In 2023, we shared a ton of tips, tricks, and reviews ranging from family-friendly cruise lines like Royal Caribbean to luxury lines such as Viking Cruises. There were countless cabin tours, ship reviews, and other pieces written to benefit future cruisers. Some articles, however, came out on top.
Below is a recap of our 10 most-read articles of the year. While cabin tours were the most popular across the board, readers were also curious as to how they could beat chair hogs and the pros and cons of cruising solo onboard Norwegian Cruise Line.
🏆 I stayed in a windowless cabin onboard Carnival Celebration that cost $1,900 — here's what my inside stateroom looked like
🏆 15 Things You Should Never Do in Your Cruise Ship Cabin
🏆 Take a look inside a cruise ship captain's living quarters
🏆 10 reasons you should book an interior room on your next cruise
🏆 How to beat the chair hogs on your cruise ship
🏆 Take a look inside a cruise ship captain's living quarters
🏆 I paid $3,600 for a suite on Carnival Vista - Take a look inside my spacious cabin
🏆 I stayed in a windowless cabin onboard Carnival's newest ship for $1,300 - take a look at my tiny stateroom
🏆 I took my first solo cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line. After 5 nights, here are the pros and cons of cruising alone
🏆 I paid $3,000 for a suite on Carnival Mardi Gras - Take a look inside our spacious cabin
I stayed in a windowless cabin onboard Carnival Celebration that cost $1,900 — here's what my inside stateroom looked like
In 2023, Elizabeth took her first-ever Carnival cruise onboard Carnival Celebration, one of the newest ships in Carnival's fleet. She booked a windowless interior room for her 7-night cruise that visited St. Maarten, San Juan, and Amber Cove. While compact, she was pleased with how modern her 158-square-foot stateroom was.
Since she was traveling alone, Elizabeth ended up paying $1,900 for her cruise. Had she been traveling with another guest, her out-of-pocket cost would have decreased to $950.
One of her favorite aspects of the cabin was the ensuite bathroom, particularly the shower. Unlike Royal Caribbean ships, the shower door in her interior stateroom onboard Carnival Celebration was not rounded, meaning that it felt much larger than other cruise ship showers she's experienced. Imagine going a full week without knocking your elbows on the door!
Despite all the positives of the room, three of the largest negatives were that there was an obnoxious pullman bed that jetted out from the wall, limited seating, and it was adjoining to the stateroom next door.
15 Things You Should Never Do in Your Cruise Ship Cabin
While you might think that since you're going on vacation you do not have to worry about abiding by certain rules that are in place in your workplace or at school, you should know that cruise lines have their own set of policies, both explicit and implied, that they expect guests to follow.
You cannot, for instance, use your hands to grab food in the ship's buffet or light up a cigarette whenever you feel like it. When it comes to your stateroom, albeit being your "home away from home" for the duration of your sailing, you cannot act as though it's actually your home.
From blasting music to hanging items off your balcony's railing, we compiled a list of 15 things you should never do in your cruise ship cabin.
Take a look inside a cruise ship captain's living quarters
Have you ever wanted to get a glimpse into how cruise ship captains live compared to other crew members? When people typically think of crew accommodations, they think of tiny cabins with bunk beds and small ensuite bathrooms. Captains, however, are provided with much more spacious living quarters.
Captain Jonny Faevelen was the previous Captain onboard Royal Caribban's Harmony of the Seas. During his time on the ship, he posted a TikTok of his cabin that's more akin to an apartment than a cruise ship stateroom.
Instead of bunk beds and tiny capsule showers, Captain Jonny Faevelen's living quarters had an expansive living room with a spacious foyer, separate kitchen, master bathroom, and even a separate guest bedroom.
10 reasons you should book an interior room on your next cruise
Cruise ship balconies are some of the most popular staterooms onboard for a reason! While many dream of pulling into port while sipping on a cup of coffee on their private verandah, different cabin categories make cruising accessible to all budgets and preferences, whether you're looking to splurge on a large suite or pinch pennies in an interior room.
Inside cabins are usually the cheapest available rooms on any cruise ship since they do not offer any natural light or outside view. That being said, they're a great value since you can still enjoy all of the other standard amenities on the ship.
All cabins are equipped with the same basic amenities, too, including a closet, television, mini-fridge, ensuite bathroom, and vanity area with mirror.
Not convinced yet? Spending less on your stateroom means that you can allocate money towards other cruise add-ons, such as drink packages, Wi-Fi, shore excursions, and more. Plus, not all inside cabins actually lack a view.
Carnival Glory, for instance, has "Interior with Picture Window" cabins. While these staterooms are more costly than standard inside rooms, they feature a picture window that allows you to view the deck outside and get some natural light!
You will also receive the same service that those who booked ocean view and balconies will get, as everyone is assigned a cabin steward who is responsible for making sure your stateroom is clean and tidy. They are also the person who will refresh your towels, make your bed, empty the trash, leave fun towel animals, and deliver important disembarkation documents.
How to beat the chair hogs on your cruise ship
Trust us, we understand that chair hogs are annoying. The last thing you want to do on a picture-perfect sea day is waste time trying to find an open lounge chair on the lido deck.
While the majority of cruise lines do try and limit chair hogs, or people who leave their belongings on one or more chairs near the pool to reserve them for later use, there's only so much they can do.
Rather than let yourself become frustrated, there are some measures that you can take to beat the chair hogs on your cruise ship, including getting up and enjoying the pool deck earlier in the day, returning to the ship a little bit earlier on port days, and booking a suite that gives you access to an exclusive sun deck.
Take a look inside a cruise ship captain's living quarters
While Captain Jonny Faevelen gave a tour of his living quarters onboard Harmony of the Seas, Captain Kate McCue did so of her cabin onboard Celebrity Edge which she shares with her elf sphynx cat, Bug Naked, who has her own Instagram page with over 69k followers.
The living room is large with infinite veranda windows and, of course, a bed for her sweet cat! There's also a large couch, media console and television, coffee table, and built-in shelving that's home to a framed picture of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of Seafarers.
The bedroom features a king-sized bed, nightstands, and television, as well as an ensuite bathroom that has dual sinks, a rain shower, and a soaking tub. Moreover, the expansive living quarters also has a main galley, which can seat up to six guests, and a full-sized fridge for her snacks and Bug's food.
Like Captain Jonny Faevelen's room on Harmony of the Seas, Captain Kate McCue's cabin connects directly to The Bridge, which is where the Captain and other crew members carry out navigational duties.
I paid $3,600 for a suite on Carnival Vista - Take a look inside my spacious cabin
After sailing onboard Carnival Celebration, Elizabeth was excited to cruise on Carnival Vista. While an older and smaller ship, she decided to splurge on her first-ever cruise ship suite! At $3,600, or $1,800 per person, she appreciated the additional living space, large balcony, and walk-in closet!
The Junior Suite she booked was 310 square feet, or 152 square feet larger than her inside room on Carnival Celebration. Carnival isn't known for its expansive suite program; however, she enjoyed perks like priority embarkation/disembarkation, two complimentary large bottles of water, and bathrobes.
Her suite's location was the biggest drawback. Located at the very front of the ship on Deck 9, it was subject to feeling intense rocking.
Plus, the view was obstructed since it was situated directly above The Bridge and lacked privacy due to the public observation deck.
Additionally, there were some obvious signs of wear and tear, which was a little upsetting considering the ship launched in 2016. She has sailed on vessels that are older and had standard cabins in better conditions, such as Freedom of the Seas.
I stayed in a windowless cabin onboard Carnival's newest ship for $1,300 - take a look at my tiny stateroom
Last year, Allie had the chance to sail onboard Carnival Celebration when it was brand-new! For $1,300, she and her sister booked an inside guarantee stateroom for a 7-night cruise to the Caribbean. This price even included prepaid gratuities!
Booking a guaranteed cabin meant that they were unable to select the exact stateroom they'd be sailing in. Instead, the room is assigned by the cruise line, and much of the time, the assigned cabin is located in a less desirable area.
When the time came for their room to be assigned, they found that they'd be staying on Deck 4. While not centrally located, Allie said that they got a lot of exercise walking around and using the stairs!
Like when Elizabeth sailed on Carnival Celebration, Allie and her sister both found the pullman beds and lack of seating to be two of their biggest gripes. The only other available seating option was the small ottoman under the vanity, and the unused bunk beds made it difficult to casually relax on the beds.
However, it was well-lit with plenty of charging outlets, and the bathroom was designed nicely with plenty of storage throughout. For the price they paid, they thought it was comfortable, clean, and well-designed.
I took my first solo cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line. After 5 nights, here are the pros and cons of cruising alone
Have you ever taken a cruise by yourself? Solo cruising is nothing to be afraid of. Cruise.Blog writer Hayley found herself boarding Norwegian Cruise Line's largest ship, Norwegian Encore, by herself on a 4-night cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver, Canada.
While both anxious and excited to see what taking a cruise alone would be like, she had a great time onboard and learned a lot about the pros and cons that accompany sailing alone.
To Hayley, one of the biggest perks of being by myself meant that she had a lot of time to relax and enjoy the ship. She could see a show whenever she felt like it, soak up the mesmerizing ocean views, or simply read a book in the Observation Lounge. She also gained a certain level of travel confidence that she didn't possess prior to this cruise!
Another aspect of her solo cruise that she enjoyed was Norweigan Cruise Line's Studio Stateroom. While on the smaller side and definitely designed for a single guest, she found her stateroom to be comfortable for her 4-night cruise.
One difference she noticed when sailing in a Studio Stateroom compared to standard NCL cabins was the size of the walk-in shower. While almost the same, it was slightly smaller and did not feature a toiletry shelf. There was, however, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash mounted to the wall!
In addition to not having to pay the dreaded single supplement fee since she booked a cabin meant for one, she also received access to some exclusive extras, including the Studio Lounge that remained stocked 24/7 with light snacks, flavored water, tea, and specialty coffee.
I paid $3,000 for a suite on Carnival Mardi Gras - Take a look inside our spacious cabin
After sailing on Carnival Celebration, Allie found herself longing to sail on another Excel Class ship, so she and her sister decided to cruise onboard Mardi Gras. This time, however, in an Ocean Suite for $3,000. As someone who normally only sails in interior rooms, this was pretty special!
The stateroom was about 290 square feet, or nearly double the size of the interior stateroom they sailed in while cruising on Carnival Celebration.
The nightstands were minimal and functional; however, she wished that they had upgraded them to elevate the suite experience. Where the nightstands fell short, though, other aspects of the Ocean Suite made up for it, such as with the extra large vanity area, two televisions, and private (albeit partially obstructed) balcony.
They found that those in balcony rooms above them could look directly onto their balcony. There were even a few times in which people yelled to them!
Despite that, they spent more time in their cabin than they usually do when cruising, as they found the large suite to be the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.