Choosing the Perfect Cruise Cabin for Families: A Guide

Cruise Cabin for Family: If you’ve never been on a cruise ship before, you might think that all of the cabins are the similar or divided into basic, good and luxurious ones only. However, that is not true, particularly for families. Families may need to accommodate a larger number of guests, making it more difficult to choose a cabin. There is a large section to select from as per your needs and comforts.

There are options for sleeping arrangements that let adults enjoy part of the living area while the kids can get some rest. Then there are extras like a bathtub, sleeper sofa, or cot that you would desire.

There are dozens of different stateroom classifications on an average cruise company, and it can be confusing to figure out how they differ.

Most popular cruise ships such as those from Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, and Disney Cruise Line will have the following categories, but with slightly different titles.

Certain lines have created family-specific categories. Typically, these are bigger rooms that can hold extra people or serve as connecting rooms. Look for titles of categories that contain the term “family.”

For instance, in addition to all the possibilities in The Haven ship-within-a-ship suite complex, Norwegian Cruise Line offers categories including Family Inside, Family Oceanview, Family Balcony, Family Mini-Suite with Balcony, Family Suite, and Two-Bedroom Family Suite.

Best Cruise Cabin for Family

Princess Cruise Ship Cabins, Princess Cruise Ship, Princess Cruise Cabins
(Credit: Princess Cruises)

A suite, two connecting cabins, or one cabin?

When choosing the ideal cabin for your group, you must decide whether to reserve a single cabin big enough to fit everyone, opt for connecting rooms, look for a family-friendly stateroom, or shell out a substantial amount of money for a suite that offers ample space and extra benefits to ensure your family has the best possible cruise experience.

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What you should do is really a family-by-family decision, and there is no one correct solution. Having two bathrooms instead of one is a perk of having two connecting cabins, especially on port days when everyone is fighting for a shower before leaving for the day. Additionally, two connecting rooms are great for letting the kids sleep while parents can leave the door slightly open to continue talking or watching a movie in their cabin.

It can also be less expensive to book two connecting cabins than to book a larger room or suite in a higher cabin category (we’ll talk more about those cabin classifications shortly). If you’re interested in reserving connecting cabins, check out this guide on how to get two staterooms for the price of one.

Alternatively, you may determine that sharing a room with your family isn’t worth the cost of a suite, with all of its benefits like priority boarding, complimentary reservations for speciality restaurants, and entry to VIP-only parts of the ship.

We’ll go over the different kinds of cabins your family can reserve in order to assist you in making the best decision. Selecting the one that would be best for your group should therefore be a little bit simpler.


River Cruise Cabins
(Credit: Avalon Waterways)

As the name implies, this is a simple cabin within the ship without a window, balcony, or porthole. Interior cabins are often quite compact. For instance, a 149 square foot interior aboard Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas can sleep up to four people thanks to two twin beds that can be made into king size and a double sofa bed. It can work if you have two small children who can share a sofa bed, but it will be (very) crowded.

Interior Pricing: From Port Canaveral, $913 per person will sail the Eastern Caribbean for seven nights on board Harmony of the Seas, with accommodations for four people. This trip departs in July 2020.

It should be noted that while some cruise lines do have picture windows facing the ocean, they are still classified as interior staterooms. Carnival Cruise Lines is one company where this has happened. A portion of the windows in Carnival Sunshine’s Interior with Picture Window category offer a view of the deck’s walkway and the ocean beyond, while other windows have a partially obscured view.

Inside with a Virtual Window

Sun Princess's Cabins and lounges

A “virtual” window is a concept that some cruise lines, such Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, invented for some of their inner cabins. The window, which is actually a screen that displays a live feed from a camera on board the ship, aims to simulate the experience of staying in a cabin with an ocean view without having to pay for one. Disney Fantasy’s 169-square-foot Standard Inside Staterooms can sleep four people with a queen bed, a single sleeper sofa, and an upper-berth pull-down bed.

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They also have the cruise line’s Magical Porthole with real-time views. With its Virtual Balcony staterooms, such as those on Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean goes one step further. With floor-to-ceiling panels that depict the surroundings in real time, these staterooms actually give you the impression of a balcony.

Virtual Pane The cost of a seven-night Alaska Glacier cruise on board Ovation of the Seas, departing from Seattle in July 2020, is $1,044 per person for an interior stateroom with a virtual balcony that can sleep four people.

Interior With a Courtyard View

(Credit: Life well cruised)

Some internal rooms on some of the biggest ships in operation today, such as Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, feature a window that looks out onto a courtyard area of the ship. A 191-square-foot Promenade View Interior with two twin beds that can be made into king size, a double sofa bed, and a pull-down bed can be reserved on Allure. There are views of the Royal Promenade from a bent window.

Courtyard View Pricing: Starting at $1,086 per person based on four, a seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise aboard Allure of the Seas departing from Barcelona in July 2020 includes an interior promenade view, while a central park view interior costs $1,091 per person based on four.

Sea View

(Credit: The points guy)

Many cruise ships include rooms with views of the ocean; the size of the window varies from ship to ship. Seek out terminology such as “picture” or “panoramic” window. See the Family Oceanview with Large Picture Window on Norwegian Encore. The size of this stateroom varies from 240 to 372 square feet according on the location of the ship. With two twin beds that can be made into queen beds and extra bedding for three more, it can accommodate up to five people. A bathtub is another feature that some of the lower-end cabins have.

Ocean View Pricing: From New York, a seven-night Bermuda cruise on Norwegian Encore departing in July 2020 will cost $1,324 per person for a Family Oceanview with Large Picture Window that can sleep four people.

Veranda/ Balcony

ship's French balcony

A balcony cabin, commonly known as a veranda, can be quite helpful to a family if you can afford it. It provides you with more natural light, an additional spot to sit and unwind while in the cabin, and the ability to get fresh air whenever you’d like through a sliding glass door.

Keep in mind that balcony staterooms typically have a bit more space than inside or ocean view accommodations, as size is frequently crucial. (For instance, balcony cabins on Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess have a square footage ranging from 214 to 222.) These cabins also occasionally feature a curtain between the living area, which typically consists of a sofa, coffee table, and chair, from the bedroom.

Typically, a tiny table and two seats are placed on the balcony. Before selecting a certain cabin number, make sure to thoroughly review the deck design since not all balcony cabins can accommodate third and fourth passengers. Even better, you might wish to depend on a cruise expert travel agent who can assist you in locating the ideal stateroom for your family.

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Balcony Pricing: For a 12-night British Isles cruise aboard Regal Princess departing from London in July 2020, a balcony cabin may sleep four people for as little as $3,549 per person for the first two passengers and $1,649 per person for passengers three and four.

Spa Cabins

A few years ago, spa cabins completely revolutionized the travel business. Today, many ships offer cabin categories that combine privileged access to the spa with healthful in-room amenities like herbal teas, flavored water, and aroma infusers. Spa cabins are definitely not very appealing if you have small children, but they might be appealing if you have teenagers who enjoy using the thermal suite at the spa.

First Class Concierge

Infinite Balcony, Infinite Balcony on cruise, what is Infinite Balcony
(Credit: Life well cruised)

Upon perusing cruise line brochures and studying deck layouts, you’ll come across certain suites labeled as “concierge.” This implies that guests staying in those lodgings will have access to a concierge who can help with booking reservations for restaurants and spa services.

Concierge category stateroom guests typically receive additional benefits like priority boarding, an earlier window for dining and shore excursion reservations, a minibar filled with water and soda, a pillow menu allowing you to select the ideal option for every member of the family, bathrobes and slippers for onboard use, and even free Wi-Fi. These passengers might additionally get access to a second concierge lounge. Not all concierge rooms are indeed suites, although some of them are.

Disney Wonder provides spacious 1,029-square-foot Concierge Royal Suites with two bedrooms, two full baths, and a half-bath, in addition to one- and two-bedroom concierge suites with a veranda. It can hold up to seven persons.

The cost of a seven-night Alaskan cruise on Disney Wonder departing from Vancouver in July 2020 in a Concierge Family Overview Stateroom with Verandah for four people is $5,230 per person.


Cruise Suites and Balcony Cabins, difference between Cruise Suites and Balcony Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Cruise Suites, Cruise rooms
(Credit: Royal Caribbean Blog)

What is a suite, exactly? From a technical standpoint, it’s an apartment that physically divides the living and sleeping spaces. Families can enjoy two areas of the cabin simultaneously without disturbing one another by installing a wall or other sort of partition as a barrier (imagine someone sleeping in the bedroom while others watch a movie in the living area). Keep in mind that “junior suites” don’t normally have that kind of seclusion from other suites and don’t necessarily come with as many extra benefits as the larger suites do.

Genuine suites are typically larger than standard cabins and come with a variety of extras like a pre-departure lounge at the cruise terminal, complimentary meals at speciality restaurants that typically charge an a-la-carte or per-person fee, butler service, and even private areas on the ship like Michael’s Club, a lounge on Celebrity Cruises, and Luminae, a restaurant that is exclusive to suite passengers and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Suite Pricing: A junior suite for four people on a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, departing Miami in July 2020, costs $1,942 per person; a one-bedroom grand suite costs $2,775 per person.

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Zones Suitable for Families

Sex on a Cruise ship Balcony, can you have Sex on a Cruise ship Balcony
(Credit: Mundy Cruising)

Family Harbor is a clever idea from Carnival that is available on Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon. This is a particularly created “family zone” featuring family-friendly suites and cabins, as well as a lounge that offers breakfast and snacks and has a big-screen TV and games. Additionally, a “family concierge” is available to assist with scheduling shore excursions and aboard meals.

With one complete bathroom with a shower and another with just a sink and shower combo, the Family Harbor Suite can house five people. Kids dine free in the majority of the onboard speciality restaurants, and passengers in the Family Harbor zone receive one free evening of Night Owls childcare.

The cost of a Carnival Family Harbor cruise starts at $904 per person for a seven-night Western Caribbean excursion onboard Carnival Vista, departing from Galveston in July 2020. A Family Harbor Deluxe Ocean View cruise starts at $1,015 per person, while a Family Harbor Suite is $1,270 per person.


Large VIP rooms on board some cruise companies’ ships are an extra step, and for some families, those places may make sense. If you are staying in this sector of the ship, your keycard will unlock doors to exclusive sun decks, a pool, and other locations as well as allow you onto the deck of VIP cabins.

The Haven, a complex of suite cabins plus hefty extras including butler service, a restaurant serving all meals, show seating, preferred dining reservations, and more, is available on Norwegian Cruise Line ships. The Haven offers villas and family suites with one or two bedrooms. The Norwegian Epic, Jewel class, Breakaway and Breakaway Plus class ships all offer

The Haven Pricing: We should warn you that this is an expensive experience. We calculated the cost of a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise for four people on Norwegian Breakaway, departing from Miami in June 2020. The Haven’s starting prices for passengers were $2,399 each.

The price for a Forward-Facing Penthouse with Balcony was reduced to $1,864 per person thanks to a promotion offering Free Extra Guests. (The package included Wi-Fi, all specialty restaurants, a drink package, and shore excursion credit.) Add approximately $310 for gratuities and $685 for taxes and port fees, and that becomes a somewhat pricey one-week trip. However, with all of the added benefits and conveniences, some families might think that the $300 per person per day for a family of four is fair.

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With its Yacht Club, which has VIP-level accommodations, a lounge, a restaurant, and a pool, MSC Cruises provides a concept that is similar. Onboard MSC Fantasia, Splendida, Divina, Preziosa, Seaside, Meraviglia, and Seaview, you may find the Yacht Club. Benefits include a butler, priority embarkation, complimentary beverages, and more.

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