In cruising, it’s the eternal struggle — do you pay extra to get that balcony cabin, or save money on your cruise by booking an interior room?
The truth is, there is no wrong answer. Balcony cabins are great, but you’ll definitely pay more to have that luxury. Meanwhile, interior cabins forego that nice extra space and fresh air that comes with a balcony, but you also can save hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars.
But booking an interior cabin is different from a balcony for more than just having some extra space and the ability to sit outside. Interior cabins have their own little quirks that you should know about; quirks that don’t often get mentioned by most cruisers.
To help you have a better idea of what to expect if you book that interior cabin, we’ve rounded up several important things about these rooms that you may not have realized.
Interior Cabins Get Dark… Very Dark
Sure, you likely know that an interior cabin — without windows — will be dark, but many people are still surprised by it. When we say that interior cabins are dark, we mean it. With the cabin lights turned off, the only light you can see is the pinhole of light that comes in through the door’s peephole. Apart from that, it’s pitch black. Interior cabins get so dark when the lights go off that you can’t even see your hand in front of your face.
That’s why we always suggest packing a nightlight for the cabin so that you can navigate around the cabin should you need to get up to use the restroom in the middle of the night.
The Lack of Light Messes With Your Schedule
The first time we cruised in an interior cabin, we weren’t prepared for how having no daylight in the cabin disrupts your body’s natural rhythm. With no sunlight, we woke up at odd hours, not sure of what time it was or even if it was day or night. For instance, one morning we slept in about two hours later than we normally do. Another we woke up an hour earlier than normal. Not having sunlight to help brighten a room in the morning can throw things off if you are the sort of person who is used to waking up with the sun.
It’s a good idea to pack an alarm clock for the nightstand so that you can get an idea of the time and also make sure you wake up in time for scheduled excursions on shore.
You Can Be Right Next to Expensive Cabins
Try booking the cheapest room in a hotel and you won’t even be near the higher-end rooms. On cruise ships, things are different. You can literally be across the hall from much-more expensive cabins like top-of-the-line suites. Don’t think that just because you get a less-expensive interior cabin that you’ll be relegated to the bottom decks or in “steerage” class like in Titanic. Sometimes the location of your cabin will be literally feet from other cabins that cost five times as much. It’s a neat feature not found with most resorts or vacations.
You Can Get the Same Service as Anyone Else, Despite Spending Less
Yes, interior cabins are the cheapest but you largely get the same service as any other passenger. Want room service delivered to your cabin? You can get it. Want to go enjoy dinner on formal night in the dining room? You’ll be served the same meal as anyone else, no matter how much they paid. One of the great things about cruising is that no matter how much you spend on your cabin, you’ll get (mostly) the same level of service as anybody else.
Interior Cabins Aren’t Always the Best Value
Barring some weird pricing, interior cabins will always be the cheapest rooms on the ship. That doesn’t automatically mean they are the best value. We’ve seen trips where upgrading the cabin from an interior to a balcony is only a couple of hundred dollars more. In those cases, the balcony is a fantastic value and worth the extra expense. So before you automatically book the interior cabin because it’s cheap, see exactly how much more it would cost to upgrade. Finding a deal on a balcony may cost a little extra, but could be a much better value for your money.
You Can Get a Great Location For Less
Interior cabins are on every deck, which means you can book them to score a great location on the ship. Lower decks are often far from the action, which means you have to take an elevator or the stairs every time you want to go up to eat at the buffet or head to the pool. Instead, you can book an interior cabin, sail for a low price, and have a location closer to the action. Take advantage of being able to get a fantastic location on the ship without paying an arm and a leg.
Interior Cabins Are Surprisingly Quiet
Sure you can hear some noise (usually coming from the hallway), but if you think having an interior cabin means you’ll be surrounded by the noise from other cabins on all sides, then think again. Interior cabins are surprisingly well insulated, which keeps the sound heard from adjoining cabins to a bare minimum. You will hear if someone bumps into a wall or is yelling, but apart from that you don’t have to worry about music or talking from other cabins keeping you up at night.
Want more details on interior cabins? Be sure to read 7 Reasons Interior Cabins Are Better Than A Balcony Room