PICK THE PERFECT CABIN
The Indian river cruise had only just begun, but I was surprised to find a passenger, Douglas S., looking miserable. He’d assumed the cabin he’d chosen at the rear would be bigger, but it wasn’t. All were the same and, even worse, his accommodation was directly above the engine room with all its fumes, noise and vibration. Guessing won’t land you a good cabin, but looking at the deck plan is a good place to start. It’s tougher still on large ships to make the right choice. Here’s a how-to for getting the cabin that ticks all the right boxes.
Think of a seesaw and that’s how ships move. You’ll feel more roll and sway at the front, back and upper decks. A cabin mid ship is the most stable, best suited to both queasy and less mobile passengers.
NOISE AND VIBRATION
Avoid proximity to vibration from the engine room, laundry and anchor. You won’t want thumping music reverberating in your cabin either, so avoid bars and dance floors. Steer clear of lifts and laundries where passengers congregate, crew quarters and galleys where doors open and shut 24/7, and scraping deck chairs near pools.
The quietest cabins are those sandwiched between passenger decks.
CLOSE TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE
Where will you be spending your time onboard? In the cafe, restaurants, bars, pool, spa, adult’s retreat, or gym? Check the deck plan for cabins that are close by.
Choose a balcony cabin on a promenade deck and you could find inquisitive passengers peering in. Same goes for cabins with a stepped balcony where passengers can look straight down.
If the ship’s itinerary follows the coastline, choose that side of the ship to watch the passing scenery. And if your cruise is about downtime, relaxing in your cabin, choose a balcony especially if it’s balmy or several days are spent at sea.
If you’re on a budget, an interior cabin is great value – with downsides – you won’t have a sense of where you are, and when the lights go out, it’s pitch dark.
Consider an interior with a virtual balcony, that overlooks an interior atrium or, if you can’t go without natural light, a partially obstructed ocean-view cabin. If you choose “guaranteed” you’re taking a gamble; you might save, but you’ll have no say in the cabin that’s allocated by the cruise line just before departure.
TRAVELLING SOLO, WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY
Groups or families shouldn’t overestimate the size of a quad share cabin. Instead, opt for cabins that are interconnecting, on opposite sides of the corridor, or a suite with lounge, bedroom and bathroom areas. Also consider the size of cabins between different cruise lines because they vary.
If you’re travelling solo, look for cruise lines that waive the single supplement or offer single cabins. If you’re willing to be paired up to share with someone you’ve never met before, think again. If they grab all wardrobe space, claim they can’t be disturbed, keep the lights on 24/7 or remain nude in the cabin, what are you going to do? In all these cases, they ended up with sole occupancy of the cabin while their roommates paid whatever it took to get out to salvage their cruise.
COMPARE CABIN CATEGORIES
When choosing a cabin category consider the extras offered and decide on the ones that are important to you, from priority check-in, exclusive fine dining, club lounge, complimentary drinks, even your own butler, and watch for deals that include an upgrade.
The best cabins sell out fast so book early to secure your choice.
Choose a dud and you’ll risk spoiling your holiday. Someone gets them – just make sure it’s not you.