You won't hear engine noise, believe me. We have cruised on Royal, but not this ship, four times. We have been on the 2nd and 3rd deck every time. We have been toward the front and the back and we never, ever heard engine noise. We did hear the anchor being wrenched down once when we arrived at one destination, other than that, we didn't even hear our neighbors. Avoid being near the stairs/elevator areas and the front (anchor). We stayed in inside cabins, as cheap as we could get. They were dark as dark could be and as quiet as could be. We have never complained about our rooms on Royal. I agree with you, stay as cheap as you can and use your money for other stuff.