To all those that have cruised regularly, is the balcony worth the price? I'm somewhat claustrophobic and am researching getting a balcony, but the price difference is substantial. Is the size between the two that noticeable?
You'll be getting polar opinions on this question. I think it's worth the extra price and others will be 180 opposite.
Where are you going? This could make a difference for you. To me, Alaska is a must have balcony. Some think spend the money on tours. Me, I'd rather spend on a week for a balcony than a 2 hour flightseeing tour for example. Also, we enjoy hanging around our balcony as opposed to going to the casino or towel folding classes. We're not all that sociable. So consider that too. Are you going to really relax or will you be doing many activities (and there are plenty) on the ship.
You mention Inside vs Balcony. Maybe a compromise would be a window cabin. Could a window possibly help your claustrophobia?
You'll probably get as many "Yes, get a balcony" as you'll get "No, don't get a balcony" so you'll still be confused.
One thing to consider is if you do get an inside cabin get one as close to the upper decks or the promenade deck as possible. Then you can leave your cabin and be outside rather quickly.
Peter, I'm thinking of doing a 7-12 day cruise from Venice to Barcelona (or Venice to Venice). I'm rather social, so I do anticipate spending alot of time wandering the ship. I've seen Titanic and don't want to be one of the poor souls without a chance to escape!
If the price difference does not put a crimp in your cruise budget I say go for it.
Having the ability to sit outside as you come into or go out of ports, while sipping coffee, or a foo foo drink, is such a nice plus.
The Med itinerary is so port intensive with long excursions, you come back onboard, sometimes after a 10 hr day, then you need to get ready for dinner,and then back to bed for tomorrow, so your balcony time is really limited, vs say, a Caribbean cruise.
Your claustrophobia is probably begging for a balcony though...I loved it
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There is a reason why balcony cabins are by far the most popular choice - you get natural light, fresh air and a chance to sit out on your veranda and enjoy the tropics.
In reality however - most people do not use their balcony all the much - it is really more about knowing you have a balcony - and the light, fresh air and extra space, that matters.
You will feel more at home in a balcony cabin, while an inside cabin will probably make you feel somewhat nervous and out of place - just because it is claustrophobic. If that is an affliction of yours already - I would say "yes" get the balcony.
I'd say that with a port intensive itinerary and being social probably a balcony not needed. Of course only you know how your claustrophobia can effect you. I've never had an inside cabin (yet) but I can imagine that feeling quite confining. As I'd mentioned and Dave mentioned, maybe an outside cabin with a window, as close to the doors leading to the decks, might be a good compromise.
You've already gotten some great information on the various options. For the most part, with some exception, the size of the various cabins (inside, oceanview, balcony) are all relatively the same. Obviously, the balcony cabin seems bigger because you have extra space on the balcony.
It really is a personal choice; what one person loves, another will hate. Some people spend very little time in their cabin (sleep and change clothes), so the cabin becomes less of an issue. Others are less social butterflies and love sitting on the balcony alot, reading a book, taking a nap, etc., so the balcony becomes more of an issue.
So for many people, the issue becomes more about the budget. Is it worth it to them? From what you're saying, it sounds like you're single, so if that's the case keep in mind that prices could be significantly different between the various cabins and this may have a major impact on your decision.
I'm rather claustrophobic, but I've never had any problems in an inside cabin as they're roomy enough for me. So personally, I'd rather spend less money on the cabin so I can afford a longer cruise or another cruise than to spend more money on one cruise and not be able to afford a longer cruise or to be able to do some 'must do' shore excursions.
On many cruises, the only time you really get to see land is when you're coming into or leaving port. Yes, it's great to be able to sit on your balcony during these times. But then again, you only get to see one side of the ship. In these situations, we much prefer to be on the top deck so we can walk from side to side and see both sides and enjoy the overall view.
As I always say, once you leave the cabin, everything else is equal, so it really depends on how much you want to be in your cabin and how much money you want to invest in that cabin. And only you can answer those questions.
But no matter what you decide, you'll have a wonderful cruise because that's an awesome area to visit.
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I say do the balcony simply because you said you were "somewhat claustrophobic". When that feeling hits you can always step out on your balcony and get some open space and some air. You will not be able to do this with an interior or an outside. In your case the price may be worth it. Enjoy.
I'm struggling with this right now too. We always book a balcony but have booked Oceania for 2015 and I can't justify $2,000 PER PERSON for a balcony over an inside. Interesting though that contrary to what Paul said about popularity, Oceania's insides go first. It's all about itinerary
My wife and I always get a balcony. My wife likes to sit and read; we like to sit in the evening and watch the sun go down on sea days; and sometimes we eat breakfast on the balcony. It's also nice to leave the balcony open and let the sea air in; however when you do this, the air conditioning shuts off.
We have had all 3, inside, Outside and a balcony. I can live with any of them to be honest! If finances are tight and we wanna go on a cruise then we book a inside cabin. Sometimes you can get the outside cabin for like $10 more per day and we will go that route. Balcony is our favorite, especially the aft balcony. We do use our balcony as a haven to get away from everyone else when it seems that the crowds overwhelm us.
Also, if your a smoker, Most cruise lines will not let you smoke in your cabin anymore. Some will allow smoking on your balcony though. Our last cruise on RCI we had booked a balcony cabin so I could smoke there. They changed their smoking rules and banned smoking on the balconies also so we changed to a inside cabin.
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In my opinion it is (size, location, amenities and price) four basic items that can make choosing difficult when it comes to cruises. I feel the biggest considerations should be stability, distance, noise, and viewing pleasures. Today is a new day and new style in cruising, the typical boxy inside and outside cabins, you can find expansive suites, duplexes and lofts. Balconies also range in size from small affairs barely able to squeeze in two chairs and a drinks table to huge wraparound decks with outdoor dining tables and hot tubs, it depends on the vessel you sail on.
From what I can see you need the direction of a professionally certified Cruise counselor. Do you need a balcony? Cruise travelers who spend all their time in the public areas -- sun decks, lounges, restaurants -- or on shore may be perfectly happy with standard-size cabins and no private outdoor space. Those who love to avoid the crowds and lounge quietly on their own verandahs or have private room-service meals outdoors will surely want balconies. Don't forget to take your itinerary into account; on a chilly-weather cruise, you may not be spending too much time outside, so depending on how much space and light you need, a balcony may not be worth the splurge or it may be a major option if you need your space.
Have you narrowed down your choices to 3 vessels, 3 itineraries, and a departure port? What you are wanting to accomplish this sailing? Have you sailed before and if so Which line? Have you evaluated options like a "free" upgrade or other amenities of the lines? Once you have accomplished this then the forum and a professional consultant can and will help you narrow your cabin choices.
In the Mediterranean Holland America's 1,300-square-foot Penthouse Veranda Suites (found on Eurodam, Noordam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam) have zig-zag teak-lined balconies with their own hot tubs (a must for me and my back !) and an inset banquette for alfresco lounging or dining. A handful of other top shelf accommodations, including the Royal Suites on Celebrity Cruises' Millennium- and Solstice-class ships have roomy, whirlpool-topped verandahs as well. It really all depends on you.
Recently I traveled with a relative that needed special accommodation and found out that on just about every vessel there are one-of-a-kind cabins. Like the 281-square-foot accessible cabin 4479 on Norwegian Spirit I recently experienced -- the fact is the facts aren't going to be listed separately from the standard cabins in the same category, but can net you more space (and possibly a secret porthole) on lines like NCL, Holland America, Disney and Regent when you research.