16 Norwegian Cruise Line Cabins To Avoid

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Even if you get a really good deal, a cruise is still not something you want to waste money on. And while almost everyone who books a cruise will have a fantastic time, sometimes you can make a mistake with your booking and just slightly spoil what should’ve been something fantastic.

Oftentimes, it’s the cabin choice, and with Norwegian Cruise Line there are a lot of ships and therefore a lot of different stateroom options. How do you make sure that you don’t book a bad one?

Interior of a Norwegian Cruise Line Epic studio cabin featuring a full-size bed with purple and green accent pillows, a round porthole window, and an integrated bathroom sink and shelving unit to the left.

There aren’t really many ‘bad’ NCL cabins, but there are some which are definitely less suited to certain types of passengers, whether you are sensitive to noise, at risk of getting seasick, or you like to have a lot of space to move around.

But I’ve taken a look at social media groups, cruise forums, review sites and more to find some of the NCL cabins to avoid, which may or may not apply to you.

1. Norwegian Epic Rooms With Exposed Showers

Spend any amount of time on social media pages or forums about NCL ships and especially accommodation, and there is one ship in particular that people tend to really dislike – Norwegian Epic.

And that’s because some very ‘bold’ choices were made with the ship in general, but especially with the staterooms. Choose any Inside or Balcony Stateroom, or a Club Balcony Suite, and you’ll get a split bathroom.

Overhead layout view of a Norwegian Cruise Line Epic cabin highlighting the exposed toilet and shower areas, with red arrows pointing to each. The cabin features a central bed, curvy modern furniture, and a separate seating area.

On other cruise ships where you get a split bathroom, you get two actual rooms – one with the toilet, and the other with the shower. On Norwegian Epic, however, the toilet and shower are each in cubicles sitting in the corner of the main bedroom, with frosted glass walls!

Yes, the glass is frosted, but you can still see through it. And you can also hear through it. Yikes!

There is a curtain that you can draw across, but it’s hardly offering the protection you want when you’re washing yourself every morning or evening. The whole curtain thing is weird, especially as it’s right by the front door. 

The wash basin is also right by the bed, which is pretty inconvenient too. If you use the bathroom in the night, it would be really hard to wash your hands without waking everyone else in the room.

View of a Norwegian Cruise Line Epic stateroom with a balcony, featuring a queen-size bed with white and blue linens, an exposed round basin sink, a wall-mounted TV, and floor-to-ceiling windows leading to the balcony with ocean views.

If you want the proper privacy of a shower in a room, with space to wrap yourself in a towel or get dressed once you’re finished, don’t choose Norwegian Epic!

Some of the suites on the ship do have the same split design too, but are usually separated by at least a partial wall from the main room, so you get a little bit of protection at least.

2. Cabins Between Stairways and Elevators

Generally, being close to a stairway or elevator can either be a blessing or a curse. It’s handy to be close to them, since you don’t have to walk as far (really handy if you’re carrying any tuckered-out kids in your arms), but at the same time, it can be a little noisier due to the extra traffic.

However there are some rooms on NCL ships that are inside rooms placed between the elevators and stairwells, and those really do get a lot of people walking past outside. 

Part of the Norwegian Cruise Line deck plan showing cabin numbers 8048 to 8073, with even numbers on the left, odd numbers on the right, and highlighted public areas such as stairs and elevators in the center.

If you’re a light sleeper then you might get annoyed at the constant footsteps and voices, especially since they aren’t just walking past your door – they’re walking alongside the walls of the room, which are less soundproofed.

3. Cabins Directly Under the Nightclub

You’ll want to look out for the cabins on your NCL ship that are either directly above or below the nightclub. There isn’t a standard nightclub across the ships, so you’ll need to check the relevant deck plans for your ship. Many of the ships have a Bliss Ultra Lounge, but the newest ships have the Prima Theater or Viva Theater & Club.

A lively group of people dancing at a Norwegian Cruise Line's White Hot Party, dressed in all white, with a disco ball illuminating the nightclub atmosphere.

Generally on an NCL ship, the venues themselves don’t seem too bad during the evening, but they’ll convert into a full nightclub once it hits a late hour – typically 10pm or 11pm.

Some guests have reported hearing the noise thudding through the ceiling, so if you’re someone who likes to get to sleep early and who struggles to switch off when there’s background noise, try to avoid any cabins around the clubs and bars onboard.

4. Cabins Near Crew Areas

One of the best tips for avoiding noisy parts of any cruise ship is to look on the deck plans for any blank spaces, and make sure you then avoid cabins that are adjacent, above or below these where possible.

A blank space on a deck plan often means it’s a part of the ship used by the crew, and so it can be a little bit noisy, especially at night when the workers on a later shift are trying to get everything prepared for the following day.

“I am not a light sleeper but it woke me every time. Some nights I banged on the cabin wall and told them to be quiet! Worked a couple of times !!”
Source: CruiseCritic

A lot of people think to avoid the noisy bars, but often it’s the unmarked spots on a deck plan that can make the most noise. As a general rule of thumb, if you have staterooms above and below you, you shouldn’t have much problem with the noise levels.

“The noise generated from rolling carts, banging and dropped items makes the master bedroom in the cabin uninhabitable until 12:30am and from 3:30am on.”
Source: Tripadvisor

5. Cabins Directly Below the Pool Deck

Another area you might want to consider avoiding is the deck directly below the pool deck on your ship.

The poolside areas are popular on any cruise ship, and that’s no different with NCL. So, even though you aren’t supposed to reserve your sun loungers with a towel, people still get up early to do so, since they want a guaranteed spot.

Overcast view of the Norwegian Encore's pool deck featuring multiple pools, lounging areas, water slides, and a climbing structure, with the ocean extending to the horizon.

The loungers will often be stacked up or moved aside at night, either because of a deck party the night before or the weather. All of this means that, in the early morning, don’t be surprised to hear the awful sounds of sun loungers being dragged across the wooden deck directly above you.

“We were below the pool and although people had told us it wouldn't be a problem, it was noisy except for a few hours in the middle of the night.”
Source: CruiseCritic

6. Lower Cabins Near the Aft (Particularly On Smaller Ships)

Some of the older ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet are particularly bad for vibrations if you’re staying on the lower decks of the ship.

The Norwegian Sun cruise ship docked at a port, showcasing its multi-deck structure with a distinctive black funnel and the name 'Norwegian Sun' visible on the stern, set against a city skyline and cloudy sky.

Specifically, if you don’t want to be woken up as the ship arrives in port each day, you should aim to avoid the rooms at the aft (rear) of the ship that are on lower decks. Those are the closest to the side thrusters which are used when manoeuvring the ship into position to dock.

And remember that, even if you’re told you can’t get off the ship until 9am or 10am, there’s a good chance you’re actually docking as early as 5am or 6am to give the ship time to complete all the admin before you head ashore. So, that could be quite the early wakeup.

“If you're back there and still trying to sleep as you reach port, the vibration will likely wake you.”
Source: CruiseCritic

7. Cabins Directly Under the Gym

I’ve written a few of these cabins to avoid guides, and until I started writing about NCL I’d never seen anyone have issues with the fitness centre onboard.

But the problem on NCL is that the crew are permitted to use the gym when it is closed to the guests onboard – which often means late at night, or very early in the morning.

Well-equipped gym on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, featuring a range of fitness equipment including treadmills, elliptical machines, free weights, and a Smith machine, with large windows offering ocean views.

If you’re in a room directly below the fitness centre – specifically, below the free weights area, apparently – then you might find that the noise gets a little out of hand, as this forum post revealed:

“Our bedroom was directly under the free weights and most don't simply lay them down, they drop them. I swear sometimes it sounded like they were holding them over their head and dropping them.”
Source: CruiseCritic

8. Club Balcony Suites

Many Norwegian Cruise Line ships have Club Balcony Suites. These are what used to be known as Mini Suites, and they have a selection of small additional perks that you can enjoy along with some extra space.

A luxurious Club Balcony Suite on the Norwegian Prima, with contemporary decor, a plush bed, comfortable seating area, and floor-to-ceiling windows leading to a private balcony with a serene sea view.

You do get a more spacious room, including a more spacious bathroom, but the list of perks isn’t super-long and some of it might not feel necessary.

So this isn’t a room to necessarily avoid, just one to question – how much would you really benefit from the upgrade to a Club Balcony Suite, and would it be better if you instead saved the money, got a slightly smaller room, and used that cash to pay for something else on board?

Or, if you really want extra room, should you pay a little more again and make the leap up to a full suite?

Be sure to read this next article if you’re thinking of getting a Club Balcony Suite: NCL Club Balcony Suite Vs Balcony.

9. Studio Rooms (If You Like Space)

NCL is one of the best options for solo travellers if you want to enjoy a cruise line that has a youthful vibe and that has a ton of exciting things to see and do. A lot of the cruise lines that cater well to solo passengers are aimed at an older audience, but NCL has a lot more single rooms than similar cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean or Carnival.

However, you need to understand exactly what you’re getting if you choose one of the Studio rooms – because they really are not very big at all. Many have less than 100 square feet of space, with room for a single bed and not much else.

Modern Norwegian Cruise Line Bliss studio room, featuring a cozy single bed with stylish cushions, a wall-mounted TV, a sleek vanity area with a sink and mirror, and a window showcasing a view of the sea.

You may feel that it’s enough – and if you plan on making the most of the rest of the ship, then it could well be. After all, it’s just a place to sleep and get changed, right?

But be aware that it can get a little cramped, with the shower being quite small too.

And on that note…

10. Cheaper Categories On Older Ships (Especially If You’re a Larger Person)

While the newer ships generally have bigger staterooms, there are some smaller cabins on the older ships in the NCL fleet that you might want to avoid. But it’s not the actual stateroom that causes the issue.

The bathrooms are what can be problematic, because they really aren’t very big at all, and the shower space you get is very limited. You might have a corner shower unit that is barely big enough for the average person to stand in.

Cutaway diagram of a Norwegian Cruise Line Sky Oceanview Stateroom with a porthole, showing two twin beds with aqua accents, a small sitting area, and an inset section illustrating the separate shower and toilet facilities.

And of course, you might be larger than the average person, which can make it a little bit uncomfortable to use, especially since you need to be able to freely turn around.

If you’re worried that you might not be comfortable in a tiny shower, and you’re planning on booking a cruise on any ship older than Norwegian Breakaway, I’d consider choosing a Balcony Stateroom or above to make sure you have enough room.

Read more: NCL Ships By Age And Size

11. PrivaSea Balcony Staterooms

When you picture a Balcony Stateroom on a cruise ship, you probably imagine the typical stateroom with sliding doors leading to a lovely open space with a glass railing for amazing views.

But not all rooms are quite so open-air. Enclosed balcony staterooms can be found on some cruise ships, where you have a much smaller open space. You still have a balcony area, but it’s surrounded by metal framing above and to the sides, which then creates a smaller opening. 

The midsection of the Norwegian Star cruise ship sailing on the water, prominently displaying the name 'Norwegian Star' on the hull with colorful stars and a large red arrow graphic overlaid on the image, highlighting the enclosed balconies.

Think of it as a large open window, rather than an open-air veranda. On Carnival cruise ships, these are called cove balconies.

Many NCL ships have these – they’re called PrivaSea Balcony Staterooms – and they’re marketed as a good option if you want a little more ‘privacy’. But in reality, they’re not as desirable for most people, since you can’t enjoy the view when sat down – hence why they’re priced cheaper than a typical Balcony.

Of course, if you don’t mind having a less open balcony, this could help you save money. Take a look at this video for a closer look so you know what to expect.

12. Obstructed View Rooms

Most cruise ships that have ocean view and/or balcony cabins will offer some that have an obstructed view. This is where something – usually the lifeboats, but it can be structural parts of the ship – blocks part of the view from the room.

A cozy stateroom on the Norwegian Dawn with an obstructed ocean view, featuring a large bed with colorful striped linens, maritime-themed pillows, and a porthole window partially obscured by lifeboat equipment.

On the downside, your view is spoiled, but the benefit is that you still get natural daylight and you don’t have to pay the full price of a room without any obstruction.

However, with the way NCL ships are designed, sometimes those obstructions are more than partial. You might have a view that is straight out into the lifeboat itself – though you may at least still see the ocean through the lifeboat’s doorways!

Be careful booking a Sailaway Oceanview – these are ‘Guarantee’ rooms, when you get a cheaper room rate in exchange for allowing NCL to pick your cabin for you – as they might give you a room with a 100% obstruction. As this guest argues – is it really an ocean view then?

“I was very calm and explained that I thought it was false advertising as a guarantee ocean view was not what I was being given.”
Source: CruiseCritic

Obstructed views vary quite a lot in terms of how obstructed they are and what the view is obstructed by. Some of them aren’t bad at all, and you can get an idea of what to expect from studying the deck plans.

On Norwegian Prima, some of the obstructed balconies are behind the water slides, which is pretty cool. Although it could be a little noisy with people screaming all day long!

View from inside a Norwegian Prima stateroom with an ADA-accessible obstructed ocean view balcony, featuring comfortable outdoor furniture and a clear glass door, with a glimpse of a lifeboat outside.

13. The Haven (If You’re On a Budget)

On NCL ships, the most luxurious spot to book a room is The Haven. It’s like its own ship-within-a-ship – all the suites are close together and have their own private restaurants and sun decks, away from the crowds – and with these being NCL ships, that quieter space can sometimes be very much appreciated.

A sophisticated bedroom within The Haven on the Norwegian Cruise Line Aqua, featuring a king-sized bed with high-quality linens, a large window with ocean views, and a chic writing desk with a vase of fresh flowers.

But Haven accommodations aren’t cheap, and you must remember that a lot of the extra restaurants on the ship, the entertainment facilities etc. will have additional charges too.

If you blow all of your budget on staying in the Haven, you might regret it later when it limits how much you can enjoy the rest of the cruise. A Balcony Stateroom might be a better choice if you don’t have limitless funds.

14. Cabins Worse For Seasickness

General advice for any cruise ship is that you should try to avoid staying on the higher decks if you’re likely to suffer from seasickness, especially towards the front and rear of the ship.

A Norwegian Cruise Line ship at sea with two large yellow arrows pointing to the front and back, suggesting areas potentially worse for seasickness due to more movement, against a backdrop of calm blue waters and clear skies.

This is where you’ll feel the movement of the waves the most, and it can be a trigger for that nausea you desperately want to avoid so you can properly enjoy all the food and drinks onboard.

If you are someone who gets seasick, or you at least think you might be, then aim to book a cabin on a lower deck, ideally in the middle of the ship.

A room with a view is still preferred because fixing your gaze on the horizon can help, so don’t rule out balcony staterooms, or at least an ocean view.

15. Connecting Rooms (If Not Needed)

NCL has a lot of connecting staterooms available for guests travelling in a larger group. When you book two connecting rooms, you can open up a doorway between them and share the larger space – great if you are taking the kids but don’t want to all cram into a smaller space.

Overhead view of Norwegian Cruise Line Gem connecting staterooms, showing two separate rooms with twin beds, en suite bathrooms, and a shared central area with a seating arrangement and storage spaces.

However, that door isn’t very well insulated around the edges, and so even when it remains closed, you can often hear a lot of chatter and other noise from the other side. This is normally fine if you’re part of the same group, but if you’d rather avoid hearing everything strangers get up to on their cruise (or, just as importantly, make sure they can’t hear you) then don’t book just one connecting cabin.

Look for a double-ended arrow on the deck plans to indicate connecting rooms.

Close-up of the Norwegian Cruise Line ship deck plan, illustrating the layout with cabin numbers in green, orange, and red color coding, indicating different cabin categories within the ship's structure.

16. Porthole Cabins

Some of the NCL ships that have oceanview rooms have a porthole, instead of a picture window. Portholes are much smaller, so you don’t get a great view and they let in a lot less light.

Elegant Oceanview stateroom on the Norwegian Star, showcasing a comfortable bed with a blue bedspread, with porthole window providing natural light, and striking marine-inspired artwork on the walls.

What’s a little bit sneaky is that they aren’t marked on the deck plans. Most cruise lines will either call the rooms “Porthole Oceanview” rooms, or they’ll at least have an indicator on the deck plan to show you which rooms have a porthole.

Instead, NCL does things the opposite way, by naming the rooms with a bigger window “Oceanview with Picture Window”. If you choose one of the older ships and there is a choice between “Oceanview” and “Oceanview with Picture Window”, that means that the Oceanview rooms have a porthole only.

A bright and inviting Oceanview stateroom on the Norwegian Spirit, featuring two twin beds with white and teal bedding, a large picture window, and a cozy seating area, all decorated with warm lighting and nautical accents.

If you don’t care then you can save money, but you might as well save even more and get an Inside Stateroom, unless that narrow bit of daylight is really important to you.


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Final Word

The easiest way to make sure that you avoid some of these cabin types is to check the deck plans in detail before you book.

A rookie mistake is to only look at the deck that you’re considering booking. Instead, look at the deck above and below as well, so you can try to avoid loud noise when you might be trying to sleep.

Norwegian Cruise Line attracts a wide range of people, some of whom might be looking to party late into the night, and others who might be families eager to get ashore early or have fun enjoying the onboard activities.

So if you value your lie-ins or your earlier nights, making sure you’re at least surrounded by the carpeted cabins, instead of the pool deck’s wooden flooring or the heavier speakers of the clubs, can be a big help.

And avoid those staterooms next to blank spaces on the deck plan – that way you shouldn’t be hearing the crew being too active at night either.

Here’s a list of all the Norwegian Cruise Line deck plans, so you can easily check your chosen ship:


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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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