Credit: Oceania Cruises

Outside cabin guide: How to choose the best cabins for your needs

Author: Susan Johnson

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Cruise ship cabins are a lot trickier to choose from than a hotel room. Hence, it is worth taking your time to learn about the cruise ship deck plan before deciding.

Cruise ship cabin accommodation can be less spacious than a hotel room. So, unlike booking the cheapest room for a land-based stay, you should take a different approach for your vacation at sea.

The first step to improving your cruise holiday and making the most out of your budget is finding the right cruise ship cabin.

A lot goes into choosing a cruise ship cabin. First, you must think about the ideal room size and the budget you can afford. Additionally, consider whether it is ideal to pay extra for a private balcony or a window.

Depending on where your cabin is on the deck, it might come with associated perks and privileges to enhance your holiday.

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If you are travelling with your whole gang, you will have to employ some cruise cabin hacks like combining bed or room types to accommodate everyone.

Furthermore, if you book early enough, you might be able to grab some empty cabin cruise deals too.

Here are our best cruise cabin hacks that will help you avoid the most common mistakes.

- READ MORE: The ultimate guide to cruise ship cabins -

Different types of cruise ship cabins

The basic luxurious cruise ship cabins categories are inside, outside, balcony, and suite. There also exist subcategories. Inside cabins tend to be smaller and cheaper, whereas suites are larger and more expensive.

Experience life on the water with an exciting cruise holiday. Credit: Shutterstock

Inside Cabins

Inside cruise cabins are located within the deck without a window or any natural light. But they have all other amenities that a standard window or balcony cabins feature.

Though inside cruise cabins can be hard for those suffering from claustrophobia to stay in, they are ideal if you have a budget to stick to. After all, you won’t really be spending much time in your cabin.

- READ MORE: MSC cabin types -

Virtual Balcony Cabins

A few cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean are upping the cruise ship cabin game by offering virtual balcony cabins. Essentially, you will be living in an inside cabin but with a high-definition screen displaying the sights and sound outside in real-time. What’s better, you get a virtual railing!

Royal Caribbean are upping the cruise ship cabin game by offering virtual balcony cabins. Credit: Royal Caribbean

Outside Cabins

Outside cabins, also known as ocean view cruise ship cabins, come with a window. The window size and amount of natural light vary from one cruise line to another. These rooms are priced between inside and balcony cabins.

The only difference between outside cabins and balcony cabins is that the former is located on a higher deck, while the latter is located midship.

- READ MORE: How to pick a river cruise cabin -

Balcony Cabins

Often the most popular choice, balcony cabins feature a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door that offers access to a private balcony.

It is a great way to get extra space if you stay with others in a single cabin. Additionally, enjoying a coffee and croissant out in the morning sea air is a delightful way to start a day.

Balcony cabins feature a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door that offers access to a private balcony. Credit: Cunard


Suite cruise cabins of all sizes, configurations, and prices are available onboard. Suites offer extra space for your group to move around.

They also come with a separate living room and sometimes even a personal butler. Family suites are ideal if you are travelling with adult kids or elderly parents.

- READ MORE: How to choose a cruise ship cabin -

Handy cruise cabin hacks

  • If you want a peaceful journey, avoid choosing an adjoining cabin as you will have more noise - from hearing your neighbours wake up call to the TV.
  • When travelling with young teenagers and don’t want to share one cabin, get inside cabins that are separated but close together.
  • Avoid cabins directly under or over the kitchens, restaurants, and the pool deck - think vibrations from scraping of chairs, loud music, and night parties.
  • Be careful of last-minute cabin filler cruise deals, as you might end up signing in for a blocked view cabin (cabins with obstructed views where life and tender boats are placed outside your window).
  • Choosing a cruise ship cabin to the very front or the back offers a great view but also lets you suffer the vibrations of the rear engine or front anchor.
  • Cabins located mid-ships are great for people who suffer from motion sickness. You feel the least amount of movement when you are midship, even in the choppiest seas.
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