As a veteran cruiser, I have experienced cabins of all kind – inside, outside and balconies. The question always becomes is the cost of a balcony worth it? My answer is yes depending on the type, length and itinerary of your cruise.
I have been on numerous cruises over the past 30 years or so and I always remember my first. It was a five day cruise to Bermuda and the Bahamas with my family. Being a first time cruiser and wanting to save a few dollars, we booked an inside stateroom.
During the day it did not seem all that bad because we were in and out of the cabin a lot and there was always lights available at the flip of a switch. However, nighttime was a different story. It was pitch black when we went to bed and we felt like we were hermetically sealed in a dark cave.
We even went so far as to leave the bathroom door open at night to provide us with some light, which was fine until we hit some stormy waves coming into port. It became a choice of being surrounded in darkness or listening to the slamming of the door after each wave hit. After that experience, I vowed I would not stay in a cabin without some sort of window to the outside world.
On my next cruise, my wife and I had an outside cabin, which was definitely an upgrade, but then we graduated to the next step – the balcony. Our first experience with a balcony was wonderful. We were on a seven day Caribbean cruise and it was really great to be able to go out onto our little verandah when we wanted to escape from all the hustle and bustle on the Lido Deck.
My way of relaxing on a cruise is to be able to enjoy a good book with a tropical cocktail in hand while immersing myself in the sound of the ocean and the warmth of the sun. The Lido Deck does not always allow you this relaxation because there are so many distractions such as people splashing in the pool, the ongoing shipboard activities, and let’s not forget your ever solicitous beverage steward who lives in fear that you might dehydrate if he is not offering you a drink every five minutes.
You also have the advantage of having your own deck chairs. Often times when you go to the Lido Deck just to hang out and enjoy the sights and sounds, you are unable to find a seat as everything is first come, first served around the pool and the buffet lines.
One of the few disadvantages to having a balcony is the close proximity of your fellow passengers. You need to keep in mind that the cabins are very close to one another so you need to be a little discreet out there. I recall on one of our cruises our cabin was located between two related families who were sailing from Miami to the Bahamas to attend their daughter’s wedding.
The bride’s parents were on side and the bride on the other. One evening in the wee hours, the bride was celebrating her upcoming nuptials and she and her friends were on their balcony laughing and singing and not too concerned about the volume — or the content — of their conversation. All in all, it was probably a lot more information then we needed to know about the bride and her fiancee.
Since that first balcony cruise, we have been on several other cruises. Not all of these trips did we take advantage of a balcony for various reasons. On our Alaskan cruise, we did and I would highly recommend it. My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary on this cruise and believe me there is nothing like enjoying a special champagne breakfast on your balcony while you view snow capped mountains and glaciers.
However, when we took a three day cruise to the Bahamas, we chose not to have a balcony simply because it was a quick weekend getaway and we put that extra money toward shore excursions and other activities.
So is a balcony worth it? The choice is yours but remember, it can be the best decision you make to enjoy your vacation cruise just a little more.