Choosing Cruise Staterooms: Inside, Outside, Balcony, and Suite Cabins

One of the decisions that you have to make when booking your cruise is choosing the type of stateroom that you will be in. For those new to cruising, staterooms (or cabins as they are sometimes referred to and I will refer to them as “cabins” in this article) are the “private compartments on a ship” that you sleep in. Your cabin is your hotel room on the ship and contains your bed, bathroom, closet space, and other amenities depending on the type of cabin that you book and the cruise line that you are sailing with.

Here are the most popular types of staterooms or cabins that you have a choice of and descriptions of each type:

    • Upper/Lower Cabins: Some cruise lines have upper/lower cabins. They are called this type of cabin because the beds are in a bunk bed type configuration. These cabins are great for those who are traveling with friends because each bed sleeps each person separately. Another perk to these cabins is that they are usually lower in price than others because of the bedding configuration.
    • Interior (Inside) Cabins: Interior cabins are sometimes referred to as Inside cabins. This is because these cabins are located on the inside portions of the hallway in the cruise ship (not the side of the hallway that is directly next to the ocean) and they do not contain windows or balconies. Interior cabin beds can usually sleep more than one person if they need to or be separated for multiple passengers in a stateroom. Interior cabins are generally lower in price than others because there is no view.
    • Porthole Cabins: Porthole cabins usually will have a small circular window that will allow a little bit of sunshine to shine through into the cabin. These cabins are generally not considered Ocean View cabins because they porthole is sometimes too high up to see out of OR the window in the porthole doesn’t give a complete view of the outside area because the glass is distorted. These cabins are generally lower in price than ocean view cabins because of how small the porthole view is.
    • Ocean View (Outside) Cabins: Ocean View or Outside cabins are located on the outside portions of the hallway and usually have a large picture window view. On some cruise ships, these cabins will be a little larger than a standard interior cabin (on some ships they are the same standard size). Cruisers who want a view of the ocean while sailing are who most often book these cabins. These cabins are generally more in price than an interior cabin, but lower in price than a balcony cabin.
    • Balcony Cabins: Balcony cabins have the same layout (most times) as interior and/or ocean view cabins but have a balcony that you can step out onto. The balcony area usually has a table and chairs (on some cruise ships). Balcony cabins are perfect for cruisers to smoke (check with the cruise line to see if smoking is permitted outside of your cabin), and cruisers who want to sit outside and enjoy the view while sailing. Some cruise lines will offer premium balconies with a larger balcony area that are higher in price than a standard balcony would be.  Balcony cabins are generally higher in price than ocean view cabins but lower in price than suite cabins.
    • Suite/Executive/Captains Cabins: Suite cabins are a luxury on a cruise ship; not that the other cabins are not; but suite cabins are usually the most premium type of cabin that you can purchase. Suite cabins will usually have the best views, have the largest balconies, and the cabin square footage is usually significantly larger than the lower category cabins. Suite cabins will usually come with special suite amenities, and special privileges on most cruise ships. These cabins are usually the highest price on cruise ships.


  • Top Secret Cabins: Some cruise lines have a category above the suite category that are offered only to exclusive guests. These “Penthouse Suite” type cabins are not generally advertised and are available upon request only.
  • Modified/Handicap Accessible Cabins: For guests who may have mobility issues and/or other disabilities most all cruise lines will offer modified cabins in select categories. These cabins have been modified in order to help persons with certain disabilities maneuver more easily and make their cruise experience just as enjoyable as those who are not in modified staterooms.
  • Obstructed View Cabins: In all categories that could possibly have a view (every category except for the Interior category), some cruise ships will offer obstructed view cabins. These cabins are usually priced lower than a non-obstructed view cabin would be; but you still get all of the amenities that the cabin has to offer. The view is usually obstructed by life boats, a wall, and/or other obstructions that make your view of the ocean blocked in a way. Not all obstructed view cabins are bad to book, and obstructed view doesn’t always mean TOTALLY obstructed; the view may only be obstructed when standing in a certain part of the balcony OR just when sitting down in some cases.





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