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Choosing the Perfect Cruise Cabin

A cruise ship is both a floating hotel and your home away from home, so the cabin type you select is an important part of ensuring that your cruise holiday will feel perfect. Everyone has different priorities and there are many options when it comes to selecting the perfect cabin for you.

There are four basic cabin types to choose from when you cruise. Here are the main cabin types available on most cruise ships:

Interior Cabins (commonly referred to as Inside Cabins):
Inside cabins are usually the least expensive staterooms on a ship. They are located on the interior of the ship and have no windows. Most cruise lines install a mirror or drapes to make the rooms feel less confining; Disney’s newest ship will actually have ‘virtual’ windows to give passengers the sense that they are not in an interior stateroom. Who chooses this cabin type? Those who are very budget conscious. Parents often put their older children in an inside stateroom across from their own oceanview or balcony cabin. Travelers who are rarely in their room or who do not enjoy spending time in their cabin also select this type. But remember, when you are in a destination like Alaska, the view is the reason you’re there. Also, the length of the cruise may be a factor. On a shorter cruise one may not spend as much time in a cabin. However, on a longer cruise selecting a cabin with a window or a balcony may be more important. So, take a look at where and how long you will be traveling and think about how important the views will be to your overall cruise experience.

Oceanview Cabins (commonly referred to as Outside cabins):
This refers to the minimum cabin that provides a window or port hole to the outside. Often, the windows are not large but they do provide natural light and views that you don’t have with interior cabins.

Balcony Cabins:
Balcony cabins provide sliding glass doors onto terraces, allowing for extraordinary (and private) ocean or destination views. You can relax on you balcony in the morning with a cup of coffee and enjoy the views. On sea days you can get comfortable with your favorite book. In the evenings enjoy a glass of wine on your balcony as you get ready for dinner.

Suites are next as you go up in category and price. Suites almost always include balconies or verandahs and some even have separate sleeping areas or private bedrooms and larger bathrooms (often with a tub and/or separate shower) as well as larger closet space. The décor becomes more opulent and additional amenities are often included – all the way up to your own butler!

Guaranteed Staterooms:
A guaranteed cabin really applies more to a rate than to a stateroom. If you are offered a guarantee rate for a ship and sail date, you are really taking an option on a category of cabins rather than a specific cabin. In most cases, your cabin number is assigned at some point prior to departure, although there are instances where a cruise line may opt to wait until you board to assign your cabin.

Why select this option? The main reason is price. A guarantee stateroom is less expensive to book than a confirmed cabin assignment. However, there is a catch. A guarantee stateroom can be assigned in any part of the ship. Guaranteed cabins may have an obstructed view (in other words, part of the view may be hidden by a lifeboat or other obstacle), may be on a lower floor or a higher floor, or in the very front or very back of the ship. So why would you ever consider booking a guarantee? Because cabin guarantees may also be upgraded at the discretion of the cruise line. So, depending on how full a sailing is, you might find yourself paying for a cabin with a porthole and finding yourself in a balcony cabin – a cabin that would have been considerably more expensive if you had selected that cabin initially. The bottom line is that a guarantee rate is great for someone who really does not care where they are placed on the ship. You should not select a guarantee cabin if your cabin location is critical to you, if you are traveling with others that you need to be close to, if you need to be near an elevator or have other specific requirements. In any of these cases you should opt to pay a little bit more and select the stateroom you really want.

All cabins have full bathrooms with a shower, toilet and sink.. Some cabins even have a bathtub in the higher categories. Other features include a television, in-room safes and a blow dryer on most ships. Some cabins also include a refrigerator.

Selecting the right cabin is a personal decision based on a number of factors including price, cabin size, cabin location, cabin amenities and the itinerary. Do your research before selecting a cabin. Look at the deck plans for your particular ship. Read the descriptions and look at the cabin sizes, locations, amenities, features and prices. Considering all of these factors will help you to choose the right accommodations. Also, the advice of a cruise specialist to help you to understand all of your options can be invaluable.

Family Reunion Cruise

There's probably nothing more wonderful for a family than the opportunity for generations to get together and have fun. Using a cruise ship gives you the convenience of a 'one-stop' shopping experience to plan a perfect holiday for every generation in the family, reduces the stress involved in planning, and frees everyone up to focus on enjoying one another's company. How does it work?

Because cruise ships already focus on providing a top-notch experience for family members of all ages, everything for your family is already in place. On their own, family members can individually participate in spa treatments, exercise classes, cooking demonstrations, kids programs – the list goes on and on. After a family dinner (the cruise line will arrange for all of you to sit together), everyone is off and running again to watch a Broadway-style show, have a try a karaoke, hit the casino, or enjoy a walk in the moonlight and watch the ocean.

Another big plus is that everyone will know their food and lodging costs upfront and can plan accordingly – so no hidden surprises. And, family members who may want to pay for more luxurious cabins may do so, while those with smaller budgets can still be happy and comfortable in less expensive cabins.

No matter which family member organizes the reunion, everyone gets to have a fun and relaxing time. No one gets stuck with cooking and cleaning or looking after everyone else's needs. That's part of the service package that comes with your cruise price. While everyone is out having fun, your cabin attendants are keeping your rooms neat and tidy!

Did we mention the space to spread out while you're having a grand time? Some of today’s cruise ship’s are the length of several football fields and as tall as a skyscraper. This means that large reunion groups still have plenty of options finding places to do things together, while smaller groups can seek out the more intimate areas of the ship.

Cruise ships sail from ports all across the USA, and most of these port cities are within driving distance from a large number of cities. For those not near any port, all cruises offer reasonably priced air options that also include transfers to and from the airport and cruise ship, taking the hassle out of arrival and departure.

Eat to your heart's delight – it's already included in your cruise fare! There is an amazing range of high quality dining (both casual and formal) available on cruise ships. The cruise line can arrange for a family to dine together in advance, and then you can select a couple of your nights on board to let everyone dine as they wish, whether it’s pizza or hamburgers, exotic cuisine in an alternative dining venue, or the comfort and elegance of the main dining room.

And, best of all – cruise ships mean less hassle. You’ll pack and unpack just once, and you won’t spend any extra time trying to confirm dining or lodging reservations. All of that has been taken care of prior to your arrival. The only thing you’ll have to think about is having fun and making family memories that will last a lifetime.