Sunday, 21 June 2015


Cabin selection.
It can either make or break your holiday. It doesn't matter whether it is an inside cabin or a suite. Choose your cabin wisely. A lot of cruise ships have their suites (that is their MOST EXPENSIVE cabins) under heavy traffic public areas like the pool. Why would you want to pay good money to stay under one of the areas that attracts the most people walking above you.

In some instances you cannot choose your cabin number as you are on "guarantee". In some instances you are paying less for this, so always check to see if you can pay a slightly higher fare to actually choose a cabin.

My tips for cabin selection.

1) Have a deck plan at the ready to see where your cabin is.

2) Do not choose a cabin situated over the theatre or the dining room or even a bar area. Also, think carefully about having a cabin under the pool deck.

3) If your cabin category is on multiple decks, choose the deck that is between two levels of passenger cabins rather than the deck below or under a passenger area like the pool or the shops.

4) When booking with P&O/Princess, if you have got the ideal cabin, opt out of the auto upgrade. Why? Because you can be "upgraded" to a cabin anywhere on the ship, thus you may end up in a cabin in a location that is above/below one of those high traffic areas you were trying to avoid in the first place, and if you don't like the cabin you have been upgraded to, that is too bad, you can't get back your cabin you originally booked. However if you are on "guarantee" then I usually would pick auto upgrade as you don't get a cabin number allocated until check in anyway.

5) Cabins near lifts and stairs, can be noisy due to the amount of traffic that has to go past them. Not always, but sometimes. So try to choose a cabin nearby but a little way down the corridor (3-4 cabins) so that you are still near the lift but not right outside it.

6) Look where the cabin categories change on the deck plan. You can sometimes save yourself a small amount of money by booking the next category down. If it is within a few doors of the last cabin in the higher category, you are essentially getting the same location for maybe the difference of a meal in one of the specialty restaurants (costings vary, check the rates and compare for yourself).

7) Obstructed Ocean-view cabins- this is the lead in category of ocean view. As you have a lifeboat in the way, your view of the ocean is thus obstructed. If you want to look at the water, think about booking a full ocean-view cabin (check pricing but sometimes costing is not much more), or a balcony (pricing is significantly higher usually for balcony, but this gives you the freedom to enjoy a drink in your cabin).

8) Inside cabins- I spent most of my ship life in an inside cabin. I love them. Don't underestimate their value. If you are going to be "on deck" most of the time or you just want the cabin "to sleep in", this may be an ideal choice and a bit of a cash saver.

9) Please note if you are travelling with children and need two cabins, NEVER book on a guarantee. Your cabins will more than likely not be next to each other and this means that the holiday will be off to a bad start as one adult will have to be berthed with the hold permanently rather than having the 2 kids in one and Mum and Dad in the other. When travelling with kids, cabins next to each other work well if they are older. Interconnecting cabins sell out quickly and there are only a few cabins that do interconnect on most ships. So never just assume that all cabins interconnect, they don't.

10) Forward, mid ship or aft? It is the age old question and cabin location to me is quite a crucial part of this type of holiday. I always look to book cabins mid ship first or just aft of mid ship. Physics says the lower your cabin and the closer to the middle you are means you are closer to the centre of gravity thus meaning less movement. However, if you are wanting a balcony, these are on the higher decks, so I always recommend booking mid ship or nearby to bring you towards that centre. I really am a cabin snob and look at what cabins are available in a few different categories online before getting my agent to book the cabin I would want.
I'm not keen on forward cabins personally, but this is because I do get a little bit of motion sickness.

Destination tips:

For Alaska and the inside passage I recommend balcony in any part of the ship as there is nothing better than sitting on your balcony whale spotting. However, if you can't afford a balcony, never fear, you can sit on deck with a nice hot chocolate and enjoy the view as well.
If you are heading NORTH (either to Seward or round trip from Seattle or Vancouver), book a cabin on the STARBOARD side as this is the side the coast is on when heading in this direction before getting in to the passage. Please note if you are round trip from Seattle or Vancouver, when coming back to these ports your cabin will not be on the coast side after you turn around and start heading South.
If heading SOUTH (from Seward) then book a cabin on the PORT side of the ship.

For Venice, if you are DEPARTING Venice and booking a balcony, get a cabin on the PORT side of the ship this is the side that faces St Marks Square as you go by. If you are ARRIVING in to Venice and you are booking a balcony, get a cabin on the STARBOARD side of the ship (as this is the side that faces St Marks). For those booking ocean-view and inside, there is always an event on top deck for sail away.

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