The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vacations at sea part 3

You’re considering a cruise vacation and now face the chore of deciding what is the best cabin for you and you are overwhelmed with all the choices. This sounds all too familiar to many folks so let me provide some guidance to help you select the proper cabin.

The 1st step is to think about how you’ll spend your time in your floating home away from home room. Is your cabin simply a place to stash your baggage and grab some sleep? Or is it a gathering stop for family and friends? Next determine how much space you need? Please keep in mind that cruise cabins are small some are really small. Another important question is do you want a view of the outside world.

Now that you have had a personal Q & A session let us talk about the different staterooms options. In my opinion there are basically 4 types of cabins-the interior windowless cabin, the exterior (outside) cabin with a view, an exterior cabin with a view and balcony and lastly the suite.

The least expensive cabins (and in my opinion the best value) are the inside staterooms and prices increase as you upgrade to windows, balconies and move up from the lowest passenger accommodations deck to higher decks.

On today’s cruise ships once you leave your cabin you’re free to enjoy the ship’s amenities and no one know if you’re in a bargain cabin or the most expensive ocean view. OK there are some perks for those sailing in suites but for the rest of us passengers we are all treated the same. I go cruising for activities that occur outside of my cabin so I pay for the least expensive available then spend much of my time outside the cabin. To me I don’t see the difference between standing on the Promenade deck or a balcony as we sail into a new port. What I’ve saved on cruise fare will help cover my green fees, shore excursions and casino adventures.

Unlike the Titanic today’s cabins are all located above the water line and tastefully appointed with a TV, phone, private shower/bath, climate controls and some rooms even have Internet access. Many have two lower beds that when pushed together convert to a queen bed and some of the very newest vessels actually offer a traditional queen bed. 3rd and 4th guests in a cabin are accommodated by fold down upper berths and in some instances you can actually have a rollaway bed that increases the sleeping capacity to five. Any more than 5 people then you’re looking at a more expensive suite or 2 cabins.

Next time I’ll take a look at what deck to select and how location of your cabin front, aft or mid ship can impact your sailing.

Happy travels!