Planning to set sail on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Chances are you won’t spend a lot of time in your stateroom – these ships are packed with exciting things to see and do from the moment you wake up until well past your normal bedtime.
But you will need to sleep at some stage, especially if you have little ones with you. And while all Royal Caribbean staterooms are furnished to a very high standard, there are still some rooms that you might want to avoid.
They’re not bad – there aren’t really any bad rooms on Royal Caribbean ships – but depending on your preferences there are some staterooms that will be better and some that will be worse for you.
Here are 13 staterooms that you might want to steer clear of when you make your booking…
1. Promenade View Rooms
One of the coolest features on select Royal Caribbean ships is the Royal Promenade. This is a spacious open-air promenade in the middle of the ship that you’ll find on Freedom Class, Voyager Class and Oasis Class vessels. It’s home to bars and dining venues, and it acts as a real hub of activity.
And lining the promenade are a number of staterooms that, while classed as interior rooms, have windows looking out over the promenade. You get a great view of all the hubbub and can enjoy the lively atmosphere. It’s different from an ocean view, but it can be quite entertaining.
Except that these aren’t special one-way windows, so if you’re on a lower deck then people could easily see into your stateroom just as much as you can see out of it! Your neighbours across the promenade can also see right into your room.
You’ll have to be careful to make sure the curtains are always closed when you’re getting changed or if you just want to get cosy in your PJs.
Plus, the promenade tends to be quite lively until late at night, and while the rooms do have some element of soundproofing they aren’t flawless. If you want a stateroom where you can enjoy peace and quiet and you don’t need to worry about someone seeing you undressing, you might want to avoid these staterooms.
2. Noisy Cabins Near the Entertainment
Like I said earlier, Royal Caribbean ships always have something fun going on, including into the later hours. This is great if you’re a night owl, but if you’re someone who likes to be tucked up in bed by 10 pm ready to start the next day of adventures, then there are certain locations you should look to avoid.
All Royal Caribbean ships have a theatre, so try to avoid staterooms directly above it. Then look out for the bars, and try to avoid the staterooms either directly above or below, just because sometimes the noise can carry.
The Playmakers Sports Bar is often a lively one and a lot of past cruisers have mentioned singing passengers once the bar closes after they’ve had an entertaining night – if you don’t want to be serenaded to sleep then it’s best to find an alternative location.
Each Royal Caribbean ship is different so I can’t really give you specific stateroom numbers to avoid across the whole fleet, but if you check out the official deck plans for each ship you’ll usually find the bars and theatres on the lower decks, so you can plan which staterooms are above and below them and make sure to book elsewhere.
Of course, if you’re someone who’s likely to be out enjoying those bars until the late hours then you don’t need to worry about it.
3. Noisy Cabins Underneath the Pool Deck
Essentially the opposite of the point above, the other staterooms that can sometimes suffer from noise are the ones directly below the pool deck. And that’s not because of late-night pool parties, but instead, it’s those early risers who are getting up to beat the crowds and secure themselves a lounger!
The loungers aren’t left in place, and so people will drag them around to get them into the perfect poolside position. And those wooden floors are, unfortunately, excellent at carrying the scraping sound directly into the rooms below.
Again, if you’re also an early riser then you don’t need to be worried. It’s not a horrific sound, so it’s only an issue if it’s likely to wake you up. But if you do want a lie-in, it’s best to pick a stateroom that has another cabin directly above and below it.
4. Cabins Far From the Elevators
Sometimes it’s good to avoid booking a stateroom near the elevators on a cruise ship because of – again – the noise. Not from the actual elevators themselves, as they’re pretty quiet, but more due to the noise of people gathering around them and chatting as they walk back to their rooms at night.
However, I would argue that it’s more of an inconvenience to book a stateroom that’s a long walk from the elevators, particularly if you’ve got young children with you. There is a high chance that you’ll be tiring out your kids during your cruise and they may end up needing to be carried to bed when you collect them from Adventure Ocean at 10 pm.
Good luck trudging down a long corridor with a fast-asleep toddler if you’ve got your best heels on (been there, done that).
This is a common theme on most cruise lines, but there are some Royal Caribbean ships where it really does make a difference. All ships have multiple elevators but there are some, where you can only use one set to get to your room – the mid-ship area is blocked off and you can’t walk through it, which can be a real inconvenience.
And then there are some ships – the ones that have a Royal Promenade – where if you have certain staterooms on Deck 9 you need to walk the length of the ship, turn a corner, and then double back on yourself to get to your room. That’s a long distance!
So, always check the deck plans and the walking route to the elevators before you commit to your booking.
I actually booked room 9456 that you can see on the deckplan above. But when I spotted that there’s no shortcut, I called my travel agent and they switched it for me for no extra cost.
Suggested read: How To Upgrade Your Cruise Cabin After Purchase
5. Cabins With Tiny Portholes
If you don’t want to pay the extra for a Balcony stateroom but the idea of an Interior stateroom leaves you feeling a little claustrophobic, then an Oceanview Stateroom is usually a good compromise. You’ll still pay a little more than you would for an inside room but you’ll at least get some natural light.
Some of Royal Caribbean’s ships have rooms with large picture windows, while some staterooms will have a porthole. Now that might sound small but normally, those portholes are pretty big still – easily a few feet across.
But not always… There are some rooms where the porthole is a lot smaller. And you know what’s the worst thing? Royal Caribbean won’t advertise which ones have the tiny portholes – they cost the same as those with the larger portholes!
The good news is that they’re all confined to the Deck 2 on the relevant ships that have them, so if you’re booking an Oceanview stateroom with a porthole, you can just avoid Deck 2 and you’ll be fine.
6. Cabins That Could Make Seasickness Worse
Most people who book a cruise don’t get seasick, so if you’ve never experienced it before then you shouldn’t worry about it. It’s unlikely that it’ll affect you. However, if you’re someone who has a history of seasickness, then it’s a good idea to try to book a stateroom where you won’t be subjected to the most movement.
Ships naturally have a rocking motion as they go over the waves, which means that the places where you’re going to feel the most movement are at the front and aft of the ship, on the higher decks.
Meanwhile, the staterooms closest to the middle of the ship (as in, those in a mid-ship location and on a middle deck) will feel the least movement. It won’t stop you from suffering altogether but it can really help to minimise the feeling of motion, and when it’s a room where you’re trying to sleep that definitely helps.
If you can’t get a mid-ship location then just try to avoid the extremes of a higher deck at the front or rear of the ship, and hopefully, you won’t feel it too much.
Suggested read: The Best Deck on a Cruise Ship
7. Obstructed View Cabins
On a Royal Caribbean ship, just like with many other cruise lines, there are some Outside and Balcony staterooms that don’t have quite the same view as others. That’s because they’re classed as Obstructed View, due to the fact that the lifeboats are partially covering what you can see.
But with Royal Caribbean it’s not just the lifeboats that can obstruct your view of the ocean…
On Freedom-class and Voyager-class ships, there are some aft-facing staterooms on the lower decks that also have an obstructed view because of a metal wrap-around structure at the back of the deck. You don’t have an uninterrupted view – in fact you have to look in the gaps to see the ship’s wake.
And that can be really disappointing since the aft is meant to be one of the best views on any cruise ship. It’s even more disappointing that these balconies aren’t flagged as being an obstructed view, and so if you hadn’t read this guide then you could’ve booked them expecting a much better view than you’ll get.
If you don’t mind a partially blocked view because of a lifeboat, then a proper obstructed view stateroom can save you money. But avoid aft balconies on decks 6, 7 and 8 on the Freedom- and Voyager-class ships since there’s no benefit to booking them.
8. Interconnecting Cabins That Aren’t Needed
Interconnecting cabins are great if you’re cruising with a larger group and you want to stay together. They’re essentially two cabins with a door between them which is normally locked, but for group bookings, it can be unlocked to let you walk between the cabins and create one larger shared space.
The problem, if you’re booking an interconnecting stateroom without being part of a group, is that the door between the cabins is not anywhere near as soundproofed as the actual wall.
This means that even though the door stays locked when you aren’t part of the same travelling group as your neighbour, you’ll still hear a lot more of what they get up to.
If you end up with an interconnecting stateroom, you’ll have to hope that they’re not the kind to have holiday arguments or to get home too late when you’re trying to sleep.
Ideally, you’ll avoid this altogether by not booking an interconnecting stateroom at all. You can see them easily enough on deck plans – look for the double-headed arrows over the rooms.
9. Expensive Suites If You Won’t Make the Most of Them
There are some pretty spectacular suites on Royal Caribbean ships, especially those that offer the Royal Suite Class of perks. These aren’t just spacious rooms, they have all kinds of extra benefits including some with a Royal Genie – the cruise line’s equivalent of a private butler.
But these extra perks don’t come cheap and while the rooms are pretty spectacular, why would you pay thousands for a week-long cruise for a room that you never spend any time in?
So if you’re thinking about booking a suite, just think about your cruising habits and make sure that the extra cost is worth it.
If you still think you’ll be out the door at the crack of dawn and only making your way back to your room once the last bar has closed, then it’s probably better to save the extra cash and downgrade to a room that’s still spacious enough, without all the extra benefits that you aren’t using.
10. Vibrating Cabins Due to the Propellers
There are some Royal Caribbean cruise ships where you can book a stateroom quite low down – Deck 2 is often where the accommodations start.
If you book a stateroom at the aft of the ship on Deck 2 then you might be disturbed a little more than you were expecting, because it’s not uncommon for the ship’s propellers to cause the room to vibrate. It’s subtle, but definitely noticeable based on previous guests’ reviews of their trip.
There can be some noise too, not just from the propellers but also from the anchor when you’re arriving in port (which usually happens in the early hours). But specifically, it’s the hum and vibration that can be bothersome to some people.
Although you might find that it’s actually quite soothing.
11. Studio Staterooms If You Like Space
Usually, if you’re travelling on a cruise ship alone, you’ll need to pay a single supplement – an extra fee to cover the losses that the ship is incurring by having one fewer passenger on-board that would be paying for their room, their drinks and so on.
Often that single supplement is the same price as the standard cruise fare, so single travellers pay the same price for a stateroom as a couple would.
The alternative is to book a single room, which some cruise lines offer, and with Royal Caribbean, these are called Studios. As you can probably guess, these are a lot smaller than a standard room, and sometimes only have a single twin bed. If you’re used to sleeping in a double bed, this can be a little disappointing.
Studios rooms can actually be quite expensive and you may find that it’s actually cheaper to book a double room for single occupancy in some cases! If you do this, you’ll also get the Crown & Anchor loyalty points for both fares if you do, which is a nice bonus, and you’ll have more choice of your room’s location
12. Balcony Cabins Near the Bridge
Some people recommend avoiding balconies that are overlooked by the bridge. Usually, I think that this isn’t really something to be concerned about because surely the officers have better things to be doing that looking behind them onto people’s balconies.
However, on some Royal Caribbean ships, including Quantum-class ships, guests can step out onto an area above the bridge.
This is what I could see from my balcony on Anthem of the Seas…
Actaully, my room was quite far from the bridge, so this didn’t cause much of an issue at all. But, balconies that re right next to the bridge would have no privacy at all.
You can see that in this photo that I took from the outside area above the bridge…
13. Balcony Cabins in Winter
While it can be lovely to sit outside and admire the views, you may be less likely to do that if you need to put on your winter coat and take the duvet from the bed each time to keep warm out there!
If you plan to cruise in Europe in winter, then a balcony is rarely a good idea. That’s why so many cruise lines offer free balcony upgrades in the colder seasons!
As I said, there aren’t really any staterooms on a Royal Caribbean ship that I would tell everybody to avoid at all costs. Most of them have a positive and a negative side, depending on how you spend your time on a cruise.
The only ones that I would lean towards suggesting most people avoid are those with a tiny porthole, and the aft-facing balconies with an unadvertised obstructed view, since you can get a better room for the same price elsewhere on the ship. Even then, they aren’t really bad, and you’ll likely be spending your time all over the ship anyway.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve got any recommendations of your own cruise ship cabins to avoid, either for staterooms that you love or staterooms you would avoid in the future.
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To recap, here’s a list of the Royal Caribbean cabins to avoid:
- 1. Promenade View Rooms
- 2. Noisy Cabins Near the Entertainment
- 3. Noisy Cabins Underneath the Pool Deck
- 4. Cabins Far From the Elevators
- 5. Cabins With Tiny Portholes
- 6. Cabins That Could Make Seasickness Worse
- 7. Obstructed View Cabins
- 8. Interconnecting Cabins That Aren’t Needed
- 9. Expensive Suites If You Won’t Make the Most of Them
- 10. Vibrating Cabins Due to the Propellers
- 11. Studio Staterooms If You Like Space
- 12. Balcony Cabins Near the Bridge
- 13. Balcony Cabins in Winter
- Mariner of the Seas Cabins to Avoid
- Independence of the Seas Cabins to Avoid
- Royal Caribbean Ships by Size (Comparison)