Today's cruise ships are bigger than ever, and packed with attractions and amenities. Maximize your vacation at sea by knowing how to navigate these veritable floating cities. Start by choosing the cabin that's right for you and your travel companions.
An outside cabin or ocean-view stateroom (the terms are interchangeable) features a large porthole or window, and usually comes with a higher price tag; some of these are also balcony cabins, which let you take in some air while retaining your privacy.
A lower-priced indoor cabin or inside stateroom does not have a porthole, window, or balcony-but it may be all you need if you plan to spend most of your time onboard out and about.
Prone to seasickness? Pick a cabin in the lower deck, as near to the center of the ship as possible. Outside cabins in the fore (front of the ship) or aft (rear of the ship) offer an exciting view, but they come with more motion.
If you're traveling with someone who is less mobile or you're using a stroller for a small child, choose a cabin close to the elevators, but keep in mind that proximity to an elevator might bring more traffic and noise. If you're noise sensitive, avoid cabins near service areas, low cabins in the fore or aft, and those near the lido deck.
Traveling with a group or your family? If you're looking to save, ask your cruise line if they offer a discount for a third or fourth person in a cabin. Or splurge on a suite with adjoining rooms. Staterooms and suites on the upper deck usually go for a higher fare, as they're closer to pools and sun decks.