Congratulations! You’re going on a cruise for your long-awaited, well-deserved vacation. First – perhaps the most important question: Which cruise ship stateroom I should choose? Now come the fun choices: What will you do onboard? Should you book a spa treatment? Do you need to make any dinner reservations? Which shore excursions should you go on? While it might seem mind-boggling, I’m here to help you wade through the decisions so that you have the most spectacular experience possible.


Decide How You’ll Spend Your Time?

cruise stateroom with balcony

 Photo courtesy:  [Celebrity Cruises] suite on Apex ship

Stateroom selection on a cruise can influence your entire vacation – if you let it. Perhaps you know you won’t be spending much time there, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the smallest, most tucked-away room on the ship. That’s OK. And we can chat about all the other amazing experiences you’ve going to have onboard.

However, if you are looking forward to peaceful ocean views from your private balcony, plush bedding, and luxurious amenities, you should spend more time selecting your cruise stateroom. Here are a few things to consider.

1.  Your Stateroom Category

inside stateroom cat 10 on celebrity cruises

Photo courtesy: [Celebrity Cruises] Inside stateroom view

First things first, your category of room. An inside stateroom is just that, inside. You won’t have any windows in these interior rooms, but if you’re looking for a lower-cost option or, like the traveler I described above, are all about the pool, dining, entertainment, and excursions, this is a practical choice.

Some ships have started using “virtual” balconies in their inside staterooms, using real-time imagery of the sea and the port you’re visiting onto a high-definition display screen.

ocean view category f royal caribbean

Photo courtesy: [Royal Caribbean] ocean view room

Oceanview staterooms allow for water views, but not at the highest price point. The windows are smaller than they might be in a veranda (or balcony) room. They’re usually larger than the interior rooms, some even with a sofabed.

veranda for dining on Azamara

Photo courtesy [Azamara] guests enjoy a meal on veranda

veranda stateroom ups the ante with a private outdoor balcony. There’s enough room to sit and drink your coffee as the world wakes up over the ocean or sip wine as the sun sets on the horizon in the evening. It’s a serene space to call your own, away from the hustle and bustle of the ship.

two bedroom family suite living space on RCI

Photo courtesy: [Royal Caribbean] Two bedroom family room, living area

From here, we move into suites, which really go above and beyond, depending on the cruise line. You may have concierge-staffed staterooms with a dedicated staff member to assist with everything from dining time preferences to afternoon snacks. There are staterooms close to the spa on some ships, with spa amenities in the room. Some luxury cruise lines have created a hotel-within-a-cruise-ship feel, with exclusive staterooms, lounge areas, restaurants, and even pools just for those guests.

2.   Location Matters

retreat sun deck on celebrity

Photo courtesy:  [Celebrity Cruises] Retreat Sun Deck view

Now, let’s get a bit more specific. You’ve chosen the best level of stateroom – where on the ship should it be located? Do you get seasick? Consider a lower, more central room. The very front and back rooms on the higher levels will roll and sway the most.

Think about your room’s distance from the entertainment and pool deck. Would you like to get to the action pretty quickly in the morning? Or not have a long walk back to your room after dinner? Or, would you prefer the distance and the more peaceful ambiance that brings with it?

3.  Stateroom Amenities

cruise stateroom-penthouse suite

Photo courtesy:  [Royal Caribbean] Penthouse Suite bathroom view

In your stateroom, how much do you want to be pampered? If you’re hoping for a bit of luxury on vacation, like a jetted tub, extra-plush linens, bathrobes, priority disembarkation in your ports of call, etc., opt for an upper-level suite category. Again, spa-specific staterooms will come with extra wellness touches, such as yoga mats, specialty bath products, and healthier room-service menus.

4.  Special Considerations

Sailing with family? Now, many cruise lines offer family-friendly accommodations with your kiddos in mind. Next door, there may be an alcove with bunk beds or a connecting cabin. It might be a larger suite, with a separate room for the kids. There are even some massive two-floor suites out there these days, with all the bells and whistles. Going solo? Some cruise lines offer small studio cabins with a full-size bed and a window, although it may look out into the corridor.

What sounds enticing to you? Let’s look together at the cruise line you’re sailing and peruse their options. We’ll find the best cruise stateroom to call your own, keeping you comfortable, while also providing the extras you really do deserve on vacation!