Agents and cruise lines love to promote their cruises, and their ads will boldly display a particular sailing with a “starting at” price – $199/pp, for instance. What you don’t see until you investigate a little further is that the $199 cabin is the lead-in price, or the price of the cabin at the lowest category, which tend to be the least desirable in terms of location and size. The cheapest is also an interior cabin. Some people are quite happy with an inside cabin; they like sleeping in pitch-dark rooms and don’t spend much time indoors to worry about small spaces. But if you’re claustrophobic, need natural light and fresh air in your stateroom, or are squeezing four into a cabin and need room to move around, the lowest-category cabins might not be worth even the rock-bottom fare you see online.
Be sure you know what you’re getting. Ask your agent to or cruise rep for details as to the cabin’s location, size and nearby noisy public areas which may interfere with sleep. Your agent will be more than happy to find you a great cabin specific to your needs at a price you can afford. The cabin may not be cheaper, but you’ll be a lot happier in the end.
Are you bringing the kids on your cruise? You’ve got a few of choices for accommodations. You can all squeeze into a standard cabin for 4 (some ships allow 5 in a cabin). Another option is to book a more costly family-size cabin or suite for more elbow room. A better option, though, is to book two cabins. If the kids are young, book connecting cabins. If your kids are older (12 and up) consider booking two side-by-side cabins or, better yet, an oceanview or balcony cabin for yourselves and an inside cabin for the kids across the hall.You will need to book an adult in each, but once you’re on board, you can reorganize yourselves any way you want. The interior cabin costs less, you’ll get two bathrooms, the kids will have their own space – and so will you! Depending on category and pricing, you may actually save over the cost of a larger room. Even if you have to pay a couple of hundred dollars extra, it will be totally worth it – trust me! Whatever you decide, be sure to ask Guest Services for a spare key for the kids’ stateroom so that you have easy access to their comings and goings at any time. One word of warning, though … If you are planning on booking two adjoining cabins, side-by-side cabins or cabins across the hall from one another, book early, as they disappear fast.