Your Beginner's Guide To Cruise Ship Staterooms (Cabins)

Discovering your private quarters on a cruise ship is all part of the excitement.

couple sitting on chairs and holding hands on balcony of cruise ship room

2min read

Published 29 September 2022


Discovering your private quarters on a cruise ship is all part of the excitement.

No one sees themselves roughing it on a cruise. When we choose to cruise, our intention is to feel elevated to a level of luxury notches above our everyday experience – something cruise lines know only too well. To land the moniker "cabins" on the comfy, chic, hyper-modern lodgings offered on cruise ships would do them a great disservice. "Staterooms" on the other hand offer a  sheen to our aspirations of luxuriant high-seas travel. Posh-sounding – yes. Disappointing – never. 

Here then is our guide to cruise ship staterooms. We haven't included pricing here as this varies depending on the type of cruise, cruise line, and seasonality.  

Interior/Inside Staterooms  

Floor space: 14 to 17 square metres 

Generally located in the inside of the ship, think of an interior stateroom as a hotel room with no windows. These may be the smallest rooms on the ship, but they're perfect if you plan to spend most of your waking hours exploring the ship or engaged in shore excursions.  Sure, you won't wake to a view of the sun rising majestically over a glassy horizon. You will, however, sleep soundly in the knowledge that the supreme affordability of these rooms means you'll have more cash to splash on other facets of your cruise holiday. And because these staterooms are generally quieter and offer near-zero light pollution, you'll catch even more zeds.  

Interior Staterooms With A Twist 

Floor space: 4 to 17 square metres 

If you're hankering for ocean views from your bed, a number of  cruise lines offer interior rooms with virtual balconies. These feature a floor-to-ceiling HD digital screen livestreaming the view via a video camera mounted on the side of the ship nearest your room. The virtual balcony comes with a virtual handrail and ambient ocean sounds that can be switched off. The screen can't be used to watch TV or movies, however – there's still a regular, wall-mounted digi screen for that. 

Oceanview/Outside Staterooms 

Floor space: 15 to 18 square metres 

For lovers of natural light, oceanview staterooms are similar in size to interior staterooms but let you peek outside through a real porthole or window, depending on the ship and where you are on deck. These rooms are ideal if you want to spend most of your time enjoying the ships amenities while still getting those I'm-really-on-a-cruise vibes back where you sleep with your luggage.  

Panoramic Oceanview Stateroom 

Floor space: 15 to 18 square metres 

If cruising for you is all about ocean views, panoramic oceanview rooms boast floor to ceiling windows and are usually located in the more spectacular areas of the ship (higher decks near either stern or bow). 

Looking out to sea from the interior of a stateroom on a cruise ship
Looking out to sea from the interior of a stateroom on a cruise ship
Looking out to sea from the interior of a stateroom on a cruise ship

Balcony/Verandah Staterooms 

Typical size 16 to 20 square metres

Balcony staterooms have doors that open to your own semi-private balcony. These staterooms are often the most popular as they offer a good balance of amenity and price. The rooms let you stretch out and relax in the open air away from the rest of the ship. You can enjoy a private balcony breakfast as you cruise into the ports of Europe or pour a glass of wine at the end of the day after the kids are in bed.  However, not all balcony rooms face the sea – some are situated with views overlooking interior, outdoor areas of the ship. So, it pays to check when you book. 

Suite Staterooms 

Floor space: 21 to 82 square metres 

These top-of-the-range staterooms are more niche and spacious than those described above. Other perks like concierge service, private lounge access and priority dining are often included for passengers who like to pay more for genuinely luxuriant cruising. 

Unlike regular cabins, a suite may come with a full living room area with a dining table, a bar, and several bathrooms. Spreading out like you would at home is the name of the game here. Spacious master bathrooms may include whirlpool tubs, double vanities, and powder rooms. Living and sleeping quarters may be entirely separated and some may include entertainment rooms for the kids. Their balconies are generally larger than those of the balcony staterooms. 

Interior view of an inside stateroom on a cruise ship
Interior view of an inside stateroom on a cruise ship
Interior view of an inside stateroom on a cruise ship

How Do Cruise Staterooms Differ From Hotel Rooms?

Because space on a cruise comes at a premium, staterooms are designed to save as much space as possible and can feel quite spacious despite being a little smaller than your average hotel room. Staterooms have all the amenities you'd expect of a hotel room, except there are no irons – the associated fire risk is considered too great to take to sea. But who irons on holiday anyway? 

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