When travelers dream about their upcoming cruise vacation, they often think of all the fun they’ll have onboard their ship. While cruisers don’t plan on spending lots of time in their cabin, they typically want it to be a peaceful spot where they can relax and sleep easily. Passengers with staterooms in certain parts of the ship may not readily enjoy that pleasure, however. Noise at certain times of the day or night is all but guaranteed in several shipboard locations.
Choosing the right stateroom can make a major difference in enjoying your cruise vacation. Here are five tips for avoiding noisy cabins on your next cruise:
1. Carefully research deck plans. Study your ship’s deck plans before reserving any type of cabin. Look for a quiet room away from noisy areas like elevators, lounges, atriums and children’s program facilities. Also thoroughly review the deck layouts above and below the cabin you’re considering to see what’s located above and below your room. Stay away from booking staterooms above or below nightclubs, theaters, bars with live music, crew work areas, self service laundries, sports venues, kitchens, and the main dining rooms and buffet areas. Some frequent cruise guests also shun staterooms right below the ship’s pool to avoid the early morning sound of lounge chairs being arranged on deck. It’s best to book a stateroom between other floors of staterooms. While you may run the risk of having loud neighbors, it's better to chance those odds instead of the guaranteed reverberating bass emanating from the lounge until 2 a.m. each morning.
2. Avoid connecting rooms unless needed. Connecting staterooms are wonderful if you’re cruising with family or friends. If not, though, you’re running the risk of booking a noisier than average cabin. Some ships don’t have proper soundproofing around the door areas of connecting staterooms, so you’re likely to hear more noise from your neighbors. This is often a complaint when the connecting cabin is occupied by a family with young children.
3. Don’t book “guarantee” cabins. While guarantee cabins are typically available at a lower price, purchasers have no control over where they’re placed on the ship. While buyers know that they will receive the same category of stateroom that they’ve purchased, or perhaps even an upgrade to a higher category, they could be placed right above the theater or next to a loud bar area. It’s a bit like playing roulette. A guarantee cabin could result in a great deal, but the outcome is also just as likely to be a stateroom with undesirable noise levels. Don’t risk it.
4. Stay away from engine noise and other machinery. Guests staying in the lowest level staterooms in the very front and back of the ship may have to deal with vibrations and sounds caused by engines, bow thrusters and even anchors being lowered early in the morning. To avoid these issues, opt for a cabin in the ship’s midship area if staying on one of the lower decks.
5. Use a knowledgeable cruise travel agent. One of the many reasons why vacationers use travel agents for cruise bookings is to obtain help in selecting the right cruise cabin. Cruise ship layouts are more complicated than regular hotels. Top cruise travel agents know their ships and can let their clients know which available cabins are likely to have the least noise. Often there are trade-offs involved in choosing a cruise ship stateroom. Families may desire a quiet stateroom, for example, but also want a family-friendly cabin near the ship's kids' club. A good travel agent can help you to weigh the options and choose the one that’s the best fit for you.
With the proper research and advice, it’s likely that you’ll find a quiet stateroom that will be the perfect home base for your next cruise vacation. Just remember, however, that sometimes even the best-laid plans go awry. Make sure to pack ear plugs just in case.