Guest Author - Shasta Wilson
Rooms on a cruise ship are called cabins or staterooms, with each term being used interchangeably. Cruise cabins are both similar and uniquely different from standard hotel rooms. A basic breakdown of stateroom information:
Category - All cabins have a category assignment based on size, deck and location. The cruise fare, per person, is based on this category assignment. Cruise lines assume that there will be a minimum of two people per cabin (double occupancy), so if you're traveling solo, be prepared to pay double. The reasoning behind this is simple: space is at a premium, and if you're taking up a whole room just for yourself, you're cheating the cruise line out of a second person's fare. Hence, the double charge. Somes lines, though, only charge 50% or 75% for singles.
Triples and Quads – Though 90% of cabins are double occupancy, a select group are built for three or four people. Depending on the cruiseline, triples (for three people) and quads (for four people) are outfitted with extra beds, usually pull-down beds that come down from the wall. The fares for these rooms can be slightly higher, but you typically pay a little less per person for the third and fourth passengers. Travel Agent Tip: It's sometimes better to book two rooms next to each other rather that get a quad. It probably costs a bit more (say $25 per person) but you have two rooms with two normal beds and two bathrooms.
Adjoining Staterooms – These are tough to find unless you book really early. Most times you can get a few rooms next to each other, but true adjoining cabins are few and far between.
Inside/Interior Staterooms - The lowest fare category, inside staterooms have no windows. Typically around 150 square feet in size, these rooms occupy the middle section of a deck, and are sandwiched between the hallways. If you're not planning on spending a huge amount of time in your cabin, inside staterooms are the most cost effective way to go. But bring a nightlight, they get dark!
Outside Stateroom/Ocean View - For those wishing a view, outside staterooms are the same size as an inside cabin, but include either a porthole, picture window or balcony. The fare goes up as you add window space, so rooms with portholes will cost less than those with windows, and balcony rooms will have even higher fares.
Junior Suite/Mini Suite - Small suites are a step up from the standard stateroom size (by about 100 sq. feet), and usually include a sleeper sofa or seating area. Families of four love these rooms because you have more space to move around. Most junior suites also include a balcony.
Suite - Usually 300-400 sq. feet in size, large suite frequency and size varies per line and ship. Suites may have significantly higher fares than standard cabins or junior suites, but they also include amenities like butler service or preferred dining.
Specialty Suites - Every cruise ship has a handful of specialty suites. Some lines also offer cabin villas, which are groups of cabins with private decks and terraces. These staterooms vary significantly per cruise line and cruise ship, so if you're interested in booking cabins of this nature, it's best to talk to a travel professional and book early!