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Cabin Categories Can Confuse

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The most stable location for a cabin on a cruise ship is on the lowest passenger deck, and those cabins closest to the center part of the ship (mid-ship).

So, does it really make any sense that both the inside and ocean view cabins in these locations are the least expensive on the ship? … Not really.

And that is the starting point, of what for many, is the beginning of confusion when choosing a cabin.

Oddly perhaps, on many cruise lines the largest suites on the ship are located on higher decks, and also on the extreme ends of the deck, which are generally less stable areas of the ship.

It used to be that the only cabin categories on a ship were inside cabins, ocean view cabins, and suites. And many of the ocean view cabins on the lower decks only had portholes for windows.

Beginning in the late part of the 1990s and growing exponentially through the 2000s, until now, cabins with private verandas became the popular trend, and indeed the most popular cabins.

In fact, on many new builds today 80-90 % of the passenger cabins on board are those with private verandas.

It’s important to note, while the space on the private verandas is for the private use of the cabin’s occupants, in most cases they do not offer privacy. And, particularly in this day and age, even if the space can’t be seen by other passengers, the ships today are equipped with many cameras along their exteriors; and someone on the bridge may be watching.

The cruise lines of course encouraged and enjoyed the trend to veranda cabins, because they are able to charge more for them.

So, we went from inside cabins, ocean views, and suites, to inside cabins, ocean view cabins (with windows), cabins with private verandas, and suites. And generally the pricing still rose as you went from the lowest passenger decks to higher decks… with a few adjustments.

With the exception of suites, for awhile the cruise lines charged slightly more, on each deck, for the cabins closer to the middle of ships (amidships), and offered those on the rear thirds (aft) and front (bow) thirds of each deck, at a slightly lower rate.

Then some bright young cruise line executive thought if they added a few amenities to some of the veranda cabin categories, they could increase the cost of those cabins, over and above the cost of similar cabins without the amenities; an extra $20 or $30 income from a few hundred cabins every time that ship left port added considerable dollars to their bottom lines.

And the race was on…

And as a result, today we have inside cabins, inside cabins with a view,  ocean view cabins, veranda cabins, mini-suites, concierge suites, aqua suites, spa suites, family suites, owner’s suites, villa suites, and even some ships with balcony cabins where the balcony view does not have a view of the ocean,  and all sorts of other terminology used by the various cruise lines to describe available accomodations (I can’t even list them all) that cost just “a little bit more”.

From a passenger’s perspective all of this can be good, because there are many options available to us.

However, for the less informed passengers it can make choosing a cabin a bit of a minefield. It is not that simple any longer to look at a ship’s deck plans to choose a cabin. There are many more considerations.

That is why today, in my opinion, it is more important than ever for people to use the services of a trained, and qualified, cruise travel agent. You really need someone with knowledge to walk you through all your options, to enable you to choose wisely.

That cabin choice will have a lot to do with your enjoyment of your cruise.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time March 25, 2013 at 7:49 am

A new way, at least new on newer ships than may have taken place in years past, the new category structure change.

A ship/cruise line – no partcular “brand or names needed”

A cat. D perhaps, once a typical outside cabin with balcony, made up price for 7 dayer, say, $1150.00 per person, deck 6, toward the aft. Made up cabin number 1010

Now, this cabin becomes a cat C, same cabin, new price $1195 per personnote – not only new price NEW CATEGORY SAME CABIN.

Cut to the chase – suppose this ship last time around had 15 pricing categories, now, with crunching same cabins at new categories and different prices all across the board, now offers 28 pricing categories. Same cabin, new pricing, new categories, same exact cabins.

Then take a look at Concierge Level, or whatever special “level” is ofered by most lines today – I love Concierge Level, it allows sailing on a ship at more money, per passenger, and offers more on board amenities than other categories that are priced less. Passengers that wish these extra amenities should have the option of paying more for them – period.

Many will and many will not pay extra for a pricier level. That is the way it should be. It gives the taste of a suite with benefits, yet, not a true suite or anything near suite pricing, and that is a good thing.

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