NCL Club Balcony Suite Vs Balcony



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So you’ve settled on an NCL cruise – a good choice – and now you’re about to book. You know you want to enjoy a private balcony, because you want to have your own private space to enjoy the sunrise and sunset, or just a quiet spot to read a book and soak up the sun’s rays. Sounds like bliss.

But wait – with Norwegian Cruise Line, there is another option, which is the Club Balcony Suite. Not quite a full suite, this offers the chance to enjoy an enhanced cabin, but obviously at a slightly higher cost.

So, what are the NCL Club Balcony Suite perks, and is it worth upgrading, or should you just stick with a regular Balcony Stateroom? Let’s take a look.

Top-down view of a two-dimensional layout for a studio apartment, showcasing two variations. The upper layout features an open-plan bedroom with a queen-sized bed, an attached bathroom, and a kitchenette with bar seating. The lower layout presents a similar bedroom and kitchenette, with the addition of a small dining area and a dedicated workspace with a desk.
Balcony (above) and Club Balcony Suite (below)

What is a Club Balcony Suite?

On a NCL ship, a Club Balcony is a level of accommodation that’s better than a balcony, but nit as luxurious as a full suite. With other cruise lines, these are called mini suites or superior deluxe balcony rooms.

There are four options of Balcony staterooms with NCL, not including the full suites that you can book. These are:

  1. Balcony Staterooms
  2. Family Balcony Staterooms
  3. Club Balcony Suites
  4. Family Club Balcony Suites

Let’s take a look at each one individually, before we compare them, so that you understand what you get with each.

Balcony Staterooms

Luxurious cruise ship Balcony Stateroom interior with a view of the sunset through balcony doors, featuring a plush bed, comfortable seating area with a couch, a flat-screen TV, and elegant, modern decor with abstract art pieces.

Balcony Staterooms with NCL are the same kind of balcony stateroom you’d enjoy with any cruise line. You get a relaxing indoor space with a double bed and a small seating area, and then a private balcony with a couple of chairs. These rooms sleep four guests.

Balcony Staterooms are available on every NCL ship in the fleet.

Family Balcony Staterooms

Contemporary family balcony stateroom on a cruise ship, featuring a houndstooth couch, a comfortable bed with teal pillows, a mounted flat-screen TV, and abstract wall art, with natural light streaming in from the ocean-view balcony.

Family Balcony Staterooms are slightly larger than a regular Balcony Stateroom, though it’s a marginal difference – don’t expect a massive room.

You’ll still get a bedroom and separate seating area, but the room will be closer to the kids’ clubs onboard, and the pool deck. The rooms don’t sleep any extra guests though, they can still only handle four at maximum.

Family Balcony Staterooms are also available across the NCL fleet.

Club Balcony Suites

Elegant club balcony suite on a cruise ship during sunset, with a serene ocean view from the balcony, a beige daybed, a sofa with decorative pillows, abstract art on the walls, and stylish lamps providing a warm ambiance.

Club Balcony Suites are essentially Mini Suites – not quite a full suite, with all the perks they bring, but with a few extra benefits along with more space – typically around 33% more room that a regular Balcony Stateroom. They still sleep a maximum of four guests.

Club Balcony Suites are available on the following ships:

  • Norwegian Bliss
  • Norwegian Breakaway
  • Norwegian Dawn
  • Norwegian Encore
  • Norwegian Epic
  • Norwegian Escape
  • Norwegian Gem
  • Norwegian Getaway
  • Norwegian Jade
  • Norwegian Jewel
  • Norwegian Joy
  • Norwegian Pearl
  • Norwegian Prima
  • Norwegian Star
  • Norwegian Viva

That’s 15 out of the 19 ships in the fleet – the only ships missing Club Balcony Suites are Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sun and Pride of America.

Family Club Balcony Suites

Spacious family club balcony suite on a cruise ship, featuring a modern design with a comfortable bed, a large sofa, abstract wall art, a flat-screen TV, and a balcony offering a view of the sea under a soft sunset light.

These are almost identical to the regular Club Balcony Suites. The only difference is that they all sleep four people and they’re located towards the back of the ship, closer to the kids’ clubs.

NCL Haven Suite Deals

I recommend booking with luxury specialists Panache Cruises for the best service.

A Note On Spa Balcony Rooms

You might find information online about another two types of room – Spa Balcony Staterooms, and Spa Club Balcony Suites. These rooms would offer guests the same type of room as their regular equivalents but with extra spa-based perks.

However from January 2024, the rooms are no longer available, and they have been recategorised as regular Balcony Staterooms and Club Balcony Suites.

NCL Club Balcony Suites vs Balcony Staterooms

With all the different options available now explained, let’s look a little more closely at the differences between an NCL Club Balcony Suite and a regular Balcony Stateroom.

Size

Club Balcony Suites are larger than a regular Balcony Stateroom.

How much larger will vary depending on the specific ship, but a Club Balcony Suite can be as large as 285 square feet, while the biggest Balcony Staterooms max out at 205 square feet – though Family Balcony Staterooms are a little larger, with a maximum size of 216 square feet.

Diagram comparing the layouts of a Balcony stateroom and a Club Balcony Suite on a cruise ship. The top layout shows a Balcony stateroom with a compact bathroom, bed, seating area, and balcony. The bottom layout depicts a more spacious Club Balcony Suite with a larger bathroom, ample closet space, a bed, a sofa, and an extended balcony area.

It’s not a huge amount of extra room – if you want something really spacious, with properly separate bedrooms and sitting rooms – then you’re going to need to look at more expensive suites in The Haven.

Some of the additional space is for the bathroom and that does make a bit of a difference, since it won’t feel as crowded, particularly in the shower which can be cramped for some people.

There is a curtain to divide the living area with the sofa bed from the main sleeping area. This can be good for families who may like a little more privacy.

It is nice to be able to stretch out a little more, especially if you’re travelling with more than two people in a room, but this perk could be something you could live without.

Luxury NCL Club Balcony Suites with a king-size bed adorned with a geometric-patterned throw, flanked by elegant lamps, a daybed near the panoramic window leading to a private balcony with ocean views, and a vanity area with a round stool.

Amenities

Staying in a Club Balcony Suite gets you a few extra amenities included, that you wouldn’t get when booking a Balcony Stateroom. These amenities are:

  • A distinctive purple keycard for your room, so you can show off your Club Balcony status
  • A bottle of sparkling wine on embarkation day
  • Treats delivered to your stateroom twice per week – canapes, cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, that sort of thing
  • Bathrobes included in your room to use during the cruise (not to keep, sorry!)

It’s important to note that guests in a regular Balcony Stateroom can get bathrobes too, but you’d need to request them, and availability for those guests can sometimes be limited.

The list of extra amenities isn’t huge, but there are some nice little extras to enhance your stay.

Five fresh strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate, elegantly presented on a rectangular white plate against a minimalist background.

Perks

There are also a small list of perks you get with a Club Balcony Suite:

Valet Laundry

You’ll get one free bag of laundry during your cruise, which would normally cost you around $25. All you need to do is fill the bag with your dirty laundry (carefully – they are a little delicate) and leave it on your bed.

Your cabin steward will then take it to laundry services for you, and it’ll be returned to you washed and ironed. You’ll get it back the next day if the laundry bag is collected in the morning, but if it’s the afternoon or evening then give it two days.

A cheerful crew member operates a large industrial ironing machine, pressing white linens in the laundry room of a cruise ship, with a focus on impeccable onboard service.

Early Dining Booking

Club Balcony Suite guests can book their onboard dining experiences 125 days before they set sail. That’s five days earlier than regular Balcony Stateroom guests, so you get a small advantage in securing the best times at the most popular restaurants.

However, be aware that guests staying in The Haven get to book their dining experiences 130 days before setting sail, so you won’t be getting first choice, but you still shouldn’t have an issue securing the places that you want to go.

Formally set dining table on a NCL cruise ship, featuring white china, crystal stemware, and golden utensils, with place cards indicating early dining reservations, all atop a white tablecloth with a deep blue carpeted floor as backdrop.

Early Entertainment Booking

It used to be that Club Balcony Suite guests could pre-book their entertainment on their cruise early as well, but that’s no longer the case. Now, Club Balcony Suite guests can book entertainment 21 days before setting sail, which is the same as guests in regular Balcony Staterooms.

Only guests in The Haven or other suites, or who have reached Platinum tier or above in the Latitudes loyalty programme, can book earlier.

Price

There isn’t a set price difference between regular Balcony Staterooms and Club Balcony Suites – it will all depend on demand, the specific itinerary and the dates. Expect to pay anywhere between 12% and 40% more for a Club Balcony Suite.

I did a couple of test bookings for Club Balcony Suites in writing this guide, and found an 11-day cruise where a regular Balcony Stateroom would cost £1,107 per person, while a Club Balcony Suite would cost £1,307 per person, so that’s only an extra £200 each – not a huge increase.

But I also found a cruise on Norwegian Aqua, the newest ship in the fleet, where a Club Balcony Suite was £1,879 per person, while a regular Balcony Stateroom was just £1,354 per person – so a difference of over £500 per person. And this was a shorter cruise, too, so it’s not just the length of the cruise making the difference.

Club Balcony Suite Service Charges

Club Balcony Suites pay the same daily service charges as a regular Balcony Stateroom – $20 per person, per day. It used to be that Club Balcony Suites would have their own pricing tier, between regular staterooms and suites, but this was changed in early 2023.

So if you read anywhere that a Club Balcony Suite pays $2 per day more for gratuities, you can ignore that – that’s the old policy.

Is a Club Balcony Suite Worth It?

There’s no definitive answer on whether a Club Balcony Suite is worth it, since the cost can vary a lot.

If you’re paying £500 per person more than you would be for a regular Balcony Stateroom then probably not – that’s a lot of money for a bit of extra space, a few extra days to book your dining, a free bag of laundry and a few extra amenities.

But if you find a cruise where the difference is only £150-200 per person, then you might be tempted – especially if you don’t want to feel cramped in the shower onboard. The value of the amenities depends on how much you’ll enjoy them, but the Club Balcony Suites are nicer rooms – just don’t overpay when you don’t get a huge amount extra.

NCL Haven Suite Deals

I recommend booking with luxury specialists Panache Cruises for the best service.

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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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