5 tips for picking a cruise cabin
In this day and age, not picking your own cruise cabin is the same as not picking your own airline seat-just why would you not do that? As I’ve now taken a total of five cruises with two more booked in the coming year, I thought I would offer up my personal tips on selecting a cruise cabin.
Note: With the exception of the first ever cruise D and I took together which was on Carnival, all of my other cruises have been on Disney Cruise Line so obviously I’m basing these tips based on that experience; however, some will obviously apply to any major cruise ship line.
1) Be sure to actually pick a stateroom, do not get “assigned” one.
On the first two cruises D and I took together, we didn’t pick our own staterooms. The first one D planned all by himself so I had nothing to do with the planning portion of it, and the second one was our first ever Disney Cruise and so I was a complete novice. Thankfully in both cases, our cabins weren’t bad but it’s a never say never kind of thing. There’s always the potential you could get stuck with a cabin that’s literally right above a dance club or right below a main dining room i.e. thumping music into the early morning hours, chairs and tables being constantly pushed in and out. Although I know a stateroom on a cruise ship will never be 100% silent, I sure as heck want to have as much quiet as I can at any time.
2) On that same note, do your research
I know what you’re thinking, research you ask? But the answer is yes. Don’t just pick a stateroom, make sure you research any potential ones you are considering. Simply googling Disney Dream 8801 will bring up numerous results that are essentially reviews of the room-either from a website with more generic content or ones that users have actually submitted. But you definitely want to pull up ship deck plans to see where exactly the staterooms are located-are they directly above a dining room? Are the decks above and below yours all staterooms? Just as many people go to Seatguru.com to check out aircraft model configurations and reviews of flights and plane seats, cruising faithful also are regulars on sites like cruisecritic.com and wdwinfo.com for reviews of Disney Cruise Line staterooms.
3) If you’re a light sleeper, choose a room that’s not in a high passage area
I unfortunately do not sleep as well as I used to so anymore when making hotel reservations or picking stateroom cabins on a cruise ship, I try to book away from the elevators. There’s nothing worse than having fallen asleep only to be rudely awakened hours later by individuals who don’t care a fig about being considerate of those whose rooms they’re passing by. Although yes, obnoxious and rude individuals can roam wherever (especially on a cruise ship), you do lessen the chances when your cabin isn’t in an area that anyone coming off of the elevators or the steps will need to pass by. While many people don’t like being at the aft or forward of the ship (basically the front and back) since they find those cabins too removed from the elevators and other offerings, I prefer it. I would much rather walk to things even if it is a bit of a “hike,” than have everyone walking by my room.
4) If you’re torn about booking a balcony stateroom, ask yourself realistically how much time will you spend out on it?
On our first ever Disney Cruise in 2011, I booked a balcony stateroom, namely because it was during hurricane season and the rate was ridiculously low. But as it was only a three night cruise to begin with, not to mention it was early September (i.e beastly hot in the Caribbean), we didn’t spend too much time on it save for the occasional “hey, let’s look out at the water,” or some picture opportunities. Although I didn’t really care for an interior cabin (what we did on our cruise in 2014), it was only three nights and it was also in February when there’s not too much sunshine to begin with (i.e. compared to a day in June). But on our most recent cruise in Europe this past June, I feel like we got the best of both worlds-an ocean view cabin. We could still look out, our room still received tons of natural sunlight, but we weren’t paying scores more for a feature we wouldn’t really use (and this was especially the case in Norway where it was truly cold being outside on the ship). Not to mention, you’re on a cruise ship, there are so many more secluded areas where you can just be. The money you save by not booking a balcony stateroom can definitely be used elsewhere.
5) If your party has more than two people, go the split bathroom route
To me, a major plus of Disney Cruise staterooms is that since the ships were designed with families in mind, many of them feature split bathrooms. This means that there’s a bathroom with a toilet and sink and another one with a sink and shower. Even with two people this makes a huge difference since one person can be showering while the other is getting ready. It also makes your cabin not feel as small.
Is there anything you do when booking a cruise cabin?