Selecting the Right Stateroom

Posted July 24th, 2018

With dozens of cruise lines, a multitude of ships and so many staterooms to choose from, it can be difficult for cruisers to figure out the perfect cabin to choose. Whether you're looking for an all-inclusive luxurious suite, an ocean-view balcony, a family-friendly stateroom or options for traveling solo, we can help you find a cruise cabin that meets your budget and still goes beyond your expectations.

Read on for CruiseInsider's recommendations on choosing the right cabin and then speak to our experts to ensure your accommodations are priced right and packed with extra perks!

Don't get overwhelmed by the options

Most cruise lines offer a myriad of cabin choices and "categories" that can differ greatly by ship. Categories may change based on the cruise line itself, the type of ship, the cabin's location, the room's configuration and what services are included, but there are essentially four major cabin categories on most cruise ships:

1. Inside: the smallest, most economical cabins onboard with basic amenities and no window or access to outside.

2. Outside: sometimes known as an "Oceanview" cabin, these staterooms may not be much bigger than inside cabins but they do have windows or portholes to enjoy the outside.

3. Balcony: typically a larger cabin that offers a bit more comfort and features a nice verandah allowing you to step outside onto a small, private deck.

4. Suite: generally the largest, most luxurious cabins on any ship, suites can include a variety of upgraded amenities, additional accommodations and a wide range of perks and preferred services.

While many factors affect cabin selection – price, cruise line, size/layout, view, availability, amenities, extra perks, location on ship and more – choosing the right accommodations is typically a matter of taste and is often influenced by budget.

Our CruiseInsider experts will listen to you and learn your preferences before making any recommendations, but here are some distinct advantages of each cabin category (and a few drawbacks) that may help you select the right stateroom on your next cruise.

Inside Cabin

Also known as an "interior cabin", these smaller, windowless cabins offer the most value and come in a variety of clever combinations, but they may not be right for everyone.

Advantages of inside cabins:

  • Interior cabins are almost always less expensive which means you'll have more money to spend on other things onboard and on shore.
  • No portholes, picture windows or access to the outside means zero natural light . . . but complete darkness makes these cabins the very best place to sleep.
  • With configurations for solo travelers, bunk beds for families and other interesting layouts, there are affordable options for all.
  • You'll feel less movement of the ship, especially towards the middle of the ship.
Insider TipAfter choosing an inside cabin, use the significant savings on shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants and onboard activities you may not have afforded otherwise.

Outside Cabin

An outside or "oceanview" cabin, these cost-effective cabins are similar in size to interior staterooms and almost identical in layout, but the small picture window makes your voyage feel more like a true vacation.

Advantages of outside/oceanview cabins:

  • Though similarly sized, but these cabins cost significantly less than their "balcony" counterparts and often have the same standard amenities included.
  • Oceanview cabins can have either a small window or porthole (which typically do not open) but allows for lots of natural light and a limited view of the outside.
  • While most outside cabins overlook the ocean, some cruise lines have rooms with windows that overlook the ship's interior or one of the decks. These cabins are centrally located onboard, are often cheaper than their ocean-facing alternatives and typically have tinted glass so other passengers can’t see in.
Insider TipIf you're set on an outside cabin and want to spend even less, request a room with an obstructed or partially obstructed view. Usually due to lifeboats or other parts of the ship, these cabins allow for lots of natural light but are often affordably priced.

Balcony Stateroom

With a private verandah, these accommodations are the quintessential cabin-of-choice for frequent cruisers and provide extra space, spectacular views and a variety of exclusive amenities not available in most other categories.

Advantages of balcony staterooms:

  • Two words—the views! From stellar sunsets to incredible islands on the horizon to waking up and walking a few steps to see the new destination you've arrived in, balcony cabins offer the best views on board by far.
  • Balcony cabins are more spacious than most other staterooms and come in a variety of sizes, shapes and options making them the perfect choice for families.
  • Opening your large floor-to-ceiling sliding doors to hear the sound of waves crashing, enjoy unobstructed ocean views and take in the smell of the crisp sea breeze is what cruising is all about.
  • Your own private balcony is the perfect place to have a leisurely breakfast, sip your coffee or a cocktail, enjoy room service or soak up the warm sunshine without any crowds or extra costs.
Insider TipThe best balconies may be found at the back – or the aft – of the ship. With iconic views of the ship's wake, these cabins can sometimes be bigger, more private (since there aren't as many neighbors), with balconies that are deeper and wider than regular balconies and often include extra or upgraded furnishings, such as additional chairs or loungers.


Suites on most ships are more spacious, more luxurious and include high-end amenities and incredible sea views, but it's the extra service and exclusive perks that really make these stellar staterooms worth the splurge.

Advantages of suites:

  • From access to special areas of the ship to all-inclusive amenities as part of the fare, suite guests get access to things that other passengers have to pay for—perks like free specialty restaurants, in-room dining, priority check-in, included shore excursions, free drinks and more.
  • Many luxury lines include butler and concierge services to their suite guests. Whether it's unpacking your bags, bringing you snacks and drinks, helping you pick the perfect pillow or make your spa and dining reservations, these service-minded staffers will elevate any cruise experience.
  • Suites are the most exclusive, expensive and distinctive way to cruise the world in complete elegance. From over-the-top amenities to one-of-a-kind artwork to outrageous views, suites are the most stylish stateroom available at sea.
Insider TipRegent Seven Seas is one of the only luxury lines to boast all-inclusive, all suite accommodations with 24-hour room service, separate sitting areas, luxurious amenities and private balconies in almost every stateroom.

A cruise ship cabin is your home away from home while seeing the world, so selecting the right stateroom is crucial to your overall experience. While choosing the right cabin may seem daunting, with expert insight from CruiseInsider, selecting the perfect stateroom has never been simpler.

To learn more about all the stateroom options and to answer all your questions, connect with a cruise expert by calling (877) 734-6858.

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