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  • Jan115
    Jan115

    Should You Spring for a Balcony Cabin?

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    Cruise ships are floating resorts, where passengers can get a massage, gamble through the night or check out a Vegas-style show without ever setting foot on land.

    So with so much to do, do you really need a room with a balcony?

    "I think it's usually worth it,'' says Mike Driscoll, editor of industry newsletter Cruise Week. "But that depends on the cruise itself, and why you're going."

    Of course, seafarers have to figure out if a balcony is in the budget. But Driscoll says price may not be the deterrent it once was.

    A few years ago, he says, "you'd be paying double to get a balcony." Now, cabins with balconies on a standard, seven-day cruise generally cost $100 more than those with a window, and between $150 and $200 more than a stateroom inside the ship.

    If you're sailing in the Mediterranean or to another scenic destination, the view is definitely worth the money, Driscoll says.

    "If you're doing an Alaska cruise, it's so nice out on the balcony, watching the glaciers," he says. "You see all the people on their balconies watching the beauty go by."

    There are those vacationers who have little use for a private deck because they're only in the cabin when it's lights out. And a balcony may not matter much to them.

    "They'll be out in the casino and running about most of the time," Driscoll says. "For them, it really isn't as important."

    TRIP LENGTH A FACTOR

    Marshall Jackson, a blogger for “BoardingArea” who lives in Atlanta, opts for a balcony depending on the length of the trip.

    If it's at least seven nights, he says, there's more time to relax in your own outdoor space, particularly on days the ship is not in port.

    But if the cruise lasts only three or four days, Jackson says, he rarely bothers to get one.

    "(It) just seems like you spend so little time in your stateroom on shorter itineraries that a balcony is a waste of money," he says.

    Ellen Davis doesn't go much for big cruise ships, preferring river cruises where balconies are the norm. And she's not sure a balcony on a large cruise ship is worth the extra cash just to gaze out at an endless blue sea.

    "Not that it's lacking in its own beauty," she says of the sea. "But it falls a little flat compared to watching castles float by on the Danube, or seeing children washing down their water buffalo on the Nile."

    Davis, who works in marketing and lives in Peachtree City, Ga., says, "I'd rather enjoy the ocean from the shore, watching the waves crashing, than pay extra on a big boat."

    THE BENEFITS

    Others disagree and say that having more than a window to the sea has benefits beyond aesthetics.

    Brian Matos, director of sales for a supply chain services company based in Frisco, Texas, is one, saying he enjoys having his own piece of the outdoors, away from the crowds.

    "It really limits the claustrophobia that sometimes comes with small cabins on a cruise ship," Matos says. "(It's) great to be able to sit outside late at night with a glass of wine, looking at the sea and stars."

    William Rodgers, of Martinsburg, W.Va., couldn't agree more.

    "It's usually said that the stateroom on a cruise matters little as one is never there," he says. But he found out differently when he and his wife, Judy, decided to book a cabin with a balcony on a cruise to the western Caribbean, including Grand Cayman Island and Belize City.

    "We spent more time in the stateroom than we ever expected," Rodgers says.

    While his wife slept in, Rodgers says, he would order from room service, then sit on the balcony "reading my book, drinking a cup of coffee and watching the sun rise.

    "After we returned to the stateroom in the evening, my wife and I spent time together on the balcony. It was, in her words, a beautifully romantic moment each time we were there."

    Now they're hooked, he says. "We will never cruise without a balcony again."

    By Charisse Jones, USA Today ("Is Paying Extra for a Balcony Cabin on a Cruise Worth It? ~ April 9, 2013)

    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecra....com/index.html

    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more

    http://www.cruisecrazies.com

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    Well I think it depends. For us a balcony is a must. We love sitting on it, having snacks, coffee, tea or just watching the ocean. Also I remember what happened once in the Caribbean while docked in St. Thomas. I put bread on the rail for the gulls and believe me they gobbled it up so then I held bread in my outstretched arm from the balcony and they swooped in and took it from my hand! Really cool.

    However one must factor in the cost too. Some may be on a tight budget and can use the $ for excursions, especially for cruises like Alaska where those are costly.

    Yet again some can afford it but say they are so seldom in the cabin and its not worth it. We tried concierge class on X and we could do it again but decided what you get is not worth the extra cost.

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    Good point made that it depends on the length of the cruise.

    Jerry is a smoker. The only place where he can smoke (on some ships) is the balcony. So that is a huge factor when we consider where we are going and the total cost.

    Right now, a balcony for us is it!

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    I agree with both Jacketwatch & DebbieandJerry. We have had inside, oceanview (with the window) and balcony cabins. It kinda makes me look at it this way, when you fly 1st Class on a plane, you never want to go any other way!!! We love the balcony for the morning cabin service of danishes and coffee while we get ready for the day and for when we cruise in and out of ports. All in all though, if I just have a chance to be on-board....an inside cabin is JUST fine!!!!

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    My wife and I are balcony junkies. Out of my 23 cruises I've only not had a balcony once and there were none available. I had an ocean view cabin in that case and I kept bumpin' my noggin into the window trying to look out!

    Sure, it's more expensive... often twice the cost of an interior but the ability to sit on the balcony, glory of the beauty of the sea and breath the air is priceless.

    For me, the ship is the destination. I've been to most of the ports and occasionally prefer to stay on the ship rather than debarking.

    Cruise without a balcony? Nope... sorry... can't do it.

    Ciao!!!

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