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Cruising with Kids: Choosing the Right Stateroom

We are definitely a cruising family, we’ve been cruising with our kids since they were teens so it’s only natural that when grandkids came along they cruised with us too.

I remember our very first cruise was a 7 day Alaska Cruise on the Star Princess.  At the time I had no clue how cruise fares worked and deciphering cabin categories and classes seemed impossible.  How can the same type cabin have so many different prices? 

My only requirement was a balcony cabin or my husband would refuse to go.  Not knowing any better I happily agreed with all the travel agent's suggestions.  I was told cabins mid-ship under passenger cabins are the best most comfortable ones and they’re quieter and better for people who get seasick.   They are also the more expensive ones.  My travel agent got me great staterooms in the highest class available. 

Over the years we’ve stayed in balcony cabins and suites in different classes.  We’ve since learned that none of us get sea sick, don’t mind hearing deck chairs being moved above us, don’t mind the long walk to an elevator,  and we aren’t in the room enough to enjoy the added luxuries suites have to offer.  I’ve learned to decipher stateroom categories and classes, I now tell my travel agent which category and class I want.  In short we’ve become savvy cruisers.

Here are my tips for newbie cruisers to help choose the stateroom to fit your needs and budget.  I hope it takes away some of the mystery of stateroom categories and classes. 

Different cruise lines have different names for cabin categories and different class labels.  Some use numbers, others letters, and still others a combination of both.  The larger ships have added different stateroom categories like inside view, concierge and aqua classes, and more.

The reality is there are only 4 categories of cabins, everything else are sub-categories, meaning they are usually the same size as others in their category but have different views or include extra luxuries. 

All staterooms have a private bath with a shower.  Beds can be configured as one queen or two twins.   Amenities include bath soap or wash, shampoo/conditioner, blow dryer, TV, limited room service menu (some lines charge a nominal fee for delivery), mini-bar (items consumed will be charged to your shipboard account)  

There are many classes of suites ranging from mini-suites to penthouse suites which have 2 bedrooms, sitting and dining rooms.  Added luxuries can include butlers, whirlpool tubs, balcony hot tubs, upgraded toiletries, in room meals, and more. 

Maximum room capacity on all staterooms and suites is 4.  Some staterooms can only accommodate 2 guests, which is why at times you may have to book a more expensive stateroom class if you need to fit more than 2 people in the stateroom.




Stateroom Categories 
(Rooms shown are on the Celebrity Century - furnishing may vary depending on cruise line & ship, but as a rule cabins are fairly similar across the board - there are exceptions on every ship)

Inside Stateroom – Four walls and a door.       


Ocean View Stateroom – Same as inside stateroom but one wall has a large porthole (window)


Verandah/Balcony Stateroom


Royal Suite on Celebrity Century


Photos by Celebrity.com

Cruise lines have recently added sub-categories.  Royal Caribbean has balcony staterooms that overlook interior public areas, Celebrity has Concierge, Aqua, and Family verandah staterooms just to name a few. 

Once you’ve decided on category you must decide on stateroom.  Staterooms in the same category are generally the same size, the class refers to its location on the ship.  Generally, the lower the number, letter, or combination of both, the better the location meaning higher prices.  As class numbers/letters ascend the price descends.  Suites have different class categories. Depending on the cruise line you may find: mini-suites, Sky Suites, Royal Suites, Penthouse Suites, etc. 

Every stateroom category mentioned above has several different classes.  Meaning the stateroom size is generally the same, but is located in different parts and levels of the ship.  Suites are generally located in the "choicer" areas of the ship. 

Stateroom Classes 
(These are based on Stateroom Classes on Celebrity Cruise Line - specifically on the Celebrity Century. These are just EXAMPLES of some of the different classes for Veranda Staterooms, there are more than 3 classes for each category and each Category of Stateroom has its own set of classes.  It should give a fairly reasonable view of how stateroom classes work on most cruise lines bearing in mind that different lines use different labels either numbers, letters, or both.  As a rule classes are listed in order from the highest most expensive to the lowest least expensive.)



Veranda Stateroom    Stateroom Class 1A

Staterooms in the highest classes are located mid-ship beneath non-service areas.  These staterooms are closer to the main elevators and stairs and have passenger cabins above them.  You may choose a stateroom at time of booking.  If you’re prone to motion sickness, need to be close to elevators, and don’t want to hear deck chairs above you, or want a specific stateroom consider a stateroom in this class.


Veranda StateroomStateroom Class 2D

Staterooms in the lower classes can be located forward or aft and beneath service areas.  Some staterooms have obstructed views, meaning they are located behind life boats or posts.  You may choose a stateroom at time of booking.  If you aren’t prone to motion sickness, don’t mind walking farther to the elevator, don’t mind an obstructed view, and don’t mind hearing deck chairs being moved above you, consider this less expensive option. 

Guarantee Stateroom – Most cabin categories have a guarantee stateroom class.  It is the least expensive stateroom in its category.  You may not choose a specific stateroom at time of booking, a cabin will be assigned to you sometime before the sail date.  Guarantee staterooms may be eligible for a class upgrade, stateroom assignments are based on availability.  If all you really care about is getting a stateroom on a specific sailing, but don’t care where it’s located this is the class for you. 

To find out where specific staterooms are located and what category and class they are refer to the color coded deck plans.  Categories and Classes are scattered throughout the ship on different levels. 



When booking a guarantee stateroom you may be told that you are eligible for an upgrade.  If you’re counting on that inside guarantee cabin getting upgraded to a suite or even an ocean view stateroom you may be disappointed.  Upgrades, unless you get very lucky, generally refer to a class upgrade, meaning you will be upgraded to a higher class stateroom in the category that you booked. For instance if you booked a Guarantee Inside Stateroom you might get upgraded to a category 1A inside stateroom, rarely will you find yourself in an oceanview or verandah stateroom.  

Any stateroom can be eligible for a class upgrade.  You may be notified of an upgrade any time before sailing, they will inform you which staterooms are available.  If you don’t like the options they offer you can decline an upgrade and stay in your original stateroom. 

One thing to remember when choosing a stateroom, no matter which one you book you will have access to  the same facilities and enjoy most of the same food, events, and activities all the other guest do.  

Bon Voyage!

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 December 2015 11:17

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