily, I’m a good sailor 🙂

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