Wife and I opted for a mini on the Golden Princess to Hawaii last year. It basically had more sitting area, more storage room/counter space at the mini fridge, and a better bathroom/closet area. My wife loved the upgraded bath with tub. It was much better than the typical torpedo tube shower stall. Having more closet space was also nice for a longer cruise.
We enjoyed having the Mini-suite, but for a typical 7 day cruise we still book a balcony room unless it's a special occasion. For a longer trip like our 2 week Hawaii run, the extra space is well worth it IMO.
Doug pretty much described the actual physical differnces; larger cabin with an actual sitting area with sofa, rather than only one tub chair in the standard balcony cabins. The minis have the tub/shower combo, instead of just a shower stall.
The minis also have two TVs. One facing the bed and one facing the sitting area... and it really makes no sense to me because you can't realistically watch two different channels on the different TV because the room isn't large enough for the sounds to be isolated.
If choosing a mini suite on Princess, you also have to be aware of their location, because many of the mini suits are located on the deck with the open uncovered balconies.... if that matters to you.
Doug described the mini perfectly. The sitting area and larger bathroom are the big selling points. There aren't really any extra "perks" that you get like you do in a full suite. My wife and I do prefer the minis, even on a 7 day cruise. If I stay in a balcony, I prefer one on the Dolphin deck as they balcony is larger (9x9 instead of 9x7) and its half covered/half opened. The minis on Dolphin are fully exposed, while those on Emerald are fully covered (these book very fast, and there aren't that many, so book early if you want one of these). I prefer Dolphin, but I like to sit out in the sun. I've only been on the Grand class ships so I'm not sure if every ship has that configuration.
I book minis because I like having a place to sit other than that ridiculous little tub chair. Depending on the itinerary sometimes it is too hot or wet for me to sit on the balcony and if I'm reading I like quiet space.
I don't read or watch TV in bed, too hard on my back. Now if only they didn't have the TVs at such a high angle
If you have short legs the tub can be awkward to get in and out of but at least you don't have to worry about that clingy shower curtain.
Sun Princess (2 times), Mississippi Queen, Dawn Princess, Coral Princess (2 times), Regal Princess, Grand Princess, Diamond Princess, Maasdam, QM2 (15 times)
That mini is configured wonderfullly, so much better than the few I have had. Even the bathroom, does not look cabin-y.
How many people actually use a tub in a cabin? That's not a selling point for me, but, if the price is not crazy high, enjoy one. I would!
The beauty of the tub is not soaking in it. It's that it is not a torpedo tube. My wife likes an occasional hot bath, but the real perk is a roomier shower space. I am not humongous, but at 6'2" 250ish, it was comical trying to pick up my shampoo bottle when I dropped it in a typical RC shower. No bending at the waist like you'd normally do. Tried that... head hit one side, butt hit the other.... Had to bend at the knees and do a squat and feel around with my hands for it. Now try to get that image out of your head...
Yea, the couch and tub would be nice, although just getting off Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, you get a good size couch and table in a regular balcony cabin, along with a king size bed...I think I got spoiled with that set up. I actually do like to soak in a hot tub, would be nice when up in Alaska.
I would prefer to have a walk in shower, the size equal to that tub, so much more. I have never used a hotel or cabin tub...The height is an issue for many as well...In Italy I thought I was going to need a ladder the tub was so high
Trip, with her book & tea!
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As other posters have indicated, the main difference between a mini suite and a veranda stateroom is size. With the mini, you get a larger stateroom, a sofa, two TVs, and a slightly larger veranda. (see Hockeynot's excellent photos above)
Unless you plan to do some entertaining, however, I'm not sure the added expense is worth it. Last July we went to Alaska on the Golden Princess and several members of our family were on the ship with us. On three evenings we met in our mini for cocktails and conversation. That was fun. If we had been traveling alone though, the regular veranda room would have been more than sufficient for us.
Landlocked in Denver, but cruisin every chance we get.
Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10
Last edited by richstacy; October 27th, 2011 at 06:42 PM.
Nope. The pic Hockeynut posted above has a pretty clear view... Standard shower head with controls, and a separate tub spout. No handheld on that trip as I recall...
One added note, don't pull the red cord in the tub. I was curious and thought it was a clothesline or something. Gave it a few good tugs, but it didn't seem to be a clothesline. I pondered what it could possibly be for the next 10-15 seconds until room steward came banging on our cabin door. Turns out its a "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" call/alert.
They upgraded us to a mini last cruise from a Caribe balcony cabin and although it was OK but I'd never pay extra for it. We also missed the larger balcony space and felt cramped. There was nothing you could do with the extra 2 chairs except pile them on top of each other in one corner of the balcony. At least the chairs did recline for comfort unlike a regular balcony. We never used the tub although the larger bathroom made it easier to move about.
I suppose if you like eating in your cabin you could always put your food on the coffee table which would make it easier.
All in all I'll save the extra money for something more useful.
We had a mini-suite on our cruise to Alaska as we had our youngest daughter in the room with us. We loved the spaciousness of the room and the balcony (although, in retrospect, the Dolphin Deck is probably not the best deck for an Alaskan cruise!) and our then-13 year old got LOTS of use out of the tub.
This year my husband and I also had a mini-suite for our Med Cruise and, without the third person, we found that we really did not need the additional space. Not that it wasn't nice, mind you, but we were on a very port intensive cruise and we just weren't in our room that often.