Ocean view? Porthole? Verandah? Penthouse suite? Desolate mushroom pit? Which is best for you? Well, that depends. Read on.
If you book your cruise early enough, you should be able to tell your travel rep where you’d like to live on your ship. Choosing a cabin suited to your personality and biological needs is the first step in ensuring a memorable and happy cruise.
Let’s start with these three terms first: Amidships, fore, and aft.
Amidships has its positive aspects especially for those prone to seasickness. Consider this the middle of the seesaw while the fore (front) and aft (back) are the ends of the teeter totter yielding the most noise and hardest wave action. The fore can be extremely noisy in rough sea as the hull is beaten by waves, but the aft, in calm waters, can provide a more private place to sun and rest.
A ship like the Celebrity Mercury houses its Shipmates Fun Factory at the rear of the ship on the Vista Deck, Deck 9. Most people view a cabin near this area to be a negative placement, but quite the opposite is true. You rarely hear the kids, and when you do, it’s usually a happy noise. And you are only steps away from a quiet back area. It’s an especially nice bonus for those not able to secure a private verandah or balcony.
A balcony is a must for very warm cruises, like through the Mediterranean, but definitely not in colder climes like Alaska and Australia. A balcony is also a waste on a transatlantic crossing since all you’ll see is water, and more water.
If you can’t get a balcony, an unimpeded deluxe ocean view cabin is wonderful. While you can’t step outside, you do get natural light, and you will always be able to see out in spite of salt-grimed glass.
An inside cabin (for me) is to be avoided at all costs especially by those suffering from even minor forms of claustrophobia or SAD (seasonal affective disorder). An inside cabin is akin to a tomb or a coffin. It is always dark, and upon awaking there is no way to tell the time of day. But if you can stand living like a mushroom, then book an inside room (you will save a whack of money.)
Then there is deck height. The higher the deck, the more you will feel the wave action. But those passengers housed in lower decks will SEE the wave action, right outside their window.
Keep in mind, when booking your cabin, the side (port is left, starboard is right) of the ship it’s located? Ask your travel agent the direction you’ll be cruising when alongside land; you’ll want to book your cabin on the side closest to the land, obviously.
For help in making a more informed decision about your particular ship, try CruiseMates or this USA Today article. Other really good research sites are CruiseCritic and SecretCruises.
Above all, if you are picky, book early so you can secure a room to your liking. Check if your travel agent or the cruise line is offering any deals; in many cases, upgrades may be available. An upgrade could mean the difference between an unobstructed and an obstructed ocean view room. You will appreciate the difference when you find your “ocean” view filled with a life boat or a window-cleaning platform.
Oh, and a room with a porthole? Imagine having a view on the world about the size of your toilet bowl. If you can stand this peephole outlook, you’ll have money left over for those other expensive ship extras like shore excursions, and soda pop (an endless pop on a 10-day cruise for two people is 100-bucks).