You found a great cruise deal on line and booked it. You patted yourself on the back and told all your friends about it. Maybe it was a buy-one, get-one-free promotion. Or maybe it was a free upgrade. Whatever the deal, congratulations! But before you click the "Reserve" button, be sure you know what you're getting. Do yourself a favor and study the deck plan. Pay close attention to the following:
Square Footage. How large (or tiny) is the cabin? You and your 3 buddies crammed into a 145 square-foot cabin will, in all likelihood, no longer be friends by the end of the cruise.
What's directly above and below your cabin? Is there a pool deck or a jogging track? If you're a late sleeper, you won't be for long. The pounding of feet or screeching of chairs across the deck will have you up for breakfast early. Likewise, what's under your feet? Is there a loud night-club directly below? Not good if you're the early-to-bed type.
Noise. Engine noise, mechanical apparatus noise and noise from people congregating around elevators and stairs may be unpleasant for some folks.
A good rule of thumb is to book a "sandwich" cabin - one located between two decks consisting of cabins only - for the least amount of noise and motion.
Motion. Cabins close to the front and rear of the ship tend to be the most uncomfortable for those prone to seasickness. Choose another or bring your favorite motion remedy.
Obstruction. You will know whether a cabin is obstructed or partially obstructed. But if you look at the deck plan, you can choose a cabin, say, between two life boats for a better view.
Balcony. Before celebrating the great deal on that balcony, make sure it's what you want. Some ships, like the "Grand" class of Princess, have balconies that are fully covered, partially covered or totally uncovered. In fact, there is a whole deck of mini-suites with balconies on this class. While these are awesome cabins, they are totally uncovered and totally exposed to the view of cabins above you - in other words, no privacy. If you're not sure about the veranda cabin you have your eyes on, ask your agent.
Photo Credit - J. Neves (inside cabin on "Disney Magic")