Before you dive into the captivating world of cruise vacations, it’s vital to set sail with some handy knowledge about the heart of every cruise ship: the staterooms. Much like how a hotel room can make or break a land-based vacation, a cruise ship cabin plays a pivotal role in ensuring you have the voyage of a lifetime.

From that serene ocean view every morning to the sweet chirping of birds from your private balcony, the choice of stateroom can truly enhance your sea-faring experience. As we embark on this journey, we’ll explore the nuances of different cabins and factors to consider when choosing one and sprinkle in some insider tips to get the best bang for your buck.

What Is a Stateroom on a Cruise Ship?

A stateroom, in simple terms, is your home away from home on a cruise ship. Just as hotels have rooms or suites, cruise ships offer staterooms—essentially, your very own private space while you’re out at sea. Delving a bit into history, the term ‘stateroom’ was first used during the era of luxury transatlantic voyages.

zoomed in balconies of a cruise ship room

The majestic liners like the Titanic were not just transportation; they were floating palaces! As cruising evolved, so did staterooms. From the basic bunks of yesteryears to the lavish suites with balcony rooms today, staterooms have always been the beating heart of every cruise, ensuring passengers a comfortable, private retreat amidst the vast ocean.

Why Are They Called Staterooms?

ocean view stateroom in carnival cruise
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Ever wondered why it’s not just simply called a ‘room’ or ‘cabin’? The term “stateroom” harks back to a time when sea voyages were the epitome of luxury and sophistication. Ships were considered state-of-the-art, and a private room was a status symbol, a room that reflected one’s “state” or stature in society.

Hence, the birth of the term “stateroom.” The name has stuck around, and today, most cruise lines use it to evoke a sense of elegance and grandeur. Whether you’re in a cozy interior room or a spacious suite, the term ‘stateroom’ ensures you feel like royalty because, on a cruise, every guest deserves royal treatment.

Different Types of Staterooms

When planning your cruise vacation, your choice of stateroom can significantly influence your experience. From the room’s location to its amenities, each detail contributes to your comfort and overall cruise enjoyment. So, let’s embark on an in-depth journey through the vast choices available on most cruise ships.

Types of Suites on Cruise Ships

View of balcony cabins of a ship

Family Suites

Ideal for larger families or groups traveling together, these suites are designed with space and comfort in mind. On Royal Caribbean ships, these family-friendly suites are particularly beneficial as they are tailored to accommodate children, making them a top choice for those traveling with kids. Apart from more extensive living areas, they often feature separate bedrooms and bunk beds. Moreover, their strategic location close to kids’ play areas and family-friendly zones ensures that little ones are always engaged.

Grand Suites

A stay in a Grand Suite is like living in a floating five-star hotel. With enhanced amenities like whirlpool bathtubs, expansive living areas, and a private balcony, they’re perfect for travelers seeking a lavish cruising experience. Some might even offer exclusive room service menus or personalized drink packages.

Owner’s Suites

Stepping into an Owner’s Suite feels like entering a world of sheer opulence. Rich decor, plush furnishings, expansive living and dining areas, and high-end electronics often adorn these suites. Some cruise lines even offer personal butler service for guests in these rooms, ensuring every whim is catered to.

Royal Suites

As the name suggests, these suites are for those who want the royal treatment. Think of it as a penthouse on the sea, complete with high-end amenities, a large private balcony, and often prime locations offering the best views.

Loft Suites

Two levels of luxury. These modern suites feature a lower living area and an upper sleeping space, offering guests a unique and contemporary cruise experience. Loft suites are especially popular among the younger generation, thanks to their chic design and cruise ship designers’ innovative approach.

Choosing a Stateroom on a Cruise Ship

cruise ship balcony with some lights on

Virtual View Cabins

While interior rooms are budget-friendly, they lack windows. However, technology has bridged this gap. Virtual view cabins use real-time cameras outside the ship, projecting live ocean views onto large screens, making you feel like you’re right by the sea.

Ocean View Cabin

For those who love gazing at the endless blue waters, ocean-view cabins are perfect. These rooms come with either a window or a porthole, allowing you to experience the beauty of the ocean without stepping onto the pool deck. Also, if you’re wondering if underwater rooms are real? Unfortunately, they are not yet a typical feature on cruise ships.

Guarantee Room

Want a good deal and feel a tad adventurous? Opt for a guaranteed room. You pay a discounted rate, and the cruise line chooses your room type and location. It’s like a stateroom lottery!

Balcony Cabin

For many cruisers, having their own private balcony is non-negotiable. Whether it’s the allure of dining al fresco, watching sunrises, or simply enjoying the sea breeze, balcony cabins are perennial favorites.

Private Bar Suites

Imagine returning to your suite after a day of shore excursions and having a fully stocked bar at your disposal. These suites are for those who love their spirits and enjoy the luxury of an in-room bar. But don’t worry, if you don’t get to book a private bar suite, then make sure to get your chosen cruise ship’s drink packages!

Concierge Cabins

Service at its best. These cabins come with a dedicated concierge, ensuring you get priority reservations, exclusive shore excursions, and other perks that make your cruise even more memorable. Celebrity Cruises elevates this experience by offering Concierge Class staterooms, complete with enhanced amenities and personalized service.

How Big Really Are Cruise Ship Staterooms?

When exploring cruise vacations, a common query centers around the dimensions of staterooms. Zooming into specifics, an inside cabin averages 167 square feet (15.7 square meters). Depending on the size of a ship and cruise line, this can fluctuate between 120 ft and a generous 200 ft. Comparing them to hotel rooms can clarify things.

Interior Rooms are similar to standard hotel rooms: cozy and efficient. The catch? They often lack a window. Ocean-view rooms evoke those hotel stays where a serene beach view was the highlight. On a cruise, this beach is continuously evolving as the ship sails.

cruise ship stateroom interior

For a more luxurious touch, Balcony Rooms match up to upscale hotel spaces with the added perk of a balcony. Here, the view isn’t just of the city skyline but an ever-changing ocean horizon. Then we have the Suite, the cruise counterpart to a luxury hotel’s penthouse. Generously spacious and plush, they sometimes encompass multiple rooms for an elevated cruise experience.

Choosing the right stateroom is an essential aspect of your cruise planning process. It’s not just about the size or the view but about ensuring your utmost comfort as you sail the high seas. Happy Cruising! 🚢

Choosing Your Stateroom’s Location

view of cruise ship deck and sea

When planning a cruise vacation, selecting the type of stateroom is crucial, but equally important is its location on the ship. Your room’s position can significantly impact your onboard experience.

The ship’s layout varies among cruise lines and vessels, but generally, larger ships are divided into three main sections: fore (front), mid-ship (middle), and aft (back). Each area offers unique experiences, and your choice should be influenced by your personal preferences.

If you’re prone to motion sickness, your stateroom location can make all the difference. Staterooms located low and centrally on the ship tend to feel the least amount of motion. Pack anti-nausea medication, and consider seasickness patches or wristbands.

Being in the middle not only minimizes motion but also places you at a central point, making it convenient to reach various ship amenities. Every ship has zones that might be noisier than others. Staterooms near entertainment hubs, engines, or underneath busy decks can be louder.

Being near key amenities can save you a lot of walking. However, it might also mean more foot traffic near your room. Avoid those near elevators or directly below the pool deck if you are not comfortable around crowds.

Being close to main dining areas means quicker access to meals and snacks, but might also mean evening noise from late-night diners. While having a stateroom close to fitness and spa facilities might motivate you to maintain your workout regimen, remember these areas can be bustling during peak hours, leading to potential noise.

For families with children, being near kid zones or family lounges can be a boon. It reduces the hassle of transporting tired kids after a day of fun. However, these zones can be noisy during the day. For seniors or those with mobility issues, staterooms close to elevators are a boon. Many cruise lines also offer specially designed accessible staterooms with features to assist those with mobility challenges.

Cabin Amenities & Cabin Upgrades on a Cruise

Cruise vacations have evolved dramatically, with offerings that span beyond just the journey and destinations. The staterooms themselves, often referred to as cabins or cruise rooms, play an essential role in shaping your onboard experience. Different cruise lines offer varied cabin amenities and options for upgrades, ensuring that travelers can customize their stay to their preferences.

For example, Royal Caribbean, known for its innovative ships, offers a unique feature in some of its cabins: the virtual balcony. This gives inside rooms, which typically lack windows, a real-time ocean view. It’s a game-changer for those who crave natural light but may prefer the budget-friendliness of an inside stateroom.

Chairs and tables on a balcony of a ship cabin

Norwegian Cruise Line also presents a solution for solo travelers with its studio cabins, designed specifically for single occupancy, eliminating the single supplement fee. Celebrity Cruises is not far behind, providing oceanview staterooms with spacious outdoor space where guests can bask in the sun, enjoying the serenity of the seas.

Oceanview cabin and balcony room options are among the most sought-after stateroom categories, with the latter offering private outdoor spaces, often equipped with chairs and sometimes even a hot tub.

On the other hand, small cruise ship cabins, often found in the inside cabins category, are cozier and can be more affordable. These interior cabins might be on the lower deck but still offer a comfortable retreat, complete with a private bathroom and other luxurious amenities.

One standout feature of certain cruise lines is the suite guests’ perks. Suite accommodations on ships from lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line come with added benefits like priority boarding, free access to exclusive areas, and even concierge service.

Opting for a royal suite or a balcony stateroom guarantees you an elevated experience, with many offering separate living areas and some even overlooking the ship’s unique attractions like Central Park on some of Royal Caribbean’s ships.

Tips for Saving on Your Cruise Cabin

helpful tips sign with a light bulb

Securing the best deal on a cruise cabin requires a mix of timing, flexibility, and keen research. While we’ve touched upon several facets of stateroom selection, when it comes to cost-saving, here are some additional strategies:

  • Obstructed Cabins: Often, balcony staterooms or oceanview cabins may have a view that is partially blocked by lifeboats or ship structures. These “obstructed view” cabins are typically priced lower than their unobstructed counterparts. If you’re okay with a slightly compromised view, this can be a great way to save.
  • Inside Cabin or Guarantee Cabin: Opting for an “inside cabin” can be significantly cheaper, especially if you plan to spend most of your time exploring the ship or ports. Another option is booking a “guarantee cabin,” where you pay a reduced rate without selecting a specific room. The cruise line chooses the cabin for you, and while there’s a chance you might get a higher category room, there’s no certainty on its location or type.
  • Book Early: Many cruise lines offer “early bird” discounts for those who book their trips well in advance. Not only can this secure you a good deal, but it also gives you a broader selection of available rooms.
  • Last-Minute Deals: On the flip side, if you have flexibility with travel dates and room preferences, booking close to the departure date can sometimes yield impressive discounts. Cruise lines aim to fill their ships, and unsold cabins might get substantial price cuts. However, keep in mind that the best or most desirable rooms might already be taken.
  • Travel During Off-Peak Times: Consider traveling during the shoulder seasons or times when fewer people are cruising. Not only can this get you a better deal on your cabin, but the ship might also be less crowded.
  • Loyalty Programs and Repeat Cruisers: If you’ve sailed with a particular cruise line before, check if they offer discounts or perks for repeat customers. Loyalty programs can offer a range of benefits, including cabin upgrades or onboard credits.
  • Monitor Price Drops and Promotions: After booking, keep an eye on the cruise fares. Some cruise lines might offer a price adjustment if rates drop after you’ve booked but before the final payment. Additionally, look out for value-added promotions, which might include onboard credits, drink packages, or even free shore excursions.


Choosing the right stateroom is akin to setting the stage for a memorable cruise experience. It’s not just about the room; it’s about the journey, the views, and how they align with your personal comforts and desires. Whether you prioritize a sweeping ocean view, proximity to amenities, or the tranquil retreat of a quiet corner, your choice can significantly influence your trip.


What is the difference between a balcony and a stateroom?

A stateroom is a general term for any cabin or room on a cruise ship. It’s where passengers stay, much like a hotel room. Within the category of staterooms, there are different types, including inside, oceanview, and balcony rooms. A balcony stateroom, specifically, is a type of room that comes with a private outdoor space, allowing guests to step out and enjoy sea views, fresh air, and privacy.

What is included in a cruise stateroom?

A cruise stateroom typically includes comfortable beds which can often be separated or combined based on preference, a private bathroom, storage space for clothes and luggage, a television, and a phone. Depending on the stateroom category, it may also feature windows or portholes (for oceanview cabins), private balconies (for balcony cabins), or additional luxurious amenities and services (for suites). Basic daily housekeeping is also a standard inclusion.

What is a suite stateroom on a cruise ship?

A suite stateroom on a cruise ship signifies a more luxurious and spacious accommodation. These often come with separate living and sleeping areas, enhanced amenities like premium bedding, larger bathrooms, sometimes even bathtubs, and often priority services such as express boarding and exclusive lounge access. Some suites may also boast large balconies, butler service, or even private hot tubs, depending on the cruise line and ship.

What are the three types of staterooms?

The three fundamental types of staterooms on most cruise ships are: Inside staterooms, which lack windows and are typically the most budget-friendly; Oceanview staterooms, which have a window or porthole giving passengers a view of the ocean; and Balcony staterooms, which come with a private outdoor space allowing guests to enjoy direct sea views.