There are many things about cruising that can seem intimidating to new cruisers, and one of those is figuring out what kind of stateroom to book. Here's a quick guide on how to choose your cruise stateroom!
The first decision to make is if which type of stateroom you'll be in. Different cruise lines often have their categories broken up into a wide variety of options, but in general, your stateroom will probably fall into one of four types: interior, oceanview, balcony, or suite.
Interior staterooms are located, as the name suggests, on the interior of the ship, meaning that they don't have an outside view. Some staterooms on newer ships have a virtual ocean view or balcony for interior staterooms.
Oceanview staterooms have a window or porthole exterior view. The size of the window or porthole and the type of view can vary.
Balcony staterooms, of course, have a balcony or veranda with an exterior view. Balconies can vary in size, and in how much of an exterior view they have. For instance, some balconies have a clear wall around the balcony, while others have a solid white wall, so that you need to be looking above the railing to see off the balcony.
Suites can encompass a wide variety of stateroom types, but in general they have more space than a ship's typical staterooms, and may include options such as a separate bedroom, a living space, multiple bedrooms, or expanded living and bathroom space. These can vary widely by cruise line and ship. Most suites tend to have balconies.
Once you've narrowed down what type of stateroom you're looking for, these types can be further broken down into other categories, depending upon the cruise ship. Most cruise lines break down categories by location - all of a ship's balcony staterooms, for example, are often separated into multiple categories by location (category 1 may be on deck 8 aft, category 2 on deck 8 forward, and so on). Stateroom categories can also designate other varieties of staterooms - for instance, some cruise lines offer 'family' staterooms within the different types. These often offer a bit more space and are often able to sleep additional guests, so there's room for a family to stay in the stateroom together. Some cruise lines also have designated 'spa' staterooms that are typically located close to the spa, and often have additional benefits and amenities for spa lovers.
Lastly, when your travel agent has everything ready to book your stateroom, you'll also get to choose your specific stateroom in the category you've chosen. Your travel agent can help you with this. Some locations can be better than others, though keep in mind that it's all about your priorities. If you have kids you may want the convenience of being a deck away from the kids' club. If you want a particularly quiet location you'll want to avoid decks above public spaces like restaurants, clubs, and theaters. If you want to get around the ship quickly, you may want a location closer to an elevator. There are a lot of factors that can go into choosing your stateroom location, so take a look at your ship's deck plans and discuss what you're looking for with your travel agent.
One important thing to note: while you get to pick your stateroom location most of the time, there are occasionally some instances where you won't get to do so. This is typically the case when a cruise line offers a special rate called a 'guarantee'. This allows you to book your cruise at a special rate, and you're guaranteed the stateroom category you book or higher - but, you don't get to choose your specific stateroom, and it can't be changed once it's assigned.
Have questions? Our travel pros can help you decide on the best stateroom for you!