Everyone who sees a huge cruise ship gets filled with romantic notions of a dream cruise to exotic locations. The idea of setting off on a carefree voyage on the high seas is a dream worth pursuing and one that can come true. On closer inspection however, the ship can resemble an elongated residential tower crammed full of people. Anyone who has lived in a high-rise apartment will understand the importance of being away from noisy disturbances and neighbours from hell, and cruise ship cabin locations are no different. Not all ships are created equal, with configurations varying from one vessel to the next, but here are some general guidelines regarding cabin locations.
Popular Deck Locations
Surrounded by other staterooms/cabins
This may sound like contradictory advice, but the fact is you are always going to be next to something on a cruise ship. Unless you have neighbours from hell, there is a much better chance of a restful and enjoyable experience when surrounded by fellow passengers who appreciate peaceful amenities instead of being located next to party zones, engine rooms and housekeeping.
Decks in a central ship location are subject to less movement and more suitable for people who are prone to suffer from motion sickness. They are also good for passengers who don’t want to spend too much time trekking from one end of the vessel to the other. An upper level midship cabin will also mean you can avoid busy elevators by walking up a few flights of stairs.
Aft of the ship
The aft (rear) of the ship is very popular with experienced cruisers who realise the wonderful vistas can be appreciated without being up the front. You will experience much less foot traffic here and can retreat from shipboard action whenever you require. A word of caution though; make sure your cabin isn’t located close to loud exhaust vents or subject to any unpleasant smells.
Deck Areas to Avoid
Directly under the pool or buffet area
As expected on most cruises, the pool deck and buffet will be a magnet for passengers. On one hand, the convenience of being near the action may seem like a good idea, but try and tell that to a light sleeper in a cabin below. The sounds of scraping chairs, partying and people jumping and running can go on until the early morning hours, and begin again before dawn as the grew sets up for another day.
Beware of white space on the deck plan
Paying customers make up approximately two thirds of all passengers on a cruise ship. The other third are staff who require amenities and facilities for keeping the vessel in ship-shape. White spaces on a deck plan are crew-only areas such as laundry rooms, housekeeping areas and service elevators. Your cruise booking agent should be able to tell you exactly what is located in the white space, and unless you enjoy the sound of doors constantly opening and closing or the bustle of early morning housekeeping it’s a good idea to book a cabin well away from white spaces.
Near the casino
It’s not easy to get a good sleep to the sounds of loud electronic slot machines and the excitement of a late night gambling frenzy. Cabins above and below the casino are great for participants, but often lousy for cruisers wanting to appreciate the vista of the wide-open seas. Las Vegas is popular for many reasons, but serenity is not one of them.
Above the lounge or nightclub
All cruisers enjoy a night out onboard their ship, and a visit to a lounge for dancing and entertainment is great fun. Finding your style balance is important also, and you may not be someone who wants to go out every night. Cruise ship venues often stay open until the early hours to the accompaniment of live bands or loud house music. As we all know, revellers tend to get louder as the party goes on, and staying in a cabin with unwanted surround sound can be an infuriating experience.
If you are easily affected by motion sickness, it’s best to stay away from forward (and aft) cabins as they are subject to greater movement and bounce. The lower forward cabins do mean less people passing by your room, but in rough seas you will be constantly accompanied by pounding waves crashing against the ship.
Amenities on a cruise ship are many and varied, but you don’t need to be too close to some of them. Other areas to be wary of include cabins near gangways, under the gym, and where there is a lot of foot traffic. You don’t necessarily need to book an expensive room to avoid noise or discomfort, and as long as you research your chosen vessel thoroughly you will find a cabin option that suits your budget without compromising on comfort or peacefulness.