Cruise 101: Why Your Best Bet is a Balcony Stateroom

Six times you’ll wish you had your own balcony.
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You’ve decided to go on a cruise for your next vacation—thrilled that you’ll get the chance to explore more destinations and experiences than you’d normally see on your own, and for a value you couldn’t possibly pass up. Now that you’ve booked it, one of the first choices you’ll need to make is what type of stateroom—or accommodation—to reserve. Generally, there are four main categories of staterooms: interior, ocean view, balcony or suite, and each one offers a unique experience.

Interior staterooms tend to be the starting point in terms of pricing and square footage, and they are ideal for travelers on the go who don’t plan to spend much time in their rooms beyond sleeping and showering. If you couldn’t do without a view of the water from the comfort of your room, though, you can opt for a similar room but with an ocean view.

But one of the most common questions for many first-time cruisers is whether or not to upgrade to a balcony stateroom. Accommodations with balconies, including suites, can be more lush and spacious, and the balcony gives you enviable views and a private place to sit outside. Considering it? Here are the times when you definitely don’t want to miss the chance to indulge in one.

1. While in The Mediterranean

It’s been said that a Greek Isles cruise is like sailing through a breathtaking postcard, with each vista more awe-inspiring than the last. It’s where crystal blue water dance on black sand beaches, just below adorable whitewashed houses dotting the cliffs above. These cinematic views take on a whole new meaning when you’re taking them in from your private balcony.

2. Exploring Alaska

Some travelers think balconies are best reserved for warm-weather destinations, but with more coastline than all 50 states combined, Alaska offers sights you’re unlikely to see anywhere else. You’ll want a front-row seat to watch the majestic tidewater glaciers float by and observe the Land of the Last Frontier’s wildlife, including humpback whales and the largest concentration of bald eagles in the world.

3. For Families

Especially on longer cruises, families in particular might desire more space. And having your own outdoor space for reading or relaxing while the kids nap inside, or for having an additional spot for snacking or playing games, feels especially decadent during your days at sea or even in port.

4. If You Like Feeling Steady

A midship cabin is the best location for anyone who prefers not to feel the ocean’s movement when cruising. Having a balcony also enables you to consistently focus on the horizon line, which tends to keep what you see in sync with the ship’s movement, thereby minimizing any feelings of motion.

5. If You Need Alone Time

While many of today’s cruise ships are large enough to accommodate thousands of guests without making anyone feel crowded, there aren’t many places where you can find solitude in your very own space. So if you feel the need to get away from it all—especially when on vacation—a balcony makes for an ideal private getaway within your getaway. Bonus: solo travelers now can even enjoy a “Super Studio” on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships without paying a supplement.

6. If You’re An Avid People-Watcher

Royal Caribbean has pioneered a new category of stateroom onboard their Oasis class ships: balcony cabins that overlook the ship’s exciting interiors. These rooms can have a “Boardwalk View” or a “Central Park View,” and give guests the option of being outside of their cabins while people watching and enjoying the sights and sounds onboard the ship at any given moment.

As you plan your next cruise, think about where you’re going, how long you’re going to be gone and what you want for your experience onboard. Check out Royal Caribbean’s fleet to see various deck plans and staterooms before you book.