PICK THE PER­FECT CABIN

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - TRAVEL WISDOM CRUISING - PE­TRA O’NEILL

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.

MO­TION

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.

PRI­VACY

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.

BEST VIEW

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.

BEST VALUE

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.

BOOK AHEAD

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.

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