Traditionally, cruise cabins come in one of four categories: interior, oceanview, balcony, and a suite. However, cruise lines are constantly innovating and those popular balcony cabins — which give passengers their own private outdoor space — are one place where there have been changes.
Enter the “infinite balcony.” On some cruise ships, the traditional balcony has been replaced by a new idea called an infinite balcony. Now, instead of a separate outdoor space, passengers have the ability to turn the entire cabin into a balcony area.
But this style of cabin is very different. For some, it’s not ideal while others love it. So what are the pros and cons, and should you book one of these rooms?
Here’s what to know…
What Is an Infinite Balcony?
Let’s start with what exactly this type of cabin actually is and how it’s different from a traditional cruise stateroom.
If you have a normal balcony room, you have the cabin, and then a wall with a door that goes out to a separate balcony space. The outdoor area is completely closed off from the rest of the room.
An infinite balcony works differently. Instead of a rigid wall with a door, the outside wall of the cabin is a large window. The top half of this window can raise to shut completely or lower halfway to open up to the outside.
There is still a separate seating area near the window with folding doors so that the balcony area can be partitioned off or opened up so that the entire cabin can enjoy the fresh air.
Which Ships Have These Rooms?
To be sure, only a handful of ships have these types of rooms. Notably, newer Celebrity cruise ships like Ascent, Edge, and Beyond have a large number of infinite balcony cabins. They are also found on the new Icon class for Royal Caribbean ships.
Some cruise lines don’t offer these cabins at all, but that could change in the coming years.
What are the Advantages of an Infinite Balcony?
Why would cruise lines create this type of different room? There are some advantages to having a cabin like this.
First, normally the balcony area is completely separate meaning that unless you are sitting outside, you can’t enjoy that extra space. With infinite balconies, you can get that space back. With the window closed, you have an extra seating area in the cabin and are able to significantly expand the square footage of the room.
As well, with the balcony normally closed off, that means if you want the fresh breeze from the balcony, you either have to sit outside or find a way to prop open the heavy door. With the infinite balcony you can simply lower the window and make sure the partition doors are open. This way, the fresh air circulates through the entire room.
Finally, these rooms can provide more privacy when enjoying the outside. When you sit on a normal balcony, you have partitions on either side but you can still see from side to side. With the infinite balcony, there is a full wall on either side and a ceiling above. It’s practically impossible for any other balcony to be able to see in.
What are the Disadvantages of an Infinite Balcony?
There are reasons to like this type of cabin, but there is a disadvantage that may be a dealbreaker for some people.
The major disadvantage is that with essentially a large window instead of a separate balcony area, the effect is not quite the same.
When you step outside the cabin into a regular balcony, you are doing exactly that — going outside. You’re surrounded by the sights, smells, and feel of being outdoors.
With the infinite balcony, however, you don’t have the same effect. With the large window, the view on the sides is reduced. As well, with the cabin ceiling the views above the room are also more blocked. There is a definite difference compared to being outside rather than sitting next to an open window. In effect, you’re getting more of an open window than a regular balcony.
Should I Book an Infinite Balcony?
Staying in an infinite balcony cabin promises to be a different experience than in a traditional one. So should you book it?
In some cases, you may not have much choice. Others you may be able to choose between a regular balcony or an infinite style.
To be clear, we see the advantages and disadvantages of these cabins. We like having more space in the cabin along with a window that takes over the entire wall, letting in lots of light and nice views. That’s what you get with the infinite balcony rooms.
But to us, it’s hard to beat the feeling of actually being outside that comes with a traditional balcony cabin. Being inside next to an open window has a much different feeling than stepping out into the fresh air.
So we’d have no issue sailing in an infinite balcony if it was offered, but would prefer the traditional open balcony if we had the choice.