Would we let the cruise line assign us a cabin, if it was a 1-night cruise – possibly, but for a 104 night cruise a big emphatic NO. So you might ask, how do we go about selecting a cabin.
1). If like us, and you are rather particular on the location of your temporary home, the best advice is book early for the best selection of available cabins. You may ask, will booking early cost more – probably, but how much is 104 nights of good sleep worth.
2). The ship has over 1,000 cabins, how do we find one that is best for us? We believe that selecting a cabin is similar to real estate, in that you have 3 key areas to consider – location, location and did I mention location!!! We consider the following:
- Our first selection is category of cabin – suite, mini-suite, balcony, o’view or inside. This basically is determined by budget and/or preference. On this cruise the suites and mini-suites were out of our price range, so were limited to the last 3 categories. Being an adventure of a lifetime, we elected to go for a balcony this time. However, in Alaska we usually get an inside cabin, as we are normally there in late June and find 20+ hours of daylight wrecks the sleep patterns.
- Next we consider a deck and approximate location, and remember each cabin has 6 sides – 4 on the same level plus one above and one below. In addition to checking what is around, also check the decks above and below. We do not select a deck immediately above or below the public lounges or below the sun deck. On Sea Princess we considered Decks # 9 and # 10. We also prefer a cabin that is closer to the middle of the ship – fire zones 3 to 6.
- Our next decision is which side of the ship? For this we considered the word “Posh”, which originated as an acronym of “Port out, Starboard Home”. This was a P&O feature for the wealthy, prior to the days of air conditioning. Those that could afford it got cabins on the cooler side of the ship. So which side do we prefer? We prefer to enjoy sunsets over sunrises, probably as Judi is never awake at sunrise. Therefore, based on the voyage plan we estimate the port side will experience more sunsets, so it was an even number cabin for us.
- Now we get down to actually selecting a preferred cabin and in doing so, we consider the following:
– Bed configuration must have option of queen/king bed
– Will not accept a cabin with 3rd and/or 4th bunks
– Do not want to be opposite cross alleyways with stairs and/or lifts
– Do not want to be opposite the laundry
Currently we have a balcony cabin on the port side of Deck # 10 in fire zone # 7 (cabin number starts with 7). Our preference is fire zone 4 or 5, so are on a wait list for a different cabin. To date we have already been given an offer of one on Deck # 11, but declined as it was directly below the top deck film screen area.
You frequently hear people mentioning they got upgraded from an inside cabin to a balcony. Would we be interested, possibly, but we would review the new cabin using the above criteria. On a recent cruise on Emerald Princess we had an O’view cabin in fire zone 4 and were offered an upgrade to a balcony in fire zone 1. No thanks, up forward crossing the Atlantic was not appealing.
Our cabin will be a spacious 179 sq feet, of which 24 is on the balcony. OMG – how will we survive, only a few months ago we were living in 3,000 sq feet, positively a stately mansion by comparison. Even the RV has 400 sq feet.
Remember, a cruise cabin doesn’t require a kitchen or dining room and only the bigger suites have a bath tub. The rumours you hear about the size of cruise ship showers are all true, calling them compact is an exaggeration. We find turning on the water, soaping down the walls then jumping in and doing a 360 is best !!! In all honesty, we don’t notice the cabin size, as they are well designed and use mirrors, etc for maximum advantage.