To Balcony or Not to Balcony on a cruise ship?

cruise ship balcony cabin

Happiness is beautiful clear open waters.

Carnival Fantasy

Which is the best cabin, interior, exterior, or balcony? Let’s think about it. On my first cruise on the Carnival Fantasy, we had an interior room.  It wasn’t bad.  It had a fake window to make you feel like you could look outside.  But it was just so dark in there.  Good luck trying to put makeup on.

Carnival Dream Balcony Cabin

On my second cruise on the Carnival Dream we booked an exterior room for more light.  But, as luck would have it, for me anyway, that was the year of the Norovirus. It was also the year that the Dream had problems with its engines. Everyone on that particular cruise had to stay an extra day in St. Martin, and then be flown home.  Cruise prices got really cheap really fast.  So, the upgrade fairy got us a balcony room for only one hundred dollars extra total.  Yay, upgrade fairy!

I was a little nervous about my second cruise because it was going to be a longer one, but I figured that with a balcony room, if the ship tipped over I could just jump out with my life vest on.  Pretty crazy, huh?  Well, the ship didn’t tip over, silly me, and I didn’t have to jump out thank goodness, but I did love my balcony.

The ocean is so soothing

Being an introvert, I need to be able to recharge, and the balcony was the perfect place for that.  Water is a soothing element for me, so being able to go out on that balcony and relax in a chair, and just watch the whitecaps as they went by was incredibly soothing.  Even watching the orange seaweed and the flying fish were relaxing.  I contemplated taking my mattress out there and sleeping out there. I don’t think it would have fit, or that Carnival would have been happy with that.  We were on the 11th deck, and it was such a convenient place to get to the pool and buffet.  We were definitely spoiled.

Front of ship (The bow)

On my third cruise we booked a room with a window at the very front of the ship.  It was cheaper, and we figured that since there was a semi-private deck right outside of our room, it would be almost like having a balcony.  Well, not quite.  The room seemed so small after our balcony room that last time.

There was a small front deck outside our room, but we weren’t the only ones on it, and people could see right into our room.  And it was so windy that you could barely open the door to the deck.  To top it off, the housekeeping closet was right across from us and the stewards would get pretty noisy.  So, we weren’t as happy with the exterior room in front of the ship.

Carnival Liberty and Freedom of the Seas balconies

After that we got Balcony rooms on Carnival Liberty and Freedom of the Seas.  We got lucky with the upgrade fairy again on the Freedom. We had originally booked an exterior/interior room, one with a window that faced the promenade deck and looked down on it.  However, about a month before our cruise we discovered that there was special pricing for police officers, so my husband was eligible for it.  We got our balcony room for one hundred dollars additional again, but this time we got three hundred dollars in on-board credit to boot!  How exciting was that?  Definitely very exciting!

Carnival Liberty’s balcony was great, but the balcony on Freedom was so much bigger and roomier.  I think that I actually could have fit a mattress on that balcony, but I didn’t.  Don’t think that I didn’t consider it though.

Exterior cabin and Interior cabin

After that we cruised with an exterior room on Carnival Magic, but the window was big enough to sit in and watch the waves go by, so it wasn’t too bad. And then the next cruise on Carnival Victory was in an interior room because we got a great price, but it’s just not the same after you’ve had a balcony room.  But balconies are getting more expensive, and I figure that any cabin on a cruise is better than no cabin on a cruise, so we sacrificed.  (Well, I don’t think that cruising is a sacrifice, so we didn’t really sacrifice.)

Balcony for me

So, for me, it’s definitely balcony.  For our next cruise we had booked an exterior front room on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.  I was disappointed, but a balcony room on that ship was very out of reach price wise for us.  And Oasis was on my bucket list.  But, the upgrade fairy came to our rescue yet again.  Due to the recent hurricanes, and horrible destruction of some of the islands, prices went down.

Keep checking the prices!

This is a lesson for you to be very diligent in checking cruise prices.  They will change more than once a day sometimes.  Royal Caribbean had been advertising a neighborhood balcony room overlooking the promenade for a really good price.  However, we did not want to overlook the promenade, we wanted a view of the ocean, so we decided to keep our exterior room in the front of the ship.

However, I checked back very often, and for one moment of one day, somehow, when I looked the description said “guaranteed ocean view balcony” instead of “guaranteed neighborhood view balcony”.  My persistence paid off!  I was on that phone to Royal Caribbean in less than a minute. I was not taking any chances. I have a feeling that the listing was a mistake, because the girl on the line had me on hold for a very long time, probably hoping I’d hang up.  But no way.  I stuck in there until she consulted with her supervisor and gave me my ocean view balcony for no extra cost.  And the next time I looked, it again said “neighborhood view”.

But balconies aren’t for everyone

I like balconies the best.  But they’re not for everyone.  Some people won’t make use of the balcony, they’ll be out enjoying the ship more, so they may only want to pay for an interior, since they’re the cheapest.  Some people may not like the openness of the balcony, but they’d like the extra light, and for them an exterior window room may be perfect.  It’s a very personal choice. And like I said, any cabin on a cruise ship is better than no cabin on a cruise ship.  I hope that the upgrade fairy will visit you soon too!


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