Cruises

What you should know before booking a cruise ship balcony room

Review these tips before booking a cruise ship balcony room.

Review these tips before booking a cruise ship balcony room.  (iStock)

While regular cruise ship rooms are nice, balcony rooms can feel extra luxurious.

Balcony rooms give you the opportunity to escape the crowded decks and unwind on your own private terrance.

This all sounds great, but the truth is that these rooms can be much pricier than a typical suite so you may want to consider whether it's really worth it. If you’re embarking on a week-long cruise, you may want to spend the extra money since you'll have more time at sea. 

Before you book your balcony room you should always “think about the region in which you are going to be cruising and how much you are really going to want to be outside using your balcony,” Mollie Fitzgerald co-owner of Frontiers International Travel, says.

Don’t be shy when consulting with your cruise line and ask plenty of questions before booking. The last thing you want is to purchase an expensive room with a balcony and end up with an obstructed view. How big the space? Does it come with furniture? Where is it in relation to notoriously busy outdoor hangouts?

Here are some things to consider before booking your next cruise.

1) Research the region.

“Think about the region in which you are going to be cruising and how much you are really going to want to be outside using your balcony,” Mollie Fitzgerald, co-owner of Frontiers International Travel, says. For instance, “if you are cruising in Indonesia or Southeast Asia where it can be very hot and humid, or perhaps in Scandinavia where it is often chilly, the balcony may not be in play that often or worth the extra upcharge compared to the Caribbean or Med where weather might be more delightful and the balcony used much more.”

2) Is the view unobstructed? 

“Ask if the view from the balcony is obstructed in any way, Fitzgerald explains. “Sometimes tender boats or life boats are suspended from the ceiling and can partially or fully obstruct the view from the balcony.”

3) Will you even be able to sit outside?

“Ask if the balcony is furnished – a table and pair of chairs so that you can actually step outside and enjoy it,” Fitzgerald says. “Sometimes, the term ‘balcony’ can be misleading and it is just a ‘Juliette’ balcony (also sometimes called ‘French’ balcony) which is a sliding door but the balcony itself is only 8 to 12 inches deep so no room to have furniture or sit down.”

4) Wait to upgrade.

Don’t purchase a balcony room while booking your trip. Wait until after boarding. According to Roaming Around The World, many cruise lines try to entice their passengers with a Reduced Rate Upgrade Program in attempts to fill balcony state rooms that haven’t been purchased.

5) Location, location, location.

“Get the square footage of the balcony for the cabin you are considering,” Fitzgerald says. “The largest ones are often on the cabins at the front of the ship and/or at the rear – not the sides.”

6) Will you be on display?

What is the point of paying extra money for a balcony if you can’t enjoy it? Fitzgerald says that you should “ask how private the balcony is – sometimes you can see/hear your neighbors to each side which may be an annoyance.”

What else should you do before booking a cruise?