When you’re looking around to book a cruise, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to plan but one of the most important choices you’ll have to make is your choice of cruise ship cabin. This is a decision which is personal, simple because each of us has different accommodation needs and expectations. We are a family for 4 who each has different preferences so it’s a bit of a struggle to make it work with just one stateroom. It can be quite frustrating choosing a cabin because cruise lines can have as many as 20 different options to choose from.
Types of Cruise Ship Cabins
Essentially there are 4 categories on any ship:
- Interior: the smallest-sized room, with no window to the outside.
- Exterior: a room with a window or porthole (a round window) with a view to the outside, often similarly sized to an inside cabin or a bit larger; also known as oceanview
- Balcony: a room featuring a verandah that allows you to step outside without going up to a public deck
- Suite: a larger cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas, and a wide variety of extra amenities and perks
Carnival Liberty Cruise Ship Balcony Cabin
Last week we sailed on the Carnival Liberty and had the chance to stay in a balcony cabin located on the Empress Deck. Previously when we cruised, we chose to have 2 interior rooms in order to separate our daughters who have VERY different behaviours at bedtime. This is actually an inexpensive upgrade, it didn’t cost much and when Chatty Chelsea was nattering away, Silent Sydney wasn’t bothered. Knowing our kids may have issues with this balcony room, believe me when I say I was coming at this with one eyebrow raised.
The layout of the balcony room is straightforward, our room had a king sized bed (which can be made into 2 singles), one upper pullman and single sofa bed a coffee table. There is a desk and a seat, a full bathroom with shower. 3 closets and a private balcony with patio chairs and table.
As you open the door you find 3 closets on your left hand side. Each has a shelf at the top and one at the bottom as well as hanging racks and robes. One of the top shelves is where life vests are stored so you do lose some space there. On the right is the bathroom and in front to the left is a bank of drawers, a desk and some lower cupboards. Below the TV is a cupboard which has your small in room safe and further below that is a cabinet which houses an in room refrigerator.
Below the sofa there are 2 generous drawers for storage, beside the King bed there is a small cabinet and some more at the end of the desk area. Above the sofa is the pullman bed which the cabin steward will pull down for you. Chelsea really liked having her “room” on the top bunk and to have more space for all of her bits & bobs we had it down the entire trip. The table beside the bed is handy for when you call room service or apparently for my children to dump their things on…sigh.
The King sized-bed is two singles pushed together so there is somewhat of a gap but I will say that it’s got high quality sheets and is super comfortable. Remember this is coming from someone who has a bad back…so you know I have high standards. Each person has 2 pillows to choose from and the kids said their mattresses were comfy too.
There is a main light which runs on the ceiling around the room, there are switches for this at the door and above the King bed. This is very bright lighting which we used often but as the boat got rocking, it rattled and we were stuffing toilet paper into the covers to stop the noise. There are 3 other little lights and a flattering makeup style light which surrounds the desk mirror.
The bathroom is compact but not squished if you get my meaning. It has all of the amenities we needed and the water pressure on the hand-held wand was strong and the water was warm. There are hand soaps, shampoo and body wash provided as well as a hair dryer. The shelves have a protective rail which keeps your items in place if the boat hits rough patches. There are towels for everyone and of course you’re given the choice to reuse them, or just leave on the floor ad they will be replaced.
Each night there is a turn down service to your room which is handy for restocking and the stewards even think to dim your lights and leave towel animals as surprises.
Finally the balcony, I didn’t manage to snap any photos of ours unfortunately. In hindsight I should have done that immediately at the beginning but we were rarely there. It had 2 chairs and a small table, at the sides our balcony had walls which could be unlocked in the event we had adjoining rooms.
So what are our thoughts? Is it worth it to upgrade to a balcony room? Well it really depends on your family and your preferences. The interior rooms we stayed in on the Carnival Fantasy were definitely smaller but overall it had the same storage space. We did use the balcony here and there but to be frank most of our time was spent above deck enjoying all of the activities. We really just came to the room to sleep and shower.
If you’re someone who hates feeling closed in or you want to enjoy quiet time with some coffee sent early in the morning then this would be the perfect choice for you. It’s a comfy, roomier space which we really enjoyed.
Doris Calvert says
For me I always book a balcony or a suite with a balcony, I like the privacy and want a coffee and just sit andenjoy the water and sun alone! Rooms are so small I feel closed it which is one reason I hat to go on a cruise!
I have been on many many cruises and I have never had a balcony and only once did I have a exterior cabin which had a window. It never bothered me at all not having a balcony. It was nice having a window as that was the time I was cruising with my family and had young kids who liked to look out the window but really I am never in my cabin much.
Jen L says
I cruised on the Liberty in 2012 with a friend and we chose the 7th deck (name??, Starboard near the rear) and also upgraded to a balcony cabin as my friend is a smoker. We were so happy to have done so as we ordered room service for breakfast and had our coffee, etc on the deck every morning.
We cruised 7 nights also with 4 ports Western Caribbean (Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan & Grand Cayman, 3 nights at sea) and loved it.
We were 38 & 39 with no kids, so our interests were different, but we also found lots to do on board! Also the excursions were really enjoyable – we snorkelled, played with Stingrays, drove beach buggies, toured the rainforest, basked in the sun on a catamaran and that’s not even all.
My dear friend and I have known each other since Grade 1 and it was a blast; she ate that same chocolate cake as you posted almost every night! Note – she is a vegetarian and they really looked after her requests well.
I’ll never forget that cruise! The at sea days are so relaxing, too. Loved that boat. Loved those burgers and tacos. wow.
So glad you posted this and brought back all these good memories!