Avoid a costly mistake as a first-time cruiser with this list of cruise ship cabins to avoid.
As a first-time cruiser, choosing a cabin can seem overwhelming.
Is an inside cabin or balcony best and should you select fore, midship or aft? But the decision goes a little bit deeper than cabin type and how far along the deck you are.
If you are one of those people that can sleep through pretty much anything or you are planning to party into the wee small hours of the morning, this is unlikely to be such a big deal. But if, like me, you want your cabin to be your sanctuary, you need to choose wisely.
To prevent you from making a costly mistake, here are the 13 cruise ship cabins to avoid.
Cruise cabin types for beginners
Your first decision when choosing a cruise cabin is the cabin type. Therefore, before we dive into which cruise cabins to avoid, here are the four basic types of cruise cabins to choose from:
The following tips for which cruise cabins to avoid apply to all of these types of cabins.
Cruise ship cabins to avoid
1. Cabins with obstructed views
Booking an obstructed view cabin can be a way of cutting costs on a cruise. However, if you do this, make sure that you know what is obstructing your view.
The extent to which the view is obstructed varies from cabin to cabin, from a very partial obstruction, through to your window artfully framing a lifeboat.
If your itinerary includes lots of tendering, there’s a chance that you’ll be woken up to the sound of the tenders being prepared.
2. Cabins with a connecting door
Many cruise lines offer cabins with interconnecting doors.
These are great if you are travelling with family or a group of friends as they allow free movement between the adjoining cabins. However, they are not so great if you don’t know who your next-door neighbour is.
Noise can be an issue, even to the point where you can hear people talking in the adjacent cabin, not to mention the television blaring at all hours of the day.
Deck plans will readily identify cabins that have interconnecting doors.
3. Too near the lifts or stairs
I always avoid booking a cabin near the lift or stairs.
Apart from the chiming of the lift, these are areas of high footfall and where people congregate and chatter.
4. Too far from the lifts or stairs
This doesn’t bother me so much but if your fitness levels aren’t what they used to be, you might want to reconsider booking a cabin that is too far from the lifts or stairs.
Newer cruise ships are huge: Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Sea has decks running for 1,187 feet. If your stateroom is too far from the lift, and you struggle with walking, you will soon tire of the journey from your stateroom to the ship’s public areas.
5. Cabins near the laundry room
Some ships will have laundry rooms located on passenger decks.
Unless you find the whirr of a washing machine or the rumble of a tumble dryer restful, make sure that your cabin is not located close to the laundry room. This can be a busy area on cruise ships and there will be a lot of people too-ing and fro-ing.
6. Cabins with No Privacy
Increasingly, newer ships have a promenade that runs through the middle of the ship, which can be overlooked by cabins. As these cabins offer little privacy, they should be avoided.
This can also be an issue with exterior promenade decks (my cruise agent warned me off such a cabin location when booking a cruise on P&O’s new ship, Iona)
7. Directly below public and entertainment areas
Cruise ship deck plans really are your best friend. Examine these carefully to identify cabins that are near public areas.
Avoid choosing a cabin above, below or nearby the cruise ship’s theatre, bars, nightclub, buffet restaurant and Kids’ Clubs. Thumping bass sounds or the squeal of excited children is not always the best soundtrack to a holiday.
8. Underneath the pool deck
Do you really want to wake up at dawn each day to the scraping of sunloungers and tables being pulled into position for the day ahead? Or to be kept awake until all hours of the morning by the sound of partying fellow passengers?
If not, avoid cabins below the pool deck.
9. Below the promenade deck
Equally, I’m sure that you don’t want your alarm clock to be the rhythmic thump of those doing their morning run along the promenade deck.
Many cruise ships have a promenade that wraps itself around the ship. Perfect for those wanting to take a stroll or jog to burn off those cruise calories. But if your cabin is underneath the promenade deck, pretty soon you’ll be wishing that these fellow passengers were also having an exercise holiday.
In short, the best passenger deck to choose is one sandwiched between other passenger decks. Whilst you might have the occasional noisy neighbours, they are not likely to have a bass-heavy sound system or dragging furniture at all hours of the night.
10. Cabins on very low decks
At the back of the ship, you may not be able to avoid the low rumble of the engine. The front of the ship is where the anchor is dropped.
Therefore, if you want to avoid engine vibrations and the sound of the anchor being dripped and weighed, don’t book a cabin on a low deck, particularly at the fore or aft of the ship.
11. Next to crew access areas
Cruise ship staff come and go all hours of the day and night. Therefore, if your cabin is situated close to one of their access areas, there’s every chance you’ll be able to hear them going about their work.
It can be tricky to identify where these crew access areas are, and you may want to check with your cruise agent or interrogate some of the cruising on-line forums. But, as a general rule, to avoid this type of cabin, make sure that you are surrounded by passenger cabins and there are no mysterious gaps.
12. Guarantee Cabins
Unless you need to cut costs, avoid guarantee cabins if you want assurances over where your cabin is.
You will be allocated any cabin within the cabin grade that you paid for but will have no say over where that cabin is located. As cabins above or below public areas are the least popular, there is a strong possibility that this is where you will be placed.
13. Don’t tick the box for a cabin upgrade
My final tip for cruise ship cabins to avoid. As tempting as this might appear, don’t opt-in for a cabin upgrade.
You might strike lucky and get an upgrade to a better location of cabin. On the other hand, you could end up below the pool deck, opposite the crew entrance or above the anchor.
For me, it’s not worth the gamble.
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