How to Choose a Cruise

Things to Consider For Your Cruise

How to Choose a Cruise – Choosing an itinerary can seem daunting, especially for first-time cruisers.  Click here to find out how to choose the right itinerary for you.

Choosing a Cruise Ship Cabin

Let’s review the different types of cruise accommodations to help you pick the best cabin on a ship according to your needs and style.

Picking the Cruise Line

Picking the perfect ship is like choosing the perfect love match, its tricky. Even if cruise lines seem similar at first, they all have their own perks and quirks. And even the same line can offer different experiences based on the age and size of a ship and the destination and time of year you’re sailing.  Here is the breakdown for best cruises for romance, seniors, families with little kids, families with older kids, fitness enthusiasts, budget conscious cruisers, a splurge, foodies, enrichment, night owls, entertainment, exploring on shore, water lovers, and solo cruisers. Click on the link to jump to the type of cruise you are interested in. For more information on cruising, read The Best Cruise Vacation Tips here, or visit us on Pinterest.

Best Cruises For Romance

Windstar Cruises:  Nothing says romance like a sunset sail complete with billowing sails. Windstar’s intimate yachts offer luxurious touches and port-intensive itineraries in honeymoon-worthy destinations. Their yachts offer spacious suite accommodations for all and sail around the globe to places like Europe, Asia and the Panama Canal.  Find a Windstar Cruise for you.

Paul Gauguin Cruises:  The line’s namesake ship sails in the South Pacific year-round. It’s a favorite for romantic getaways, honeymoons and anniversary celebrations, perhaps due to itineraries stopping in remote islands and offering plenty of time to splash about in bathing suits or lie in the tropical sun.  Search for a Paul Gauguin Cruise here.

Princess Cruises:  The cruise line that owned the original Love Boat still uses to the notion that cruising is the ultimate in romance. Princess turns on the charm with alfresco balcony dinners for two, adults-only sun decks with spa-like atmospheres and several alternative dining venues perfect for date night.  Visit Princess Cruises here.

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Best Cruises For Seniors

Holland America Line:  Their midsize ships appeal to mature travelers with their cruise traditions (afternoon tea, gentleman hosts, ballroom dancing), comfortable cabins and focus on enrichment with cooking and technology classes. In addition, its wide range of itineraries — from family-friendly one-week sailings to weeks-long exotic journeys and world cruises — appeal to retirees looking for multi-generational trips or long vacations to new places.  Look for a Holland America Cruise here.

Cunard Line:  Cunard offers the only regular season of transatlantic crossings on its flagship Queen Mary 2, evoking the days of the great ocean liners. On board, you will be dressing up for formal dinners and ballroom dance parties, attending performances of well-regarded plays or jazz concerts, sipping Darjeeling and nibbling scones at afternoon tea, or playing lawn bowls on deck.  Find a Cunard Cruise here.

Best Cruises For Families With Little Kids

Disney Cruise Line:  Disney leads the pack for introducing the little ones to cruising. Its ships offer nurseries for babes as young as three months, themed play spaces for preschoolers and school-age kids, plenty of Disney character interaction, and cabins that cater to families with split baths, extra berths, a room-dividing curtain and childproof balcony locks.  Visit here to find the best Disney Cruise for you and your family.

Royal Caribbean International:  As Royal Caribbean rolls out toddler play spaces and nurseries with babysitting to more of its ships, it continues to solidify its reputation as one of the better family bets. The line has always been a leader with innovative kid programming and expansive youth facilities. A partnerships with DreamWorks brings the characters little ones love on board with parties, parades and photo ops sure to please preschoolers and their parents. Check here for the Royal Caribbean Cruise for you.

Carnival Cruise Line:  A kids’ program that starts at age 2 with dedicated time for parents to play with infants, on board water slides and aqua parks, and plenty of free, kid-appealing food options also makes Carnival a standout in the family department. Add in some of the largest standard cabins in the industry, the interactive “Hasbro, the Game Show,” Seuss at Sea programming featuring a character breakfast, lots of home-port sailings and affordable cruise fares, and the family vacation has just found a new destination.  Check out Carnival Cruises here.

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Best Cruises For Families With Older Kids

Royal Caribbean International:  The line’s tricked-out mega-ships are a hit with tweens and teens, offering everything from rock-climbing walls and on board surfing to DJ classes, zip lines, high-energy shows and late-night free pizza. Teen clubs feature the latest in video games plus disco and lounge space. Search for the best Royal Caribbean Cruise here.

Norwegian Cruise Line:  Older kids will appreciate Norwegian’s freestyle approach — no set dining times or eating with strangers, no strict dress code (jeans are always acceptable) and plenty of choice for entertainment and food. Teen clubs offer gaming stations, exclusive parties, teen outings to see the comedy show on board and late-night snacks. Plus, on board facilities like video arcades, water parks, outdoor sports courts and cool musical venues and shows mean no one ever complains of being bored.  Plan your Norwegian Cruise here.

Carnival Cruise Line:  The cruise line offers separate cool clubs for tweens and teens, and shore excursions just for 12- to 17-year-olds, chaperoned by the youth staff. Look for ships with outdoor movie screens, water parks with water slides and soaker areas, ropes courses and mini-golf for all-day fun. Looking for a Carnival Cruise, visit here.

Best Cruises For Fitness Enthusiasts

Royal Caribbean International:  Boxing? Check. Ice skating? Got it. Surfing, rock climbing, basketball, jogging track and huge gyms with cardio machines, free weights and weight machines, and class space for Pilates, cycling and aerobics? It’s all there. Add in active shore tours (kayaking, hiking and more) and plenty of space for dancing the night away, and you’ve got a fitness-lover’s dream cruise.  Start planning your Royal Caribbean Cruise here.

Norwegian Cruise Line:  First it was on board bowling in a funky disco setting. Then it was a rock-climbing and rappelling wall and a two-story climbing cage. Now new ships are debuting ropes courses and group classes in TRX suspension training, Flywheel indoor cycling, boot camp, Fight Klub and Zumba. Large gyms, sports courts and large-screen Wii tournaments round out the line’s active offerings.  Check out Norwegian Cruises here.

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Best Cruises For Budget Conscious Cruisers

Carnival Cruise Line:  The Fun Ship line has always been king of the budget cruise offerings. A variety of short itineraries, frequent promotions and plenty of close-to-home sailings allow you to get a vacation at sea for less. Plus, the line is committed to making on board amenities accessible to all, and many of its new entertainment and dining options are included in the fare.  Look for a Carnival Cruise here.

Norwegian Cruise Line:  Some of the lowest cruise fares we’ve ever seen have been on shoulder-season, week long Norwegian cruises. Eagle-eyed deal spotters with flexible schedules can save a buck or two sailing with this line, if you plan to stick to what’s included in your cruise fare. In addition to the off season, look at short sailings and re-positioning cruises for the best value. Just be sure to avoid all the for-fee dining options once on board, or you might be tempted to blow your savings. Check out Norwegian Cruises here.

MSC Cruises:  MSC Cruises is making an effort to reach out to the U.S. market, positioning Divina and Seaside in Miami and tweaking its European product for Yankee vacationers. To lure new-to-MSC cruisers aboard, the line is constantly offering promotions and low fares (including inside cabins starting at $40 to $60 per person, per night).  Find a MSC Cruise here.

Best Cruises For a Splurge

Regent Seven Seas Cruises:  This luxury line might be the most inclusive line out there. Its fares are astronomical, but they include pre-cruise hotel stays, nearly all shore excursions, gratuities, on board alcohol and soft drinks, fine dining in main and specialty restaurants, attentive service and accommodations in suites (either with windows or balconies). If you want to splurge, you cannot go wrong with Regent. Plan a cruise with Regent Seven Seas Cruises here.

Seabourn Cruise Line:  Seabourn’s fleet of four modern ships, which carry 450 to 600 passengers, are havens of luxury. Indulge yourself at the two-level, 11,400-square-foot spa (complete with a spa pool and private spa villas); relax in a suite tricked out with marble bathrooms, high-end sound systems and upscale bedding; enjoy complimentary drinks and course-by-course in-cabin dining; and generally let the attentive staff cater to your every whim.  Find the right Seabourn Cruise for you here.

Norwegian’s The Haven:  If you want an exclusive experience on a large, mainstream ship, splurge on a suite in Norwegian’s Haven. Depending on which ship you pick, The Haven will feature a communal area only for top suite residents with a private pool, sun deck, fitness center, restaurant and/or lounge. You can choose from an array of spacious suites, all with butler and concierge service, but still enjoy Norwegian’s big-ship amenities — multiple dining venues, a plethora of watering holes and plenty of top-notch entertainment.  Find the right Norwegian Haven Cruise here.

Best Cruises For Foodies

Celebrity Cruises:  Celebrity is all over the specialty dining scene, devoting tons of square footage on its ships to a variety of on board restaurants. Choices range from upscale Tuscan steakhouse cuisine to an exclusive venue serving spa cuisine and a whimsical venue specializing in out-of-the-box international comfort food. Add in a grill-your-own-meat/bake-your-own-pizza eatery, delectable Gelato and an alfresco soup and sandwich venue, and you might forget to stop at the cruise ship staple main dining room or buffet.  Check out all Celebrity Cruises here.

Oceania Cruises:  You can’t go wrong when Jacques Pepin is overseeing your on board restaurants. All of Oceania’s ships have superb cuisine in both main and specialty venues, but its newest and biggest ships have a wide array of dining venues. Go for fee-free Asian, Italian, steak and continental cuisine, or for a splurge, pony up for an exclusive dining event that pairs seven courses with an equal number of fine wines. Find an Oceania Cruise here.

Crystal Cruises:  Crystal doesn’t go overboard with restaurants, but what it does, it does well. It partners with celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa to offer a sushi bar and pan-Asian cuisine in its Silk Road restaurant and with Piero Selvaggio, proprietor of Valentino’s in Santa Monica and Las Vegas Prego, to serve up Northern Italian in its other specialty venue, Prego. But the regular dining options also shine, and poolside buffets and afternoon tea are always special treats.  Check all the great Crystal Cruises here.

Best Cruises For Enrichment

Cunard Line:  With sea day-filled ocean crossings and other sailings, Cunard is experienced in finding top-notch enrichment programs to fill passengers’ days. Its Cunard Insights speaker series and Cunard Book Club literary discussions are offered on all three ships, while flagship Queen Mary 2 offers even more programs. Embrace your inner thespian with Royal Academy of Dramatic Art acting workshops, gaze skyward with members of the Royal Astronomical Society, and get intellectual about your musical entertainment with Juilliard Jazz groups.  Look for an awesome Cunard Cruise here.

Crystal Cruises:  Crystal made on board enrichment a priority before other lines decided “edu-tainment” was cool. Its Creative Learning Institute offers computer skills training, language classes, golf instruction and art workshops, as well as cooking demos and music lessons. Guest lecturers are always on hand to speak about region-specific topics, as well as popular interests such as political science, current affairs, food and wine, astronomy, and art and antiques. Theme sailings bring in big names to speak or perform.  Find the right Crystal Cruise for you here.

Oceania Cruises:  Oceania’s options aren’t diverse, but what it does, it does well. Hands-on cooking classes, demos and lectures on culinary topics all take place in the high-end Culinary Center on Marina and Riviera, while onshore, Culinary Discovery Tours take foodies on visits to artisan cheese-makers, chocolatiers, vineyards or fish markets. Budding artists can find their happy place in the Artist Loft, where artists-in-residence give instruction in watercolors, needlepoint, and arts and crafts.  Check out all the great Oceania Cruises here.

Best Cruises For Night Owls

Norwegian Cruise Line:  Norwegian ships have an array of bars and lounges, from the bordello-meets-bowling-themed Bliss Ultra Lounge to Getaway’s Sugarcane Mojito Bar and other specialty venues focusing on beer, whiskey, cocktails or Champagne. Norwegian’s signature White Hot and Glow Parties (they vary depending on what ship class you are on) are the hottest dance parties aboard, where cruisers come dressed in white and the entertainment staff, bedecked with angel wings or layered in neon, keep the fun going with group dancing and on some ships, a mesmerizing video screen. We’ve also heard some mighty impressive karaoke on these ships.  Find a Norwegian Cruise here.

Carnival Cruise Line:  It’s no shock that the Fun Ships are ideal for night owls. Carnival’s piano bars just might have the most happening  in cruising, and karaoke is offered nightly. You’re never far from a bar or dance club, and the casino is often in the heart of the action. Late-night 18-plus comedy has always been a staple event at the line’s Punchliner Comedy Clubs.  Start planning a Carnival Cruise here.

MSC Cruises:  When you’re cruising the European way, be sure to adjust to European bedtime, when even the smallest children are found in the nightclub around 10 p.m. That’s the vibe on MSC, even on its U.S.-geared ships. Piano bars, sports bars, lounges with wine-blending classes and hangouts with international beer — it’s all there. What keeps the nightlife lively isn’t only the atmosphere, itโ€™s the clientele; MSC passengers typically keep the party going until the wee hours of the morning.  Find the right MSC Cruise here.

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Best Cruises For Entertainment

Disney Cruise Line:  Disney knows the entertainment biz better than anyone, and that shows in its cruise line offerings as well. Its on board stage shows mix original productions with live versions of hit movies like “Frozen” and “Tangled,” but all feature catchy tunes, creative props and costumes, and favorite Disney characters. Its best known event is its once-a-cruise pirate-themed deck party, which combines an interactive musical show with dance parties and at-sea fireworks.  Check out Disney Cruises here.

Royal Caribbean International:  This line loves to the push the boundaries of on board entertainment options. It’s the only line to offer ice-skating shows and water-based acrobatic shows. Plus, it was the first to bring Broadway to the high seas with condensed versions of “Chicago,” “Hairspray” and “Saturday Night Fever.” It utilizes every square inch of space on board to keep the fun going, with toe-tapping parades along its indoor Promenade shopping and dining district and aerial performances in the atriums of its Vision-class ships. Start planning your Royal Caribbean Cruise here.

Norwegian Cruise Line:  Norwegian is RCI’s competitor when it comes to innovative entertainment options. The line has also introduced Broadway-quality shows including “After Midnight” and “Million Dollar Quartet.” Add to that a production featuring the cult hits of “16 Candles” director John Hughes, the unique Cirque Dreams and Dinner Show, jazz and blues clubs, celebrity musician impersonators, dueling pianists and comedians, and it’s hard not to be entertained. Find a Norwegian Cruise here.

Best Cruises For Exploring On Shore

Azamara Club Cruises:  Azamara’s catch phrase is “destination immersion,” and its fleet of two small ships achieves this in several ways. Itineraries include less-touristy ports and cruise regions, and often feature late-night stays and overnights in port. Plus, nearly every cruise includes an “AzAmazing Evening,” a complimentary shore-side event that presents the local culture in an intimate or exclusive setting. When possible, Azamara also tries to schedule its cruises around major destination events, such as Carnaval in Rio or the Grand Prix in Monaco.  Find an Azamara Club Cruise here.

Celebrity Cruises:  One of Celebrity’s goals is to offer sailings to every continent, including Antarctica, with more overnight calls and more small-group excursions.  A Destination Concierge is on every ship; these port experts assist passengers in making the most of their time ashore, even going as far as creating individual excursions tailor made to your touring desires. A fleet of three expedition ships cater to cruisers looking to explore the Galapagos.  Start planning your Celebrity Cruise here.

Viking Ocean Cruises:  Join a home visit in Stavanger, Norway, or a full-day walking tour in Rome. At least one shore excursion is included in each port on all Viking’s itineraries. Plus, itineraries tend to be port intensive, so expect to visit a new city nearly every day of your cruise. If you’re not impressed by a morning exploring the city, opt to pay for one of the line’s more custom shore tours like a helicopter ride or a journey through Nice in the footsteps of Henri Matisse. Want to arrange a private car ride in port? They’re a way to do that, too.  Look for the best Viking Ocean Cruise here.

Best Cruises For Water Lovers

Windstar Cruises:  Water-lovers have two reasons to love Windstar. First, the line’s yachts have plenty of open deck space, including alfresco dining options, for getting that sea-wind-in-your-hair feel. Second, the ships offer complimentary water sports from a built-in on board marina. You can borrow kayaks, windsurf boards, small sailboats and inflatable boats and mats. Passengers have access to free snorkel equipment, and water skiing is offered by the ship’s staff. Select itineraries feature beach party days, as well.  Check out all Windstar Cruises here.

Paul Gauguin Cruises:  Paul Gauguin’s namesake ship sails in the South Pacific, an ideal place for savoring water-based activities and scenic island views from the sea. The ship has a retractable aft marina used for complimentary water sports, such as kayaking, windsurfing and water skiing. The ship also lends out snorkel equipment, but it can’t be used from the on board marina, and offers a scuba program with both recreational dives and certification classes. Water-lovers will also enjoy beach days on a little island in Bora Bora and Motu Mahana, a tiny island off Taha’a complete with a floating bar offshore. Find the right Paul Gauguin Cruise for you here.

Seabourn Cruise Line:  Another big-name luxury line with a water sports platform is Seabourn. Its marina is stocked with all the toys: banana boats, kayaks, pedal boats, water skis, windsurf boards and the “doughnut,” an inner tube in which you sit while being pulled along by a speedboat. If you’re excited about taking advantage of this option, choose your itinerary wisely — cooler weather sailings and busy ports are not conducive to marina use.  Check out all Seabourn Cruises here.

Best Cruises For Solo Cruisers

Norwegian Cruise Line:  Norwegian’s much acclaimed Studio cabins proved to the world that solo travelers aren’t always overlooked. Norwegian Epic offers the line’s largest studio offering with 128 single cabins measuring 100 square feet with a corridor-facing window, mood lighting and access to a shared social space with large-screen TVs, coffee-making facilities and a bartender. You’ll find 82 studio rooms on Escape, with an area that includes a lounge bar and social space. Getaway has 59 studio cabins, with access to a two-deck lounge, complete with a 50-inch TV and a self-service wine bar, as well as a tea and coffee machine.  Plan your next Norwegian Cruise here.

Holland America Line:  Even before dedicated cabins, solo cruisers were choosing Holland for its social atmosphere and a ton of independent travelers sail the line every year. HAL’s Single Partners Program is designed for single cruisers with meetups, activities and events geared just toward solos. On longer itineraries, social hosts serve as greeters and dance partners for women. Prinsendam now features single cabins and Koningsdam, the line’s newest vessel, has solo cabins without a single supplement. If you’re sailing a ship without a solo cabin, the program can arrange for you to share your room with another same-sex single to save you money.  Find the right Holland America Cruise here.

Crystal Cruises:  A popular choice for solo travelers, Crystal entices lone travelers with its wide range of on board activities, singles get-togethers, gentleman hosts and low solo supplements. Many single cruisers choose the line’s set-seating option to meet new friends over dinner, while its Table for 8 program matches solo travelers for group meals at the specialty dining venues. The on board atmosphere is communal and social, so no passenger needs to feel lonely.  Check out all of the great Crystal Cruises here.

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Things To Consider For Your Cruise


Cruises range from three-night weekend cruises to 100-plus-day trips around the world. If you are uneasy about spending a full week or more aboard a ship, try easing into cruising by trying out a shorter cruise.  The Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera and the Bahamas are all regions where you’ll commonly find three-, four- and five-night trips.

Embarkation Point

Do you want to fly or drive to your ship?  From the East and Gulf Coast, you’ll find itineraries to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda and Canada/New England. From the West Coast, there are cruises to Hawaii, Alaska and the Mexican Riviera.

Vacation Style

For some travelers, reading a book a day on the beach or by the pool is paradise while others are rejuvenated by sightseeing, shopping and interacting with locals. Research potential cruise regions carefully to make sure that the ports of call you’ll visit jive with your personal preferences.

Greatest Hits

Many first-time cruisers choose the Caribbean or Mexican Riviera, where itineraries are for one week or less. These cruises operate from Florida and California ports. Caribbean cruises are also available from places like New Orleans, Galveston, Baltimore and New York. The ships take you to island paradises where you can soak up sun on the beach, try water sports, sample the local cuisine and shop for discounted jewelry. Cruises leaving Florida may include a beach party at a pretty tropical island owned by the cruise line.  Most week long cruises include at least one day at sea.

Standard itineraries are either Eastern Caribbean (with ports like San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. Maarten) or Western Caribbean (with ports like Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Cozumel and sometimes Key West), and the Southern Caribbean (with ports like Martinique,Guadalupe, St. Bart’s, St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao).  Mexican Riviera voyages call at Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, among other ports.  The Bahamas are generally shorter than one week and popular among cruise newbies.

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More First-Time Friendly Cruises

Other itineraries that are appropriate for first-time cruisers include:

Alaska Cruises:  More than 700,000 cruise visitors flock to the state from May through September for the history, the frontier ambiance, the wildlife and — above all — the scenery. Most cruises depart from the Northwest or within Canada, last about seven days, and follow either an Inside Passage of Gulf of Alaska route, with glacial views being a highlight. The major ports include Juneau, Skagway, Sitka and Ketchikan.

Bermuda:  Week long departures are offered from the East Coast. Cruise lengths can vary.  The major ports are King’s Wharf and Hamilton.

Canada/New England:  The season runs from May through September, from the East Coast or within Canada. Sailings vary from 4 to 14 days.  The major ports are Halifax, Saint John (New Brunswick), St. John’s (Newfoundland), and Newport and Bar Harbor.

Europe:  A cruise is a great way to see Europe. Itineraries generally range from 7 to 14 nights. Eastern Mediterranean cruises generally visit Greece and Turkey while Western Mediterranean voyages skirt the French Riviera, Spain and the Italian coastline. Many lines also sail Baltic cruises that include Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki and several days in historic St. Petersburg, as well as British Isles voyages calling at cities in England, Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Hawaii:  Hawaii cruises is popular with honeymooners. Norwegian Cruise Line is the only cruise line offering week long all-Hawaiian-island itineraries round trip from Honolulu. Other lines generally offer lengthier cruises that depart from the mainland U.S. and visit at least one international port, such as Fanning Island or Ensenada. Popular ports of call include Maui, Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island.

Choosing a Cruise Ship Cabin

Standard Cruise Ship Cabins – Inside Cabins (No Porthole or Window)

Many cruise ships today have standard cabins of similar size and amenities, with the price differential being the location. The least expensive, inside standard cabins on a mainstream cruise ship run from about 120 square feet to 180 square feet. Since most cruise ships are relatively new or have been refurbished, the cabins usually are tastefully decorated with twin beds that can be pushed together to make a queen-sized bed for couples.  Bathrooms will be tiny.

Standard Cruise Ship Cabins – Outside Ocean View Cabins (Porthole or Window)

Oftentimes the ocean view standard cabins and the inside standard cabins are almost identical in size and layout. The only difference is the window. Most modern ships have large picture windows rather than portholes, but these windows cannot be opened. So, if you want to have a sea breeze in your room, you will need to get a balcony. Some ships have both porthole cabins and those with windows. The porthole cabins are on the lowest decks and are least expensive. About the only view, you have from a porthole is whether it is daylight or dark.

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Cabins with Balconies or Verandas

The next step above an outside cabin is one with a balcony (veranda). These cabins have sliding glass or French doors giving you access to the outside. Usually, the balcony cabins are larger than the standard cabins. Some have a small sitting area with a love seat or convertible sofa, which also usually have a curtain that can be drawn to separate the sleeping and sitting areas.


A “suite” can mean you have a small sitting area, a curtain to separate the bed from the sitting area, or a separate bedroom. It’s important to ask and look at the cabin layouts before booking since the name can be somewhat misleading. Suites almost always have balconies. The suites are larger, and many have bigger bathrooms with tubs. Suites are a wonderful treat, especially if you have a lot of seas days or want to spend a lot of time together in your cabin.

Lower Deck Cabins

The inside cabins on the lowest decks are usually the least expensive cruise ship cabins. They are also the furthest from the common areas such as the pool and lounges. You will be hiking the stairs or riding the elevators more from a lower deck. You can save a few hundred dollars by choosing to be on a lower deck. Two problems that you might experience with cabins on the lower decks are engine noise and anchor noise. If your cabin is near the front of the ship, it can sound like the ship has hit a coral reef when the anchor is dropped. This will wake anyone up, so the only good thing about the noise is it can serve as an alarm. Newer ships tend to have less engine noise and their stabilizers suppress the ship’s motion, but you might get that anchor noise a couple of times a day at ports.

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Higher Deck Cabins

Cabins on the upper decks usually cost more than those on the lower decks. Since these cabins are nearer the pool and sun decks, they are more desirable for those on warm weather cruises who plan to use these amenities. They also offer better panoramic views. However, you will get more rocking motion up high, so those who are seasick prone might want to avoid a higher deck cabin.

Mid-ship Cabins

Standard cabins can be a good choice due to their central location and less motion. They are excellent for those who have mobility problems or who are seasick prone. However, a mid-ship cabin can have more traffic outside in the hallways. Some cruise ships charge slightly more for mid-ship cabins, or even have them in a separate category. If you are thinking of a mid-ship cabin, be sure to check out the location of the tenders or lifeboats. They can block your view and be noisy when raised or lowered. Most cruise lines will tell you if a cabin has a blocked or limited view, but it is wise to check for yourself.

Bow (Forward) Cabins

Cabins on the front of the ship get the most motion. You will get more wind and spray on the front. The windows on cabins on the front are sometimes smaller and slanted or recessed, meaning you can’t see as much as you might on the side or rear of the ship. Cruise ships often put suites on the front of the ships to take advantage of the unusual shape and use the opportunity to provide the passengers with larger balconies.

Aft (Rear) Cabins

If you want a large balcony with your cabin, look to the rear of the ship. These cabins also provide a panoramic view of where you have sailed. Cabins in the aft of the ship have more motion than centrally located cabins, but less than those forward. One disadvantage is that passengers in the lounges or restaurants can look down on the balconies of the aft cabins. Not much privacy!


  1. Sarah

    Whaao I must say, you have presented a brilliant post with a lot of detailed information. There are a lot of choices and options that are available which is great. Some of my community friends love to go on a cruise ship. I will share this information with them, I am sure they would love this post! Thanks for sharing this helpful information.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, so much to choose from for sure ๐Ÿ™‚ I think anyone would enjoy a cruise. Just a matter of picking the right cruise, cabin, and ports. Thanks for stopping by and reading how to choose a cruise.

  2. marlasmith

    You have done a great job showing all the options that are available for cruise ships. I had no idea there were so many options available nor half the stuff you could do on a ship. Your details for each of the areas are very helpful for anyone to figure out which ship line is the best for them. Thanks for being so thorough. It will help for when I get to go on a cruise.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed reading how to choose a cruise Marla.ย  Iย think a lot of people just think a cruise is too expensive for them.ย  Not the case.ย  Come on back when you are ready to book your cruise.

  3. Marla

    Wow, I had no idea there was so many options when choosing a cruise. I thought I would decide where I wanted to go and for how long and that was about it. You do a great job explaining all the options out there, most of which I had no idea. I have only been on one cruise and it was a work thing, so I decided nothing. I now see that I need to look into possibly going on another cruise, since I would be able to make everyone happy with all the choices available.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      There definitely are choices for you Marla. You will have a great time, since it will be leisure and not work. Heck, I went on a work related cruise with a girlfriend, and I had a great time. Thanks for stopping by and reading how to choose a cruise.

  4. Daniella

    Hi Lea,

    Awesome article!
    My husband and I are planning a holiday on a cruise with our two kids in Greece. And this article came just in time! I didn’t find such great information anywhere on the net. Fantastic work! I really want to rent a suite on the cruise; this would be fantastic! I didn’t see any price. Is there a place I can see the cost of a suite?

    Thank you so much for this useful post!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, you can go to Avoya travel and they have all of their deals listed, and it will let you search for your cruise and then bring up all cruise deals for you.ย  You can also go to and search for a cruise there as well.ย  Both of these sites will give you the option to search and then pricing.ย  Glad you enjoyed reading Daniella!

  5. stefanie

    Oh wow, that carnival ship looks amazing! I honestly never knew in a million years you could get ships like this. This post is a real eye opener for me I can tell you.
    I love the romance ship also; what could be better than watching a beautiful sunset at sea with the man of your dreams hey? Haha…one day:-)
    A cruise is something I have never experienced, or even though about, but you have got me really thinking about it. I just need a mix of the romance, fitness, and food ships and I will be in my element.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Ditto Stefanie! Same kind of cruise I like. Just need to find the romance part ๐Ÿ™‚ Cruising is wonderful. You would love it. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Saurav

    Wow! This is such a well-written post. Going on a cruise is something that I have wanted since long and recently me and my partner were discussing it too. I think cruises are the best way to explore different destinations. However, I had no idea that there’s so much to look into. I’m going to bookmark your article for future reference. Thanks!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great and thank you for reading about how to choose a cruise.ย  Yes, first time cruisers don’t really know how many choices you have ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Please let me know if you need any help when booking your cruise!

  7. Thomas G

    WOW! I have never been on a cruise and it was something a friend of mine was trying to talk me into. I had no idea of so many choices! Have you ever traveled solo on a cruise? Do they really give you enough time to really explore a town on a stop? How about the comfortability such as air con in the rooms? I have traveled extensively internationally but never this way.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, I have gone solo on a cruise before.ย  I had a blast!ย  And yes, you do get enough time to explore the stop.ย  It usually lasts all day, from morning until evening.ย  The rooms are like hotel rooms, so you adjust the temperature to what suits you ๐Ÿ™‚ย  You will have to give a cruise a try Thomas, you will love it!ย  I travel both ways, equally enjoy both, but then I love traveling.

  8. Ramona Brooks

    Wow! My head is spinning! Alot of information; but,very good information!

    My first cruise was in 2005 – and my daughter booked it; we went to the Bahammas.

    A friend and I have been saying that we would like to go on an Alaskan cruise. Well, thank you for all the info, I know what to look and ask for when we do decide.

    Very good post!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Ramona, I am so glad you enjoyed! I lived in Alaska for many years, and I do know that with an Alaskan cruise, you need to heed more advice ๐Ÿ™‚ The weather can be very nasty, cold, or wet. Really the only enjoyable months where you have daylight and it is “warm”, is June, July and August. Any other time, you might feel disappointed. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  9. Ruth

    This is a lot of information regarding cruises! I really never saw myself as a cruise person, but just reading this information has made me want to give it a try! I will also certainly recommend your post to some friends of mine who just loves to go on cruises. Great post, thanks.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You know most people who have never tried a cruise feel the same way. It just seem like something they would be interested in. The thing is, there is a cruise out there to suit everyone’s needs and tastes. I do hope you give a cruise a chance, you will enjoy!

  10. Rain

    dang, who knew there were so many different kinds of cruises for so many different kinds of people! I definitely gotta look into the night owl and foodie cruises lol

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh yes, food is a biggie ๐Ÿ™‚ For me I need the food and the sports LOL. I just don’t want to have to go on a diet when I return home LOL. Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

  11. John

    This is a lot of information on how to choose a cruise. I did not think that you would have this many choices. I think a checklist can be made from your information and when I decide to take that first short cruise it will be very helpful.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by How to choose a cruise John, I am glad this will help you with your cruise. Most first time cruisers (been there done that) don’t realize all the choices. I know my first cruise I did the guaranteed cabin. I will never do that again. I want to know where I am, and be able to have a say in where I will be on the boat. If you get sea sickness at all, then it really is imperative to pick your cabin.

  12. Rob

    Honestly, everyone bookmark this post. So informative if you are searching to go on a cruise even if it is in the long-term future. You narrow exactly what people are looking for. I could not get this helpful of information at any travel agency! Thanks Leahrae ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are more than welcome Rob. I am glad you enjoyed reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Gene

    Excellent suggestions on all fronts. I am not a pro at cruising, but I can tell you, there is a lot of information that would have helped book a more enjoyable cruise. We had a few pitfalls which are answered right here! I will definitely book a cruise this October.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great, you will have a blast Gene! I am sure whoever you are taking will make this a very enjoyable vacation for you. Please come back when you are ready to book ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Mick Krug

    Great webpage on “How to Choose a Cruise”. Personally, I would like to take a Mediterranean Cruise for 7-14 days. One of these days I will get around to it. It would have to have Greece as part of the cruise. But that is probably a good trip in and of itself. Cruises are especially good for inexperienced travelers or ones that want to see different destinations. Also, good for big eaters and drinkers. You cover all the cruise lines and destinations. Very informative and useful to the traveler planning a cruise in the near future.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank Mick, glad you enjoyed. Oh, that is on my bucket list….a Mediterranean Cruise….and then to tick off Greece as well would be wonderful! Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Zafiro

    Wow, this is a lot of great information! I’ve never even considered that I’d like a cruise, who wants to stay on a boat all day, but I can see from everything you’ve talked about, that there’s so much more to do than I ever thought! And I appreciate all the categories! It helps me to know what to consider!

    Great resource!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed reading and that maybe, I have talked you into taking a cruise. They really are a LOT of fun, and I think most anyone, other than those who get seriously sea sick, would enjoy a cruise. Thanks for stopping by.

  16. Eric

    How to choose a cruise, this is exactly what I am talking about. So many choices and if you are a solo traveler it’s better to know somebody that works on one. I am definitely more of a night owl so my preferred cruise would need more night activities and less early morning events. Not only that but if something were to happen with the ship it’s nice to have the booze around. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      So true Eric! Most people book there first cruise by price and possibly itinerary alone. They don’t consider what type of ship they are going on. That was my first experience. I have learned a lot since then. Thanks for visiting How to Choose a Cruise.


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