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Inside vs outside cabin: What's the best cruise room choice?

Inside vs outside cabin

For most cruisers, the obvious stateroom choice is a balcony, as they provide a private verandah for guests to step outside and soak up picture-perfect ocean views at any moment. For those who want to enhance their cruising experience, a suite might be on the table. 

That being said, travelers who are looking to stretch their vacation budget as far as possible will find better rates if they opt to book an inside stateroom with no direct access to the outdoors. You can get an inside cabin that has no direct sunlight or a cabin with a window that overlooks the ocean or other parts of the ship. 

Read more: Inside cabin vs. oceanview on a cruise ship

There are pros and cons to each option--it comes down to your family's personal preferences and budget. Keep reading to see whether and inside or outside cabin is the better choice for your upcoming cruise. 

What is an inside cabin?


An inside cabin is one that has no outdoor access. For that reason, they are cheaper than outside cabins that come with personal balconies. 

There are two types of inside cabins: ocean view and interior, with the latter usually being the cheapest option. Additionally, interior staterooms are often the smallest accommodations onboard. Large families staying in one room may find it to be too cramped. 

Read more: Best cruise ship cabins for your family

Depending on what ship you are sailing on, you may find that the ocean view options are not much larger unless you pay extra for a "spacious" stateroom. However, for the most part, they tend to be bigger than standard interior staterooms. The bigger perk of these staterooms are, obviously, the window that allows you to look outside at the ever-changing scenery. 

Celebrity Ocean View Stateroom

Note, though, that some cruise ships have rooms with windows that do not get a view of the ocean. Instead, they look out at other parts of the ship, like the Central Park or Boardwalk neighborhoods onboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class. These are more expensive than a traditional interior room but cheaper than rooms with an ocean view window. 

Regardless of which you select, they all come with the same basic amenities, including a television and vanity area, housekeeping, and ensuite bathroom. 

Read more: Balcony vs. oceanview cabin on a cruise ship

What is an outside cabin?


Outside cabins have private balconies that allow you to step outside without have to navigate to the top deck. This means that you can wake up and watch your ship pull into port while still in your pajamas! 

The cheaper outside cabins are going to be balcony staterooms, and they will offer guests the same standard amenities: vanity area, ensuite bathroom, television, daily housekeeping, etc. 

The reason they come at a higher price point is simply because of the private balcony. Plus, the inside space is usually a little bit larger in terms of square footage. 

Like inside cabins, select ships have balconies that overlook the ship's interior. If you want a balcony at a lower price, this could be a good solution! 

Suites are great for those looking for a more luxurious cruise. Of course, you must be willing to pay a premium for them. Some suites can cost upwards of $7,000+ per person for a week! 


They can, however, come with private butlers, access to dedicates suites-only areas, and other perks that make it worth the splurge for some guests. 

The benefits and types of suites available vary from cruise line to cruise line. Norwegian Cruise Line, for instance, has The Haven, while Celebrity Cruises has The Retreat. Both of these can be thought of as a ship-within-a-ship concept where suite guests can access private restaurants, sun decks, and bars. 

Read more: 10 reasons to spend extra for a suite on a cruise

Benefits of booking an inside cabin

MSC inside cabin

While there is no denying the luxury of having a personal balcony, inside cabins are great for those looking to maximize their time elsewhere on the ship and stretch their budget as far as possible, as you will have a comfortable place to return to each evening to recharge for the next day and still get to enjoy the same amenities as all other passengers, excluding those staying in suites. 

When you go on a cruise, how much time do you plan on spending in your stateroom, anyway? There are so many other things to do onboard than hang out in your cabin, such as relaxing on the pool deck, listening to live music, watching a unique theatre production, playing trivia or bingo, and more. 

Staying in an inside cabin is worth it if it allows you to purchase other cruise add-ons, such as shore excursions, drink packages, specialty restaurants, and Wi-Fi. 

Read more: 14 cruise ship extra charges you should know about

Cons of booking an inside cabin

Ocean view stateroom

On newer cruise ships, the majority of cabins are balconies. If you are choosing to book an inside stateroom, you will find that you have fewer locations to select from and may not be able to pick the most desirable location. Many ocean view cabins, for instance, are either on the lower decks or at the very forward or aft of the ship on higher decks. 

Read more: What's the best cruise ship cabin location?

As mentioned earlier, if you are trying to book one cabin for your family, you will be residing in close quarters for the trip. If you are debating between one balcony or two interior cabins, I suggest the latter. You will appreciate having two bathrooms and living spaces. 

Additionally, If you are someone who loves waking up to natural light, you will want to make sure that you book an ocean view room. Otherwise, you may find yourself feeling groggy in the morning or struggling to wake up. A popular solution is to bring a night light, so at least your cabin is not pitch black all of the time. 

Benefits of booking an outside cabin


In addition to the obvious benefit of having a personal balcony, outside cabins are great for those looking to have more options in terms of cabin location, as you will find that you will have the most choices when booking a balcony. Depending on the preferences of your travel party, you may benefit from staying in a cabin close to the youth clubs. 

When it comes to booking a suite, the benefits are seemingly endless. Larger staterooms with more deck space, dedicated suites-only venues, enhanced dining options, priority boarding, upgraded stateroom amenities, and additional loyalty points are among some of the perks that your suite may give you. 

Plus, some of the most expensive suites come with drink packages, complimentary dining in specialty restaurants, Wi-Fi, a personal concierge, and more! This means that booking a suite has the potential to turn your cruise is a more inclusive experience. 

Read more: 7 best suites on big-ship cruises

Cons of booking an outside cabin

NCL balcony

The biggest con of booking an outside cabin is the price. Even a standard balcony cabin will cost you more than an inside one. Sometimes, the price different can be pretty significant, too! 

Below is an example of how much pricing can differ between cabin categories. For a cruise departing on May 7, 2023 onboard Carnival Glory, an interior cabin starts at $569 per person based on double occupancy. At $1,824 per person, a suite is a little over 3x more per person! Even a balcony is close to double the cost of an interior stateroom.

Carnival Price Comparing

If you have a port intensive itinerary, you may not even be on the ship enjoy to fully utilize all of the benefits of staying in a suite. In this case, it would make more sense to budget for more shore excursions.

That being said, balconies and suites are great options for those who can afford them; however, you are still going to have a great vacation even if you stay in an interior room!

Is an inside or outside better?

Celebrity Cruises Stateroom

If you have the money to comfortably stay in a balcony and still purchase other cruise add-ons, you will enjoy being able to open the door and feel the ocean air whenever you want! 

If, however, you would be sacrificing other elements that make a cruise vacation special (i.e., unique shore excursions, a special dinner at a specialty restaurant, etc.) just for an outside stateroom, you are better off opting for an inside cabin. You will never be far from viewing the ocean, even if that means you have to leave your stateroom and walk up to the top deck. 

And as discussed earlier, how much time do you plan on spending in your stateroom? This could vary based on itinerary. An Alaskan cruise, for instance, may be the ideal scenario for an outside cabin, as you will not want to miss any of the breathtaking glaciers! 

On a Caribbean cruise, you may prefer an interior cabin, especially if you are going to be lounging on the pool deck with a cocktail in hand!

Whatever you decide is best, we are certain that you will have a fantastic cruise!

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