- Photo Tours
- Live Voyage Reports
- AmaLyra- Christmas Markets
- Honolulu, Hawaii Trip Report
- Hurtigruten Midnatsol – North Cape
- Miami for Families
- Norwegian Breakaway – Christening
- Norwegian Epic – Eastern Caribbean
- Queen Mary 2 – Transatlantic
- Schooner Zodiac – Wine Cruise
- Silver Explorer – British Isles
- Silver Spirit – Athens to Barcelona
- Silver Spirit- Eastbound Transatlantic
- Silver Wind – South Africa
- Tauck Swiss Jewel – Blue Danube
- Viking Freya – Danube Christmas
- Viking Longships Christening 2012
- Viking Longships Christening 2013
- Wind Spirit – Stockholm to Oslo
- Zuiderdam – Alaska Inside Passage
- Airport Guides
- About FTDC
- The Avid Cruiser
We originally ran this article last September, but figured it was worthwhile giving it a second go-round after friends of ours booked one of the following staterooms on an Alaskan cruise later this year. For those looking to save a few bucks, it’s tough to go wrong with these. From the Deck Chair will return tomorrow with our complete photo-tour of Holland America Line’s Zaandam!
Be honest: we all secretly drool over the Penthouse Suites that almost every cruise ship offers. Grand Pianos, marble bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a list of amenities that would make Oscar Wilde blush are all available for the taking. Seven days of living like a veritable King or Queen make even the most humble of us pause for thought.
The reality, however, is that many of us simply can’t afford such ample accommodation, choosing instead to go with a compromise that offers value and comfort. Let’s not split hairs here: it’s almost 2012, not 1912. Even the most bottom-of-the barrel inside stateroom on the lowest deck all the way forward next to the elevator is still going to be plenty comfortable, and a heck of a deal to boot.
However, just as each ship has its own unique personality, each ship also has some great deals to be had in terms of accommodations – and not all are always explained in full detail on the deckplans. Here, we take a look at some of our favorite, lesser-known stateroom deals.
Obstructed View Staterooms – Vista Class, Holland America Line
(Zuiderdam, Oosterdam, Westerdam, Noordam, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam)
You have to hand it to Holland America. The venerable line is known as much for its high quality of service as it is for the little touches that help distinguish it from its closest competitors. One of those little touches is present in the Obstructed View staterooms on the line’s Vista-class ships. Less expensive than an outside cabin, these staterooms are positioned behind the ship’s lifeboats. While many have a completely obstructed view, some offer little or no obstruction at all.
To sweeten the deal, the cabin layout and dimensions are identical to the higher-priced balcony cabins above, and the window is floor-to-ceiling; a dramatic improvement over the small-ish square window found in most oceanview staterooms. Even with full-obstruction, these rooms let in a remarkable amount of natural light.
Which rooms offer the best view? Holland America’s deckplans are remarkably accurate in this respect. Have a peek at where there are gaps between each lifeboat; those are the ones that offer the best view. The aftermost two staterooms on Deck 4 seem to offer some of the best views, as their obstructions are minimal.
Obstructed Veranda Staterooms – Queen Mary 2, Cunard Line
Queen Mary 2 is a very diverse ship. Like the true transatlantic liner she is, the array of accommodations to suit every budget is remarkable. The ship even has three major categories of veranda stateroom: normal, sheltered, and obstructed view. Each has their own pros and cons, but for those who want fresh air – but don’t necessarily care about the view – QM2 has just the ticket.
Situated on Deck 8 are the category A4 Balcony Staterooms. These offer the exact dimensions of other, more expensive balcony staterooms with one small catch: the ship’s lifeboats are positioned directly in front of them.
For those wanting to see the ocean at all times, this might be a downside. But for those who’s primary balcony use is for fresh air or to catch a bit of sun, these are ideal. Less expensive than the unobstructed balcony cabins on higher decks, but more open than the enclosed “Sheltered” balcony staterooms carved into the hull of the ship, these cabins can often be had for mere dollars above similar oceanview accommodation, making the upgrade a no-brainer for many. After all, the staterooms still offer Cunard’s trademark amenities and services.
Promenade Staterooms – Voyager & Freedom Class, Royal Caribbean
(Voyager, Adventure, Navigator, Mariner, Freedom, Liberty, Independence of the Seas)
When Royal Caribbean set out to design its trendsetting Voyager-class ships in the late 1990′s, their crowning achievement was to be a three hundred foot-long, four-deck high passageway dubbed the Royal Promenade. Featuring shops, bars, and daily performances, it would be the largest continuous interior space since the SS Normandie turned the cruising world on its head in the late 1930′s with the creation of a cavernous dining room spanning several decks in height.
Spanning four decks in height, Royal Caribbean’s design team came up with a unique idea: the creation of inside staterooms featuring bay windows overlooking the promenade. Thus, the Promenade Stateroom was born.
The creation is the perfect marriage for those looking for the economy and value of an inside stateroom, but with a view of…well, something other than a wall. In fact, their love-seat style bay window makes the perfect perch to watch the many parades and shows on the Royal Promenade, and sound insulation is generally very good – meaning your sleep will not be disturbed.
These can be an excellent value, though at times these particular rooms can actually be priced higher than an oceanview cabin because of their tremendous location and views. If you’re never tried one yet, you owe it to yourself to experience it on a future Royal Caribbean voyage.
Studio Staterooms – Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Cruise Line
Cruising by yourself? Not a fan of the odd bathroom arrangement on Norwegian Epic‘s larger staterooms? Has NCL got a deal for you: their new “Studio Staterooms” aboard Norwegian Epic are perfect for the solo traveller.
Although they’re some of the smallest staterooms you’re likely to have stayed in, for one person, they provide ample space. A circular porthole window lets in light from the outside passenger corridor, and a series of ‘mood-lighting’ presets lend this stateroom a futuristic appearance. Inside the room, the usual amenities can be found, though with an eye to keeping things compact. Indeed, there’s just enough room for the bed – and not a lot else, though a sliding door reveals a closet that does provide enough storage space for both clothing and luggage.
Of course, every ship has its own unique staterooms and layout oddities – these are just some of our favorites. Next time you’re in the market to book a cruise, don’t discount a particular category of stateroom simply because it seemingly offers less; you may be surprised at just how much these hidden gems have going for them.
Sign up for the Avid Cruiser newsletter
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009