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6 things you’ll regret downsizing to a smaller cruise ship cabin


Staying in a suite is a vastly different experience compared to choosing a balcony cabin. Likewise, interior rooms aren't the same as balconies. Whether you're used to splurging on some of the best rooms onboard or enjoying a standard verandah, diversifying your stateroom selection comes with a cost. 

Of course, the primary benefit of downsizing to a smaller cruise ship cabin is to save money. The less you spend on your stateroom, the more you'll have to spend on add-ons like drink packages, shore excursions, Wi-Fi, and more. Additionally, you could choose to pocket the savings, allowing you to cruise more frequently and visit more destinations around the world. 

However, if you enjoy the perks that accompany booking a suite or cannot fathom foregoing your private balcony, your experience in the smaller stateroom may not be worth the cost savings. Here are 6 things you’ll regret downsizing to a smaller cruise ship cabin.

3 things you'll regret when opting to book a standard cabin versus a suite

Standard staterooms come with far fewer perks


From priority boarding to access to exclusive onboard lounges and even private butlers, booking a suite ensures a heightened level of luxury and personalized service throughout your cruise vacation. 

If you enjoy all of the finer details that elevate your overall cruise experience, downsizing to a standard cabin will leave you without the spacious accommodations, convenience, and other offerings that accompany suites. To some, this alone could make or break a cruise. 

Those who like to be pampered on vacation will find that there are fewer services available for those in regular staterooms. If, for instance, you book one of the most opulent suites at sea, you'll likely have access to a butler who will go above and beyond to make sure that every request is met, whether that's unpacking your suitcase, booking specialty restaurants, organizing a cocktail party, or even drawing a bath after a long day ashore. 

Read more: 8 signs you're ready to move up from a cruise ship balcony to a suite

If you've sailed on the same ship before, booking a suite will ensure that you have a different experience 


Let's say that you have cruised onboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis or Harmony of the Seas a few times over the last couple of years. You know the lay of the land and have done all the onboard activities, including the Ultimate Abyss dry slide, mini-golf, zip line, and Perfect Storm water slides. 

On your upcoming cruise, you may want to prioritize spending additional time in your stateroom during the day. If that's the case, you'll want to book a Star or Sky Class suite within their Royal Suite Class, as this will guarantee you access to the largest accommodations on the ship, as well as permit you to dine in Coastal Kitchen, Royal Caribbean's suite-only dining room. Moreover, you'll get complimentary access to upgraded bathroom amenities, Wi-Fi, a suite lounge, and exclusive concierge services to enhance your cruise vacation. 

Likewise, cruisers familiar with the Carnival brand may appreciate the enhanced suite offerings on their three Excel Class ships. While these ships have tons to do onboard, they stand out even further by providing the most unique suite experiences compared to any other ships in the fleet. Those staying in Excel suites receive access to Loft 19, as well as complimentary room service, upgraded bathroom amenities, and free on-demand movies. 

Read more: I booked the cheapest Royal Caribbean suite for $4,000 and couldn’t believe how many perks it included. Take a look inside

Suites usually offer a more inclusive cruise experience


Unfortunately, cruises, particularly those with mainstream lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, or MSC, aren't all-inclusive vacations. However, the level of inclusivity can vary. Some ships provide suite guests with a more inclusive experience, with perks like complimentary drink packages, Wi-Fi, gratuities, specialty dining, and more. 

If you don't want to worry about having to feel nickel and dimed on your cruise, you may regret choosing to stay in a standard cabin, as you'll have to pay extra for those add-ons. Of course, unless you're sailing on an ultra-luxury line, such as Regent Seven Seas, the experience won't be fully all-inclusive, as you'll still have to shell out additional money for shore excursions, flights, spa treatments, and other services. 

That being said, some mainstream lines do allow you to bundle your fare with things like drink packages and Wi-Fi; however, it's usually not the premium option for either. If you prefer to enjoy your vacation with fewer restrictions, you'll have to pay to upgrade, for instance, from Celebrity's Classic drink package to their Premium. 

Read more: 16 hidden cruise ship extra charges you should know about (2024)

3 things you'll regret when choosing to book an interior or ocean-view cabin instead of a balcony 

You won't have direct access to fresh air


I've cruised in cabins ranging from small interior rooms to Junior Suites. Whenever I decide to splurge on a balcony, I make sure to enjoy breakfast outside at least once during my vacation. There's something quite special about sipping coffee and having fresh fruit delivered to your cabin, all while enjoying scenic oceanfront views from the privacy of your verandah.  

It's nice to be steps away from fresh air, too. If you're particularly worried about motion sickness, select a cabin located in the middle of the vessel (otherwise known as "midship"). Plus, many cruisers suggest that fresh air and gazing at the horizon both help to combat the unpleasant symptoms that accompany seasickness. 

On scenic cruises to destinations such as Alaska or Norway, a balcony will come in handy, as it offers guests a front-row seat to breathtaking views without having to deal with the crowds on the top decks. You can keep your eyes out for wildlife, stargaze, or simply relax away from other passengers. If you're in an interior or ocean-view room, you'll likely have to spend more time out of your cabin in order to fully appreciate the region. 

Read more: Balcony vs interior cruise ship rooms: what's the difference?

Stateroom upgrades aren't guaranteed, so you should reserve the cabin that you want at the time of booking


If you're hoping to score a balcony stateroom for less by booking an interior and paying for an upgrade closer to your sail date, you may end up disappointed in your original cabin. Today, cruise ships are sailing closer to full capacity, meaning that there are fewer cabins available leading up to the cruise. 

In fact, I recently booked a last-minute cruise onboard Celebrity Ascent. When I went to book the cruise, it was fully sold out; however, an ocean-view stateroom did later become available. Either way, there weren't as many options as I'm used to when booking a cruise, so I couldn't be picky! 

Rather than rely on luck, it's best to book the actual cabin category that you want from the very beginning, as waiting for last-minute upgrades can be a risky gamble. Reserving your desired stateroom in advance ensures that you're able to plan your cruise experience with confidence. 

Another advantage to booking your preferred cabin is that you'll be able to take advantage of the ongoing promotions. If, for instance, the cruise line is offering onboard credit, the amount you receive is usually based on your total spend, meaning that you'll get less if you go with the economical cabin in hopes of later upgrading. 

Read more: Balcony cruise ship rooms: are they worth the splurge?

Larger families will appreciate the extra space found in balcony rooms


Since balconies tend to be larger than interior and ocean-view rooms, families of three and four won't have to struggle as much to comfortably reside in a single room together for the duration of the sailing. 

An interior stateroom onboard Carnival Celebration, for instance, is around 158 square feet, whereas their standard balcony rooms measure 249 square feet, with 205 being dedicated to the interior portion of the room and 44 to the balcony. Not only will a larger family have more interior living space to navigate, but there will also be a private balcony to allow for some privacy, if needed. 

Similarly, interior cabins on Wonder of the Seas measure 172 square feet. While larger than those on Celebration, they're still not quite as large as the balcony rooms, which come in around 182 square feet, with an additional 50 square feet of living space out on the balcony. 

Read more: What Is A Pullman Bed?

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