CRUISE ‘N’ SNOOZE

Puz­zled by which cabin to book? Our cruise ex­perts weigh up the pros and cons

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | CRUISING - PAUL EWART

Anx­ious about sea­sick­ness? Crav­ing a room with a view? Or per­haps you’re trav­el­ling with a large fam­ily in tow. What­ever your sit­u­a­tion or per­sonal pref­er­ences, when it comes to choos­ing a cabin, it pays to do your home­work.

Whether you’re a first-timer, an old hand cruise hound, or just a picky punter, the va­ri­ety of cruise cabin cat­e­gories and lo­ca­tions on-board can leave even the most ex­pe­ri­enced trav­eller scratch­ing their head. But fear not, we’ve done the hard work for you – read on for ex­pert top tips and tricks for se­lect­ing a state­room that ticks your boxes.

WHAT ARE YOUR PRI­OR­I­TIES?

The best way to be­gin your search is to iden­tify pref­er­ences, and to be re­al­is­tic, es­pe­cially if bud­get is a con­cern. Are you a light sleeper? Are you a night owl? Do you spend most of your time out­side of the cabin, thereby us­ing it solely as a place to change and sleep? Or con­versely, do you rel­ish a pri­vate bal­cony and or­der room ser­vice for the ma­jor­ity of the voy­age? All of this will then help you dis­cern your ideal cabin type.

“Choos­ing the right cabin will de­pend on your ap­proach to your hol­i­day and your needs – ev­ery­one is dif­fer­ent,” says P&O Cruises and Car­ni­val Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Sture Myrmell. “If you plan to spend most of your time away from your cabin, you’ll likely want to book an in­te­rior or ocean­view room, to save cash.”

WHAT’S THE DIF­FER­ENCE?

Cab­ins come in all shapes and sizes but across most ves­sels the main cat­e­gories are: in­side (the small­est with no win­dow to the out­side); out­side or ocean­view (a room sim­i­lar in size to an in­side room but with a win­dow or port­hole); bal­cony (a room fea­tur­ing a pri­vate ve­randa); suite (a larger cabin, usu­ally with sep­a­rate liv­ing and sleep­ing ar­eas and ex­tra ameni­ties). De­cid­ing on your cat­e­gory will de­pend on per­sonal pri­or­i­ties and bud­get.

AND PRICE?

Cabin choice for most trav­ellers is mo­ti­vated by price, so be savvy about what cat­e­gory you can af­ford.

“When look­ing at state­rooms, con­sider the ex­tras,” RCL Cruises key ac­count man­ager Cameron Man­nix says. “You may pay a lit­tle more for a bal­cony or suite, but of­ten this ex­tra cost is out­weighed by ex­tra perks, such as com­pli­men­tary bev­er­age pack­ages, or on-board credit.”

Also, you may find that the cheap­est cabin cat­e­gory is ac­tu­ally the most suit­able for you. For ex­am­ple, in­side cab­ins are gen­er­ally the most af­ford­able given the lack of nat­u­ral light, but the black­out makes them ideal for trou­bled sleep­ers.

WHAT IF I WANT A VIEW?

If a view ranks high on your list then make sure to look at the itinerary closely be­fore pick­ing your crib.

If you’re do­ing a one-way trip to Venice or Alaska, you’ll want to make sure you’re on whichever side of the ship faces land so you get the best pos­si­ble van­tage point, es­pe­cially if you’re opt­ing for a bal­cony.

Even if you can’t af­ford the real thing, some ships are now us­ing tech­nol­ogy to make sure no one misses out on the view. Both Dis­ney and Royal Caribbean have cre­ated vir­tual “win­dows” and “bal­conies” in­side cab­ins that dis­play real-time vi­sion of the sur­round­ing scenery.

TO BAL­CONY OR NOT TO BAL­CONY?

Pas­sen­gers who spend all their time in public ar­eas may find that a bal­cony isn’t worth the ex­tra splurge if money is tight. Whereas for those keen to avoid crowds and to spend more time nest­ing in their cabin, a bal­cony is likely an es­sen­tial.

“There’s noth­ing quite like step­ping out into your own pri­vate space,” says Sture Myrmell. “Com­plete with its own out­door fur­ni­ture so you can un­wind and just en­joy the view.”

It’s a sen­ti­ment Cameron Man­nix agrees with: “For me, cruis­ing is about en­joy­ing the fresh sea air, which you can fully em­brace from a ve­randa. In say­ing that, interiors are great for peo­ple who are light sleep­ers and pre­fer to sleep in to­tal dark­ness.”

LO­CA­TION, LO­CA­TION, LO­CA­TION

There are two main fac­tors for cabin lo­ca­tion on a ship – con­ve­nience and noise. Some trav­ellers will want to be an easy stroll from their on-board go­tos, be it the pool deck or the bar, whereas some pas­sen­gers will have noise re­duc­tion as their top pri­or­ity.

For seren­ity-seek­ers, steer­ing clear of a lo­ca­tion near the theatre, bars and the like, is a must, as is avoid­ing el­e­va­tors and any area where there’s likely to be heavy foot traf­fic. If you have an aver­sion to noise, pay at­ten­tion to the ship’s deck plans ad­vises Cameron Man­nix: “State­rooms lo­cated near th­ese ameni­ties are fine for heavy sleep­ers and night owls, but if you’re a light sleeper, choose a room sur­rounded by state­rooms on all sides.”

An­other con­sid­er­a­tion on some ships is the prox­im­ity to the engine, APT small ships prod­uct man­ager Mladen Vu­kic says: “Tra­di­tion­ally there has al­ways been ret­i­cence to book aft cab­ins fear­ing engine noise, how­ever most ren­o­vated or new modern ships have im­proved sound­proof­ing, so it’s no longer a de­cid­ing fac­tor.”

WHERE’S THE BEST SPOT TO AVOID SEA­SICK­NESS?

For those un­lucky enough to suf­fer from sea­sick­ness, cabin lo­ca­tion is im­por­tant, and while modern cruise ships have been de­vel­oped for a smoother ride, book­ing a cabin mid­ship (the lower and more cen­tral your lo­ca­tion, the less sway you’ll feel) is still ad­vis­able.

“State­rooms lo­cated mid­ship and low-down are best as you ex­pe­ri­ence less mo­tion,” says Cameron Man­nix. “But many ships, such as Royal Caribbean’s Ova­tion of the Seas, are fit­ted with spe­cial sta­bilis­ers which help re­duce move­ment through­out the en­tire ship.

WHAT IF I HAVE A LARGE FAM­ILY?

Though cruis­ing is a pop­u­lar fam­ily hol­i­day and more new ships are build­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion with fam­i­lies in mind, if you’re trav­el­ling with a large brood it’s still a good idea to book cab­ins ahead of time to en­sure you get the com­bi­na­tion that best fits.

“Fam­i­lies can stay to­gether in neigh­bour­ing rooms con­nected by doors – which of­fer a re­prieve from the kids when needed!” Cameron Man­nix sug­gests. “How­ever, you need to get in early for th­ese state­rooms, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing school hol­i­day sail­ings as they get booked quickly.”

YOU MAY PAY MORE FOR A BAL­CONY OR SUITE, BUT OF­TEN THIS EX­TRA COST IS OUT­WEIGHED BY EX­TRA PERKS

PIC­TURES: PRINCESS, RCI

If you’re on a one-way trip to Alaska on a Princess cruise, you’ll want the best van­tage point; and en­joy fresh sea air in a Deluxe Ocean View State­room with Bal­cony on An­them of the Seas.

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